Keio Presso Inn – Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Before pressing onto the next holiday blog post, I will introduce to you the hotels that were booked for me.

This is a 3 star hotel, and it’s located in the north west side of Tokyo centre. It’s about an hour and a half to get to from the hotel via rail. But if I had the transfer it would have taken me half-an-hour or 45 minutes to get there.

It’s about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Ikebukuro Station (just don’t get lost when you’re trying to figure out which exit you need to get out of … stay near the East exit).DSC_1861

I had a room with a single bed. It’s quite small but very cozy. The shutters slide open. The wi-fi password is located on the TV saver screen. If you’re used to cold weather it might be wise to open the window instead of using the air-con. When I switched the air-con off, the room became completely silent. Brilliant! DSC_1862

Shower and bath were both decent. Baths in Japan are quite deep, and fairly small – not sure how people manage in them! DSC_1863

A decent hotel. I was able to sleep even though I had jet lag at the time. I would have stayed longer if I didn’t have to travel to other areas of Japan.

Address: 2 Chome-29-11 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0022, Japan

Tel: +81 3-5396-0202

Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 4 – Ikebukuro

Oh for goodness sake, I failed my driving test for the fourth time. Pedestrians, if you see an learners car near a test centre, please don’t walk in front of them. They could be doing their test. Just one silly fault that’s cost me. Grrrrrrr. 

And now back to Japan… ^_^

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

After two heavy long days of walking around Tokyo, I decided to keep things light for this day. I finally received a message from the reception desk that my package for my JR Pass arrived, so I where to the desk first before breakfast.

This time I had a lighter breakfast. Normally in London I would hardly eat breakfast this big in the morning, but it seems my appetite got bigger after arriving in Japan. ^_^DSC_2048

They made some special mochi for this day (and the day before, they made a fluffy cake). Yummy. Inside was some sweet red beans. Umai!DSC_2049

Because I think the coffee cups are particularly small for breakfast, I had bought some DIY drip coffee sachets from the convenient store the day before. So I actually drank some decent coffee… with some mini Kit Kat’s. DSC_2050

Question to Nestlé: Why can’t we have decent Kit Kat flavours in the UK? Or innovative Kit Kat ideas like the Japanese in the UK?

I guess I’m a big Kit Kat fan (see previous posts on this blog). I haven’t checked out the recent flavours here in the UK because unfortunately our local tuck shop/newsagents is closed down – not even sure why… Maybe they’re planning to knock the building down.

So these two Kit Kat sizes in Japan are genuinely new. The first one here is the Ruby Chocolate flavour. What is Ruby chocolate anyway? There wasn’t much, so I ate them all. ¬_¬””DSC_2051DSC_2053

And this one is the Milk Chocolate flavour. I think I liked the Ruby one. It was much sweeter than this one.DSC_2054DSC_2055

Ikebukuro is in the north west of Central Tokyo, it’s a bit out of the centre, but so easy to get to take the Yamanote Line using your JR Pass/Suica/Pasmo card – whatever you’ve got. A lot of Japanese flock here, not sure why, maybe because of the small shopping area. It’s like a smaller version of Akihabara.DSC_2056

As it was before 10am, I had to walk fairly slowly before the shops weren’t opened. Most of the shops in Japan don’t open until 10am or possibly 11am. I think it’s because they open till late – and possibly for workers to avoid coming in during rush hour, which is usually between 7am and roughly around 10am (or earlier).

First shop I went into was Tokyo Hands, which is like a department store with many floors. I liked all the things there, especially the bags and stationery, but I honestly resisted as I had spent so much on stationery in China last year, there was no point in me spending on anymore. Hehehehe. So I only bought food-related things such as a chopstick case and a food bag. I really needed those as the MUJI in London don’t supply the sizes I want, and they don’t sell drawstring bento bags anymore!DSC_2057

I went into a few stores after this, like a secondhand bookstore, which is a few doors before Tokyo Hands. Ahhh, if only I can read Japanese fluently, I would have bought many books as they are so small. Sometimes I wished the UK could make their books more pocket sized. I know the font would be compromised but Japanese people seem to be able to manage it, (even Chinese people manage too).

