Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Seven

We spent a good part of this morning trying to decide what to do.
We’ve looked at day trips out of Tokyo and River Cruises but nothing really appeals within the time frame we have.

So I went online and found a market area that is supposed to be really popular with tourists and better yet, it was in “walking distance” from us (It’s all relative)

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The Nakamise market was a couple of kilometres from us.

As we approached we saw a whole lot of bicycles parked.

Everyone rides a bike and you’re constantly looking over our shoulder to see if one is about to whizz past you!

 

I really don’t know how there aren’t more accidents with them here.

 

 

 

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Before we shopped at the market we walked through Senso-ji Temple which adjoins the market.

 

 

 

There were some food stalls along there and hubby and I tried some of the Crab Meat on offer

 

 

(At least, I hope that’s what it was)

 

 


You would have a hard time being here if you don’t like crowds. Wherever you go there are just crowds and crowds of people. I found myself getting anxious a few times but you just have to go with the flow.

There are soooo many shop stalls to look at and we didn’t really get to look at everyone but we did spend a lot of time there.

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I had read about the many themed cafe’s here and one I particularly wanted to visit was based on Alice in Wonderland.

It was called “Alice in an Old Castle”

 

Unfortunately no one was around so I just took a few photos (it was really dark in there) and then left back through the winding staircase.

 

 

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It looked like a pretty cool place so I was sorry we couldn’t even just have a drink there.

 

Maybe next visit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wussed out at lunch time and went into an Italian place.

I seem to think we’ve eaten at this chain before but hubby says we haven’t. I love the message on their napkins!

 

 

Then it was time to walk around Ikebukuro.
There’s a department store there called Seibu and on the basement level, you will find all sorts of food that will be wrapped, packaged, then packaged again for you to take home.

 

 

The pictures I took were mostly of the desserts/cakes because that’s what we were after but they had lots of meat and savoury products too.

Hubby and I got a large share of cakes and snuck off to find somewhere to eat them.

One thing about Japan is that you can be hard pressed to find public seating and rubbish/trash bins!  Yet it is mostly always clean. We haven’t seen litter apart from the odd cigarette butt, but there are no bins around.

We walked for a bit then found a sunny spot that we thought was behind a walkway. We sat down and started greedily devouring our goodies when all of a sudden, people started rushing by.

Turns out we were in a walkway through the train station.. Whoops. So much for trying to be discreet.

But that’s ok, no one knows us here….

We walked around some more and spoke to a few locals that approached us speaking English.

So many things to see. There is always something happening.

Hubby and I often look at each other saying “Where are all these people going???” because it’s like a major rock concert or something has just let out and everyone is rushing to go home.

But in Japan it’s just another regular night where crowds, loud electronic music and dress ups are just part of everyday life.

I think today was the first day since we’ve been here that we didn’t have dumplings! Who would have thought that there is a limit to dumpling love.

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow is going to have in store for us!

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50SixOne

Today on the Dining Diaries…

All senses are sent into overload!
One cocktail is never enough and…
I think I’ve found my happy place.

Diners today I had my first, long overdue, visit to 50SixOne
I have driven past so many times and every time the line outside makes me not want to stop in. I also mistakenly thought that 50SixOne was a dessert place.
While yes, they are known for their desserts, they offer so much more!

My daughter and I found ourselves home alone today and on a whim she said “Come on, lets go to 50SixOne, my treat”
How could I possibly say no?

Being a Wednesday afternoon, I thought we’d have a pretty good chance of getting in without waiting too long. As it turned out, there was only one table available when we got there so lucky us!

3It was absolute sensory overload. I didn’t know what to look at first!

The funky furnishings, exposed brick wall, decorative plants or my god, the shakes that were ready to be sent out.

How do they even make stuff like that????

And this was all before I’d even had a chance to look at the menu!

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The atmosphere was bright and vibrant. There was music playing and lots of fun to be had. Every table was full and loads of lucky children and teenagers were whiling away an hour or two in this happening place.

When I did manage to pry my eyes away from the restaurant and indeed, the shakes that were going out, I noticed that the menu had breakfast and lunch options too.

It wasn’t just a dessert menu as I had previously thought. They had lots of things on offer from regular breakfast items to burgers and fries (not to mention cocktails!)

