On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by a pub near our hotel for a quick beer and snack #mmmcraftbeer #internationalcraftbeer
We then rested and got ready in our room before taking Mel to go experience 'Shabu Shabu' for the first time. Basically a hot pot where you cook veggies and thin slices of meat and get to dip them in yummy sesame sauce. Mel approved since this was #paleoapproved #score
After dinner, we headed to one of my most anticipated events from Tokyo.... The Robot Restaurant!! If you haven't seen/heard of this, I was first introduced to it from Anthony Bourdain in his 'Parts Unknown: Tokyo Nights' episode (clip below)
Be honest. After watching that, YOU want to fly to Tokyo to go see this ridiculous show right?! So, it was definitely on my Tokyo bucket list and fortunately only 2 blocks away from our hotel in Shinjuku!
Now, I'm not even sure how to fully describe this to someone who hasn't been there. Words do not do it justice. The inside of the restaurant was RIDICULOUS. Shiny, metallic, glittery, lights EVERYWHERE. Even the bathrooms had golden toilets and urinals and were covered in rhinestones. It was amazing. #canilivehere? #whoistheinteriordecorator? I was thoroughly pumped for the show. We had a drink or two while waiting for it to start! #isittimeyet?!
And finally, the madness begun. Pictures and video don't quite do it justice but hopefully you can get a sense of what happened from the visuals below. I think good ol' Anthony Bourdain summed it up best in his show, "I don't know what the fu*k I just saw.....but that was AWESOME"
They had everything from robots, taiko drums battles, a giant mechanical armadillo(?!) that fights it out with a Kung-fu panda lookalike, along with a large Snake(?) that eats one of the girls, aliens coming down and attacking a planet of girls and pink fluffy animals who fight back, Daft Punk-inspired dancers, and much more. Needless to say, after watching this Robot themed cabaret show for an hour - my face hurt from smiling so much.
Just know this, if you visit Tokyo, do yourself a favor and go see this show. I feel like it fulfills my curiosity about the creative, weird but awesome, Tokyo culture. #onlyinJapan
After the amazing show, we headed back to our room for a few drinks before heading to the Roppongi district (literally translating to "six trees"), known for it's nightlife and abundance of foreigners. We were headed to go check out the bar, Geronimo's, a shot bar my dad used to frequent on his trips to Tokyo #followinginmyfathersfootsteps #literally
At Geronimo's, we found my dad's favorite bartender/manager, Eri (pronounced Airy). He used to bring her Sees candies from the states and wouldn't you know it, Mel brought us some Sees candy! #coincidence? #ithinknot So we were able to carry on the tradition! She remembered my dad, and so did another bartender there, Wayne. Kind of cool being able to visit spots and people across the world from where I grew up that know my dad :) #hesasocialbutterfly
So at this shot bar, they have a leader board to track who buys the most shots throughout the month. Whoever wins gets their name on a plaque in the bar (and some other prize). Lots of people come in here and buy the whole bar a shot, and get to bang the drum. If you stay for a while, you can easily get 5-6 drinks bought for you. We were there around 2 hours and had 2 free shots during that time. We had a blast dancing, singing, and arm wrestling? (yes... not sure why this was a thing that night) before heading back to our hotel, calling it a night.
Them announcing one of the shots bought for the whole bar below:
The next morning, we had a quick lunch at the Shinjuku Train Station before heading to the Akihabara (秋葉原) neighborhood known as a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, and computer goods (and maid cafes! sadly we didn't make it to one of these on our trip)
Our first stop of the day was to an Owl Cafe! I'm sure many people have heard of cat cafes, but the latest trend is the owl cafes (fyi they also have bunny cafes and so on #furrycreatures). These cafes popped up so the many people who live in Tokyo that can't own pets still have a way they can interact with animals. Never thought I'd get to pet and hold an owl but #wheninRome....!
Located only a few blocks from the train station on a quiet street, we headed over for our reserved timeslot. We were given a brief introduction where we were told we could only pet the owls lightly, with one finger, no sudden movements, be quiet, no flash photography, etc. We had one hour to spend with these fascinating creatures up close and allowed to hold 2 of them during this time period.