Anyway, one reason I think people come to Ikebukuro is because of this SEGA store, I didn’t go in, but I think you can play arcade games there. DSC_2058


I think Uniqlo (pronounced uni-klo) was doing a Gundam special. I love the large figurines in the window. There was one episode or movie I had watched as a child and I really loved one of the songs, but I’ve forgotten which one it was… I’ll have to ask Mr Stingy. He’ll remember. (Edit before posting: I liked Macross Do You Remember Love, the Cantonese version, not Gundam! Thanks Mr Stingy!).DSC_2060

After this mini shopping spree, I actually walked down south – as in walked the other way from the hotel to see what other things were there… To be honest, there wasn’t much to see, just a few independent shops, some restaurants including a Coco Ichibanya and a small supermarket that I ventured into. I purchased my lunch in the supermarket, and walked slowly back the other way.

I ended up eating in the park behind the hotel.DSC_2061

Ah man, I really like Japanese fried food. I had a potato croquette and egg sandwich, lemon tea and freshly made skewers of fried pork and egg that wrapped around the pork. The skewers were very crunchy. Too loud for the park, but I ate them all in one sitting. ¬_¬”” They were amazingly tasty.DSC_2062

After lunch, I went around the back streets and then onto a main street. Shopped in the clothing section of MUJI. I bought a couple of skirts, which thankfully fit!

Then I headed back to the hotel room and had a long nap… zzzzzzz (my body said I needed it).

It was around 6pm or some time afterwards when I woke up. I really didn’t want to go out, but I needed to eat my dinner.

I passed this ramen bar a couple of times, and I thought I’ll try it. To translate, this place is called “Yokohama Family Ramen” 横浜家系ラーメン.DSC_2067.JPG


I decided to have the one with everything, medium bowl size.DSC_2065

The ramen reminded me of the time Miss Pinky and I tried to finish that massive bowl of ramen that was filled with veggies. Heheheheh. Don’t worry, I finished this but didn’t finished the soup. A bit too salty.DSC_2066

Forgot the cost, but it was under ¥1000 (less than £7).

Address: 1 Chome-22-14 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

Went back to the hotel with a few drinks and my breakfast for the next day. It was going to be an early start!

Edit: I did have two puddings before I went to bed! The cake ring was left for breakfast!DSC_2068



Back to sleep I go, heheheheh.

End of Day 4.


Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 3 – Ueno, Nezu and Shinjuku

This post is quite a long one… I’ve been procrastinating to write it… ^_^

Monday 1st April 2019

Happy April Fool’s Day! Well it’s not that big in Japan but it’s actually a very serious day for every Japanese student and job hunters – my Japanese uni friend explained to me that evening.

Refreshed (kind of) and ready to go (kind of). I actually woke up around 2am to go to the loo, and I think around 5am because of jet lag. Well, at least I slept.

I decided to have the breakfast… and since I was up so early, I thought I’ll go just after 7am – people were there already! The hotel breakfast wasn’t bad – apart from having a really soft hamburger in the morning… weren’t sure about that! The coffee cups are really small, so I needed another coffee to wake me up!  

The rubbish is sorted into different sections, so you have to be quite careful where you throw your rubbish.DSC_1880

Didn’t think I was full, so I went to the convenient store on the first floor (ground floor) next to the hotel. DSC_1881

Ate the filling curry bread. It’s filled to the brim with curry filling. Yummy!!DSC_1884

Cold coffee in Asia is always the best, and they always have them in bigger bottles. DSC_1882

CoCo Curry House even have their own crisp out in Japan – I didn’t eat these until much later. There’s actually too much in the pack, and the crisps are too hard and crunchy making it impossible to finish in one go. DSC_1883

Before heading out, I needed to sort out my data sim card which I had pre-bought online from Ideally buy your sim card beforehand if you don’t want to go to the hassle and getting it from the airport or somewhere in Japan. This is the best link I found online: Unfortunately my mobile phone wouldn’t take it because it’s not unlocked, and the wi-fi hotspot modem, which I bought, didn’t work with the sim card – resulting in me having to reset the frigging modem! Thankfully, with some clever thinking, I took my unlocked iPhone 6  with me on holiday (yes, I have an iPhone – mainly for the apps, as my mini iPad doesn’t have the capacity) and placed the sim card inside. ^_^ I had to use a sewing needle I had brought along to open the card slot bit (learnt my lesson from last year to bring a sewing kit for emergency circumstances!). And finally I had a hotspot I could use!! Woohoo!!

Now onto the day’s trip!

Last time I went to Ueno, Miss Pinky and I only made it to the train station – not even sure which entrance we had came out at the time… However, this time, I really, really wanted to go to the park as well as the zoo! 

Inside the station there’s a massive panda welcoming the spring.

