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Thursday, 31 July 2014

BLOG -- My trip to Japan -- EXTRA -- KARAOKE IN JAPAN

And here is my final, final Japan-related blog. It is just some of my karaokings while in Japan (because I just love to record myself sing...)! A lot of my recordings were horrible (some of those songs were my first time karaoking it) so I'm not sharing that many.

If you are here and reading this, I hope you enjoy my singings... at least a little! As with all my karaoke videos, there will be next to no visuals of any sort, so just click the "Play" button and do whatever else.

If you think my voice sucks... my apologies! I note which songs are in Japanese and which ones are in English.




video
"Kokoro no Senritsu" from Tari Tari.
(I really enjoy the anime series, so I was glad to be
able to sing a song from it. This song is in Japanese.)




video
Straightener -- "Discography"
(I've shared the official video in a past blog. Now I'm sharing 
my rendition! I am sorry if it doesn't sound good to you. 
This song is in English.)




video
"The Sore Feet Song" from Mushi-Shi
(I find the lyrics a bit amusing. I like
that I'm singing this an octave higher.
This song is in English.)




video
Ellegarden -- "Make a Wish"
(I really like this song. The band is growing
on me. This song is in English.)




video
Glay -- "Koi"
(I really like Glay, and I've been wanting to sing this song for soooo long. 
It is one of their more sadder songs, and I tend to like sad songs.
At around 3 minutes, I sing much louder, so make sure to turn down the volume slightly at that time! The song is in Japanese.)




video
X-Japan -- "Unfinished"
(This is a sad song, but I like singing it sometimes.
This song is in English.)



video
Spitz -- "Robinson"
(I was planning on NOT sharing this because I make a couple mistakes at the end, 
but... I like this song a lot. And I think I did a good job of it, having 
learned the song just that morning. I always used to hum along to this song -- 
I never tried singing it. So... kudos to me on my first attempt, 
despite the couple of mistakes!
This song is in Japanese.)


If you got to the end, thank you so much for listening! Now I'm patiently waiting for the day I can go back to Japan and karaoke my heart out again! In the meantime, I will try to memorize more Hatsune Miku songs and whatever else ;)

As always, feel free to comment or ask questions. If you have any song suggestions for me to karaoke next, let me know! I can't promise anything, but I welcome the exposure :)

BLOG -- Recap of July

So July... was a mix. The first few weeks were great and fun, despite that I turned a year older *sigh*. These last few days, though, have really done a number on me and I am currently not so happy and bright. I'm not gonna go into details -- I just hope things will be okay and that I can get through this.


Outings/Events in July:
- Celebrated my birthday with friends x2.

- Had a birthday lunch with my boss and team-mates.

- Karaoked with my sister for 1 hour.

- Checked out Summerlicious with a friend.


Exposures:
- (restaurant) Bangkok Garden -- This is a Thai restaurant that I checked out with a friend for Summerlicious. The food there is good.

- (song) "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men -- At first I wasn't sure what kind of song this was. It sounded kinda upbeat but eerie at the same time. The lyrics were also eerie. Once I read up an interpretation of this song, though, I fell in love. It made me feel very happy, but also very sad at the same time. I actually cried when I read the interpretation, it tugged at my soul so much. 

According to the interpretation, the song is about a couple who has been together for many, many years, and they are finally near reaching the end of their life. The woman sings about her fears of falling asleep and never waking up, while the man tries to comfort her, but at the same time, says that they will meet again soon if that were to happen. When I think about dying and leaving my loved one behind, it gives me such an indescribable ache. I wouldn't want to subject anybody to that kind of pain. But at the same time, the fact that the relationship has lasted for that many years... for that situation to even exist... is something that makes me smile and feel warmth. I wonder if I'll ever experience that kind of love and be in that kind of relationship...


Finished...
Watching:
- (Movie): Vampire Academy -- Even though this movie was considered a flop, I liked it! The plot kept moving and I really enjoyed the main character. It also helps that she has the same first name as me. I ended up ordering the book series because I liked her so much, hahaha.

- (Movie): Mean Girls -- This was okay. Didn't like all the back-stabbing and I couldn't really sympathize with the main character. I was pleasantly surprised that Neil Flynn was in it, even though it was for a very brief time.


Playing:
- Nothing this month.

Reading:
- Nothing this month.


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS3): Borderlands 2  
- (DS): Legacy of Ys: Book I & II 
- (3DS): Bravely Default
- (3DS): Weapon Shop de Omasse
- (3DS): Liberation Maiden
- (3DS): Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition  
- (PSP): Persona 
- (PSP): Crush
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend


Watching:
- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 3) 
- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho (don't remember)
- (Anime): Shakugan no Shana (Season 1 -- Episode 19)

Reading:
- (Manga): Judge by Yoshiki Tonogai 
- (Manga): Midnight Secretary by Tomu Ohmi (Volume 7)


That's it for July. Like June, I didn't take too many photos so here is one, and then three videos I was exposed to this month.


 My birthday lunch with my boss and team-mates. 
And of course I would choose to have sushi.


Since I talked about it, I might as well share it.
"Little Talks" -- Of Monsters and Men.