Throughout the small cafe, there are around 20-25 owls perched on different bars throughout the room, each with a sign above them with their name. The owls ranged in color and size and you were allowed to hold about 80% of them (some you were not allowed to touch)... Some owls were friends, and others not so much, which we later discovered.
So the first two owls Mel and I held ended up being best friends (#justlikeus!), which meant we should sit next to each other so our owls could be near one another #greatplan BUT apparently our owls were mortal enemies with the owl Nate chose to hold which meant we had to keep our distance from him with at least one table length away.... who knew all of these relationships existed between the owls at this little cafe?? #watershipdown #butowlversion
Let's be honest, I picked my owls by cuteness and their name, so the two owls I held 1st one: Peanut, 2nd one: Zebra. Their names won me over after their adorableness.
Next part of our amazing day... REAL LIFE MARIO KART! #yesyoureadthatright Imagine your childhood fantasies coming true and feeling like you were in a real life video game. That folks, is what we got to experience! For only $20/hr we got to dress up in costumes and have a guide lead us around Tokyo in go karts (all we needed was to add some balloons to our carts). $20 is a small price to pay to feel like a real life celebrity. Everyone we drove past would smile, wave, and possible take a picture. It was AWESOME.
Our guide led us around Tokyo including taking us through the Akihabara neighborhood, and Ueno Park. We also stopped at another park to take fun pictures with cherry blossoms. This took a lot longer than expected though because soon there was a line forming of families with kids who wanted to take pictures with us lol. We happily obliged but after 10 minutes or so we had to hop back on our carts and continue our video game!
My favorite part of the video below is Mel saying 'Konnichiwa!'
These two unique experiences left me emotionally drained because I was on such a high for 2 hours having the time of my life... my face hurt from smiling so much and I felt exhausted. Totally worth it though and would do it again in a heartbeat!
Our day wasn't over though, we headed to the sumo neighborhood of Ryōgoku (両国). For dinner, we were in search of chankonabe (ちゃんこ鍋). This is a type of Japanese stew commonly eaten in large amounts by sumo wrestlers as part of a weight-gain diet. Again, we discovered this through Mr. Anthony Bourdain #heneverfailstodisappoint #thanksbourdain #cookstour #tasteoftokyo
Ingredients in the soup usually use chicken broth as the base with large quantities of protein, tofu, and veggies. Ours had the tastiest meatballs that they formed right at the table while making our soup for us. We only had one serving, but the sumo wrestlers trying to gain weight eat multiple helpings. What we learned while watching a Cook's Tour, is that the soup is constantly changing flavor as more things are added, and you constantly eat small bowls of it to taste the evolving flavor #prettycool The soup is also traditionally served according to seniority with the senior wrestler (rikishi) and any guests getting first choice, and the junior wrestlers getting whatever is left.
Our final adventure in Tokyo was to visit Nakameguro to try and see the sakura (cherry blossoms) at night along the canal. It wasn't as pretty as some of the pictures we saw reading about it, but still pretty none the less and a great way to end our trip!
Tune in next time for our adventure with Mel visiting our current home in Okinawa :)
Follow in our footsteps:
新宿区Kabukicho, １−７−１ 新宿ロボットビル
Japan, 〒160-0021 Tokyo
Hours: 4 - 11PM
Phone: +81 3-3200-5500
Buy discount tickest here through JapaniCan (also can get tickets through viator, or voyagin)
Geronimo's Shot Bar
7−14−10, 山室ビル 2階, 六本木, 港区, 東京都 106-0032, Japan
Hours: 6AM - 6PM
Phone: +81 3-3478-7449
Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe
Japan, 〒101-0022 Tokyo, 千代田区Kanda Neribeicho, ６７
Book tickets through Viator here or Trip Advisor
Hours: 12PM - 6PM
Akiba Kart (Mario Kart)
2-4-6 Sotokanda | Sasage Bldg B1F, Chiyoda101-0021, Tokyo Prefecture
Sumo Chaya Terao (chankonabe (sumo stew) restaurant)
2-16-5 Ryogoku, Sumida 130-0026, Tokyo Prefecture
Nakameguro (Meguro River Park)
Cherry blossom (sakura) season usually end of March / beginning of A
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!