Marks and Spencer Christmas "Follow The Fairies" Adverts 2014

For the whole of December (and the last day of November) it’s going to be all about Christmas – adverts, food and all!!

Marks and Spencer seem to surprise me every year with their adverts. Don’t know why. Last year it was all about fairy tales and fashion, and it seems they have moved on to telling a fairy tale of their own this year. ^_^

Here are two fairies (from where I assume come from Fairy Land), one teaches the other about using their “magic” and “sparkle” (saw the pun there – M&S) helping out families, couples, kids, a person with a lost cat and new lovers come together for Christmas. It’s a fun advert. I like this one very much compared to the re-telling of fairy tales from last year. It tells you more about the clothes that you can buy for people for Christmas in this ad.

But YES! Marks and Spencer are back with a food advert for Christmas. It’s about time too!! Being looking forward to these. The Banquet Advert is lavishing with rich foods that make your mouth water at the start but then it kind of slips towards the end because the desserts and cakes don’t unfortunately make my mouth water. M&S need to put more dribble (with sauces) and less sparkle in this ad. A little bit disappointed with this.

Same goes with the Party Food ad. The only part that made me dribble were the desserts towards the end.

All in all, it was a good effort from M&S – the first advert was the best out of the three here!

Smile Hotel Nihombashi – Tokyo, Japan + Top Tips and Misconceptions

Smile Hotel Nihombashi is not hard to find. If you see the Starbucks from across the street when you come out from the Tozai line at Kayabacho Station, then you just have to cross the street and walk straight, and then it’s on your left hand side. 
This has been one of the easiest hotels to find in all our adventures so far. 
Smile Hotel Nihombashi in Kayabacho

Our room came with two beds as requested online. They were comfortable, but we found the pillows a bit too weird which made my neck uncomfortable…

Twin beds

The bathroom is small but bearable. Bathtub is useable but make sure you bend your knees otherwise you will have a hard time bathing. The shower is pretty good and not hard to use, but make sure you switch on the extractor fan as it gets hot in there. You get free goodies like brushes, razors and some other stuff. They provide you with soap, shampoo and conditioner too.

What we also found weird about the bathroom was the toilet seat… it warms up when you sit on it and it starts flushing too… ¬_¬””

Kettles, TV, cups, coffee sachets, hairdryer and fridge is all in there for you to use. They provide slippers for you to use (I took a few).

Here’s the view from the window… I don’t think the aircon was on that night, that’s why it looks so steamy… But not much to see from the 9th floor…

Laundry is quite easy to find. It costs 300 yen (~£1.89) to do your main laundry. So make sure you have 3×100 yen coins. To get the washing powder you have to go to main reception and it costs 50 yen (~£0.31) for a sachet. Make sure you go to reception first!!! For the dryer it costs 100 yen (~£0.62) for about 30 minutes and an extra 5 minutes for cooling down process, BUT, on the machine (and I agree with this) that you should dry your clothes if they are thick – for 1 hour…!!

Laundry room at Smile Hotel

It wasn’t a bad hotel and it wasn’t a good hotel either. It was somewhere to sleep and it was practically near everything!

The ok factors:
– staff spoke in multiple languages: Japanese, a bit of English and Mandarin… Not sure if they speak Korean.
– there’s a restaurant available in the basement, but it isn’t opened on weekends

– lots of convenient stores nearby and it’s about a half an hour walk to Tsukiji!

– They have vending machines on each floor

The disappointing factors:

– WiFi can only be used in the lobby. There is no WiFi in the rooms.
– no cupboards or wardrobes available to put your clothes in
– you cannot use the cafe section during 8 till 5 unless you are buying something to eat or drink (waitress only speaks Japanese)
Address:  Japan, Yubinbango103-0025 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo Kayabacho 2-13-5
Telephone: +81 3-3668-7711

Nearest Station: Kayabacho Station



My Geeky Top Tips 
– buy either a Pasmo card or Suica Card. Pasmo card is used for Tokyo mainly but can be used outside Tokyo, but you may have to make fare adjustments depending on where you’re coming from. Suica card is a better option if you plan to travel outside of Tokyo and anywhere in Japan… Britain needs to use this. I think train tickets are a thing of the past!
– make sure you bring a plastic bag with you for your rubbish as there aren’t many bins on the streets of Tokyo
– spending money should be up to £1000 to £1500 for 2 weeks depending on what you are buying and how many gifts you intend to get (I managed to spend less than £1000 and still have money to exchange back to British pounds!)
– don’t bring too much luggage as you will find yourself buying more than you had intended to
– learn the language… Especially with shopping and directions as well as greetings (lots of people thought I was Japanese as I looked like one… I don’t really)… Definitely learn Hiragana and Katakana. I knew some kanji (Chinese characters) already so I was ok understanding some of the foods and places to go to. Also learn about counters, i.e. 1 apple, 2 people, 3 pieces of paper…
– if you’re lost and a Japanese person asks if you need help, say yes! They will help you all the way!