"It's Time" -- Imagine Dragons. I was exposed to this song on my birthday. 
At first I thought it was a sad song, but now I 
know that it is just the kind of song for me. :)



"Lost My Pieces" from anime Toradora. 
This version is performed by ~ishter-kun~ (Tehishter). I just found it today 
while looking for songs to listen to at work. This song is really helping me 
right now to express what I'm feeling.   


Thanks for reading!

You all have a good weekend and take care! :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

BLOG -- My trip to Japan -- RANDOM THOUGHTS + SWAG / PURCHASES

Well, this is the last core blog entry related to my trip to Japan. I have one more coming, but it is more an extra, and may not be interesting to you. Hahaha, I'm a little sad that I'm nearing the end. I don't want to stop thinking about my time in Japan... I just want to be back there...

But I gotta write this so let's go.

In this blog, I'm going to list any miscellaneous thoughts or observations I had while in Japan, especially around Tokyo. If I think of any more, I will update this entry. It's highly likely that I won't remember everything right now. Then after that, we'll go into my swag / purchases. That section will be sorta photo-heavy. If you want to jump straight to that section, do a search for "swag/purchases" (make sure there are no spaces between the "/").


MY MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS OR OBSERVATIONS

- Tons of drink vending machines. Almost everywhere we went, we would run into a drink vending machine. There were a whole bunch of them lined up side-by-side on one block in Ikebukuro. I really wanted to try a lot of the different drinks, but I couldn't always tell which ones were energy drinks or coffee (I would prefer not to drink coffee). I also saw a cigarette vending machine, and a couple ice cream vending machines.

- Very few public trash bins. While there were tons of trash bins for drinks throughout Tokyo, there were very, very few trash bins for general trash. Maybe this is to discourage people from making miscellaneous trash while outside? (like if you were to eat a sandwich with a wrapper or something)

- Sidewalk scrapers. One time while we were walking down the streets of... Ikebukuro (I think), we saw a few people wearing face masks going around with a scraper and scraping stuff off the roads and sidewalks. Is that how the streets generally stay clean??

- Face masks everywhere. Seeing people wearing face masks are common.

- Lots of bicyclists but no bicycle helmets. I guess I'm just not used to seeing bicyclists without helmets, so I noticed this right away.

- Weather forecast and time on almost every TV program. Having the time and weather forecast on almost every TV program was quite convenient!

- An amazing love for Frozen. I could tell that Japan loved Frozen from all the Frozen-themed crane game machines, all the general merchandise, and that it was still in theatres! To be fair, it was released in Japan on March 14th, but that's still a long run-time. I was surprised... but in a good way. I wasn't sure if the different perspective on love would be appreciated. I'm happy that it was. I really enjoyed Frozen, too.

- Cashiers always speaking out the amount they receive and the change they give back to you. My sister was able to learn / make out some of the numbers that way, lol.

- Umbrellas up during rainy days. I was surprised to see almost everybody using umbrellas during the rainy days. I haven't used an umbrella in years.

- NO jaywalking or crossing during a red light! At least, I didn't see any! :)



MY SWAG/PURCHASES


The clothes I bought from H&M -- oh, I mean Uniqlo.
Lol, Uniqlo really does make me think of a Japanese H&M.


Goth clothes that I bought from Shibuya 109. The shop was called Glavil.
I also bought some stockings (bottom right) from a small shop called pocoapoco
that carried a ton of stockings and misc. undergarments. I would have bought more 
if I had more time to browse.


A metal 3D puzzle + 5000 yen PSN card with Hatsune Miku's design. I bought these from Don Quijote. The snacks were covered in my JAPAN EATS blog.


Tiny charms that I bought from the Nakamise Shopping Street. The charm on the left represents "love" (this was given to one of my long-time close friends). The charm on the right is meant to keep bad spirits away (something I feel I need... kinda).


Some gachapons I got from Gachapon Kaikan. I should have taken pictures of them outside their capsules... but I didn't. I got two capsules from Mother 2, two capsules from Danganronpa, and the rest from other series. I actually got more, but I either 
threw them out or gave them to my sister.


The souvenirs I got from the Meguro Parasitological Museum. The book looks 
pretty gross, so don't click to enlarge this image if you are squeamish. 
I mean, it even makes me a bit squeamish. I got a set of postcards, a mini-tote bag, 
an English guidebook to the museum, and a pendant with this parasite called anisakis simplex.


I bought these used CDs from Super Retro Potato-kan. I got: Samurai Western OST, 
a CD single for this video game called Prism Ark -Awake- (that I _just_ found out was an eroge, ha...), Ragnarok Online OST, Ever17 Singles Collection 1, 
Game Vocal Best volume 2.

I bought these used CDs from Disk Union. I got: Vocaloid Best -Memories-, 
Vocaloid Best -Impacts-, Mother 1+2, JAM Project -Maximizer~Decade of Evolution~, 
Radiant Historia Piano Arrangement, JAM Project Best Collection III, 
Final Fantasy VI OST (I love this soundtrack! <3)
 
Some of the swag I got from J-World. I got three One Piece gachapons ('cuz I love One Piece). I also got medals -- 1 medal for each attraction I visited.
 
 These are how the medals look. I am so happy that I got Sanji for one of them (top left)!


