Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Japanese Bear Who Wants His Hat Back

What you are about to see is real.

THIS IS the greatest finding of all in Japan. I cannot explain the excitement I had when finding this. I even got to use the gift card I won from the Regetta competition. WORKING OUT PAYS OFF!

You guys, I can read it to you in two languages. Prepare yourself. Get your carpet squares. Get your box of assorted graham crackers and hope that you can snatch up the cinnamon kind first, for everyone knows that is the greatest flavor. Your glass of milk will never have tasted so delicious. But be sure not to soak it too long or you will have to fish it out with another graham cracker piece and risk losing that piece in the pit of milk as well. Then, your only other options are using your fingers or drinking the chunky cinnamon drink.

Seriously though. So awesome.

Okay! Guess I should backtrack a little bit. In the first part of Thursday, Grant, Carter, and I went to Shimokitazawa to go shopping. I wasn't planning on buying pants and a shirt and pants, but they were so hipsteriffic, I had to. The shirt came with geek glasses for LMFAO's sake.
I'll have to post a picture later.

After a bit more shopping around, we went to an Okonomiyaki restaurant. Okonomiyaki is pretty much a pancake, but with noodles, cabbage, beef, tofu/whatever the heck you want instead. And painted with a sweet sauce and some mayonnaise on top. Of course with mayonnaise...

Anyways, they cook them right in front of you. The burner surface is on really low heat (I was able to leave my hand on it for almost a minute) and it takes a bit for the entire dish to cook (No, I didn't really put my hand on the burner surface).
 I had just eaten before we hung and out wasn't very hungry, but after seeing them, it was like O_O.
Grant shared his with me. ^__^' It was pretty darn good. You could taste the doughyness of the pancake part, but then there was the sweet sauce with the cabbage and meat that really popped out at you. Woof. I guess it kind of tasted like an eggroll, but not as greasy.

After eating, we shopped around a little more and then didn't really know what to do. I had never really looked around Kyodo, only having run there, and it was only a few train stops away from Shimokitazawa, so I suggested that we venture around there.

It was turning dark and the moon looked really awesome. Then, I woman told us that on the other side, you could see Mt. Fuji. We climbed some steps and there it was.
Even though I've seen it much closer up, it was still a really amazing scene, especially with the sun setting.

No crazy squirrels here, just random cats.
There's actually 2 in this picture, an orange one in the bushes as well. The one closer to Carter just walked right up to him.

It was in a bookstore in Kyodo that I found "I Want My Hat Back." So happy. We didn't explore too much of Kyodo at all really. Carter did get to try Melon Bread though. ^___^ He said he liked it, too. NO ONE CAN RESIST MELON BREAD. Especially the green Yoshi.
So possessive.
I found this picture to post and then it linked to the original page and found that it was cropped from this picture:

The next day, I pretty much just ran errands, worked out, read, and studied. I still have to remind myself that I have exams, projects, and a speech coming up. Vacation x____X.

In the morning yesterday, Grant and I went to go see Breaking Dawn: Part 2. YESSSS.
Here's what the concession stand looks like:
The prices for food are really cheap for a theater. They even serve beer which we saw one woman had. Nothing like a beer at 9 in the morning XD. Again, you can bring your own food in, which is just awesome.
Something cool about this theater, is that it was selling a bunch of merchandise for movies that they were showing.
They also had merch like the Ring from The Hobbit/LOTR and Frankenweenie plushies for that movie. Keychains, notebooks, posters, mirrors, stickers, you name it.
Another thing I like about theaters in Japan, is that every seat is assigned that you get to choose when you buy the tickets, unlike the US which only has a section for reserved seats. It's all very organized and they always let people in 10 minutes before the show.

I had completely forgotten what happened in the book, so that was kind of nice to not know exactly what was going to happen next in the movie or be annoyed with something they may have left out. It was pretty good in the end and now Alice really reminds me of Lauren. More-so in the movies instead of the books, though.
It's the hair, bone structure, lips, and the way she talks, I think. The eyes too, actually.

Ah! Anyways, we met up with Carter at Grant's place and cooked quick lunch and then headed out to Koenji for the afternoon. One of my friends told me that he likes shopping at Koenji and I understand why. After doing a little research (reading a blog that referenced Wikipedia, lololol), I found out that it was the birthplace of the punk movement in Japan. It was supposed to have a ton of second hand clothing and music stores.
We didn't seem to have stumbled upon the music stores, but we did go into a ton of second hand clothing stores. Oh, and this place.
 Unicorn poster that I feel Beth would have really appreciated:
Beanie babies, barbies, unicorns, pastel colors, trolls, My Little Ponies, yeah they had it all.
This is what most of the stores were like:
A lot of stuff in a small store.
There was also a Village Vanguard. This reminded me of Jolie:
 And this shirt was dress-length and I wish I could have bought it for Bethy:
Zack better have watched A Goofy Movie by now...
This store had some pretty awesome stuff. I tried on one thing, felt huge, and got discouraged to look around any more. T___T
 This is good. I like the Ronald McDonald in the background.
There's actually a ton of Ronald McDonald stuff in Japan, mainly things that make him look like a total creeper.
There's just a lot of old-school stuff in this town:
 And this:
We didn't stay too long here. We probably could have ventured around a lot more, but I think you have to really be in the right mood in order to shop around at ton of second hand clothing stores. It definitely had a very Bay View feel, probably more than Shimokitazawa.

