A Japanese Adventure
An online journal
We started our rainy day by taking the train across the famous Rainbow Bridge, as we were heading for a full day in Odaiba! Odaiba is a wonderful man made island, full of entertainment, shops and arcades - and only a short trip from central Tokyo.
Our first stop was Decks. A ship themed shopping centre, filled with tonnes of shops, a Sega theme park and our favourite - a full floor of old arcade games and an amazing little otaku store! I tried raining it in when we found this little shop, but I just couldn't help myself. I came home with the equivalent of my body weight in Japanese sweets and copious amounts of anime and manga tat. There were so many goodies in this little shop, and I regret not buying certain items, as I just assumed i'd find them in other shops throughout Japan. I could have easily spent all of my money here!
After buying enough sugary goodness to put myself in a diabetic coma, we shuffled over to the most awesome collection of old arcade games we had ever seen. This area was tonnes of fun, and we got to relive some of the old days, playing games we both used to play as kids. I wish I had taken more photos of this place, as I really cant explain how bright and colourful everything was! They even had a huge Pez Christmas tree. It was October. It was wonderful. I even managed to win an adorable Psyduck plushie from the grabber machines, and Joe won a couple of Gudatama plush keyrings (which shows his little egg butt and makes me laugh everytime).
After the wonder that was Decks, we crossed over to Aqua City, another shopping centre, but this was packed with fancy shops and restaurants. We headed for lunch and found a ramen restaurant, where we both had a ridiculously cheap meal deal with beers. I'm still astounded at how much food you can get for the price at certain places in Japan. The gyoza was fantastic, and I shovelled so much pork rice into my face that day, it was great! We spent a good hour just wondering around and looking at all the different Japanese fashions, drooling over the many different restaurants, and spending way too much time buying stationary. We managed to find yet another arcade (we spent most of our spending money at these places!), where we played the Jurassic Park simulator, a 180 degree joint shooter games (amazing and so much fun), and I smashed Joe at Mario Kart - again.
We then knew we had to go on the hunt for the new giant Gundam Unicorn. Which definitely didn't disappoint! What an amazingly huge and jaw dropping moment when we stumbled across this beauty! Standing in the rain, we stayed for about half an hour just to watch it "transform". I cannot explain the true size of this thing, but from the second photo, you can just see Joe's tiny head next to it. This thing was amazing!
To finish off our day, we had booked tickets to visit the Odeo Onsen Monogatari. A large communal bath, including an outdoor foot soak area, and a mock Japanese village inside! We spent about 30 minutes walking around trying to find the place, now in the pouring rain and complete darkness, and I definitely had the monk on (Yorkshire term for being VERY grouchy). When we finally arrived, we put our shoes and bags in lockers, and queued up for our Yukata (a light cotton Japanese robe). After a traumatising experience of having to strip in an extremely large and open changing room
The place was quite busy, as we had come fairly late in the evening, but the hustle and bustle of everyone really made the whole experience. The indoor "fake" Japanese streets were so cute, and packed with bars, eateries, crepe vendors and little games for the kids. We sat at one of the bars and ordered a couple of rounds of plum wine and Hoppy, which got us a tad merry. I ate pork katsu from the restaurant (delicious of course), but Joe wasn't feeling too good so took the sensible option and stuck to booze (hahahaha).
With it still raining outside, the indoor baths were too busy, so we decided to grab one of the umbrellas provided, and spend the evening outside in the foot baths. It was such a surreal experience moving from the traditional Japanese interior to a Blade Runner-esque exterior. We mainly had the place to ourselves, which was a luxury in a packed bath house! The flooring was covered in huge pebbles, which hurt like hell if you took a wrong step. So after the agonising trip to the covered area, we spent over an hour just soaking in the spa, wearing our Yukata and people watching (most turned around after seeing the rain).
After another round at the bar, we got dressed and hopped on the train back to our hotel. It was so wonderful to see all of the very drunk salarymen also heading home after a well deserved evening of drinking with their colleagues. An amusing way to end a lovely day!