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.