Souvenirs that I bought from the J-World gift shop. I wasn't intending it, but it looked like I bought all One Piece-themed items. I got a tissue box cover, a 300-piece jigsaw puzzle, and bath salts (lol!). I wonder how the Sanji themed bath salts would smell?


Some stuff that I bought from Animate: Snow Miku's earmuffs, a gachapon of Rin, an empty small figure case (to bring some fragile item home), an empty plastic card case, a P4U key chain thing (I gave it away to a friend), a Felyne plushie.


Some cosplay items I bought from Cospatio. I got two fake glasses, two pairs of 
colour contacts, and a tie from the anime Ouran High School Host Club.


A large empty figure case (to bring fragile things home) + a kodama plushy (from 
anime movie Princess Mononoke) bought from Kotobukiya. The plushy has a bell in it 
so it rings when you shake it (kinda like how it sounds
when it shakes its head in the movie).


Hatsune Miku figure won from the crane games in Akihabara. Woooooooot!!!


A bunch of One Piece-themed items bought from 7-11 when they launched some One Piece campaign. This was launched on the last day of my trip (when my luggage was all packed up), so I was glad I decided to visit 7-11 one last time. 

The top four food items were buyable: chocolates in a round devil fruit container (yummy!), dried spicy ramen nuggets (were good but too spicy for me), fire devil fruit gummies (yummy!), soft chewy candies (yummy). 

The bottom item was a prize you would get from a draw. Pretty much you pay at the counter to grab a prize ticket from a box. Then you open the ticket to see what letter grade prize you got. Then you pick from what's available for that level. I got the G grade prize level, and got to pick from one of three candy dish bowls. In case the picture isn't clear enough, I got the design with a silhouette of Luffy and the words "Straw Hat Crew" above.


About an hour later, I went back to 7-11 and paid for another draw, lol. This one is an 
F grade prize. It's a large clip-on badge with the straw hat symbol.


A bunch of stuff that I bought from Artnia's gift shop. I got: two Artnia clips 
(they gave this to me for free), mini Cactaur plushy (I gave it to a friend), 
FF 14-themed mug, FF14-themed tote bag, FF-themed bookmarks, 
Tonberry plushy (awwwww, soooooo cute!!! <3), a blank D's Journal from 
Bravely Default. I also got two The World Ends With You buttons but it's not shown here.


The stuff I bought from the Capcom Bar. A Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary coaster 
(this was free), Gyakuten Meets Orchestra CD (this was discontinued at 
most online shops so I was glad it was available here), 
a Monster Hunter-themed stamp set.


More stuff that I bought from Animate. "Dreamer" CD single, "Shiokaze no Harmony" 
CD single (both from anime Tari Tari), Tari Tari OST, Gyakuten Saiban 5 OST, 
Gyakuten Saiban Sound Box (includes music from Gyakuten Saiban 1-3), annnnnnnnd... 
Persona 3: Spring of Birth #1 Blu-Ray Limited Edition 
(came with that nifty wall scroll to the right).


A closer look at what's inside Persona 3: Spring of Birth #1 Blu-Ray Limited Edition. 
From left to right, top to bottom: the Blu-Ray box, some shiny stickers 
(I haven't looked at them), Blu-Ray case (also includes a soundtrack CD), 
a mini art guide book, some postcards.


This also came with the Persona 3: Spring of Birth #1 Blu-Ray Limited Edition.


Annnnnd... here is what's inside. A metal key, and an Elizabeth key chain thing.


Cost of Swag / Purchases (in Yen) (NOT counting what I gave to friends)
Uniqlo: 4095
Shibuya 109 (Glavil + pocoapoco): 16200 (15120 + 1080)
Don Quijote (5000 yen PSN card + 3D metallic puzzle): 6213 (5000 + 1213)
Tiny Charm: 150
Gachapon Kaikan: 1600
Meguro Parasitological Museum: 3800
Super Retro Potato-kan: 3888
Disk Union: 7890
J-World swag: 4164
Animate swag #1 (misc pile): 3011
Animate swag #1 (CDs + Persona Blu-Ray): 24006
Cospatio: 11750
Kotobukiya: 4270
Hatsune Miku figure (from the crane game): 200 (woot!! Got it on my first try at that specific machine!!)
One Piece campaign (at 7-11): 2360
Artnia gift shop: 9250
Capcom Bar swag: 4599


Grand Total: 107446 yen

Now... in case you say "How could you have declared that much while coming back to Canada?", my answer is this: I had my sister declare the excess. ;) She didn't spend that much on souvenirs so between us we were both under our declaration limit.

And with that I am done my core Japan blogs! Woot! And boo... (ahhh, Japan -- how I miss you!!)


Thank you for reading and sticking with me through my ventures in Japan. I have one more Japan-related blog coming, but I is it more an extra, so it may not be interesting to you. It will be up very soon-ish, since there is not much writing involved.

Thank you again and take care! :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

BLOG -- My trip to Japan -- JAPAN EATS

So here is my blog on the foods I had while in Japan. I wasn't sure how to organize this, but organizing by region seemed to make the most sense. Also, this entry is very photo-heavy -- the scroll bar is NOT tiny because I've written a novel here! (maybe a light novel, though) ;)

One thing to note is that when ordering foods in Japan, if you don't know Japanese or enough Japanese, you can often point to what you want on the menu and show with your fingers how many of that item you want. Even though I was prepped beforehand how to order in Japanese, I would still often end up pointing at the menu and saying how many I'd want.

