Day 2 - day started off with a fail. We were meant to wake up to leave by 6, but what happened was that since the incident last night, AL didn’t have his alarm set and MZ had his phone charged at the other side of the room, and we relied on my ipod touch for an alarm, which clearly failed because SK and JG came to our room at 5:58am, dressed and woke us up - lol. The itinerary for that day said “wake up at 4am for fish market” - that failed. So the boys quickly dressed and we managed to get out of the hotel to head to the station towards the fish markets. We managed to catch a train at about 6:45am which was supposed to take 15min but took something like 35min instead coz the tokyo subway stopped at a station “Azuba-Juman” (I remembered coz of an incident to come” for like 20 coz of some signal issues or something). But it was sooo early that most of us were still asleep!
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But we finally got to the station, and after we walked out of there, I realised that my camera which was supposed to be in my back pocket wasn’t there! So we ran back to the train attendant and asked him what to do if I dropped my camera on the train. Person didn’t speak Japanese, and only gave me a sheet of phone numbers to call. So saving myself from the trouble of explaining to the person on the other side of the phone NOT in Japanese of what happened and where and when, I decided that it was fate and wrote off my camera.
After that we continued on the journey to the fish markets in search of the world’s best sushi (well at least lonely planet said it was the best sushi in Tokyo, which would translate to best sushi in Japan, ie the world in terms of sushi), while I mentally spent ¥15000 for a new but second-hand camera for Akihabara. AL even comforted me by offering to take “people” photos and breaking his “no people shots” policy of his camera. Once we got to the fish markets, SK asked around where this alleged best sushi place was and someone gestured her the number ‘six’. We assumed it was alleyway six, so we just kept on walking until we found a restaurant with a line, which turned to be the place that we wanted to go :) - turned out it was at building six! As mentioned according to the lonely planet guide, it was a really small sushi place which sat down 12 people, and there was a line of at least 20-25 people, so we had to wait at least two complete cycles until we had our breakfast/lunch/brunch.
Realising that we have a long way to go, MZ and I went in search of a beer (after seeing that the people in front of us had a can of Asahi). We went walkabouts and found several other sushi restaurants that weren’t as packed, clearly we think that its where people who couldn’t wait in line for a piece of sushi went. Failing to find any vending machines or shops that sold beer, we spotted a sushi place with a crate of empty long necked beers, so we went inside and bought a long neck beer from there. Drinking on the streets of Japan at 8am in the morning? Totally acceptable. As we got back to the line it then hit us that the shop across our sushi place sold asahi cans in Styrofoam boxes! Dang, couldve gotten some from there. Actually, we then decided to get another one since we finished this long neck, and managed to get AL into the act too. Having your second beer of the day before 9am?
Japan seems awesome already, on top of the fact that a 330ml can of beer is only ¥250 woot! We also found out the people behind us were drinking too, and they were three guys from Melbourne travelling the world right there - Aussies seems to be everywhere!
Two and a half hours later, we entered the restaurant. We got the 10 + 1 “trust the chef” sushi dish, where the chef has his discretion and chooses the 10 best fish of the day and serves it to us.
How was the “best sushi place in tokyo” you ask? Fucking divine. The rice was so soft, the fish so fresh, the garnish chosen was perfect to bring out the flavour in the sushi and the hot sake made it all even better! We got the range of makarels, sea urchins, crab (that was still twitching when served to us, live animals are awesome I found out) to baby shrimps ( that is sooo transparent that it looks like you are eating just rice, but tastes sooo chewy and sweet and good)! We got to choose our +1 from a last, and the three Melbournians suggested us to choose the Yellowtail coz it was <quote> best sushi I’ve ever tasted <unquote>. So me AL JG SK got the yellowtail - and yes. It was uh-ma-zinGggggg!
The freshness and softness of the yellow tail fish accompanied by the right garnish and a hint of soy sauce might just take the cake for the “best sushi I’ve ever tasted” title. But SK ordered for MZ a “sperm sac of a cod fish” and the chef commented to SK “you will be very happy tonight. Strong!” (ps it was valentine’s day from memory) We all lol-ed, and when MZ tried it, he commented that it was very creamy and weird, but ok overall. So I decided to order it to coz hey, you only live life once and I doubt ill come to this place in the near future again anyway. Chef smirked at me, and served me it. Yes indeed, it was creamy and odd, but it was ok and defs worth for the experience!
