Tokyo Memories, Day 11: A Christmas-Eve Date at Robot Resturaunt

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 11, December 24th, 2019

Merry Christmas Eve in Tokyo! We slept in a bit today zzzZZZzzzZZZ At around 11 we set out for Shinjuku, where we went looking for clothes that might fit us. I went to Eur3 and Dusty to Suzutan. I found a couple of really cute things that fit me ❤

Then, we ducked into a random conveyor sushi place, where we had a cheap & quick lunch.

At 4pm we entered the Robot Resturaunt for the show I had pre-booked. Despite being a huge tourist-trap, I think it really surpassed both our expectations!

It’s called “Robot Resturaunt”, but you really go for the show, not the food. First we watched a “preshow”, which featured around a dozen acts and was about an hour of robots playing music (well, musicians in cool chrome Daft Punk-esque robo suits), an intense singer man in sunglasses, and dozens of girls in various costumes doing many different dances, from pop to rock, techno, modern, burlesque… the “preshow” was an impressive show of its own.

For the main show, we were directed to the basement level. The stairways are absolutely tricked out from top to bottom with crystals, paint, giant lizards, flashing lights, gold, silver, and every kind of bling. Definitely the most “extra” place I’ve ever been. Before the show started, I bought an (overpriced) flashing lightbulb drink (lemon flavored).

The show was broken into 3 parts. The first act featured fights between rival robots and costumed heroes. Dragons, demons, drummers, warriors, cute, cool, and crazy robots.

Act 2 was a Christmas special featuring a strange storyline- well, the story isn’t so strange, but the 3 main characters are an island girl, a hyena woman, and a pirate, and their paths cross without much explanation… OH WELL, visually it was stunning, regardless. Christmas trains, lights, a giant inflatable Rudolph, handsome hyena men, lots of dancing, and tons of music stolen from various franchises! XD We heard music from:

  • Shrek
  • The 5th Element
  • High-School Musical
  • The Mask
  • and probably others I forgot

The last act started with a sort of ode to the nations of the world, with Michael Jackson’s face dominating the panoramic screen (We Are the World playing) and costumes and props bearing flags from various countries. Then, it turned into a hodgepodge of random robots- a collossal duck that blinks and chomps? Why not? A freakish rainbow doll riding a bike? Sure!

We (everyone in the audience) were given lightsticks for the final act, and waved them around without direction, using reckless abandon. Performers handed and/or threw marshmallow candies to the audience- I got one! Thanks, Shark Boy!

It was a really fun show.

Sitting in the Robot Resturaunt throne

We stopped at the supermarket at Higashi Ikebukuro for some drinks, pudding, and chicken (Christmas Eve in Tokyo requires chicken!) and exchanged our presents to eachother back at the hotel room. Dustin got me some adorable and subtle Pikachu earings from the Pokemon centre! ❤

Check out day 12, Christmas Cruise to Odaiba, here !

Tokyo Memories Day 6: Asakusa Hagoita Festival and… Visiting A Host Club!?

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1 here)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 6, December 19th, 2019

This morning Dusty and I visited Asakusa for the first time. Senso-ji temple is way bigger than I had imagined!

It was the last day of the Hagoita festival, so there were stalls selling tasty street food alongside the temple: we enjoyed tasty choco-bananas and a sort of meat-stick with rice wrapped in bacon and covered in bits of cheese. SO GOOD, also messy!

I got a small Hagoita (a decorative wooden bat which is a good luck charm) and a mask of a red demon for Dad.

Check out that Frozen Hagoita! I love the Kabuki ones best.

We also saw this puppy in a pet-store (?) window T-T ❤

After Asakusa, we visited Akiba briefly- particularly Yodobashi camera, where we also went up to a top floor and had some conveyor-belt sushi.

This evening I had a tour booked with a woman named Sachiko: a “Girl’s Night-Life In Shinjuku”, mainly visiting a Host Club! Normally tourists aren’t allowed in, but with Sachiko as my guide I got a glimpse at this strange world of manufactured flirtation and overpriced drinks.

We met at Shinjuku station and headed out into Kabukicho. We stopped briefly at a konbini where Sachiko told me the rules of the clubs and expectations for first-time visitors. Most importantly, we couldn’t let slip that we were there on a one-time tour experience, because the staff depend on commissions from repeat customers, so it would not be a good vibe.

The club was in an outwardly drab and non-descript building, but as soon as we stepped off the elevator we were surrounded by luxe, cavernous spaces and perfumed air. We were seated and drank shochu mixed with orange juice as we chatted with the first hosts to our table.

The men were as stylishly groomed as the interior of the club. Sachiko did most of the talking at first while I sipped at my drink. Once we got into the swing of conversation I of course showed off pics of Tegan and Butters, and we also discussed various anime and manga series, as well as J-horror (I guess the Japanese horror movies I love so much are not as well known as I would have thought!)

