Day 11: Asakusa & Ikebukero, Tokyo

We took the bus through to Asakusa Station in the morning to look at the nearby market before setting off for the day! We bought melon bread for breakfast and nearly died in a crush of foreign tourists…

After the market, Austin took the train to Akihabara whilst I took the subway through to Ginza again to go & see ITOYA.

Austin’s recount of Akihabara was that it had far too many anime girls, and R-rated content at that, for a place that was also filled with families and small children. Even the ever-present Bic Camera in Akihabara had anime figurines holding up stock in the display cabinets.

ITOYA Ginza is an 8 storey stationery store (with a sister store 20 metres across the road), with entire floors dedicated to calligraphy pens, luxury paper, leather filofaxes, stickers, cards and crafts. It was a transcendent experience and I accidentally spent a lot of money on postcard art, washi tape, stickers and stamps…

I also went and visited Hakuhinkan, which is meant to be the biggest and best toy store in Tokyo! The fact I couldn’t bring a giant squid home on the plane without booking another seat was hard to come to terms with…

We had planned to meet up after lunch, which meant I had to put my limited Japanese ordering phrases & pointing skills to the test at Mister Donut. I had a 50% success rate – the doughnut selection went well, but what I thought was iced coffee turned out to be a bitter milk tea.

We took the Yamanote line from our respective vicinities to Ikebukero Station in the afternoon. I had to make a pilgrimage to the Pokemon Mega Centre on my brother’s behalf, which meant we got lost in another mega-mall – this time it was Sunshine City.

Once we fought our way out of the mall alive, but seriously disoriented, we went to get some Japanese curry! I think the first thing we’ll do when we get back to NZ is to simultaneously gorge ourselves on proper spicy food and burgers. I like Japanese curry as much as the next person, but I really miss “normal” curry too. Austin got a pork curry & I got a wagyu beef cheek one – they were about ¥1000 each.

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