Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tokyo Day 1: About our food misadventure first

Arrived in Tokyo well ahead of schedule, before 7am, so that when we got to our hotel (Hilton Shinjuku), it was still too early for check-in. Took the 3-hourly free bus shuttle to Shinjuku station to hunt for breakfast. Nothing looked appetising to my fussy eaters. And then the boys saw the big M sign, and like in Paris 2 years ago, the boys' first meal in Tokyo was McDonald's! Sean had a sausage egg mcmuffin and went on to have many a McD meal during our week-long stay in Tokyo :(

Before we left for Tokyo, I had threatened Sean that I'd leave him with my friends in Singapore if he's gonna turn his nose up at everything new and do his usual "That's yucky!" He promised he'd try new food. From "I'll try" it became "I'll try to try..." and "I'll try to try to try...".

Went back to the hotel, checked in and freshened up. Took the Yamanote line from Shinjuku to Harajuku (Y130, 4 min). This is our only Sunday in Tokyo, and Sundays are when the Harajuku kids head out in full splendour. I was also looking forward to a delicious sushi meal, recommended by Monica, at a restaurant called Sushi Kaiten. The direction I got from the internet was, get out at the centre exit, cross the road and look for the sign Sushi Kaiten. One wrong turn led us to wander about for more than an hour looking for food...It was terrible lah.

Cos we got out at the exit that led to Takeshita Dori (see picture above), a busy shopping street, which looked really central to us. Stresslah, gave up after walking up and down the main street, then decided to look for another place to eat along the entire stretch of Takeshita Dori. Everything looked commercialised and like tourist traps, so it was no go. And my heart was still set on Sushi Kaiten, I was sure if I headed back towards the station, I'd find it.

And because we were already on the other side of the street, even when we later passed the building where the sushi place was (after more than an hour of walking around), we still couldn't see the Sushi Kaiten sign, cos we had to be right across the road where the station was, to see the sign on the 3rd floor window. The restaurant's name is actually Kakiya Sushi, and I even saw the sign on the ground floor, but nothing in the picture showed a conveyor belt nor the words Sushi Kaiten, and with everyone impatiently waiting for lunch, I just moved past that building.

It didn't help that when I asked a security guard about Sushi Kaiten, he indicated that the restaurant had closed! Aiyoh! So geram. I think Eddie was secretly happy cos he doesn't really like sushi. We ended up eating Kyushu Ramen in a place that seems really popular, and Eddie said Kyushu Ramen is known to be delicious. Well, the consolation is that Sean ate a bowl of noodle here.

Kyushu Jangara Ramen, Shanzeru Harajuku Ni-go-kan 1F-2F, 1-13-21, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku.

I later found out this was a Time Out magazine recommendation. There was a long queue outside and we were led up the stairs towards the 2nd floor of the restaurant. It was a narrow, claustrophobia-inducing, dark stairs, and when we got up, there was still a queue. They took our orders even while we were queueing.

Waiter taking orders.

We were already hungry and ordered Kakiniku (stewed pork belly ramen). The soup had a pork-lardy taste to it, very delicious. From Wikitravel, "Kyushu Jangara (九州じゃんがら) 1-13-21 Jingumae (top of Omote-Sando street, right by the intersection) 03-3404-5572. One of the best-known tonkotsu ramen shops in Tokyo, where you can choose between five degrees of noodle thickness, three levels of soup texture, and three levels of soup fattiness."

Tummy filled and warm, we crossed over to the bridge where the Harajuku kids gathered. Will post about that and our visit to the Meiji Shrine later. Anyway, after that, we walked back to Harajuku station to take the train back to Shinjuku. And while Eddie was buying tickets, I decided to walk nearer to the roadside, and lo and behold! I look up and the huge words SUSHI KAITEN were staring me in the face, mocking me from the 3rd floor of the building across the road. #$%^&*!! What the...I was livid! I am like that about food, very obsessive. I told Eddie that no matter what, before I leave Tokyo, I will eat at that Sushi Kaiten place, don't care.

Returned to Shinjuku and looked for bentos for dinner. Eddie was having dinner with his colleague so the bentos were just for me and the boys. Brian and I chose a sushi bento each, not that cheap, mine was about Y1900, and his was Y1300. Sean didn't want anything and started his, "You don't have to get me anything for dinner. I don't need dinner." a line he used throughout the hols. I ended up buying a McRib for him :(

Food continued to feature prominently in our holiday experience right till the end, both as a source of satisfaction (when we had great food) and frustration (when we couldn't agree on what to eat or when Sean does his 'fasting' routine, which he did at almost every meal). But while Day 1 didn't go so well where food was concerned, we had much better days as the holiday went along.