After, we took the wrong train, but then took the right one and went to Shibuya for some Kaiten Sushi. ^__^
That salmon thing was so good. That's mayo, not cheese B.T.dubs. And some pork and veggie miso, which was awesome. I also had a few other things, too. Yum yum.
After drinking cup upon cup of the complimentary matcha tea, we decided to go do a Purikura together.
As you can see, my hair is orange now. That is not an effect XD.
This is us decorating the pictures. We each got a print out, but had some complications having the pictures sent to our email. We were timed on entering our email addresses, didn't realize that only a phone email address works, and ended up running out of time in the end. Hopefully, we can still access them so I can show you the rest sometime ^___^.
We also stopped at Book Off. They had a ton of English books there.
I've never seen this cover for The Reptile Room before:
Ah, that just reminds me of
Oh, we found the triforce.

Grant gave me a hamster ^___^:
Sorry it's kind of blurry >__<. He's so cute though ^___^. He was hanging out on my belt loop yesterday.

Today, I'll probably be going to Evan's church again. It's pretty rainy out, so I'm not sure what else will be going on today. There was talk about going to Akihabara (It is raining after all), but we'll see what goes down, yo! ^___^

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good Camera, Bad Gachapons

On Christmas, Grant, Carter, and I went to Shibuya ^___^. Hachi had the best costume:
Or this Christmas Tree worker:
 Maybe these Joker Santas doing the Spiderman pose:
Actually, Carter probably had the best Christmas costume.
We pretty much just shopped around all day ^___^. Carter seemed to really like all of the clothes, too. So much of it fits his creative style.
Elevator in Shibuya 109 Men's:
Of course we got fro yo. ^___^ One of the workers came up to us and asked if she could take our picture and put it on Facebook and on Facebook it went:

With decorations and everything! haha ^___^'

After going to a few more places, we went back to Grant's to cook a Christmas dinner. Mrs. Mark sent some panettone bread, which they usually make into french toast and eat on Christmas morning. We sliced them into smaller pieces and also cooked some bacon.
 Here is the feast:
There was a bit of cranberry sauce and we even put some cinnamon raisin monkey PB on some toasted bread with bacon. I had some of the dinner Grant made from the night before ^___^.

~And now some higher quality pictures lie ahead~

Yesterday, Grant and I took Carter to Harajuku to see the greatness IRL.

First, we went to the Meiji Shrine. We got stopped by locals, asking if they could practice their English with us and give us a tour. For 40-50 minutes. Oh gosh, we had to decline. So many 'you're-not-supposed-to-take-pictures' pictures to be taken!

Lucky you, I took my good camera. XD
I guess you've seen these guys before from an ancient post. As ancient as these barrels. Well, now you can read the names. Maybe right them down for possible baby name options for your future kids.
Carter doing it wrong:
 lolol, That was my fault.
Giant Broccoli!
I really liked how out-of-focus Grant was:
This is me being artsy with photography.
Carter trying to figure out the bubbler. That's right, I said it. BUBBLER.
Yeah, it never happened in the end XD. idek.
The benches were suntanning that day.
 And near one of the stumps that Skull Kid plays his ocarina.
There was a bit of ice on the pond.
Here's me being really artsy according to Carter. This uploaded out of order for some reason and I refuse to drag it up to the top where it belongs:
More of the park:
HAHA. I got to take some pictures of the outsides of some of the shops around Harajuku, mainly down Takeshita street (The B.A. street).
It was the least crowded time we've gone. So awesome.
Don't forget, you can click the picture to make it larger. ^___^
Dis is my favorite shot:
I tried this hoodie on and it did not look as cool as it did on the mannequin:
These are some of the crepe options available. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's tuna on the bottom left:
Fishy fishy.
Very narrow streets for the amount of people. Usually there's twice to three times as many though O___O.
These are a few of the Gothic Lolita mannequins that you could take a picture of without getting yelled at, located outside the shop. There's only a hands-off sign. Which I did not obey. lolol, oops.
The shop inside is so small. It has awesome stuff, but you kind of feel rushed.
Then, some burlesque-type stuff:
I just hear the song by Gwen Stefani every time I see "Vivienne Westwood."
This has horribly adorable and pretty clothes. I always really want an outfit from here, but it doesn't look so good on me =[. *goes to Nike site to feel better*
This store has all OOAK, DIY stuff. So pricey, but so awesome.
Actually, I have nothing against him. He was just in the shot when I was trying to get a picture of the clothes. lololol.