– Wear comfortable shoes or trainers as the Metro has a lot of stairs and there’s a lot of walking in the station areas… I think I stayed the same weight because I was exercising throughout. ¬,¬””

Misconceptions about the Japanese
– do they stare? Yes they do a lot! On Miss Pinky’s behalf they stared at her like she was an alien
– are all Japanese people skinny? No, definitely no. We have seen some overweight people
– are all Japanese people short? Nope, some are my height at 5″4′ or taller. But according to friends and family the native Japanese were short and skinny.
– is service too polite? Yes and no. Some are just ok, some go over the top but I was ok with that

– are they really strict on rules and regulations? In some places yes, like taking your shoes off, but eating in public transport seems to be the norm (kind of) – just make sure it’s not smelly food. Yawning and sneezing seems to be ok too! But don’t do it all the time!

– is it busy on public transport? Yep, defo. All you see on Monday to Friday is men and women in suits. The people in black. It’s busy all day round.

– can you talk on public transport? Yes… A lot of the Japanese do but quietly and politely… a lot of people were playing with their mobile devices – reading and playing games… It was just like being in Hong Kong all over again!!!!

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 14 – The end of our (almost perfect) journey

Friday 14th November

The final day started really early. Miss Pinky seemed to have given me less than an hour to get ready. (I usually need an hour Miss Pinky!!). And yes I was grumpy! 😦
We checked out and made our way to the metro. We took the lift from Kayabachō, to the Tozai line and changed at Nihombashi for the express line to Narita Airport Terminal 2. Our train came on the dot at 6.32 am and it took us an hour to get there.
On the train journey we saw an old man and I think his son eat their breakfast on the train so I did the same. (We’ve realised from the two weeks that we’ve been in Japan that lots of Japanese people do break their own rules in public!). I had bought these sandwiches from a mini shop the night before…

The first one I had was a chocolate wafer one. It tasted nomilicious (or tabelicious 食べ-licious).

Chocolate wafer sandwich
The next one was probably something like a bacon katsu of some sort. It smelled a bit and it was salty. I think the people on the train were not appreciative.
Some sort of salty bacon flavoured sandwich
I liked the chocolate one. Despite my efforts not to eat on the train I couldn’t resist even when I was stared at by a guy who seemed to respect authority in Japan and didn’t like those who broke the rules. (I have a feeling he was social networking his tantrum… whoopsie!!) Sumimasen!! Even foreigners can break some basic rules right??? ¬_¬”””
On the train journey… the morning sun was bright
We finally got to Narita Airport Terminal 2. Easy journey! But the only thing now was to wait for the check in kiosks to open which took a little while longer. Miss Pinky was of course overweight, her baggage I mean, not her body mass, heheh (sorry had to pull that joke!). When we asked how much it would be to pay for the excess baggage the person at the counter said 71,000 yen. Whaaaaat?! Isn’t that too much, but when she calculated it as £39 I thought she must’ve said something wrong, because in fact Miss Pinky actually paid 7100 yen!
During that time Miss Pinky had to get her lighters out, as only 1 lighter is allowed per person on a BA flight, and only as hand luggage. Bah humbug. (And no Miss Pinky, the woman at the BA desk is not my friend!).
Eventually we passed security and another passport check. It was now time to shop with our excess money… There are not many shops in the airport so don’t expect to be buying much unless you want designer stuff. Nope, not me! So I ended up with more money than I had actually wanted/needed.
Finally we got onto our flight. It was a semi full flight, and unfortunately I had someone sit next to me. 😦
Our BA flight is waiting
Lunch on the plane consisted of pasta and meatballs (we didn’t have a choice really as everyone took the other option). The pasta was undercooked and burnt, and the meatballs were overcooked. The potato and ham salad was ok. The dessert was nice and sweet but the crust was hard and very hard to cut through. Are we paying peanuts for flight food? Not sure about that.
After dinner Miss Pinky decided to move seats because she wanted space. At this point, I got the window seat and I got to blog in peace. Yahahahaha. But I think she may have been pleased to have moved because the children in front just kept arguing and fighting. Lucky cow.
Flying over the Russian mountains

After many hours and I think I managed a 30 to 45 minute nap which made me become alive again, and once again after eating hard rock ice cream, we had lunch. This consisted of macaroni cheese. I didn’t want the shrimp and rice, I always eat that at home. The food was ok but the tray looked bland and I think it could’ve included some fruit.

We thankfully landed on time and I think this was a very smooth flight. Landing was perfect, I didn’t feel the wheels hit the ground!
Over England somewhere

Frost on the plane windows

After passing security and collecting our luggage we went home by tube up to Holborn and made our way back by bus, Miss Pinky unfortunately had to wait longer for her bus which took forever. 😦

Our trip to Japan was great! Miss Pinky enjoyed it but not to the full max. Food, language and too much walking were her main problems… plus the staring business… not likey… On a good note, I ENJOYED everything I came across in Japan and would love to go again!! Probably with someone who would really want to go!! Maybe I should go with Mr Bear next time. What do you think?
Watch out for the chocolate and sweet posts starting in January 2015!!

