Tokyo Weekend

A couple of months ago the husband and I decided to spend the four day Thanksgiving weekend in Tokyo exploring so we booked a semi-fancy Japanese hotel that seemed to be in a good proximity to many things and started narrowing down what we wanted to pack in to our weekend.    A week before the trip two things happened to slightly change our plans.

1.  I got sick and I don’t mean aww she has sniffles..no, this was full on mucus invasion…in the lungs, nose wanting to fall off and energy level down to barely moving kind of sick.

2.  A coworker mentioned she wasn’t going to use her hotel reservations at the much loved military hotel in Tokyo for the weekend and wondered if we wanted the room.  This was rather exciting, we had tried for this hotel but it’s booked a year in advance for this weekend and the rooms are half price from anywhere else in Tokyo.

So, after a moment of consideration I decided not to cancel our trip just because I have a cold, I could tough it out and still have fun and we cancelled our swanky hotel and took the reservation from my coworker.   Somehow knowing I’d be in an American hotel while sick was comforting.  The husband was supportive and wonderful about not cramming our days full, considering my condition.  We had a couple of places we wanted to hit and play the rest according to my energy levels.

Thanksgiving morning I made mashed potatoes while wearing a mask for the group dinner being put together for the husband’s command and he set off to enjoy a turkey dinner without me.  I sat and moped a bit but was looking forward to the trip to start in a few hours.  He returned with a plate of pretty good food (but nothing compared to what my mother put out every year) for me and we were off to Tokyo and a weekend I’ll not soon forget.

masked

Our trip started off with me wearing a mask on the train to Tokyo.  I hadn’t done this yet and honestly it is not very comfortable.  Maybe I need to find a different mask, the ones I had made my face sweat and I couldn’t wear my glasses because they fogged up.  So, mask on, cough drop in my mouth, Dayquill in my system and tissues in my purse we were on the way.  I’m not sure how long it took, maybe 1.5 hours or so and we were in Tokyo walking to the hotel.  Not bad, we checked in and decided to grab a quick dinner in the hotel and go for a quick walk around to see what’s in the area.  We found a Pub – the husband can’t go by one easily without stopping in for a pint – so we ducked in and had a beer.  Nice place, very neighborhood bar-ish.

Looks right at home doesn't he?

We headed back and turned in early, tomorrow was going to be a big day full of adventures!

Alas, woke up in the same coughing, dripping condition.  But I pulled my sick butt up and got ready, determined to enjoy the day.  We foolishly thought going by the Imperial Palace on Friday would be a great idea.  Most Japanese were working so wouldn’t be crowded right?  My wonderful husband didn’t see the part in the guide book that said closed Mondays and Fridays.  So…we decided to walk around the outside, sure there was plenty to see.  The perimeter was beautiful!

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There are some interesting picture signs in Japan, this one made me giggle.

It means: No speaking to people talking on their cell phones...I think.

It means: No yelling at people talking on their cell phones…I think.

We came across some fairly cool statues as well:

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Oh and apparently South Africa only needs a floor of a building…I found interesting and a bit funny for some reason:

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Most Embassies so far have at least their own building, some even have a compound.

We walked around more, heading in the direction of the American Embassy and found this really awesome little restaurant/bar that serves only two dishes for lunch, beef curry or beef bowl.  Curry please and a hot tea!

20131129_125426 20131129_125916We really loved this place.  Very quaint and old world style.  Could have sat all afternoon there sipping tea and just enjoying the ambiance.

 

 

 

But we headed out and to the American Embassy which ended up being just across the street.

20131129_135855 20131129_140006I was expecting a bit more.  For some reason the very corporate building was just not what I expected.  I was hoping for a little something more like the White House haha.  Foolish me.

 

 

 

We decided to check out Tokyo Tower next.  Pretty cool place and they had it all decorated for the holidays.  I was a fan.

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Can you see Mt. Fuji in the distance?

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This is looking straight down through the glass floor.

 

 

We saw this building and went to search it out after, to find out what it was. 20131129_153300

It’s a Buddhist Temple so I didn’t take photos really but these two of the exterior:

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We did climb up the stairs and had a look around, it was quite lovely and amazing.  Up the stairs is the prayer room (not sure the actual term for it) with the altar and many cushions to sit on, it was beautiful.

 

 

After that we stopped at a coffee shop we’d seen with a sign for a tiramisu latte that I just had to try:

20131129_163431It was so good!  Yum!

Heading back to the hotel for the evening we passed these:

20131129_170900 20131129_171133This rose was very tall and wonderful, it looks a lot like one of my tattoos.

 

 

 

 

Saturday we had two destinations in mind, Tokyo Skytree and Ramen Row.  Skytree is taller than Tokyo Tower and I think still holds the world record for the tallest tower.  We headed there first, it was on the other side of Tokyo.  Another train ride behind a white mask.  Well worth the trip though:

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The Christmas tree in the mall at the Skytree.

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Even the escalators were decorated!

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These kids were too cute!

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The courtyard just outside the Skytree had food and drink vendors in these cute little food court buildings and all holiday’d up.

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We had soup and hot mulled wine for lunch.

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These characters were some kind of theme there, still not sure what the penguin thing is supposed to be.

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The first stop is 350 meters up

 

 

 

 

The second stop is another 100 or so meters up and we came upon the one job I’d likely never apply for. Window washing this sky scraper. No thanks.

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After Skytree we hopped on the train to Shinagawa to find Ramen Row which is supposed to be just outside the train station for dinner.  Sure enough it was right around the corner and down a few stairs.  I think I counted 5 or 6 different little restaurants all serving slightly different looking ramen bowls.  We couldn’t decide which to try so I suggested we try the very last place and keep coming back, working our way through them over the next 2 years. haha!  The husband liked the plan.  The last restaurant served black ramen, never heard of it but I was game.  I got the spicy black ramen and the husband got the black curry ramen.  Pretty good.

20131130_161436I’m not sure what makes them black, perhaps one of the Tokyo bloggers can help?  It’s not the normal broth but has more texture and definitely darker in color.  Well, it was good but not sure I would order it over “normal” ramen again.  The husband and I agreed it was well worth trying.

After this we went back to the hotel and decided to just relax.

 

Big thank you to my husband for putting up with my sick self the last week or so and specially during our trip, not that he reads my blog or anything, haha.  I’m slowly kicking this cold and hope to be back to work tomorrow, though I just had a bad cough attack.

I hope your weekend was wonderful too.

Are you looking forward to the holiday season coming?  I am although we will be so far from family this year.

Oh, check out this wreath we bought on Sunday on the way home from Tokyo!  Isn’t it lovely!?!

20131203_131915If I have the energy, the rest of the decorations will go up tonight.

Happy Holidays!

10 thoughts on “Tokyo Weekend

  1. It’s great that you guys are making the effort to get to know Tokyo. It’s fun to see it through your fresh eyes.

    Not sure about the ramen, but they do make masks designed for glasses wearers. They have a pad thing on the nose bridge.

    My 100yen store has those new years decorations you admired before. I’m sure yours does, too, if you still want one.

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