I found out in one embarrassing situation that by ordering in Japanese, the server could ask me something in Japanese (that I don't understand)... and then I'd be standing there, not sure what to do or say... like a deer being caught in a head light... *sigh* hahaha


*********************************************************************************************
MEGURO
*********************************************************************************************
GANKO DANKO

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Takoyaki
Yen Spent: 500
Restaurant Size: Take-out only
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
So this takoyaki stand was located right across the Meguro Parasitological Museum. Feeling mischievous, I thought it would be neat to have some takoyaki after visiting the museum (I was curious to see if the museum would have grossed me out so much that I wouldn't be able to eat anything afterwards).

Lined along the walls of the stand were autograph boards signed by celebrities. I didn't take a good look at them, but I did notice an autograph board signed by Mr. Children (I like some of their music).

Even though the place had about five different takoyaki items on their menu, I went with the most basic, default option. I figured it'd be the best way to gauge just how different it was from the takoyaki in Toronto (if there was any difference at all).

Once I got it, I sat on the nearby bench with my sister and opened the container. It -- looked -- amazing! So amazing that I think it caused two passerbys to stop and order some takoyaki for themselves. Unfortunately, since my tongue is about as sensitive as a cat's, I had to wait for it to cool down before I could bite in. When I did, though... it was sooo yummy!! That place better still be there when I go back to Japan! :)

Ahhhh... looking at this just makes me wanna drool...
It was soooo good, too! Ahhhhh....


*********************************************************************************************
ODAIBA
*********************************************************************************************
MAIDREAMIN'

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Cute
Yen Spent: 1296 (meal) + 540 (photo)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
So Maidreamin' is a maid cafe. The decor is very bright and cute, and the servers are dressed in maid outfits. As you can also see in the above pic, a lot of the food items look cute, too. The service itself is also very cute. Whenever an order came in, the server would teach us some kind of move to "instill cuteness or magic" into the dish / drink. An example would be forming a heart with our fingers and then bringing the heart to the dish, saying something like "kaaaa-waaaa-iiiii".

I ordered a curry cutlet dish and it was pretty good (and cute). I was glad to see a variety of customers at Maidreamin'. One table had about six men in dress suits, and I think I saw a couple at another table. I would definitely go back myself.

Unfortunately -- I don't think there were any male servers (where's a good host club when I need one?! Hahaha).


My curry rice dish with cutlets. Originally the cutlets were bare, and the 
server asked me in Japanese what animal I'd like her to draw. Suddenly put on 
the spot, I said "neko" (cat), and she drew it. I should have said 
"usagi" (bunny) or "kitsune" (fox). It was still neat (and cute!).

 A pic of me (with my face blocked out) with one of the servers.
I paid 500 yen for this pic. I kinda say that it was worth it, 
'cuz now I have a memento.


*********************************************************************************************
AKIHABARA
*********************************************************************************************
MCDONALD'S

Type(s) of Cuisine: Western
Specialty (if any): None
Yen Spent: 1003 (499 Big Breakfast + 504 Nugget Happy Meal)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? If you like McDonald's

Brief Impression
Well, McDonald's is McDonald's. I'm not too well-versed in the menu for McDonald's back in Canada, but I think the menu in Japan is very similar. We've got breakfast items, burgers, nuggets, and fries in Canada -- same as in Japan. And as far as I can tell, the taste is the same as in Canada. The only difference I noticed was the way they disposed of their trash. The trash bin compartments are separated out into more than just a section to throw drinks and a section to throw the rest. There was a compartment to throw out drink lids and straws (I think); a compartment to throw out the drink container; a compartment to throw out paper items (I think). I should have taken a picture of the trash bins... but I didn't.

This is a "Big Breakfast". It was good.


GUNDAM CAFE

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Gundam-themed
Yen Spent: 842
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
So the Gundam Cafe had a sort of cafeteria feel to it, with a bunch of square tables and wooden chairs. To make an order, you'd have to go up to the counter close to the entrance, make your order, and pay for it. Then you go back to your table and wait for your food to come.

We went in almost right after it opened, to avoid the long lunch lineup that a couple of my friends warned me about. I think if I was more familiar with Gundam and its universe, I would have been able to appreciate more of the cafe overall. Despite that, I think I would visit it again, to try out at least one other dish (the one my sister was eating, lol).

If you ever end up going to the Gundam Cafe, make sure to visit the washroom -- and push the giant button!

Connected to the cafe was a Gundam gift shop, which we visited after our meal.


This was my order (pancakes and fruit). I think this was a limited dish to celebrate
Gundam's 35th anniversary. It was okay.

A gundam figure that was placed by the entrance. It's not everyday
you see a gundam holding a restaurant menu.


A shot of the inside.


