Yesterday was our first full day in Tokyo. We had the whole morning to ourselves so we decided to walk around the neighborhood between our hotel and Ueno station. The first place we visited was an area with a market and a bunch of shops. Every street we turned on in this area was lined with little shops.
The interior of each block had a bunch of shops too.
There are tons of stores selling clothes, shoes, and bags. The things for sale are really nice, but very expensive. I looked at a couple pairs of shoes and jeans I liked and they were both over $200.
Next we wandered into a big store with seven floors of electronics. This place had everything that takes a plug or a battery but our favorite part was the top floor - video games.
They had tons of DS accessories.
A lot of games that haven't been released in the US yet. Here are a couple from series that Michelle plays ("If only I could read Japanese").
In the back they had a section with a ton of these little "capsule toy" machines. They had these little toys for a bunch of different video games and anime series.
They also had Nintendo DS and Wii systems in colors that we don't have in the US.
They had DS television receivers.
And... a dog translator??
We hit up an arcade where Michelle tried to win a dancing fuzzy thing.
Then we went looking for lunch. Even if you don't speak Japanese it's pretty easy to find a restaurant with the food you're looking for because most of the restaurants here have plastic models of all their food in their display windows. These models are super realistic. Looking at a plastic bowl of soup that was right in front of me yesterday, I couldn't tell if it was real or not. Someone else had to stick the finger on the "broth" to prove it was plastic.
For lunch, we settled on kaiten sushi restaurant. Basically, you sit at a counter and different plates go by on a conveyor belt. You take and eat what you want as it goes by and just stack up the plates that you've eaten. When you're done, you pay by the number of plates you took. The place we went to was tiny and crowded (a good sign). It had the feeling of a small diner with very limited seating and people packed shoulder to shoulder at a counter that encircled the area where the chefs were busy making the sushi plates. The food was delicious, but the woman at the counter told us we didn't eat enough.
After lunch, we went to Asakusa with our friends. This is a beautiful neighborhood around a famous old temple.
After the temple, we walked around the neighborhood a bit and then went to a restaurant for dinner. The meal was okonomiyaki. We sat around low tables and talked while Ai and her dad did most of the cooking. It was really, really good.
The okonomiyaki place. Here you can see the ingredients and what it looks like as you mix up and fry the ingredients. It's something in between a potato cake, a pancake, and an omelet. We tried a bunch of different types (seafood, kimchi and pork, beef and onion, etc.) and they were all delicious.
After we got back, I took a couple pictures of our hotel lobby.
Tomorrow it's off to Katsuura, a small fishing village that has a kendo bogu shop we want to visit.