I could have saved me money and enjoyed this weather in Vancouver.

Our Tokyo trip got off to a rainy start.  But that didn’t temper our enthusiasm.  We were up and out at 8:30 a.m., on a quest to track down some convenience store heat lamp spicy chicken nuggets for my breakfast.  We were in search of the ubiquitous Lawsons, the one stop shop for everything from whisky to fruit sandwiches.  Sadly, a Lawsons proved much harder to find than we expected.  Instead, we came across a couple of Natural Lawsons (a weird, bizarro version of the original that didn’t carry any fried foods) and a host of less-impressive Family Mart.

In the end, we decided to table our quest and head underground to kill some time before the stores opened.

This is awesome.  The entire Tokyo subway system offers free wireless.
Subway poster outlining the perils of cell phone use.
Subway poster outlining the perils of cell phone use.
Beware the rude caucasian girl annoying the Japanese salaryman.
Beware the rude caucasian girl annoying the Japanese salaryman.

We resurfaced to check out another area.  Alas, no fried chicken nuggets – but plenty of everything else:

I’m constantly amazed by not just the quality of the food in Tokyo but the variety as well.
Seriously.  How many varieties of canned coffee can the market support?
Uh, what the hell is he putting on that rice?
A convenience machine selling apples. Not whole, but sliced, skinless, with a side of caramel dipping sauce.  Only in Japan!
Always innovating.
Always innovating.  Refrigerated lockers in the food section of the Matsuya department store.  Buy your produce, stow it away, and continue your shopping without worry. 
The team up you’ve been waiting for!  Lupin 3 and Conan Boy Detective together on the big screen!  But not until after I leave Japan!

We had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo: Sawada.  The sushi was, as always, spectacular.  Alas, the restaurant doesn’t allow photography so you’ll have to take my word for it.  Akemi spent much of the meal chatting with the surprisingly humorous Sawada-san who talked about his days as a student athlete, training, and philosophy and passion for sushi.  We also discussed the new restaurant trend taking Tokyo by storm: standing eateries that see greater profits because of the quick turnover in client.  Great if you’re in a rush I suppose – which most everyone seems to be.

For dessert we headed over to Dalloyau.  Akemi was stuffed, so I had to eat for both of us.  But I drew the line at the apricot ice cream.  The hazelnut cake, on the other hand, was great.
An okay chocolate tart.
And, to wash it down, a nice tall glass of chocolate.

While Akemi headed off to Naka-Meguro to get her eyelashes fine-tuned, I went to Akihabara in search of a cover for my new cell phone. I came up empty on that front, but did make these fantastic purchases:

A new Gintama shirt.
Neon Genesis Evangelion cufflinks!  
And assorted whisky and rum chocolates from Pierre Marcolini.  

Akemi was still full from lunch when dinner rolled around and, while I wasn’t all that hungry, I couldn’t miss out on a meal opportunity.  So, we compromised and headed over to one of the mini malls for some casual Korean…

Fried garlic chicken
And this amazing yuzu soda.

I figured we’d head over to Star Bar for a night cap but, on the way, we were contacted by Akemi’s mother who had arrived in Tokyo (from Osaka) for her daughters wedding.  Whoa, there.  Her OTHER daughter, Hiromi.  And so, we tabled our Star Bar visit and headed over to Nihombashi…

Hey!  It’s already Christmas here!
Akemi says: “Yeah!”
I thought this was cool.  Complimentary umbrellas at the Nihombashi Mitsukoshi department store.  The idea is you take one, use it, then presumably drop it off at the Mitsukoshi nearest your destination – or return it.  Eventually.

We met up with Akemi’s mother and sister who were staying at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel…

Some would consider this view breath taking.  I call it terrifying. 
Hiromi, mom, and Akemi.

By the time we got back to our hotel, I was exhausted.  I was in bed by 11:00 and slept, more or less, through until 7:30 a.m.

Woke up this morning to some emails, including a couple from my “point person” on that super-secret project.  Very exciting stuff.  I just hate the fact that we have to wait until January for the big reveal…

23 thoughts on “November 8, 2013: Tokyo Day #2! Quest for the elusive Lawsons fried chicken! The Tokyo underground! Sushi Sawada! And more!

  1. Thank you for sharing such fun and photos of your trip. You make it feel like we get to experience the trip with you. Wishing you all lots of fun and good food, and a happy wedding!

  2. Great cufflinks Joe. Love the refrigerated lockers. Thanks for the pictures and to Hiromi and Akemi’s mom for posing. 🙂

  3. The yuzu soda looks yummy. And there’s no such thing as too many kinds of canned coffee. I miss it so much. Apricot ice cream sounds lovely, and the hazelnut cake…. oooooh.