*********************************************************************************************
IKEBUKURO
*********************************************************************************************
LOTTERIA

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese (Fast Food)
Specialty (if any): Burgers?
Yen Spent: 1760 (210 beef roll + 900 ramen burger & iced tea + 650 ramen burger)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
A friend suggested this place to me, and I'm glad I checked it out. This is a fast food place that sometimes offers limited burgers and menu items. One item that they were in the midst of introducing was the ramen burger. From the food placemat, it looked a burger with ramen noodles as the patty. Then and there, I knew I had to try it. Just like at McDonald's, trash disposal was split out between drink lids, drink containers, and such.

When I tried the ramen burger, I ended up buying another, because I dropped the first one (agg!).

A food placemat advertising the upcoming ramen burger.

The ramen burger! The ramen soup was kinda watery, but I liked the overall taste.
I enjoyed the overall taste of the ramen burger as well (with the sauce).


T.G.I.FRIDAY'S

Type(s) of Cuisine: Western
Specialty (if any): None
Yen Spent: 800
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
I've never been to a T.G.I.Friday before, but this didn't seem that different from a casual Western restaurant in Canada. I don't have much to say here, 'cept that the food was standard for a Western restaurant. I ordered a pasta dish that had to be sent back, 'cuz they forgot I said "No cheese." The pasta dish tasted fine.


*********************************************************************************************
SHIBUYA
*********************************************************************************************
SUSHI NO MIDORI

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Sushi
Yen Spent: 2538 (800 red roll + 850 california roll + 700 salmon sashimi)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes!!

Brief Impression
So while in Japan, I knew that one of the things I had to try was the sushi. There's just no way that I would go to Japan, and NOT try the sushi there. Sushi no Midori was recommended in my guide, so we checked it out.

When we found it the first time, there was a long line-up, so we went back another day... about 45 minutes before they opened. And even then, there was a small line-up. Before joining in on the line-up, though, we had to reserve seating on this electronic ticket machine that was in front of the entrance. The machine had an English option so that was very nice.

Inside, the place looked very... authentic, I guess. It was what I would imagine a sushi joint would look like (everything was pretty much wooden, lol). And the food -- was so good! I'm not too sure about the salmon sashimi since that was a bit different from what I'm used to, but all and all, it was a very yummy sushi experience and I would totally go back!

The electronic ticket system in front of Sushi no Midori. Before lining up, 
make sure you use this to get a number!

The salmon sashimi. I think that was a lot of pieces for 700 yen, and it 
tasted a bit different from what I'm used to. The pieces felt firmer, lol.

These are red rolls. It was quite good.

California rolls! I think tuna is used here 
instead of cucumber, and it was -- soooooo gooooooooood!
I totally like this version of california rolls much more 
than what we have in Canada.

The line-up after we left. For a small restaurant, this is really long.


KAMUKURA

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Unsure
Yen Spent: 100 (bought something really small)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Unsure

Brief Impression
I think we mainly wanted to try this place because we wanted to try the electronic menu that was outside the entrance. It kinda works like a vending machine. You pick the item you want. You pay for it. Then you receive a ticket with your order. Then you go inside and hand the ticket to the server / cook and wait for magic to happen. 

I got a really small item, so I can't say if I would recommend this place. The service was quick, though.


A pic of the electronic menu.

The thing I ordered. Can you read what it says?
Click the image to enlarge it. 

Here's what I ordered. An onigiri! I liked the taste.


MIAMI GARDEN

Type(s) of Cuisine: Italian
Specialty (if any): Pizza / Pasta
Yen Spent: 880
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
I don't remember what compelled us to try this place out, but we did and it was just okay. The walls were lined with various plastic peppers, which I found a little... um, I don't know. I also noticed that rap music was playing.


The dish I ordered. It was just standard.


SEIBU

Type(s) of Cuisine: Various
Specialty (if any): Various
Yen Spent: 889 (breakdown below)
Restaurant Size: Not applicable
Recommend? Not really

Brief Impression
So Seibu is a food hall. A food hall is this area that has a lot of food stalls carrying various foods. Since I tend to like variety, I was pretty psyched to check it out. From what I saw, Seibu largely sold dessert / snack items. And being in Shibuya, the prices kinda went up there. We saw one vendor selling organic spicy chocolate for about 1200 yen (pricy!), and another selling a tiny chocolate square (with a unique printing) for about 700 yen. Crazy!

I think this place is worth checking out if you want to whet your eyes, but take caution when buying something. Most items are pricey for what they are, so be very sure that you want it!

What I Ate / Drank ...
Melon Bread + Sweet Bread (231 yen) -- I was hoping this melon bread was what I've been waiting for... but it turned out to be melon-flavoured bread... It was still okay, but I was a bit disappointed.

Macaroon (302 yen) -- Very meh. I'm not sure which flavour I got.

Dango (356 yen) -- This was wayy too much to eat in one sitting. And I shared one stick with my sister. It was also too saucy for my liking.

A stall with tons of macaroons. I like the colours.

The very saucy dango. Blehhhh.


*********************************************************************************************
SHINJUKU
*********************************************************************************************
KFC

Type(s) of Cuisine: Western
Specialty (if any): Fried chicken
Yen Spent: 1000
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
So unlike McDonald's, I can't say I'd recommend it "if you like KFC", because this KFC is quite different from the KFC in Canada! For one, there are a few different menu items. Here's a brief conversation I had with my sister while in line:

Me: "I guess they don't like chicken nuggets in Japan like [we do] in Canada; they're not in any combos."

