Day Five – Ginza, Akihabara, Ueno

Today was our day off.  Today was supposed to be our Disney day, but seeing that we did that on Wednesday, well, we didn’t really need that.  So, today was a day off.  A day to finish off ourtrip with some shopping and some exploring.

We began the day with visiting a family friend who happened to be here visiting her daughter… in Tokyo.  That was a nice pleasant way to start the morning.  I had an amazing glass of orange juice at this Japanese run French Coffee Shop.  …there’s a lot of things like that.  Sicilia, our favorite cracker pizza Japanese run Italian restaurant.  I suppose it’s to be expcted.  After all, not ALL diners in NYC are greek.  Just 99% of them.  The rest are run by old people.  I suppose saying that Sicilia isn’t run by Italians may not be the case.  After all.  Most pizza places in NYC are run by Americans… who happen to have italian descent.  So perhaps this shop owner is a Japanese owner of Italian Descent.  Who am I to say?

As our last day, once the pleasantries were through, I set out on a fool hearted quest.  To find my son the ever demanding and popularity signet of his entire grade school… the Meteo-LL-Drago Beyblade which is only available in Japan, and since dad is in Japan, how could he not come home with it?

Since we have now mastered the Metro Tokyo subway system, we set out to hit all sorts of toy stores across Tokyo.  A quick google search got us the most likely candidates and we chose the ones all on the same subway line, so it wasn’t very difficult to find our way home once we traveled to the far edge of the city.

The first stop was Ginza.  Ginza was busy.  Too busy for me.  Ginza is where horse faced Carie would shop if Sex and the City took place in Tokyo.  It was high brow.  It was high end.  It was highly expensive.  It was highly traditional.  It was very well laid out.  In blocks rather than triangles like we have grown accustomed to here in Roppongi.  After wandering aimlessly through crowds, we found our destination, Hakuhinkan Toy Park.  6 floors of toys for all ages and well, for everyone.  It was a very well laid out store.  Every floor was broken down into areas.  One floor was puzzles and hobbies.  One floor was action figures.  One floor was stuffed animals, etc.  It was a very nice store.  But alas, no Meteo LL Drago Beyblade.  We purchased a few gifts for the family and kids, and passed on what turned out to be our big regret.  Thank goodness the internet as no boundaries and we can just pic these up at any time:

                           Japanese Electronic Blinking Eyeballs

From there we hopped back on the underground railroad and went a few stops up to Akihabara, the electric district.  This was a very cool little district, if you are into electronics, like cameras and computers.  It almost seemed like a place out of time in the world of electronics we live in, but perhaps we didn’t see enough of the place.  We hit an arcade and checked out some machines, and after growing weary of searching for cool toy stores we hopped back on the train and headed a few more stops up to Ueno.

Ueno may have been my favorite place to visit.  Ueno station and crossing is such a beautifully laid out area with train stations and walkways and highways all coinciding in a beautiful ballet.  Not to mention the hundreds of people coming in and out of everywhere.  It was also home to probably my favorite toy store we came across.  Yamishioya.  It was pretty much laid out the same as the others.  5 or 6 floors of stuff all laid out in packed tight little corners and shelves but the kicker at this place was that they bought old toys and… resold all this vintage stuff.  Very cool stuff to see.  My favorite… The Gremlins Gizmo and Stripe dolls.  I probably should have picked them up, but didn’t.

It was very apparent as soon as we walked in that this place was amazing.  The back wall of the first floor?  Meteo LL Drago Beyblade for only 1200 Yen.  Awesome price for a ridiculous amount of happiness… and making dad the COOLEST dad ever.  We grabbed a few other new releases and stared in wonder at the Butterfly in a Jar:

Then we explored the place and found that it was roughly 500 yen cheaper for stuff we had seen elsewhere and had passed over… so we picked them up here.  500 yen is about 6 bucks.  Same with the beyblades.  Yamishiroya had great prices and had everything that the other stores lacked.  If you are in Tokyo and looking for toys, Yamishiroya is the place to be.

After that it was back on the train.  A quick stop to eat.  Another stop at Donki, our last before we leave.  A quick stop at Family Mart to grab some snacks for the road.  And our trip to Japan was done. 

We really wanted to go out with a bang, but with just the two of us, karaoke wouldn’t be all that fun.  Renting a karaoke box for two people would just be boring.  So we set our sights on getting down with the debauchery that Roppongi is famous for.  We looked to the night clubs for a little skin and a little danger, but it turned out to be far too expensive when really, we were just going to end up going back to the hotel to finish off our makeshift honeymoon.  So, that is where we are.  Just need some duct tape to keep her quiet and the end to our honeymoon is just about to begin.

We are going to miss Tokyo.  We are going to miss Roppongi.  For it’s seedy history, it’s an extremely safe and enjoyable place to be.  It’s high class where it needs to be and just gritty enough to make you feel right at home.  Any time we come back, Roppongi is where it’s at.  It feels like home to us here.  Where as the other districts seem so foreign and sterile.  This one breathes.  And it breathes fire.  This will be the last entry for a few days as we board the flight in the afternoon tomorrow… after checking out in the morning.  Long day ahead of us.  Long flight home.  Preparing for the worst… heat that is.  Will fill you in when we can.

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