All that sushi + freshness + personal chef + food goodness general was worth the ¥3900! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you are ever in Tokyo!
After eating sushi, we ventured around the fish markets where, sadly, people were starting to pack up already - yes eating 11 pieces of sushi took at least an hour plus lols. We took a few photos around the fish markets and all, saw some really big fish and some poeple cutting/gutting fishes.
But wow there is his type of forklift that they use to transport all this fish, but instead of the driver at the back, drivers at the front, and they go really fast and sometimes without regard for people! Some of us almost got hit!
After fish markets, we headed towards Ginza via more trains. While at the train, we all thought asking for my camera again at the Lost and Found office they have at all the train station. Luckily this time there was an English speaking attendant and after explaining I lost my Olympus camera on the train, they did a bit of digging AND FOUND AN OLYMPUS CAMERA HANDED IN, TWO STATIONS FROM HERE! No doubt its possible that it isn’t my camera, but the hope itself was pretty awesome. Towards that station we went, and behold - MY CAMERA WAS THERE! I thanked the person profusely with a lot of Arigato-es for my camera. Defs the highlight of the trip so far, for me at least!
With my camera back, I vowed to take more pictures as the trip goes along (and vowed that it will never ever leave my wrist). AL noted that he will reverted back to his “no people shots” policy of his camera lol (he initially told me that he will take more photos of people in light of me losing my camera, but not anymore it seems =P)
Ginza it was! Once we got there, it looked amazing with all the fancy and high-end brands in one massive, clean, and absolutely futuristic street. From the likes of Chanel to Tiffany & Co to LV to Apple, they were all there.
We paid a visit to a couple of these stores, but clearly they were mostly over our budget. We saw the Apple store, and decided that we needed to check our emails and make sure everyone knew we were still alive. Thank you Apple and your free internets ;) After that and after seeing a sign that said it was currently 5°C, we decided to chill at Starbucks on Ginza before Studio Ghibli at Mitaka. I had “cocoa”, which is their version of the hot chocolate which to me seemed to be less sweet and more “earthy”. Gets a thumbs up from me! After we chilled - it was towards the part JG was most looking forward to in this trip - Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. I had no idea what it was, and apparently we all have paid the entrance fee to it prepaid from Australia. Well, that’s what I get for being oblivious to what I was paying for this trip – I just transferred people money as they told me to!
We made our way from Ginza to Mitaka for Studio Ghibli - its basically a museum by Ghibli - who is this animation creator who has created some really famous animes (APPARENTLY) - one called Totoro which is a giant grey cat(?) and also the Catbus. I had no idea what these cartoon characters are, but from the number of people inside the Studio and JG’s enthusiasm, I was sold to the fact that this is pretty well known and this guy is famous, at least in Japan. Inside it wasn’t just figurines of cartoon which was what I suspected - it had some pretty awesome behind the scenes cinematography - I learned more about cinematography that I have ever known in my life. There’s some cool old school films as well as ingenious use of strobes - really hard to explain but its so cool! Defs worth a visit, but sadly they didn’t allow photos so its hard to prove just how awesome it was. They also showed us this 15min clip of one of this new creations, which was an egg and a bread which came to life and became friends - it was really cool! Before we left, we paid a visit to the gift shop, to which for JG it seemed to be a visit to her favourite store ever! She looked around a couple of times and had to settle for two jigsaw puzzles of an anime picture and a house model from a certain anime which I have nfi :P Sadly, we werent allowed to take photos inside :( But we did take a photo from the rooftop!
After Studio Ghibli - it was towards Roppongi where we were going to meet NT and JS for dinner and check out the night events there. We had some cheap Japanese for dinner. Yum! NT reckoned it was a dodgy place, and she wasn’t entirely off base since it was underground and not many people were there, and it was pretty cheap. Hmm… at least we all were full and happy afterwards!
After dinner? We went to a Cuban bar, drank a bit of rum and then headed back to the hotel for some rest and getting ready for the next day. On the way back to the hotel, it started snowing! Which meant that we needed to buy umbrellas, and we got awesome transparent ones to protect us from the snow! JG saw snow for the first time ever, and she looked like a kid who just saw her first candy factory!