Sister: "KFC doesn't offer chicken nuggets in Canada."

Me: O_O! "Oh, yeahhhhh...."

They also had fried biscuits (I'm calling them doughnut holes) and some kind of egg-based item. The chicken was also different. They were more breaded and had a different taste. It was a different experience.


The menu for KFC.

Chicken nuggets that aren't offered in Canada. 
They were pretty good!

Some chicken pieces and fried biscuits (doughnut holes). The doughnut holes were yummy! I wish they had those in Canada.


BAMIYAN

Type(s) of Cuisine: Chinese
Specialty (if any): Unsure
Yen Spent: 861
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? No

Brief Impression
So this Chinese restaurant was a bit underwhelming for me. I ordered ramen and a plate of fries (yes, fries in a Chinese restaurant!). The ramen was just okay, and the fries were terrible. I wouldn't really recommend this place, since there are so many other restaurants around.


My ramen dish. It was okay.

A Chinese restaurant carrying fries on their menu? Okay, I'll bite.
They were horrible. 


ROYAL HOST

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Unsure
Yen Spent: 918
Restaurant Size: Big
Recommend? Small yes

Brief Impression
So Royal Host is a restaurant that's connected to our hotel. Having the impression that those sorts of restaurants are a bit more pricey than non-hotel-connected restaurants, we tried to avoid eating there (at least, I tried to avoid eating there). But one night, we were a little too lazy or tired to venture to Shinjuku, so we gave Royal Host a shot.

Now my small recommendation doesn't come from my dish (I ordered sandwiches and fries and it turned out that the sandwiches had wasabi in it *bleh*) -- it comes from trying out a bit of the curry dish that my sister's fiance ordered. It was very good! I even dipped my fries in the curry sauce.


The sandwiches I ordered. I wish
they didn't have traces of wasabi in them (yuck...).


CAPCOM BAR

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Video game-themed
Yen Spent: 1310 (630 meat dish + 680 brain cake)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? Yes!

Brief Impression
Before I even get to my impressions, I have to say that we had some trouble finding the Capcom Bar. When searching for its location online, I kept this line in mind: "It is in the Pasela Entertainment Bar". Now... little did I know that Shinjuku has a few Pasela Entertainment Bars. I thought the Capcom Bar would be located in the core of Shinjuku, but it wasn't -- it was located in a smaller area (that almost looked seedier and shady due to excessive ad postering and graffiti, lol). So... unless you can read the map on Capcom Bar's website (I couldn't read it), make sure to have Google Maps or some kind of map app on to find the Capcom Bar.

Now... the Capcom Bar is... quite the entertaining place! The servers put on various skits, doing impersonations from various Capcom games. Sometimes even the restaurant-goers are asked to get involved. Another neat thing was that certain dishes came with their own... "intro" of sorts. For example, I ordered a Monster Hunter-themed meat stick dish. When it came, the meat cooking mini-game music from Monster Hunter was blaring. Somebody else ordered a Resident Evil-themed dish and that was served by somebody in a mask and fire extinguisher. Even though all the skits and such were in Japanese, it was really entertaining and fun to watch.

One thing to keep in mind is that the entertainment is done in 2-hour segments, and that includes serving your food, giving you your bill, and whatnot. So when you go, you'd want to be seated around the beginning of a segment (making reservations would be ideal if possible). I'm not entirely sure if you would be seated if you came in close to the end. And if you are done with your food way before the 2-hour segment is up, the bill will still come at the end of the segment. This isn't really a bad thing. You get a lot of entertainment and you know that that seat is yours until the end.

Along with the food menu, the Capcom Bar has a merchandise menu where you can purchase various products from some Capcom series. I was able to purchase a couple items that looked out-of-print elsewhere (and that will be covered in the next blog). You'll get your purchases at the end of the segment.

Whenever I go back to Japan, I am totally hitting this place up again! :)


One of their limited menus celebrating Monster Hunter's 10th anniversary.
I would have ordered one of the drinks, but many 
of them looked like they contained milk *sigh*.

A shot of a magazine rack with a bunch of Capcom books
I want an Edgeworth figure...

Another shot of Capcom-themed novelties.

Watch out for that scary claw!

The Monster Hunter-themed meat stick. I love Monster Hunter, so this was a nice delight. I think the meat is actually some kind of seasoned sausage. 
The felyne nori (seaweed) tasted bitter and mischievous. ;)

*Insert the brain cake photos*
Since the brain cake is kinda gross (I mean, it makes me think of a real brain!), 
I've moved it to the end of the blog. If you want to jump 
right to it, do a search for: BrainCake 


ARTNIA

Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Video game-themed
Yen Spent: 4260 (2 visits -- breakdown below)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Yes... but more for the gift shop

Brief Impression
This was one place that I knew I had to check out. After seeing Siliconera's post about it last year, it's been on my must-visit-while-in-Japan list. Fortunately, it was about a 10-minute walk from our hotel so we were able to check it out more than once. I was originally intending to visit it almost everyday and try out each of their pancakes (with their cute designs), but that didn't happen. Because... the pancakes tasted terrible... hahaha... (I am so sorry, Square Enix!)