End of Day 14 and our Japan trip.

Next trip: March 2015 – we’re heading to the Americas!!! (It’s all booked, and this next trip will include Mr Picky – Miss Pinky’s other half). Can you guess where we’re going? (Actually I’m going away in February… a last minute decision!).

The hotel:

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 13 – Last minute shopping!

Thursday 13th November
Thursday seemed to be a struggle for the two of us. We couldn’t sleep and seemed to be running on British afternoon time… However we did manage to sleep, and I always seem to wake up around the same time.
Since I woke up early I went downstairs to use the WiFi in the lobby area to check in with my flight. I was just wishing that no one sat next to me (on the flight)!!!
It was now time to do last minute shopping in Ginza, so we took the metro to Shimbashi and walked to this toy store that we fell in love with on our first trip there (it’s my favourite cute store in Tokyo). We had to buy Mr Picky a robot!

After shopping around we took the metro and ended up in Hiro-Ginza Station to see how we could get from somewhere to Narita Terminal 2. It almost looked like a mission, and luckily we didn’t go the full way otherwise we would have no more money on our Pasmo cards. We actually asked someone at the gates (there’s always an information desk at each station gate you go to).
We came out of the station with some struggle as we had already paid using our Pasmo cards to do this train journey which never happened.

We got back to Ginza but it seemed we were on the wrong side, so I had to ask a gentleman in Japanese of course on how to get back to Shimbashi Station. He pointed the direction as in go straight (which is what I said to Miss Pinky in the first place :P).

We walked for a bit and finally ended up in Shimbashi and then headed back to our favourite ramen bar. A film crew seemed to be there at this point, so you may see us on TV (remember I am Chinese). We had our final bowl of ramen and it was time to say goodbye to this forever! 😦

Miss Pinky spotted this crossing… doesn’t it look like a mini version of the Shibuya Crossing but it’s in Shimbashi… ¬_¬””

Crossing in Shimbashi
Miss Pinky and I headed back to the hotel where we did out final packing and wanted to test out the robot (but that never happened as the robot was sealed perfectly in its box). We also saw a little puppy shiba dog with her owner. She was so cute! Fur is different as it feels like Afro hair. It really does!
Shiba dog – I want one!!
After an hour or so of watching Japanese TV and sumo wrestling it was time to head back to have a walk and get dinner. We walked passed Starbucks and the bridge this time and we seemed to have discovered another supermarket and a wine store and some other mini stores. Why didn’t we walk this way in the first place?! Miss Pinky said, it was for the best, otherwise we would have bought too much and stuffed our suitcases with excess luggage. 😦
Tried out Stewed Five Berries… I’m sure I’ve had this before…

Hanamasa supermarket… Nothing much in there that I liked. I preferred Aeon!

Makihara… It’s a wine store as well as a snack store…

Another conbini!!

My dinner this time was again from Nakau. I like this place because of the fried chicken they do. (My only regret on this trip was that I never tried the black bun burger really). I love this place because it’s cheap.

Final drink of that night was some sake. It was like drinking whisky but I don’t think I will be drinking sake for another few years. Yeek!!
Mini sake… It was about 108 yen, something like that…

Couldn’t really sleep that night but I managed 4 hours. Miss Pinky was the same… couldn’t sleep because I started snoring… 😛

End of Day 13.

Day 14:

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 12 – Walking and Eating around Kayabacho

Wednesday 12th November
The next two days in Japan was basically a free day for Miss Pinky and I. Miss Pinky wanted sleep, so I decided the night before (although I wanted to do this on Thursday) was to do my laundry…
I sat around in the lobby, then I sat in the laundry room for more than an hour for my clothes to dry… It was boring.
Miss Pinky was awake once I got into the room. We did a long walk from Kayabachō Station but first we ate at Pizza and Wine which is a few doors away from the hotel.

There is no menu in English, so we got the waiter to explain. Miss Pinky wanted pepperoni pizza but unfortunately they didn’t do this flavour so she had chicken pasta and I had the same. The pasta came with sweet potato pieces, cheese and chicken. It was different and I liked it. Miss Pinky said it was too much for her so she didn’t finish hers.

It was 880 yen each which isn’t bad, but our only complaint was the music. It was rather techno and I think something peaceful would’ve suit the place a bit more.
My geeky rating: 4.5/5

Address: It’s a few doors down on the left from Smile Hotel… can’t find the address

So we walked and walked, and we realised that we got to Tsukiji!!!! That was quick! Then we went back and walked a little bit on the other side of the hotel up to the 100 yen store.
I think this is my favourite stationery shop in Hatchobori

Aeon Store!!

Trying to hum this note in my head… But had to use an app to play it on piano… hahahaha, quite a nice tune

Can you play it? 

This conbini store is the only store that accepts foreign cards by the way!!