Not sure which route I took to the park, but I had turned right, straight down a road, crossed over and up some stairs. Followed Google Maps all the way until I saw the the cherry blossom park trail… sugoi ne!! They weren’t in full bloom yet, but it was so nice to see. There was a crowd there already, so I had to walk, and keep walking.


When I reached the end of the trail, there’s a section where all the food stands are, and a temple at the very end of those food stands.


I decided to head out to Nezu Shrine at this point. Just be careful going down the stairs at the park as the steps are quite wide. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk from the park and as I was following Google Maps, it probably took a little longer. For some strange reason, Google Maps likes you to go through some back streets… maybe it wants me to explore.


After the walk, I found Nezu Shrine. Not many tourists come to this shrine as it seems out of sync with everywhere else, and it is a long walk from the park. It’s a really pretty shrine – it’s like a mini version of the one in Kyoto.


After looking at the shrine and the koi fish for a bit, I headed back to Ueno Park…




And had a small snack of squid, (I was still full from breakfast). It’s amazing how big these squid rings are!!DSC_1955



I really wanted to go to Ueno Zoo – surprisingly it was opened on this day, as it’s usually closed on Mondays. The single adult ticket is ¥600 (~£4.13), it’s really cheap compared to the prices in London, and the zoo is much bigger! However the queues for certain areas is long… The queue to see the pandas was a 40-50 minute wait, I don’t think I had the patience to wait that long.


I actually saw a real Secretary Bird. I watch the anime Aggretsuko a lot, because it reminded me of myself being in a company and having to do a lot of work. The secretary bird in the anime is a good friend of Aggretsuko’s… Didn’t realise they are so big!!


Finally, on my way trying to find the way out (you actually have to go back near the front entrance), I managed to see a panda just lying there… Hahahaha! Thanks to the people already standing around – I just had to wait for them to move before I could take this picture. ^_^


After exiting, I took a few more pics of the park again…


At Ueno Station, I just had to take a pic of this game advert.


My next destination was to find the Government Building’s Observatory Tower in Shinjuku. The afternoon suddenly became cold and windy, so I had to put my jacket on. It was really cold!

The Observatory Tower is free to enter but there is a security check before you’re able to enter the lift. If you want to save money, and don’t want to go all the way to Asakusa to see the Sky Tree, then come to this building! The most you’ll probably spend up there is half-an-hour before you have to queue again to go back down.


If you hover around the 2nd floor (1st floor) you get to see the Olympics and World Rugby stuff… it seems they’re counting down to the Rugby! ^_^


It was time to head back to the hotel and rest for a little bit, so I bought a very light lunch… Sandwich and cold tea. DSC_2033

I have no idea what these strip sweets are. I took these back to London and finished them off.DSC_2036


So it was around 5.30pm when I left the hotel, I had to go back to Shinjuku to meet my old uni friend, who is almost like Mrs Travels’ other best friend in uni… we were all good friends to each other really!

The trip to Shinjuku was a bit ugh to me. Very busy, Very crowded. That’s a no-no for me. It took my friend and I a long time to find each other, I had used a lot of text messages to let him know where I am. Shinkjuku is one of those nightmare stations with too many exits. Even my uni friend said he’s not familiar from this station…. Ahhhhhhh! People were a bit surprised when we conversed in English – they probably didn’t think I was foreign. LOL!! I remembered him as tall and skinny with glasses – but it looks like he may have shrunk, or I may have got taller. ^_^ He said his glasses were not prescription ones, it was for fashion! Whaaaaaa~~~~! All this time Mrs Travels and I thought he wore prescription glasses.

So it took him a while to decide where we should go. I said I wanted to eat ramen. Japanese ramen… so we went to Ore no Sora Shinjuku. It took me a while to find the name of this place online as I forgot to take a pic of the outside, and I didn’t want to bother my friend afterwards… ¬_¬”” The ramen here was awesome! The meat looks like duck meat, but it’s definitely pork. The soup is of pork and fish base. You can actually taste a bit of the fishiness. The waiters didn’t seem to understand why we were talking in English.DSC_2038


Good choice uni friend!!

Address: Japan, 〒160-0023 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Nishishinjuku, 1 Chome−3−13 I&Kビル

Was afraid my uni friend’s wife would tell him off for going home late, but he says it’s fine as he hasn’t seen me for 16 years! So we moved onto Café Bon, which is about a 5-10 minute walk from the ramen place, it’s in a basement and they serve drip coffee, tea and cake. The teacups look quite old-fashioned, and it seems each tea cup has their own story. Coffee was great! Cake was ok.