However, this place is definitely worth checking out for the gift shop area. There were a lot of neat things in there, and many exclusive-feeling merchandise and figures. It was very cool.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Bar Menu and alcoholic beverages aren't available for order until after 5 PM. So if you want to try an Elixir, make plans to visit after 5 PM.


What I Ate / Drank ...
Chocolate Pancake (930 yen) -- Unfortunately, I didn't like this dish very much. The pancake was pretty bland and tasteless, and I had to smear the chocolate pieces, banana slides, and cream to give it flavour.

Smoked meat platter (880 yen) -- The meats were served cold, but they were good.

Hi-Potion (650 yen) -- This tasted very lime (probably 'cuz it had limes in it).

Ifrit (870 yen) -- This had a very strong orange taste. I got affected after one glass, hah...

Chocolate Parfait (930 yen) -- This was good, but there was way too much (for me, at least).

A shot of Artnia inside. The decor is very nice and inviting.

The hi-potion. Doesn't this look so pretty? I also love the coaster. 
I ended up swiping it and bringing it back home to Canada, 
'cuz the design is just so cute.

The ifrit! I was tempted to try the Shiva drink, but wasn't sure if I'd be able to take it...

The smoked meat platter. I liked it!

The chocolate pancake. As I've mentioned earlier, this tasted so bland and plain... 
with just a touch of sourness in it. If it didn't come with chocolate pieces and such 
to give it flavour, I think I think would have cried. *sigh* 
I was very disappointed. If you really want to try this out, 
I'd recommend sharing it with somebody.

The chocolate parfait. I just had to order this for the chocolate buster sword.
The dessert itself was way too much for me, so I'd suggest sharing this if you order it.

Some cool decor hanging in The Lounge (aka a part of the gift shop). 
It looks so pretty!

Some figures and accessories (if you can see it, lol).


E.A.T. PARADISE

Type(s) of Cuisine: Various
Specialty (if any): Various
Yen Spent: 1585 (breakdown below)
Restaurant Size: Not applicable
Recommend? Yes!

Brief Impression
So this is a food hall located in Isetan. Now let me tell you -- this food hall has A LOT of different stuffs! There were buns, chocolates, cookies, pastries, sandwiches, pasta, cutlets, meals -- tons and tons of stuffs! If given the chance, I would have tried more of the food.

Another thing that got me excited about E.A.T. Paradise was that I found it... the melon bread that I've been searching for all this time!! Ever since watching Yakitate!! Japan, I've had this strong desire to eat and experience melon-filled melon bread. I was able to find plain melon bread in Toronto, but no dice on melon-filled melon bread. After roaming around Japan for a few days and peeking at the various bakeries we passed by, I was losing hope that I would ever find one... until exploring E.A.T. Paradise.

I would totally recommend checking this place out, but keep in mind that it closes around 8 PM, at least at the time of this blog. Also, the prices are generally reasonable -- just be on the lookout, and not dine at the nearby dessert restaurant that serves chocolate desserts for about 2000+ yen (crazy!).

What I Ate / Drank ...
Melon bread x3 (648 yen total) -- This was fantastic. I can finally be at peace... lol.

Chick bun (216 yen) -- This was pretty sweet. It was filled with a kind of custard cream filling.

Mini hamburger (151 yen) -- I really liked this! I wish I had gotten more.

Yakitori (570 yen) -- I got two sticks; each one with a different meat. I didn't know what the meats were -- I just pointed to what I wanted. The cheaper one was very good. The other one was chewy and not to my taste.

From top to bottom: mini burger (yummy!), 
chick bun (sweet), yakitori (one good; the other chewy).

The melon-filled melon bread... the grail that I've been waiting for YEARS to try!!!

And it was beautiful! The melon filling was melontastic, and 
the cream complemented it very well. I wish I could have another! Hahaha.


*********************************************************************************************
SNACKS & VENDING DRINKS
*********************************************************************************************

This section is just to list what miscellaneous snacks / foods and flavoured vending machine drinks that I bought.

What I Ate / Drank ...
Takoyaki-flavoured chips (102 yen) -- I'd like to say they were good, but... I tasted a cheesy flavour from them, so... (yuck...)

Peach gummies (91 yen) -- These tasted good. Just what I would expect a peach gummy to taste like.

Puchi mini-chocolates (143 yen) -- These were tiny boxes with various chocolates inside. Some were good. Some weren't.

Mango shaved ice (400 yen) -- This was okay. Good for cooling yourself down from a hot day, but nothing special.

Snack / Pastry gift box (1080 yen) -- Most of the snacks were too sweet.

Red Bean Kit Kat (150 yen) -- This tasted toooo red bean. While eating it, I think my mind was expecting this flavour to come from something soft like a bun, but instead I got something crunchy and chocolatey. It kinda messed with my mind.

Sakura Matcha Kit Kat (150 yen) -- This had a really subtle taste to it. I'm not sure if I like it.

Chili Kat Kat (864 yen) -- Since I don't take spicy foods that well, I never tried these. I was intending to share them with my team-mates, but they melted on the way back to Canada. And just so you know, the other Kit Kats melted, too. But those were for me, so I didn't mind eating them that way, lol.

Vending machine drink: Apple-flavoured (130 yen) -- This definitely tasted like apples.