Mini Stop

Saw a cute opposite us

A small shrine

Finally we wanted to rest… so we tried the hotel’s cafe area… The lady spoke only in Japanese and she tried to tell us that the last serving was at 4.30 pm and the cafe closed at 5 pm… Yep ok. All we wanted was a drink and some rest!! The lady was really nice although Miss Pinky seemed really irritated… Uh oh…

Green tea frappe

Before we went to the other side to the 100 yen store  we stopped and went into the Aeon Store which is about a 20 to 30 minute walk from the hotel and I bought these sandwiches on our way back. I tried all of them at the hotel.

Ham and egg was sweet and salty. Ham was the salty part and the egg was sweet.

Egg was mildly salty, not sweet and Miss Pinky enjoyed this one.

Tuna one smelt fishy and tasted of salad cream.

Lasagne tasted very tomatoey and cheesy at the same time. It even had some mince bits inside. (Forgot to take a picture of the inside).

Azuki beans tasted sweet, it was just like having a dessert sandwich.

In total this cost 545 yen ~£3.42!!! (109 yen each ~£0.69) !! So cheap. And way better than the English crusty sandwiches. So surprised it was cheap. ^________^
Miss Pinky had a nap and I just sat around the hotel room blogging away this post and listening to Aaron Kwok sing on my iPad. 🙂
Once Miss Pinky awoke she decided she needed a pot noodle plus re-pack her suitcase (this happens to be the second time she has re-packed!!!!!). That took a while, because I didn’t eat my dinner of soy chicken (which we thought was duck) and rice plus a banana drink (which I don’t think I will have again) until 10 pm!

Banana smoothie

Miss Pinky at some point decided she needed more food, so she went down to Lawson and bought some fried chicken which was smothered with cheese… And then she had to go and buy some cheesy chocolate sweets………….. (Long pause)…….. I bought a packet the next day and will blog about these chocolates separately. Watch out for that post!!

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 11 – Meiji Shrine

Tuesday 11th November
As the 2nd week neared to the end Miss Pinky and I got very lazy (just like how I am being lazy to blog right now)… Didn’t get up until midday!
Today’s breakfast consisted of another bun. Strawberry jam and cream filling. Nice one! Not too sweet and just right. Miss Pinky had a very sweet cream bun, although I warned her it would be too sweet.

We headed towards Meiji Shrine as it is one of the famous shrines in Tokyo. 

It rained that day and thankfully we had our umbrellas. (It’s going to be less talking for about 30 secs… so keep scrolling downwards)…

Phew! That must’ve been a lot of scrolling!!!! It’s free to go around Meiji Shrine, but if you want to go into the gardens you will need to pay…

We met an American couple and their Japanese friend who were taking pictures of a Japanese family in kimono outfits, and they were so kawaii that we had to take pictures of them. Miss Pinky called the gentleman Santa Claus… And I thought, what is she on about! I just hope she wasn’t embarrassing herself… ¬_¬””

Next we looked around the Meiji Shrine area (as in the high street area)….

It was quite funny seeing this following store. I felt like I was in Amsterdam all over again (Amsterdam was pre-blogging time).

We headed back towards Shimbashi, where we again had noodles with creamy pork broth. I accidentally got a dish of extra chashu for 400 yen… Miss Pinky was the one who wanted extra chashu!!

We stopped at an “Irish pub” also run by Japanese people. They had free WiFi, and I think these were well deserved drinks! I of course and JD and coke which they call JD coke. *SHRUG*

Next we headed back to the toy store we found in Ginza the other day, and we had never been to the floors above. Thankfully we did because I think Mr Bear would’ve killed me if I didn’t take these pictures!

This is not the toy store but an 8 floor department store!

Miss Pinky loves Frozen, so I took a picture…

It was time to head back, and we had a few drinks (Miss Pinky at this point has decided that she wants to blog about beers around the world, so watch out soon). I had some fruity alcoholic beverages, and I enjoyed the fruit punch one. The lemon one tastes like gin and tonic! Nice!

I was hungry… Miss Pinky wanted to do her packing but eventually we went out to eat at Yoshinoya. It’s a place to eat cheap Japanese dinners. A lot of business men seem to go here, probably because it’s close to the station entrance! Definitely go here if you want cheap meals.

Miss Pinky’s meal

My curry

My curry cost me less than 500 yen and Miss Pinky’s 500 yen exact (~£3.14 each)!

My geeky rating: 4/5

Address: 1 Chome-46 Nihonbashikayabacho, Chuo, Tokyo Japan

Then it was time for dessert from Lawson – thanks Miss Pinky!!

Miss Pinky had a banana pudding (right) and I had the dessert (left)

End of Day 11.

