Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2/9/13: Asakusabashi, Koshikawa Korakuen, and Ginza

I'm back with another re-cap.  Had a couple of days to get over my jet lag and need to get ready to go back to work tomorrow!  Wanted to catch up on my trip posts before I have to return to work, so here they are!

Saturday was our last full day in Tokyo before we were headed home.  Had to make the most of the last full day, so we decided to push on to see how much we could do.  First task was to find me some craft supplies!  I was open to trying a new store and was referred by two friends to try Shimojima.  I'll post a Japan Haul later on to show you what I ended up getting from there, but let's just say.. mission accomplished!  Bought so much stuff, we had to drop it off at the hotel before moving on...

Saw these cute animal baskets. I wanted one of each, but limited myself to just a few.

More animal baskets.. cute yah?

And here's the wall of washi!  I gotta say, their washi was pretty darn cheap.  I liked some of their designs so I ended up getting a handful, but some of them were common ones that I already had in my stash. If I didn't have that much washi already, I would have definitely bought more.  This photo is a panoramic taken by my iphone, so you should click on the photo to get the full effect.

While I was off in washi heaven, Paul took Akemi to meet our friend Randy, who live in Tokyo.  You may remember from our last trip, that we had lunch with Randy the same day of  the earthquake.  Akemi was hungry while they waited, so they decided to try McDonald's Shaka Shaka fries (seriously ate McDonalds again in Japan- shaking my head)...  Its called shaka shaka because you shake the packet onto the fries.  Paul said it was OK, probably wouldn't bother with it again.

As I mentioned, they went to meet Randy, who runs a English school in Japan and is originally from Hilo.  See him on the left?

So after we met up again and headed back to the hotel, we ate a fast lunch and were getting ready to go back out when I felt the hotel move... I looked at Paul and asked him if he felt that. Oh no?!  Was it happening again?  He didn't feel it, but then it shook again and he definitely felt that one.. so did Akemi.  We waited a few minutes and it stopped.. Thank goodness!  Paul looked it up and it was about 5.5.  Sheesh.  I am staring to believe that Paul and Randy shouldn't meet up in Tokyo anymore.  I'm thinking it was only a small one since they only saw each other for a short while.  Yikes!

Next we headed to Koshikawa Korakuen in hopes of seeing the plum blossoms (ume).  It's supposed to be one of the first signs of spring, so we were hoping to get a glimpse of them before we left.  This park was supposed to have quite a few trees, so we were hopeful that they would be in bloom.  

The station we got off on had the longest escalator I've ever seen!

Finally made it to the park without getting lost...

At the entrance to the park, we saw this kimono on the stand.. Do you know who it belonged to?

Don't feel bad because I didn't know either.  Paul said it belonged to Mito Komon, which was a character in a long running series in Japan and was even made into a cartoon.

On our way to the ume trees, we saw a lot of koi... or as Akemi called them.. catfish.  Is it catfish?

OK I know this one is definitely a koi.

Success!  We found the ume trees and some of them were in bloom!  

They even had white ones...

Found out I'm a pretty horrible photographer.  Where's Les when I need her?  I finally managed to get a close up of the blossoms.

We stuck around for a bit and enjoyed the scenery.  It really is a pretty park.

We decided to take the long route back to the entrance and found this pretty path.

I like this shot taken by Paul...  The Japanese even make their pathways look pretty.

I even found a heart shaped stone!

The path led us to the other side of the pond.  I used my panoramic mode to capture this photo.

After we left the park, we decided to check out Ginza for more shopping.

First stop was Itoya!  We found it pretty quickly after getting off the subway.  Paul and Akemi headed to Starbucks to read and rest while I checked out this new store.  It had a lot of stationary stuff, so I picked up the Frixion Pens that were requested (I'll post them later) and more washi paper!  I don't have any photos of the store, but I'll post the washi paper I got from there in a haul post.

Next we wanted to get another Baumkuchen cake to take back home.  We finally found the store that carries them!

We bought a set for the family back in Hilo and dessert for us!  Yummy!

The highlight of our trip was getting the omiyage from Hakuhinkan Toy Park.  We wanted to get them last time, but because of the earthquake, they were closed when we went back.  Paul was determined this time and spent quite some time at the machine. I will post the pics of what we got after we give everyone their omiyage.  It's pretty cool.

Ater the Toy Park, we got some food (more curry and rahmen for Akemi) and then headed back to Asakusa.  Overall a very successful shopping trip!

I got one more day of posts to go!

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