Day 5-Last day in Tokyo!

Our last day in Tokyo was very chill and laid back. We spent a relaxing morning just catching our breath since we had gone non-stop since we landed.   However we were in need of two additional suitcases and so we caught a train to a nearby shopping center. There must be thousands of shopping malls in Tokyo and there is no shortage of things to buy.  So is it any wonder that along the way we managed to find a few more shops and sights? A Milwaukee shirt in Japan!  Harley-Davidson is very popular here.   A Mister Donut!    A natural … Continue reading Day 5-Last day in Tokyo!

Day 4-Kichijōji

On Saturday we took the JR Chuo line to Kichijōji, which is a neighborhood on the northwest side of Tokyo.  The area is one of the most popular areas for younger people to spend their weekend, due to the fact that it features one of Tokyo’s most varied and complete shopping areas, as well as the almost constantly crowded Inokashira Park. On the platform, we spotted our first smoothie bar in Tokyo.After enjoying our smoothies, we decided to split up and meet in a few hours for lunch. Brad went in search of more vintage shops and I went in search … Continue reading Day 4-Kichijōji

Tokyo-Dining out in Kagurazaka 

During our stay in Tokyo we rented a spacious 3rd floor penthouse in the chic and trendy Kagurazaka neighborhood.  It was located down a pedestrian walkway and there was a popular Italian restaurant on the 1st floor called Zetto.  The Kagurazaka neighborhood is known for having its fair share of fine dining restaurants, many of them Michelin star rated.  So it’s easy to see why it is such a popular place on the weekends.  It was truly amazing how many restaurants we had to choose from each evening for dinner, and each night we picked a different style.  The first … Continue reading Tokyo-Dining out in Kagurazaka 

Day 4-Breakfast at Precious Moments

Our favorite place to eat breakfast in Tokyo is a wonderful coffee shop just about a minute walk from our room.  It’s actually a chain store here in Japan called Precious Moments.   We were initially drawn to this particular spot because of its vintage atmosphere.  But the food and the service was very good and was the main reason we kept coming back here each morning.  The iced coffee is even served in a copper cup, much like a Moscow mule.  I loved the fact that we could get a breakfast set for under $5 that included one egg cooked to order, a … Continue reading Day 4-Breakfast at Precious Moments

Koenji Vintage shops (Guest blog by B J Keith)

I set off on my own to find the vintage clothing shops in Koenji, Tokyo, whilst Kat went to shop for heaps of cool fabric. After disembarking from the subway station, I stumbled upon a maze of busy streets. It was still a bit early in the day, so many of the shops were not open. I ventured upon a small restaurant with Route 66 and Harley Davidson signs in the windows. I was greeted warmly by the proprietor behind the counter. After a brief discussion about where are you from,etc…..she went to roust up her husband. Turns out he … Continue reading Koenji Vintage shops (Guest blog by B J Keith)

Day 3-Nippori Seni-Gai (FABRIC TOWN!!!)

Friday morning couldn’t get here soon enough for me since it was the day I planned to set out in search of the area of Tokyo known as “fabric town”.  It was also the first day that Brad and I split up and went in different directions. In fact he took the same subway line but was on the opposite platform. We kissed good bye and off I went on my quest.  In fact, Tokyo is a very safe city and traveling solo was not a problem. A short commute and a walk and soon I had arrived.       Let … Continue reading Day 3-Nippori Seni-Gai (FABRIC TOWN!!!)

Day 2-Sendai Station

We didn’t spend much time in and around Sendai Station. But we did manage to walk to a nearby local coffee shop for a late afternoon snack. Selena has a knack for finding very hip and cool places. The Patisserie Mythique was one of those places. It was in a lovely old building just a short walk from the station.    We ordered the cheese cake which was quite light and not too sweet. And the coffee art was so kawaii (cute).        The area surrounding the station was very busy for a Thursday night.  It was fun seeing … Continue reading Day 2-Sendai Station

Day 2-Traditional Kokeshi master

It’s not everyday that you get the chance to meet a third generation traditional Kokeshi master. So we felt very honored that Selena arranged for us to meet with Akira Suzuki and his wife at their Kokeshi doll workshop in Akiusato.  There are many modern Kokeshi dolls sold all over Japan and are common souvenirs (omiyage). However, traditional Kokeshi dolls are now made only in the Tohoku area, which is the north-eastern part of Japan.  Wikipedia defines Kokeshi as follows: Kokeshi (こけし kokeshi?), are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to … Continue reading Day 2-Traditional Kokeshi master

Day 2-Lunch in Akiusato

We called a cab to pick us up at the distillery.  To clarify we could walk, we just chose not to walk back to the station.  The cab driver’s name was Iko (I think) and he was quite talkative.  He and Selena chatted away in the front seat while we enjoyed the sounds of their conversation and admired his dashboard collection of the Seven Lucky Gods or Shichi Fukujin.  Each one of them symbolizes a virtue: Honesty, Fortune, Dignity. Amiability, Longevity, Happiness and Wisdom.  Hmmm, this makes me think of seven other little guys…but with far different names and meanings.   Our destination … Continue reading Day 2-Lunch in Akiusato

Day 2-Japanese Whisky

One of our main reasons in coming to Sendai was to visit the Nikka Whisky MIYAGIKYO Distillery.  Let me begin by stating that this is not an easy place to get to by train. It would be best to take a cab or a bus, but keep in mind that it’s a pretty far distance from the city center. We were under the impression that a shuttle would be running from the nearest train station to the distillery. But when we arrived at the Sakunami station we discovered that this is not the case. There was no shuttle going to the … Continue reading Day 2-Japanese Whisky