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We decided to try a couple of their cocktails as neither of us had had these before..

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The cocktail on the left is “Toblerone” Baileys, Kahlua, Crème De Cacao, Frangelico and Honey.
On the right was my pick, “Liquid Ecstasy” Baileys, Butterscotch Schnapps, Chocolate and Cream.

Both of them featured my weakness, Baileys.
My daughter and I watched them being made. Honestly I felt like a kid being let loose in a candy store and completely allowed myself this beautiful indulgence.

Our food was out not much later.
My daughter had ordered something she’d never had before.
As per the menu….
Red Velvet Cakes Our Insta-famous Red Velvet Pancakes layered with mascarpone cheese, topped with berry compote, ice cream and chocolate brownie soil.

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I’ve got to say it looked massive when it came out!! Very impressive! I loved the deep red colour of the pancakes.
The pancakes themselves were not sweet and neither was the cream layered between them. This was just perfect as the berries were syrupy and quite sweet, as was the ice-cream.
For me, the best thing on that plate was the ice-cream. I’m assuming it’s made in house but I didn’t get the chance to ask anyone. It had such a beautiful full flavour and was just so creamy! I could have had a bowl of that on it’s own.
It was nice to let the pancake absorb some of the melted ice-cream and then eat it with a few berries. Just perfect!

I was tossing up between the Bircher Muesli and the Granola Wake me up. I decided to go for the Bircher! You can’t really go past “Fancy Schmancy” can you?
Fancy Schmancy Bircher Raise your pinkies and make the perfect start to your day with this bircher, paired with charred peaches and dash of orange blossom syrup.

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I love Bircher Muesli and I love peaches. How could I go wrong with this?
I must admit, when I saw it I thought “Is that all?” However it soon proved to be very filling and I was glad it wasn’t any bigger than that!

While it wasn’t the best Bircher I’ve had, I did really enjoy a lot of things about this dish. I loved the freshness of the fruit. I felt the syrup was a little too sweet but luckily I have a fairly sweet tooth and managed to eat every last speck.
The peach had a lot of flavour and was still firm, but not so firm that I couldn’t cut it with my spoon.

Honestly, if you haven’t been to 50SixOne you’re really missing out!!
I need to go back to this place and try a burger or something else off the menu. I’m not sure what time of day is better to go as it seems to be fairly busy all the time but even so, it’s definitely an experience and dare I say it, worth the wait if you do happen to see a line.

They have an active Instagram account with beautiful pictures of their food that is not only delicious, but artistic. Follow them if you dare!

I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures of items they had on display.

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Have you been to 50SixOne?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Turning Japanese – Part Ten

Only a few more days left of this vacation and I’m sad to be leaving but also a little homesick.

I mentioned in a previous entry that Denny’s had lounge music playing while we were eating breakfast. What I’ve noticed since is that a LOT of places have lounge music playing. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin… that kind of era.
For a country that is so advanced when it comes to technology, they seem to be stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Here in Osaka we found a mall where breakdancers congregate in the basement and work through their routines. It’s quite something to watch!

Unfortunately today is raining crazily. We were going to go to the Shitennjoi temple but looks like that won’t be happening today.

We walked to our regular mall and surprise, surprise, didn’t go to the food court, but we DID go to the supermarket where we are fast becoming regulars.
We grabbed a coffee and some sweets from there and sat and had breakfast trying to figure out what we were going to do in all this rain.
I took pictures of some of the desserts/cakes. They remind me of what is sold through the Bread Top chain if you’re familiar with that..

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Very delcious and light but probably really heavily processed too. Lots of people were buying these things and eating them in the seats provided by the supermarket.

This afternoon we bought tickets for a baseball game that was happening at Kyocera Dome, right near were we’re staying.
I have never really watched a game although I did play it once or twice in Primary School. I soon found myself getting into it though!! I was chanting away with everyone else for the home team – Orix Buffalo’s. It was so exciting!

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Because it was late when the game was over, we didn’t eat anything too interesting for dinner – We ended up going back to the food mall and getting an enormous bowl of noodles – the same dish we had a couple of days ago.