    Akemi’s family looks just as sweet as she is! Yay!

    My friend came over to give my cats their shots, she’s a vet tech. So much easier at home! We went out to lunch, and had a lovely shared Japanese meal. I neglected to take photos. Nothing fancy, four small shared dishes (tempura calamari, seared ahi with pineapple, seaweed salad with tako, and spicy teriyaki wings). Desert was tempura-fried green tea ice cream.
    Then we went and painted ceramics, which was fun and relaxing. I made a Godzilla vs. Burning Man lightswitch plate and a spoon rest. She made a princess crown trinket box for her little sister. A pleasant day overall. We have a “date” next week to pick up our fired ceramics.

  4. Wow, that sounds like an extremely busy day full of.. mostly eating! It all looks great and I’m jealous. It’s probably just as well you didn’t find the heat lamp chicken. I just don’t like the sound of that.

    You’re right about the variety there. That’s just incredible.

    If it’s any consolation, it also rained here today along with high winds. Walking to the car from work was like being sprayed with a hose. Fun.

    I can’t wait to hear about that secret project! With this big of a buildup, I’m expecting to pass out from utter joy when I finally hear it. 😉

  5. @Maggiemayday: I sure hope you’ll share a picture of that lightswitch plate!

    Akemi looks so happy with her mom and sister. What a lovely family.

    Only January for the super-secret-project? No problem! We can wait ’til then. We are the soul of patience, right everyone? We won’t nag or wheedle or beg…

  6. It’s all about the fried chicken this trip,hmmm, glad you did not find the heat lamp one, sounds yucky, like those hot dogs that roll around for who knows how long, and may or may not be green, its all in the lighting?!? I think you dodged a bullet there. I can see Akemi shares her good looks with her mom and sister, thanks for the dessert and all the pictures. Rest up, tomorrow will be here soon for you or maybe it is already…

  7. “Some would consider this view breath taking. I call it terrifying.”

    Nope, you’re wrong. It’s breath taking.

    I hope we get to see pictures of the big wedding. Akemi’s family look so nice.

  8. Considering that I love apricot preserves I think that I would have been all over that apricot ice cream.

  9. Uh, what the hell is he putting on that rice?
    some things we’re better off not knowing.

    While Akemi headed off to Naka-Meguro to get her eyelashes fine-tuned….
    i don’t think i want to know what that entails.

    it looks like they’re rushing the christmas season there too. 😕

    there’s a big typhoon hitting the philippines, not sure if that has anything to do with the weather there. hope it clears up for the rest of the trip.

  10. Seems they were putting Japanese yam on that rice, but if it was mayonnaise, I’d be far less surprised. Condensed milk, far more enthusiastic…

  11. LOL why was the view terrifying.
    Fine tune her eyeLASHES? You mean brows? What would they do to eyelashes?
    Glad you are having a good experience even with the rain.

  12. Those desserts look fantastic! And refrigerated lockers…very interesting indeed. Is it connected to other stores or something? I mean, I am usually able to pick up ice cream at the start and not have it unfreeze in the time it takes me to continue to shop and get home. Still, could come in handy!

  13. The food looks so good…. while I can’t fly hither and yon to different countries and get the full experience, dang it all, I have to get more experimental and get more adventurous where food is concerned. In the meantime, I’m enjoying your and Akemi’s adventures. Carry on!!!

  14. It’s fascinating learning about Japanese foods! Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. Is it winter/summer or fall in Japan? I see people wearing coats but not heavy duty coats.

    Don’t forget to buy your Sis/Mom and present. 😉

  15. Akemi’s family look like such nice, respectable people…I can’t imagine why they let her hang around with you. 😉 (Although I’m guessing Akemi’s the wild one out of the bunch, right? 🙂 )

    And you ARE sending me some chocolates, right? RIGHT??!


  16. Yeah for Tokyo trip. Nothing like good times, good food, and good people. Well if you and Akemi happen to spot and fabulously adorable waving cats please post a pic. I have a borderline obssession with them (meaning I am totally over board in love)


  17. Well fall, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, sounds like you’re having a good time in Japan Joe. Speaking of Detective Conan, I’m amazed how long this anime has been going on, something like 715 episodes have been produced so far with no sign of it ending. Not a fan myself but still, it’s amazing how its managed to keep viewer interest for well over a decade even.

    One Piece is more popular than it though, the show is like a monster. It just keeps on going and is insanely popular.

  18. Those desserts look DELICIOUS! And hmmm… you said, “mom” in the photo. Warming up on that idea? LOL. What a lovely family.

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