Day 12:

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 10 – a walk, a bus ride, Yaro Ramen Bar and Roppongi Hills

Monday 10th November
I seem to always wake up on time, so I kind of got ready before 12 thinking that I would be able to have lunch at the soba store a few doors away from the hotel. I was wrong. It was lunch time and that meant a lot of the business men (men in black as Miss Pinky called them) were out for their afternoon meals. I didn’t want to queue and I didn’t want to get a ticket… So I left and got a couple of buns from Lawson’s and ate in the hotel lobby. 😦
Eating more buns for breakfast

Miss Pinky was finally ready, so we headed in the opposite direction from the business area from the hotel… Basically we headed to the right side (instead of the left). It’s actually quite beautiful on this end. Very quiet and hardly any men in black.

On your way you will also see a 100 yen (~£0.63) store (but don’t forget about the additional taxes). So if you need to find some quick and easy gifts then this is the place to go to from Smile Hotel.

100 yen store 

From here we found a bus stop. It really isn’t that hard to understand, you just need to know where the bus is going and what time it will be coming. You should probably jot down a few places in kanji although the bus LED signs inside the bus will tell you in English (just like in London ). It’s 210 yen (~£1.32) for adults and 110 yen (~£0.69) for children… cheap!!

We ended up in Tsukiji, so we took another bus heading towards Tokyo Big Site. I think we missed the stop and ended up at the last stop. But we saw a big massive monument in which I have no idea what it’s supposed to be.

We took the same bus back heading towards Tokyo Station. A lot of men in black seemed to be heading home. Lucky workers who finished at 3!

From Tokyo Station we went to Shimbashi and stopped off for ramen. This place is called Yaro Ramen 野郎ラーメン. I used Google Translator to translate the name and it came out with “Bastard Ramen”. Lol!!! How did this place end up with this name! Unfortunately I couldn’t finish my ramen as the bowel was too big, it had too many bean sprouts, ramen was thick, pork was big too… It’s a place for men to eat and women who have massive appetites. I didn’t have a massive appetite but the guy next to us did! 😦
野郎ラメン Yaro Ramen (Translation: “Bastard Ramen” … LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

My geeky rating: 4.5/5, but 5/5 for business peeps around the area!

Address: 野郎ラーメン 新橋駅前店 Japan, Yubinbango105-0004 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 2-chome, 9-7


Buy your lottery tickets here

Back in Shimbashi Station…

And now Tokyo Station…

We took the Oedo Line heading towards Roppongi Hills.

We managed to get ourselves to Roppongi (not pronounced Ropponji but like Rop-pon-gee). Walked towards Roppongi Hills which is basically a shopping district and I think it’s famous for foreigners. Fewer people were about which is a good thing as Miss Pinky hates crowds plus there was a lot less staring!

Off we walk and we saw a big massive rose which is ideal for couples and romantic people. 

Then Miss Pinky noticed that we could see Tokyo Tower from there! Wow! So beautiful at night! 

We then walked a bit more around the area.

Then we somehow ended up in a coffee shop called Goodday for you Roppongi, so we had a cheesecake each and I had an ice coffee!

Miss Pinky didn’t expect her cheesecake to be so different. It’s very different to the Westernized version.

Miss Pinky’s Blueberry Cheesecake

My pumpkin cheesecake didn’t taste too cheesy but it was quite hard and solid looking but it tasted really good! The ice coffee needed more syrup…

Pumpkin Cheesecake and ice coffee

My geeky rating: 5/5 (I would come back to this place again)

Address:  3 Chome-10-10 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Then finally we had a drink at Tunnel+ (and I needed the loo at this point!)… ¬_¬”””

Address: 7 Chome-19-9 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan

It was time to return back. Miss Pinky had a long nap and I went down to the lobby to start my Instagramming and blogging!
Then we went out to eat. I wanted to eat soba noodles as I didn’t get to eat it that afternoon so I went to the place near the hotel. Since Miss Pinky is allergic to prawns she went back to Pronto for pizza and buffalo wings.

I think Komoro Soba is a branch store as I saw many of these stores around Tokyo.

Komoro Soba in Kayabacho

Quite astounded that they had a “standing table” for the  busy people to eat their noodles and go.

But thankfully I got a seat…

My tempura prawns may look big but actually they are quite small it’s just the batter that made them look big! The soup was sour and sweetish ad the noodles were just perfect. I think I would like to try cold soba next time… ^_^

This was less than 500 yen (~£3.00)… so bloody cheap!!

My geeky rating: 5/5

Address: 小諸そば 茅場町店 1-11-3 Nihonbashikayabacho, Chuo, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan

Whilst in Pronto, Miss Pinky decided she needed Western food to keep her happy,.. although the food was good, Miss Pinky the service was still terrible… When we ordered the bill (by saying bill) they gave us beer instead… Say “check” instead, they understand that!

I had a pear cocktail… it was ok,but needed a bit more sugar sweetness in there.

2nd rating for Pronto: 3/5
End of Day 10.

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 9 – Imperial Palace Gardens & Sensoji Temple

Seemed to have taken too many pictures for this post!! 