Up next: Freaky Sunday at Harajuku.


bACk in GERMANY said...

Actually... ermmm, why don't you just go along with Sean? Since he said it's ok he didn't need food, then just plan without him. At most, he can have some plain white rice here and there. Yes, I have come to that stage to Kristin.
After I finish my order, she'll ask what she will be having and I'll tell her, nothing. Just white rice. And she'll cheer!

Btw, Big M is very very good. You know something... Kristin doesn't like big M. Only the toy. She won't eat the nuggets nor the fries and she has no drinks there. My kids don't like fizzy drink (not that I'm complaining here). Bryan on the other hand eats only nuggets and no fries... I need to force him to eat some fries or I threaten never to bring them back to Mac's anymore.

Aiyah... just one week of vacation... let him snack along the way lor... and pump him with all his favourite dishes once you're back home and cooking again.

I've given up fighting with Kristin since our trip to NYC. She ate nothing there... can you imagine, nothing there! Other than Pho bo, nothing! Not even white rice! Just drank her milk. Not even a lot! 150 ml each time. 3 times during the day and another at 4 am in the morning!

Since then, I decided to let her graze like a goat on vacation. Snack.... don't want meals, fine! Strangely, dim sum was extraordinarily good with her this time round in London. And of course, lobster noodle without lobster! hahaha!

Lilian said...

I guess it's the Chinese mummy in me, I need him to eat well for at least 1 meal a day, not asking too much really. And if he drinks milk all day, I'm fine, but he stopped drinking milk some years ago. And no, he will not eat just white rice, it has to have eggs or chicken on it. But yes, I do give him white rice with some soup and bits of fish but he eats really little, and it doesn't feel like he had a real meal.

Doesn't help that Eddie is always worrying about him not having had a meal. Maybe if it's me alone, I'd let him go really hungry, but I get the constant, "So how, Sean hasn't eaten yet?" "What's Sean gonna eat?" etc etc, how to ignore?

You're lucky your kids don't like BigM. Mine is like their father, love fries and coke! On the positive side, they'll never go hungry wherever they go, there's McD everywhere. In Tokyo, we see M everywhere, can't escape man.

And both my kids still don't take dimsum. Why huh? Can someone just give it to me straight? What am I doing wrong? The moment we left Tokyo, Sean asked if his next meal would be a home-cooked one. And it's not like I'm a wonderful cook or anything, just that the boys know home-cooked is safe, nothing really strange to try. I look around in Singapore restaurants, and see little kids trying different foods and I feel like a big failure.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Oi... you are not sleeping through again??? Or just jet lag har? Remember what we agreed on the last time? ;)

Hee... me, Alan's not ard to roll his eyes... he does that when i'm still at the laptop and it's midnight and i'm still not sleeping...

jialat... forgot Big M is Mc's haha... when i re-read my comment then i realised mac's looked strangely weird.

I hate Autobahn stops with only fast food joints... like... chaam... what to feed my kids???!!!
When my brother visited me, he was like, erm, wow, your kids don't drink coke one ah? How did you do it har?

No conscientious effort on my part... they are just plain choosy and in this case, they'll rather choose water than coke. Funny eh? Of course, they'll choose juice over water, and certainly a Caprisonne juice pack to plain ol' apple juice.

Poor you... the men in your life really know how to make things difficult for you when it comes to food. Must be home-cooked lah... even white rice also must eat with eggs lah. Never let you slack hor!

Btw, eggs are good... steal a few from the breakfast buffet to last Sean the whole day lah! I mean the hard boiled ones.

You know what... maybe we've been cooking too much at home. Wait till i go back to Sg... hawker centre everyday until the kids jialat jialat and then they start eating... hee hee...

Alcovelet said...

LIlian, and Cindy, I know how you feel, wail. RK won't eat more than a bite the whole day sometimes, and the only thing he obliges is ordering the food, so guess who has to finish up?? The worst part is that he doesn't even like burgers or sandwiches ("why dilute the taste with the bread?" But he won't eat the filling either). Holidays are the worst cos there are too many distractions.

Yup CIndy, I've given up fighting. He says he's rarely hungry, so what to do? I try get some eggs in for breakfast (try only), and then that's it. He loves dessert, so if he doesn't eat his meal, I tell him he can't have it (because he'll get a sugar high, blah blah), so he'll try to put in a few mouthfuls.

This thing about favourtite foods - is it fixed for your kids? RK's keeps revolving, so his favourite aglio olio pasta from 2 weeks ago is no more! If he has something new, that's fine. But usually, there's just nothing like now, aiyo!!