So many little nooks with more hidden stores.
I love shoes.
For some reason, we never went down this street before:
Some graffiti Grant pointed out along the way:
There were just a few more stores, but they didn't have the punky stuff.
Reminds me a little of MirrorMask:
Check out that dope Nike advertisement:
After Harajuku, we rested a bit at Grant's place. Carter found some pretty darn awesome clothes and shoes. I'm really glad he got them and is treating himself ^___^.
At around 5, we headed out to the New York Bar to have our belated fancy Christmas dinner (Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Mark!).
Shinjuku getting ready for the night:
THIS IS ARTSY, GUYS! Too bad it's kind of blurry. But still. I was happy about the shot. I'm sure only 8,950,080 other people have taken this shot.
Excuse me while I write some moon-letters on my map.
Well, this is pretty. And it's just by a grocery store.
This reminded me of MoMo. I think she would really like those puffs of light.
Grant spotted roses in the bushes:
Hullo, tall buildings.
"Hello, Kat!"
Look! Moon and stars. And big buildings.
There's going to be a lot of these shots with the moon...
I was up there with Kirsty, Tom, and Evan in one of the first few days in Japan! Man, I had the worst first impression of Shinjuku. I thought it was just boring office buildings, but we exited out of the wrong part of the station. We totally missed all of the stores and life of Shinjuku. Around the office buildings, it feels like a town that has gone through some kind of outbreak and we are among the few survivors. At least compared to the lively part of the city.

What Grant called, "SNL" shots, lololol:
This is good:
Outside of the building with the New York Bar:
Here is the view from the bar:
Pretty darn awesome, eh?
Here is Grant being fancy:
Burger! "New York Bar “Omi” Cheese Burger, Spicy Pickles Salsa, Bacon, and Crispy Duck Fat Potato Fries" (without cheese):
It definitely made the top 3 all-time burger list. I still think that shot makes it look like it was taken at Mr. and Mrs. Mark's house.
Carter ordered a "Brick Oven Pizza with Pork Belly, Provolone and Forrest Mushrooms":
Grant got the "Peppered Pork Steak Sandwich with Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Tomatoes, and Creamed Mushrooms." This is my creeper shot of it:
Heck yes I copy and pasted those descriptions from the menu. It was definitely the fanciest dinner I've ever been to besides the pecan pie place in Florida with Grant's family. Thank you so much for this dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Mark! =^.^= I do wish they could have been there too, though (Courtney and Jeremy too).

This could have been where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson sat!:
This is the view by the elevator:
This is inside, on the way to the bar:
So fancy...
More dining areas:
We're so fancy!
Outside in Shinjuku by the more lively area:
Pretty trees:
 More MoMo lights with flowers:
It was a pretty darn awesome day.

Oh yeah, when we went into one of the huge stores in Shinjuku, Grant and I each tried a Gachapon with Nintendo Controllers in them that are also flashlights. 
Rows of Gachapons
 We ended up getting the Wiimotes. Both of us. The worst option available. And the lights couldn't even alert a rescue team of your whereabouts if you were lost in a dark maze.
I will have to stick with using Periculum with my wand.

We are still recovering from our anger.

The day before, I got to see my family open the presents I sent them! It was so awesome that they were able to open them on Christmas Eve.
MoMo and one of her presents, a Rex plushie ^___^:
 lololol, Shawn.
Ughhh, that gloomy bear....
I accidentally ran across the screen while video chatting with them a few weeks ago. Lauren then saw it of course and said, "Is that for me?!" *le sigh*
 Lauren and Shawn opening the best present ever from Bethy:
Lauren was so excited. She was saying how she needed a new blanket and it was so warm and great material.
Until she saw what picture was on it. And the Inverted version on the back.
Please, behold. The night before Lauren and Shawn got married, Bethy ran into Lauren's room before she went to bed and took a few pictures without Lauren's approval. This one was of the greatest. We like to call it "Lauren's last night as a single woman."
Shawn said that when he tells their kids that, they'll call him a wizard or miracle worker.
I think Lauren was really happy about it. Look, she's hugging it.
 Aaaaaand, here's Beth doing her thang. Her Christmas number. Plum looks pleased.
It was a really happy Christmas.

Be prepared for a really awesome post next. I found the best thing in Japan ever.