Sunday 9th November

Sunday started off before 12! Both Miss Pinky and I couldn’t sleep much that night because we weren’t stressed out from the day before.
First stop was Lawson’s. I got myself a packet of croissants that had ham in it. I’m sure croissants are supposed to taste sweet as these weren’t sweet at all. Oh well. It filled me for a few hours.
Croissants with ham
Next stop was the Imperial Palace Gardens. We took a simpler route via Ginza to Tokyo Station (my route was better from Miss Pinky’s route as we seemed to have exited the right way). It was a small walk from the station to the palace and we seemed to have walked in area that I thought could be used for a catwalk! Pretty! Tokyo Station is just awesome!
In Tokyo Station
Just to warn you, you must try and cover your skin as there are tiny mosquitoes that fly about the river banks. There is a warning sign that tells you the rules of the grounds.

Miss Pinky said these look like mushrooms

Those bonsai trees are massive!

Be care of the mosquitoes!!
We walked around the Palace Gardens for about an hour, it’s unfortunate we couldn’t go inside the Palace itself. I am sure it is spectacular inside! Here’s just a lot of pictures from around the area… (see you in about a minute’s time of scrolling. ^_^).

Massive carp!
It was time to head elsewhere, but before that, I took more pictures of adverts and posters in the station.
Map… you probably can’t see any of that…

Next stop was Akihabara, we had to go there to exchange one of Miss Pinky’s gifts for one of her brothers. Then we stopped off at a sushi bar… The ones with the rotating belts. It had to be done. All that time in Yo! Sushi and other sushi bars was worth it. And to experience it in Japan was the greatest opportunity ever!!
Kaiten sushi (rotating sushi) 回転寿司

 It’s selve serving with the green tea in which they give you green powder on the table and then you just add your own hot water…! Wow! Saves your waitress/waiter having to pour you anything!

I had to try out natto beans once more just to make sure that I will never eat it again… Yep. I’m sure that I will never eat natto EVER again!!

My geeky rating: 4.5/5. Cost less than 800 yen (~£5.03) for what I had! That is just mega cheap. I wish London’s sushi bars were that cheap.
Address: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Sotokanda 1-17-6JR Akihabara Station Electric Town
We decided to go to one more area which was recommended to us by the men at the Japanese bar we went to a few nights ago, Sensoji Temple. It’s easy to get to from Akihabara. Just take the train! 😀

We changed at Ueno Station and saw this massive giant panda doll outside…

We’re almost to the temple!!

We went the wrong way… but we went to find a loo…

Loo stop in Burger King. Sorry…. But we spotted a poster for black bun burgers. I wished I had tried one on the spot!

We first saw the big door Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). It is massive! Miss Pinky hates crowds so we ended up going the wrong way for a few minutes.

After ending up going the wrong way we ended up in the market stall areas and headed towards the temple. The temple is grand! (I took more pictures, so keep scrolling).

We also got to see a small parade. I don’t know what it was for, but it was very pretty and they kept chanting throughout the whole parade.

Back to the market stalls and more picture taking!

And we had some barbecue food. It was 500 yen per stick (~£3.14). I had the scallops and Miss Pinky had the beef and mussels. She found hers too sweet and had added a lot of spicy powder onto her food. I found it ok…

These dogs look hungry!

From Sensoji Temple we headed back to the hotel and I ended up eating a cheapish dinner from Family Mart. Omurice in brown sauce and oden! The person at the counter did a proper bowl to me. Wow. I don’t think in all the stores they do this. ^_^. Oden is like a stew. It’s a lot of fishcakes, eggs, parsnip and some other stuff and then soaked in a broth. It tastes ok but can smell a bit. 
Oden and omurice
The night ended early and I started parking to see how much more I could fit in. Miss Pinky thinks I was being paranoid because I said I wouldn’t be able to fit my clothes in… Not really… Just planning ahead… Thought she was going to hit me for not asking her to help me pack too!!! Then she started re-packing as well! Oh dear…

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 8 – Yokohama China Town

Saturday 8th November
My body seems to know when it’s Saturday because I got up late (not that late though… Miss Pinky couldn’t sleep much… Probably because of my tiredness and snoring). Anyway, I started off with eating some mini sandwiches that I bought at Shimbashi Station the night before. The bakery is called Kobeya.
The sandwiches are cute, and filling for ones stomach for breakfast. Each mini sandwich has a different filling with crustless white bread. This cost 570 yen (~£3.58) by using my Pasmo card. 
Mini sandwiches
Hotel reception called… It seems if we don’t go out before 12 they will ask if we want room service… Miss Pinky not impressed… She wanted to sleep more!
Time to head out to Yokohama! (This was Miss Pinky’s idea on the first day we got here to Japan). What’s in Yokohama? China Town. Yes we went out to find THE China Town in Japan. This time I let Miss Pinky take us there. And she took us the long way ’round or a way that I would have not chosen…. So we went from Kayabacho Station to Otemachi and changed for the Maranouchi line heading towards Tokyo Station (but that line is just so far away… Finally we got off at Shinjuku Station. We had to get a round trip ticket for 840 yen (~£5.28) from Shinjuku to Yokohama.  
We finally got to Yokohama, but unfortunately we were at the wrong stop. We had to take another train to the actual stop… Already tired from the long train journey and we had to get on another train! This is not straightforward Miss Pinky!