I’ve seen these little desserts around the place – I’m not sure what they are, but tonight I found them in the supermarket so I bought some.
I wish I knew more about them but there are no English words on the packaging and no one who speak English that I can ask.
I took the chance and just bought them.
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They didn’t taste as I was expecting. I’m suspecting they may have lychee in them? I really don’t know. There was a bit of a rubbery taste to them. This is them cut in half

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If anyone knows what they are I’d love to know!

Hopefully it won’t be raining tomorrow so we’ll be able to get down to the temple.
Only a few more days left here and so many foods still to try!

Turning Japanese – Part Four

We woke up in beautifully busy Tokyo this morning but before I get to food related topics, let me tell you a few things that have amused and delighted me…

I’ve discovered that eating or drinking while walking on the street is considered rude but picking your nose seems to be ok.
Talking on your phone on the train is extremely rude and in fact, there are service announcements on the train to tell you not to do it.
Dorky electronic music plays everywhere for all different reasons. For example, when we enter a convenience store, a ten second clip plays. We were in that store for about five minutes and by the end I wanted to punch that speaker out.
When a train arrives on the platform, the music plays again telling you to get on that train.
Maybe it’s to hurry everyone along as they’re all trying to get away from that god awful sound.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how the bathroom was stocked here in our hotel room.
Full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash AND skin cleansing bottles too!!!

 

And another corner of the bathroom was stocked with all kind of things from razors to hair combs to toothpaste and toothbrushes….
So imagine my surprise when I saw the following packet…
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My first thought was…. is that a condom??
The fact that it was called “Lady’s set” didn’t phase me as things are labelled in interesting ways here in Japan but really, a condom?
I mean hubby and I read all about their “love hotels” before we came here because we almost booked ourselves into one of them. Luckily we found out what they were and changed our booking.

So, I opened the Lady’s set packet and this is what I found.
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Well, that’s NOT a condom but certainly very handy!

Moving right along… breakfast this morning was at Denny’s. It’s part of our hotel package and if you don’t know, Denny’s is an American chain so I was very interested to see what they’d be offering for breakfast.

The menus we were given were both in English and Japanese. I took a quick pic to give you an idea of what we were looking at.

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There was a little frustrating moment for both myself and the Japanese waiter. I ordered number three from the top line so I said “three, with the mushrooms”.
I totally accept the blame. I should have just said three but the fact that I mentioned mushrooms confused him and he thought I was saying I didn’t want them in the dish. We back and forthed a bit and honestly I wasn’t really sure what was going to come out. Thankfully, it came out as it was supposed to.

I didn’t take a picture but we’ll be back tomorrow so hopefully I’ll remember then.
The mushrooms were delicious and added a lot of flavour to that dish. The toast was thick and I was just craving bread so badly!!! It was a perfect breakfast for me today.

Hubby and I did a lot of touristy things including going to the Oeno Zoo, and we mostly grazed during the day. I can’t get over the sweet shops here.

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Their desserts are amazing. How do they stay thin??? And if you do a brief crowd sweep, you’ll notice that there are very few overweight Japanese. I wonder if they think Westerners are all fat?

And then it was time for dinner and again I find myself getting a little stressed as I have no idea what I’m going to eat or where we’re going to eat it.

We started strolling through the streets behind our hotel at Ikebukuro and lo and behold what do we see but a Shakey’s pizza!! Now hubby has a long association with Shakey’s and once we saw it, how could we not go in?
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We had to wait in line to be able to go in, and many people lined up after us as we waited.
The restaurant was full!!! And not full of tourists, but full of locals.
I was very happy that it was a buffet and hubby and I were able to finally really fill our bellies. I felt like we hadn’t eaten for a few days!

As well as pizza’s Shakey’s has beans and cornchips, mojo potatoes, salads, spaghetti, curry and rice and very interestingly, dessert pizza’s! Drinks with free refills and coffee were also included in our buffet price making this easily the best value meal we’ve had since we’ve been here. Very happy to use a regular fork to eat the spaghetti, but I had to have a little giggle when I saw a local trying to eat her pizza with a fork.

No need to visit the convenience store for snacks tonight!! In fact we walked the streets a little longer to try to help us digest the large meal we’d just consumed.
So much life in this place! No matter where you go, there are people everywhere!!

I’ll leave you with one last image. Hubby was begging me to pose with her but all I could think was the caption that would read “frumpy with fabulous”
So instead I took a pic when her back was turned. Gotta love Japan!

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