Address: 3 Chome-23-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

After having a long catch up with my friend about life, work and realisations, (and lots of personal juicy gossip which I can’t talk about in this blog – that’s a shame, I know), it was time to head back to the hotel.

It was a long, long day… snore!

End of Day 3.

Lost in Japan, Memoirs of a Geek: Day 2 – The Missing Transfer and Super Geek Energy

Sunday 31st March 2019

So I arrived in Haneda Airport around 7.30am. Thought it would be easier to get from Haneda Airport to the hotel in a very short space of time with the transfer…


However, when I passed security, my transfer wasn’t even there!! I waited around for half-an-hour before making an executive decision, in the meantime I had emailed Bamba Experience, tried calling the emergency contacts – but the numbers weren’t even working! Ugh. Luckily I had my old Pasmo Card from five years ago, so I got that topped up at the tourist stand as I couldn’t top up at the airport machines… I made my own way to the hotel in Ikebukuro.


I arrived in Ikebukuro before 10am, but because there are so many exits in this station (like with all major Japanese stations), it took me a while to find the right way. I went out the West exit, but should have really gone out the East exit. But anyway, it was nice to look around.







Finally arrived at my hotel Ikebukuro Keio Presso Inn, it’s not far from the station, but it really felt far as I had a suitcase with me. As check in time was not unti 3pm, I was left to do go out and do whatever for 5 hours.

So, the first place to go to was a Mos Burger place – suggested by a friend from my Japanese class. I used Google Maps and data roaming from my phone to find the nearest one near the hotel… So this one is at the end of one long street. About a 10-15 minute walk (depending on fast you walk).


The Japanese have already thought I was Japanese from the first glance (I truly do not look Japanese), but I ordered in mixed English and Japanese. Then the waiter thought I might be from Mainland China, and so ended up saying xiexie (thank you). LOL! I speak Cantonese peeps. My Mandarin speaking is not great at all.

This is what I had… Cream Cheese Teriyaki Burger, a normal Teriyaki Burger and a Melon soda. Total cost came to ¥1000 (~£6-7). Mega cheap.


The cream cheese one was awesome! The teriyaki sauce was salty and sweet but was toned down by the cream cheese.


The normal teriyaki one was too salty – but it was so much better than the BA meals!


Address: 1 Chome-32-5 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan

After sitting around for a little while, which was what some people were doing when I got there, I moved off back to Ikebukuro Station, and headed off to one of the famous streets in Harajuku! The easiest way to get there is to take the Yamanote Line and get off at Harajuku. Straight in front of you is Takeshita Street.




You would think Oxford Street and Regent Street was worse in London, but this was quite terrifying. You’re practically pushed and squeezed because of the amount of tourists and locals who were there – plus it was a Sunday, and many Japanese take that day off from work!







I didn’t like the crowds, so I swiftly walked away, looked at Google Maps to go to my next destination. Shibuya.

I followed Google Maps for the next half-an-hour and found myself snapping away…





The main reason why I wanted to come back to Shibuya after all these years was because I missed out on finding the Hachiko Statue outside Shibuya Station. Lots of tourists around this spot too!



Next stop was Tokyo Station. I love seeing this station!




Especially the basement for their shopping… Didn’t buy much, so swiftly moved onto my next destination.

I was defo tired and sleepy at this point, but I really needed to push myself.

And I promised Mr Games that I would fine the Square Enix Café in Japan, so I went to the one in Akihabara. Snap, snap, snap, took my pictures, and moved back to the hotel!

It was almost 3pm, but I think the people who were already there including myself were able to check in. Hoorah!! So tired!! But I didn’t take a nap… All I did was bath and changed clothes.

Before I missed the moment, I went to one of my favourite Japanese restaurants – Nakau. The machines have English instructions but I think I had to try twice, because I think I ordered wrongly. ^_^”” Total came to ¥980 (~£6.75). I’ve missed the flavoursome chicken, and the super soft purin!! Aaaaaahhhhhh~~~~ I was in Heaven! I ate it all even when I was full to the brim I chowed down all of it!

Address: Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima City, Higashiikebukuro, 1 Chome−28−1

I made sure I relaxed that evening and went to bed ASAP – Didn’t sleep in those 24 hours! I really don’t know how or where I got the energy from – maybe because I took a week off before going on holiday, and slept as much as I could. LOL!!

p.s. I really like this lemon super chu-hi… I need to find this in London!!


End of Day 2.

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.