Hot ginger ale

Hot ginger ale from a vending machine. Tokyo, Japan.

Hot ginger ale from a vending machine. Tokyo, Japan.

In Tokyo, there are all kinds of beverages sold in vending machines that you can’t get in the U.S. The most intriguing one was hot ginger ale. Ceddy and I split one, but immediately regretted not getting one each.  My one complaint is that the can should’ve come with a coozie — its temperature rivaled hot tea. It was tangy (almost spicy) and even better than regular ginger ale. Definitely get one when you’re in Tokyo.

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Where to get the best ramen in Tokyo

Best ramen shop. Tokyo, Japan.

Best ramen shop. Tokyo, Japan.

Ceddy’s flight to Seoul left earlier than mine did, so I decided to hunt for ramen in Setagaya. I don’t even know the name of this restaurant because there was no English translation on any of the signs. The menu didn’t have any English translations, either.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

The restaurant was tiny — there were ten stools (if that many) at the counter. The owner didn’t speak English, so she had me point to what I wanted to order from the menu with photos outside. I decided on the tonkatsu ramen.

I will never get over this ramen. Tokyo, Japan.

I will never get over this tonkatsu ramen. Tokyo, Japan.

It. Was. Incredible. It had a rich pork broth with soft-boiled eggs, pork belly, mushrooms, scallions, a sliced naruto fish cake, bean sprouts, menma bamboo shoots, and thin egg noodles. The price was great, too — the giant, filling bowl of tonkatsu ramen and an iced coffee were 600 Japanese yen (not even $6).

Rainbow Bridge

Tokyo, Japan.

Rainbow Bridge. Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge connects Shibaura Pier to Odaiba waterfront development, which is across Tokyo Bay. The pier was lined with restaurants where groups of friends, couples, and a few families could grab dinner and/or drinks after work.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Shibaura Pier is one of the most romantic spots in the city. Couples sat on the boardwalk by the beach and watched the boats move across the bay under Rainbow Bridge.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Originally, Ceddy and I wanted to take one of the water taxis to see the views from the bay. While we were too late to catch one, we got drinks and enjoyed the views from the boardwalk. I even convinced him to take some photos.

Ceddy has a much better sense of balance than me. Tokyo, Japan.

Ceddy has a much better sense of balance than me. Tokyo, Japan.

I just stood by the railing (knowing my luck, I would’ve fallen and broken other teeth).

Not classy, just clumsy. Tokyo, Japan.

Not classy, just clumsy. Tokyo, Japan.

Rainbow Bridge should be on everyone’s list of sights to see in Tokyo (especially if you’re feeling amorous).

Roppongi Hills: a city within a city

After visiting Shinjuku and Akihabara, Ceddy and I ventured to Roppongi Hills. We wanted to grab some food before continuing our mad dash through Tokyo to see as much as possible.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

The parks had colorful sculptures.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

We decided to go to Roppongi Hills Shopping & Dining, since they had a wide variety of restaurants.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

First, we made a pit stop at the whiskey stand, which was guarded by a frightening spider sculpture.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

I got a Japanese whiskey on the rocks and Ceddy got a hot whiskey. Both were delicious.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

After wandering around, we ended up going to a bar/restaurant in a different shopping area. (I forgot to take photos of the food again because I was so hungry.)

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

This area of Tokyo was less crowded than Shibuya, but reminded me of it because of the number of stores selling luxury brands.

Akihabara: Tokyo’s otaku cultural center & electronics shopping district

Ceddy and I went to Akihabara because it’s the district where many electronics are developed in Tokyo. It has a huge selection of electronics stores, as well. Akihabara is also known as the otaku cultural center of Tokyo. Otaku refers to people belong to fandoms, particularly for anime, manga, and video games.

So much anime. Tokyo, Japan.

So much anime & so many video game ads. Tokyo, Japan.

There were skyscrapers belonging to electronics companies, as well as electronics stores.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Ads with sexy anime ladies. I didn’t get a photo of the girls in maid costumes who handed out flyers for maid cafés. Those cafés are a subset of cosplay restaurants where the waitresses act as maids to their patrons.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

There were street vendors selling manga books, anime prints, and even hentai porn.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

The electronics store we went to wasn’t anything special — it just had several floors. Ceddy is a technology nerd and heard exciting things about Akihabara, but didn’t think it lived up to the hype. We did find a store that sold old school Nintendo games for super cheap, though, which he enjoyed. I was more interested in the fandom aspect of the area, which was alternately cool and creepy.

Shinjuku: the administrative & commercial center of Tokyo

Shinjuku is the administrative and commercial center of Tokyo. The main reason that Ceddy and I went there was to see Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (also known as Tokyo City Hall or Tochō). There’s an observation deck on the 45th floor of the south tower, so we were able to see views of Tokyo from 202 meters above the city.

View from the Tochō observation deck. Tokyo, Japan.

View from the Tochō observation deck. Tokyo, Japan.

Another view from the Tochō observation deck. Tokyo, Japan.

Another view from the Tochō observation deck. Tokyo, Japan.

And another view from the Tochō observation deck.

And another view from the Tochō observation deck.

There’s also a restaurant and gift shop on the same floor as the observation deck.