Lilian said...

Cindy: I think it would help if Sean were tua jiak and chubby like your kids; but as it is he's so small, so I always watch eagle-eyedly the quantity he eats. At home, he whacks big plates of rice with most of what I cook, no problemo, it's when we are out that he gets all antsy.

Adeline: My kids are creatures of habit, like me and my husband. I was just thinking about this and realise I can't blame them for being choosy, cos we are exactly like that! For Sean, his favourite is egg and chicken on rice. As long as he has his eggs, he's happy. Fried eggs with a bit of light soy sauce on rice, perfect for him. And he's been eating oranges every day for years. Only eats oranges, grapes, bananas and maybe apples. No other fruits.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Bryan is a bit tua jiak... i admit.
Kristin is probably still chubby from her milk.
Ask Bao, she knows how much my kids eat. I really wonder how Kristin puts on weight.

Talking about fruits,
B eats apples, grapes and cherries only. In Sg, with some luck, he'll eat pineapple, rock melon, honey dew.
K eats strawberries, kiwi, peaches, grapes, oranges, bananas but not those exotic fruits that B eats.
Daddy is disappointed that both kids and I don't like durians... we'll go eeeewww!

Lilian said...

Aiyoh, you so angmoh, don't like durians?? Brian and I love durians, Eddie likes it, Sean ate durians when he was very very small, but he's forgotten, and now won't try.

monlim said...

Alamak, thought I told you Sushi Kaiten is right across from the zebra crossing from Harajuku station? Nebber listen to me, go and follow internet guide, right!! Haha!

Re: food, maybe it just takes time? My kids now eat anything but when Andre was younger, he was very fussy. We went to Malacca and he wouldn't eat anything, just kept clutching his bolster (he was abt 3) and looking pathetic...

Lilian said...

Aiyoh how to remember, all I remember from you and the internet guide was cross the road from Harajuku station. Takeshita-dori also cross the road from station! There are 2 exits from the station. I went to the wrong one. Nebber mind, I managed to eat Sushi Kaiten a few days later, I am very determined that way :)

Hopefully lah what you say will be true for Sean. Brian was also very picky but not quite as picky as Sean. Now he eats everything.

petite fleur said...

Wow quite a discussion about picky eater. It is a good thing that Sean likes home cooked food. N who is not a fussy eater, can be difficult when eating out (which we don't do often) or when we are entertaining / have guests, she's too distracted to eat.

And I'm so envious that you had ramen in Tokyo....

Lilian said...

Not eating due to distraction from guests being around is perfectly understandable. I suppose N gets really excited when there's company. If I'm expecting company, what I do is make sure the kids eat first before guests arrive.

Yes, missing all the food in Tokyo already.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lilian, Mon direct me to your Japan trip blog. I laugh so hard when you said the sign board mocking at you! Well, at least you had the chance to see the sign board, me going now and was told by Mon that it had closed down. *Sob*


Lilian said...

On this trip, I actually got to eat at Sushi Kaiten cos I went again another day, buay kamwan. But early this year, I went again and that was how I found out the place was closed! So pek chek. But we found another sushi place near Disneyland that had better sushi, but more expensive. Still worth it. When are you going? I promised Mon I'd blog about this year's trip cos I have so many photos, till now have not :P

Anonymous said...

Good sushi place!!! Give me the addy!! I'm leaving next week. Will spent 2 consecutive day in Disneyland (thurs & Fri) and break over the weekend and continue with Disneysea on Mon. I read that the 2/3 day-passes are not allow to have gaps in between and for the 1st 2 days, it only allows entry to each of the park and not to the same park. Very headache, I calculated and I have to cough out much more compare to getting the day-passes. But no choice leh, my hb is working on Thurs & Fri, and he only interested in Disneysea, also he won't go to the theme park on a weekend.....*arghh...*


Lilian said...

I have to wait for Brian to get back, I think he'll remember the name of the restaurant. It's at that shopping mall just next to Disney resort. Which leads to the train station. Anyway, let u know later.

Tell ur hubby don't expect the crowd to be less on Monday. Japanese pp are crazy over disneyland!!

Lilian said...

Hope you're checking. Brian says the name of the restaurant is Tsukiji Tama Sushi and it's either on the 2nd or 3rd floor of that mall. The mall above the train station. You can't miss the mall.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lilian! Please thanked Brian on my behalf too. Okie dokie, noted the restuatrant name. I think I better bring pants with elastic rubber only, so stomach got space for extension. LOL