Not at the right station

Finally we got there and it was already 4 pm. Both of us were kind of hungry in which we ended up in a Chinese restaurant (Miss Pinky wanted to eat frog legs but they don’t serve it anywhere in China Town in Japan).  

We ended up in a place that was serving food for 1980 yen (~£12.45) per person for as much as you can eat and drink.

Total came to 4957 yen (~£31.18). Not bad. But the food was not entirely great. Plus they kept staring at Miss Pinky which I don’t think she appreciated.
My geeky rating: 3.5/5.

Address: 華福飲店 Japan, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture Yubinbango231-0023 Yamashita-cho 192-16

In China Town you have to be careful with the prices of things you are going to buy. Make sure you know how much you are going to pay for items that are not labelled with the price… Miss Pinky practically got cheated from buying bracelets for 6000 yen!!!!!

We ended up walking around and we found a Chinese temple. We went in (without paying for incense) and was shooed away… oh dear. It costs 500 yen (~£3.14) to buy incense by the way. At least we made it in there for free.

More walking came along and a few more pictures from aroud the area…

Never seen a man with a hat on a street sign before!

Have you seen these criminals?!!

And then we ended up in a bar called Norge… I had a cocktail at a reasonable price of 1000 yen (~£6.28).

Miss Pinky had a bloody mary…

Final walk around the China Town area before heading back! We only spent 2 and half hours there… We spotted this TV outside and they were singing the song from Puroland… 

Miss Pinky laughed at me earlier for not realising there were signs on the stairs to say where China Town was…

Then it was time to go back (after shopping for a few more things)… We took the metro straight to Shibuya, I think we needed to get off there and reuse our return ticket but instead we changed at Ebisu and took the Hibiya line back to Kayabachō. Unfortunately we had to pay extra to get pass the gates… 200 yen extra (~£1.26). 😦

It was an empty train we got on so I took a few pictures on the train and its advertisements… Advertising in Japan is essential!

Dinner consisted of a cheap bento and drinks from Lawson . 🙂 I tried out Orange Coca Cola (apparently that flavour already existed in London) and a low alcoholic apple cider… Miss Pinky had those beers / lager.

My dinner… The bento is good for 369 yen (£~2.32) so cheap!!! Had a soft creamy cake, an egg (already cooked and ready to eat) and Ghana chocolate from Lotte.

Instructions on how to break your egg…


Both of us were exhausted so it was time to head off to sleep… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

End of Day 8.

Lost in Tokyo, Japan 2014: Day 7 – Puroland (Hello Kitty World) (=^.^=) & Tonkotsu Ramen Hakata Furyu

The long awaited post for Hello Kitty fans!!! Another extremely long post with pictures.

Friday 7th November

The day started with us eating breakfast at Denny’s as we missed the breakfast at the hotel. But that doesn’t matter. I finally got to order a Japanese breakfast which included natto beans. This is the first time I tried it (and the last time). Natto beans smell, it’s bitter and it’s very sticky! Never again natto. Never again. Bleurgh. It’s like a love-hate thing that you have with Marmite (and I hate Marmite too…!!).
Japanese breakfast

Natto beans with spring onions. Ugh. *SHIVER*

Miss Pinky had a normal breakfast… Boring!! (But with some EXTRA THICK toast!).

Total cost came to 1604 yen. (~£10.09). Such a cheap meal. Don’t understand why people think Japan is so expensive. It isn’t really.

Next stop was Sanrio Puroland (that’s Hello Kitty World for most people)!!! I love Hello Kitty. This is the place where I have always wanted to go to (plus make all my friends jealous). 😉 It was a trek getting there from Kayabachō. I chose to get there by going via the Tozai line then changing from Monzen-Nakachō Station. This is when we got confused as we actually had to go out of the station, go to gate 5 and get on the Oedai line to Shinjuku. From Shinjuku we had to get another train line, and a old guy at the station (I wonder if he was following us) helped us along the way… He spoke ok English and told us to get the train heading towards Hashimoto on Platform 4 on the Keio Line. It was so confusing because we couldn’t see it on the train maps. In the end we just got on the train and stuck with it until our station came up… It was a very long journey, about 2 hours, and our stop didn’t show up on the screen of the train until we reached to Chōfu.

At Exit 5

Take the Keiō New Line from Shinjuku (or the Odakyu Tama Line).

The rest of the stations are not shown on the map at the station

During the journey you get to see rural areas of Tokyo… The gaming areas, the small houses and mountains. Beautiful!

We got off at Keio Tama-Center, then asked at the information section on how to get to Puroland. It was quite easy. Turn left out of the station. Walk straight down. After the department store turn left again, and you will find yourself on Hello Kitty Street.