It was interesting, if at times a bit awkward. We spoke almost entirely in Japanese the whole time, making me acutely aware of my limitations… at one point a guy asked “so, how do you find boys in Japan compared to Canada?” and I replied “hmm, I think that generally most Japanese men have better style”, but I didn’t realize at first that I used the word “kare” to mean boy, which, while technically correct, is colliqually used almost always to mean “boyfriend”. So, they laughed and said “are they going to fight eachother!?!?” at which point I realized I had basically said “I think (my) boyfriend in Japan has much better style than (my) boyfriend in Canada” LOL OOPS. IT ISN”T LIKE THAT, I SWEAR ^-^’

The hosts would visit our table two at a time, and each would give their business card. Ryu’s business card was by-far the most impressive (hard luxe-golden shining plastic with a stylish headshot of himself) but Kido’s is also cool, a sparkling city skyline with a big heart constellation. Kido was the one who talked to me the most, asked to see more pictures on my phone, and complimented me on my cosplay and stuff, so he was the Host that I chose to have revisit our table at the end of our stay. Sachiko chose Ryu. They walked us out to the elevator together when it was time to leave.

All in all, it was a bit less intense than I was expecting- it sort of felt similar to just chatting with strangers in a bar. Still, an interesting memory and an experience!

I stopped at some gachapon and crane games at Adores on the way back to the hotel- man, I wasted like 2000 yen on nothing! How did we win so many little toys and plushies last time we visited!? Dustin even got a decent sized Kirby plush when we came here on our last trip… maybe Taito station is easier to win at than Adores? Or maybe I just suck T-T

Check out day 7, The Wackiest Izakaya in Tokyo, here!

Japan Memories Day 3: Shinjuku Gyoen, Giant Spiders, and Square Enix Cafe!

This is day 3 of revisiting my journal from our trip to Japan last year! If you’d like to start at the beginning, here is day 1.

So, day 3, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 3, October 3rd, 2017

Today was a wonderful day. I slept in until past 10 am! Both Dustin and I were much more well-rested today, so we decided to go to Shinjuku.

Although of course it is still crazy humid here, we were much more comfortable today because we weren’t lugging around extra bags and took a more leisurely attitude toward the day.

We set out to find Shinjuku Gyoen Park with the help of ever-trusty Google Maps. Near the station exit we saw some (shelter? aid?) dogs and donation boxes with a couple of ladies. I made a little donation and they thanked me and let me pet the dogs 🙂 

It was a 20ish minute stroll to the park. On the way we saw lots of high-end stores. The admission to the park was only 200yen per person (about 2 bucks). 

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The contrast from the park to the city, despite their immediate proximity, was amazing. We suddenly felt instantly calmer upon entering; suddenly we were surrounded by towering trees instead of department stores and quiet paths instead of busy intersections. Everyone in the park was relaxing- sitting on the grass, eating ice-cream, going for a slow jaunt around the park.

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Fun fact: Shinjuku Gyoen is featured prominently in Makoto Shinkai’s gorgeous anime A Garden of Words.

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Soon after arriving, we spotted a gigantic spider eating a bug on its web- one of the biggest spiders i’d ever seen. Some tourists came out of a path in front of us and I said “look at this massive spider!” They smiled and nodded. As we continued down the path, we realized that the spider we found was not a rare discovery- the things were everywhere! There weren’t any directly in our way, but one look to the side showed that these things stretch their webs along gaps on every side of the trail- a good deterrent from wandering off the beaten path!

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Here’s what we did and saw at the park:

  • got ice cream (Dustin got chocolate and I got vanilla soft cream)

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  • sat in the grass
  • saw tons of huge spiders
  • took a couple of pics together
  • found a white crane 

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  • startled some birds (accidentally)
  • heard our first cicadas
  • witnessed popping chestnuts(?!)
  • crossed a scenic bridge

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  • oohed and aahed over beautiful, hungry koi fish

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  • I peed in a traditional-style Japanese squat toilet for the first time!

  • we couldn’t believe how gorgeous the trees in the park were
  • stayed until closing (4ish)

After the park we headed to our first theme cafe: the Square Enix Artnia Cafe. On our way we passed:

  • our first DAISO (ok, we didn’t pass by- we stopped in, and Dustin bought some socks)
  • a huge group of smartly dressed office workers leaving work together
  • someone’s 2 pet rabbits 

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  • a large raven (?) cawing on a streetlight
  • plastic food displays (always cool)

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  • a cat themed establishment with lots of cat themed deco outside

The Artnia cafe was neat- more of a bar than a cafe. They had merch for Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, etc. 

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While the main draw for us wasn’t the food, and the merchandise felt a bit scant, the highlight for me was this impressive display room featuring glass and mirrors everywhere, and a huge crystal fountain surrounded by recognizable figurines being featured. 

Here are just a few of many displayed there when we went: Cindy, Sephiroth, Hatsune Miku, Sultana Nanamo Ul Namo, and Wolverine!

After Artnia, Dustin headed back to the hotel and I did some more evening shopping, picture taking, and exploring in Ikebukuro. I got a special edition Fate Stay Night drink from the stand next to Animate, as well as more gashapon and souvenirs and gifts. I also got some cute treats for us to try from Animate. 

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Tomorrow is day 4: SHINee Day, Harajuku Purikura Fail, and a Shiba named Hamu!