Vending machine drink: Heated tea (130 yen) -- It was okay.

Vending machine drink: Salt & Fruit-flavoured (150 yen) -- This tasted like lightly salted lychees.

Vending machine drink: Peach-flavoured (150 yen) -- I tend to like peach-flavoured foods. This drink is no exception.

The takoyaki-flavoured chips, peach-flavoured gummies, and Puchi mini-chocolates. 
I'll probably post this pic again in another entry since it has some non-food items.

This is some snack / pastry gift box. I was planing on bringing it home to share with friends, but I ended up eating pretty much the whole thing. This is 
embarrassing to say, but I mainly bought it to put souvenirs in the yellow box.

The Kit Kats that I bought. The two small ones, from left to right 
are the red bean one, and the matcha sakura one. 
The big one is the chili-flavoured one, which I didn't get to try out.

I originally thought this was a peach drink because of the picture. 
When I tasted it, though, it was apple-flavoured! (The label tricked me! Hahaha)

A tea that was warmed up by the vending machine. I really 
 shouldn't have bought it since it was already super hot outside, but I couldn't resist, lol.

A Salt & Fruit-flavoured drink. This was very good. It tasted 
a bit like lightly salted lychees.

Peach-flavoured drink. I really liked this! 
It was exactly what I was expecting..


*********************************************************************************************
7-11
*********************************************************************************************


Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Unsure
Yen Spent: 4107 (breakdown below)
Restaurant Size: Not applicable
Recommend? YES!

Brief Impression
I just had to give this 7-11 its own spotlight. Why? Because I really enjoyed the place and all the foods it had to offer! They carried stuff like buns, sandwiches, rice, pastas, etc. Also, the foods were generally priced very decently, and you could count that they would be fresh. Whenever we went, there would always be at least one person browsing through the sections and some of the foods would be sold out for the day.

The 7-11 was like a food hotspot, and it is one of the places that I miss dearly! I wish the 7-11s in Canada carried as much cool and cheap foods as the 7-11s in Japan... hahaha.

I can tell you for sure: whenever I go back to Japan, 7-11 will be one of the first places I will hit. :)

What I Ate / Drank ...
Rice + Cutlet meal (380 yen) -- This was really good.

Rice + other cutlet meal (545 yen) -- This was really good, too.

Rice + curry meal (498 yen) -- This was really good as well!

Takoyaki (340 yen) -- This came with a packet of takoyaki sauce (I don't know what it's called) and mayo that could be mixed and poured onto the balls, which was pretty neat.

Anpans x4 (100 yen) -- These were delicious. And at 100 yen for four, it was also a very good price.

Other Flavoured Chips (don't remember) (152 yen) -- This was okay, except that there was some kind of cheese flavouring, which I didn't like.

Pizza-flavoured Chips (159 yen) -- This also had a strong cheese flavouring, which I didn't like.

Chocolate-flavoured Chips (127 yen) -- This didn't taste good.

3-Seaweed Flavoured Chips x2 (330 yen) -- These chips were awesome! The seasoning was nicely done and there was a slight kick to it. It also did not have any hint of a cheese flavouring on it, which was a definite plus.

Fruit Salad Cup (110 yen) -- This was okay.

Yakisoba bun (154 yen) -- This was something I've been kinda wanting to try out. It was good, besides the ginger pieces randomly strewn around.

Mango cake (100 yen) -- This was okay.

Melon Bread (108 yen) -- This melon bread was plain, but it was still good.

Bottled Water x6 (658 yen) -- I bought all this to stay hydrated. Water is water.

Dango x3 (316 yen) -- These were much smaller than the ones I bought in Shibuya, and they were so good! To me, the small size was perfect, 'cuz I was able to eat them all in one sitting. I totally want to eat these again.

The first meal I ever bought from 7-11 (rice + cutlets, and the anpans). 
They were good too!

My rice + other cutlets meal.

The last bunch of foods I bought from 7-11. They were all good and decent.

Chocolate-flavoured chips, dango, and yakisoba bun. The dango here are soo 
much better than the big ones I tried from Shibuya.

From left to right, top to bottom: 3-Seaweed Flavoured chips, 
plain melon bread, other-flavoured chips, and Pizza-flavoured chips.

Another set of dangos that I bought. These were really good, too
Though I would prefer dango in the earlier pic instead of this one.



And just so I have a record of it, here is the total yen that I spent on food: 28729 yen.
 
Thanks for reading! Truly, if you read to the end, you are awesome! If you have any comments or want to know more about anything, feel free to say something! :)

The next blog (yes, I still have a couple more entries on Japan) will be on any miscellaneous thoughts / observations in Japan PLUS all my "swag" purchases (wheee!).



So I'll do the scrolly thing and the brain cake photos will appear after that. Afterwards, I'll add some more scrolly things in case anybody wants to comment, but not see the brain cake photos.

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BrainCake

Below are the two brain cakes photos that got moved from the Capcom Bar section.



Shot 1 of the brain cake. If I didn't know better, I think that 
I could possibly mistake it for a real brain.

Shot 2 of the brain cake, where the insides of the brain cake are shown!
This cake was good, by the way. I would totally order it again. 


Thanks again for reading and feel free to comment :D


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