You might find yourself getting distracted with all the cute things surrounding the area.

On Hello Kitty Street ^_^

Yatta!!  We made it to Puroland!!

Sanrio Puroland


That’s me walking away from Miss Pinky… I was being so eager. ^_^

It’s Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary!!

Tickets on the weekdays normally cost 3300 yen (~£20.75) but I found a coupon online which came to 3200 yen (~£20.15) per person. Yay! It’s not a lot but worth it.

I think I got too excited when I got in as Miss Pinky didn’t seem impressed very much. Oh well I don’t care, as long as I get to see a Hello Kitty person, then I don’t really mind!

I did a skip o these stairs and Miss Pinky found that amusing ^_^
We made it in time for their main show (Miss Pinky wanted to see this) and I swear Miss Pinky enjoyed it (she denied it all the way)! Secretly she enjoyed it. At the start they sang this song… I think it’s about waking up in the morning and pooping, but I haven’t really checked out the lyrics yet… ¬_¬””
So for this part it’s all pictures from the show… Can’t you spot where Hello Kitty comes in?

Hello Kitty appeared!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next it was time to enjoy the rest of Puroland. With lots of the rides you go on you will find yourself being photographed. So prepare yourself to pay for lots of photos!

This American is fantastic, he cuts up paper in a matter of minutes and creates a side view of his client. He designed this 12 years ago he said!! Wow!!

More walking around…

The toilet is magnificent too… sorry that’s me in the mirror taking a picture… I’m not a ghost!!

Seriously マジで!Would you really leave your child in the changing area?

After shopping around and going to the loo, we headed back outside. It was extremely exciting going to Puroland despite the amount you spend inside and the travelling time. Would love to go back again… but might have to try Studio Ghibli as we skipped this one because of possible journey time and money situation.
Address: 1-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588, Japan
Nearest Station: Keio Tama-Center
I was kind of hungry so I wanted a McDonald’s… Just to try out the Japanese menu really. So I had the Pork Tonkotsu burger, which isn’t bad at all. The sauce and cabbage fell out so I didn’t feel the full taste of it all. 😦
Tonkotsu burger
Miss Pinky had the Big Mac. We think the Big Mac sauce may have small traces of prawns in it so be careful if you have an allergy to prawns.
Next stop we went backwards and stopped at Daiso, the ultimate store for cheap things. (As Miss Pinky put it, it’s a Wilkinson store).
Daiso Store… That’s Miss Pinky from the side view… 😛

Then we found ourselves going to another department store.

Please don’t make me shop!!!!!!!!! (I didn’t thankfully).

Finally it was time to head back. We managed to get the 16:52 train heading back to Shinjuku on the Keio line. On returning back to the station our ticket stopped us from going anywhere else… Not sure why. I think because we headed out too far and came back too early. Not sure about that theory. Maybe we should have gotten a Suica Card instead of a Pasmo Card… Clueless!

It seems whenever we got lost someone will always ask if they could help us! Very grateful, because I think we got lost trying to get back to Kayabachō!

I ate a packet of Avocado and Cheese tortilla chips in the meantime and I think they’re ok. They could add more avocado flavour and felt it was a bit too cheesy for my liking.

After lounging around in the lobby with the WiFi and discussing where to go next we ended up in Shimbashi. Miss Pinky wanted to drink at a pub (The Hub)! We almost got lost in Shimbashi… But anyway we needed to eat first. Miss Pinky wanted to eat rice but we saw a ramen bar and I had to have a look. Miss Pinky said we should go and eat in here and I did say no because she wanted rice. But we ended up eating ramen!

This place is called Tonkotsu Ramen Hakata Furyu とんこつラーメン博多風龍 and it is also operated by a vending machine. So you put your money in first and select what you want. We both went for the barbecue deluxe ramen which only costs 750 yen! (~£4.72). So much cheaper than London!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe that ramen is so cheap in Japan!
Tonkotsu Ramen Hakata Furyu

Lots of extra ingredients that you can add to your ramen for free

Barbecue deluxe ramen in creamy broth

Bright looking noodles

I finished it!

Aaaaaah. The pork broth was the best thing ever! It reminded me of Kanada-ya’s ramen, but this was slightly better with the amount of ingredients involved. The slices of pork were thicker. And the broth was just so creamy throughout. Men were ordering extra ramen too. Wow!

So jealous of the Japanese who can just eat at ramen bars like this. Such friendly service too. Miss Pinky enjoyed it too!!

My geeky rating: 5/5

Address: 1-13-5 Shimbashi, Minato, Tokyo Prefecture 105-0004, Japan

Next it was time to go to the Hub bar, unfortunately the bar was filled with people. Friday night seems to be the ultimate drinking night for the Japanese. For some, it’s everyday! We ended up walking around and then going back to Kayabachō for a drink… The Japanese really work hard and drink hard!!
Plum soda (alcholic)

I fell asleep snoring later. 😀 (Sorry Miss Pinky!).

End of Day 7.

Day 8: