Sunday, 30 October 2016
Shimokitazawa, we found out from our research before this trip, is a laid-back commercial district with a bohemian vibe about it. It was quite a challenge getting here from Tokyo Station because it involved switching trains run by different companies. I also remember being confused, not knowing which direction to go after we left Shimokitazawa Station. I was expecting signs that would direct me to the more popular part of the district but there were none of those. I should have read up more but then again, I wasn’t the one who was particularly interested to come here.This place appeals to the younger and hipper crowd and I definitely do not belong to that demographic.
Sarah had a few shops that she was keen to go to and had noted down the address but even with the GPS, it was quite hard to locate them. Apparently there are many shops that sell second-hand items here and this being Japan, there’s nothing icky about the used items on sale. The clothes had been cleaned really well before they were put on sale. There was a lot of hype about this place from the websites I had read and so I had quite high expectations of it. I left the place disappointed because it didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe I was tired and old. Definitely old, and tired after walking the entire morning. Since I don’t have much to say about Shimokitazawa, do watch this video and the one I linked in an earlier post.
We went to Ain Soph, wanting to have dinner, but the restaurant was closed at 5 pm and reopened at 6 pm for dinner. I walked into the restaurant and placed a reservation for 6pm before walking around the shopping area. Past experience taught me that making a reservation here was necessary. We had been here before on our last all-girls’ trip in March but was turned away because the restaurant was full and could only serve us 2 hours later. We couldn’t wait that long and decided to have our lunch at Chaya above Isetan, Shinjuku instead. Anyway, while waiting for the restaurant to re-open at 6 p.m., we decided to go to Laox store to get the halal shoyu ramen which Sarah liked a lot. Of all the halal food items available there, I would probably only recommend this one. The castella cake was too dry, in my opinion, because I was used to having it really moist and soft. Forget about the halal chocolates.
I shall reserve my review on Ain Soph on another post as I know not many of you are vegans. After dinner, I asked Sarah to google for a Seria store nearby. I’m surprised that many people who have visited Japan do not know what Seria offers! Oklah, I admit not everyone is as cheapskate as I am. Seria is a 100 yen shop like Daiso, but classier. 🙂 I very much prefer this to Daiso. They are not as ubiquitous as Daiso though so find out where they are first before you go. I had been lucky and often chanced upon one whenever I visited Japan. This time round though, we had to google for its location. We found one on the 4th level of Shinjuku Marui Honkan. Look out for the logo OIOI on the building facade. It’s hard to miss. Shinjuku Marui Honkan is located on top of Shinjuku-Sanchome subway station. You can also walk here from Shinjuku Station (east exit). There are quite a number of items that are worth buying, especially the mason and cute pudding jars. If you are a baker, I would recommend you to get the freeze dried strawberry here because this is not that easy to find anywhere else.
At 100 yen for every item (around $1.30 currently), it’s cheaper than what we pay for back home. There’s surely something for everyone here unless you’re like my daughter who’s quite against consumerism at the moment.
With those purchases, my day was complete and I just wanted to go back to the hotel though the night was still quite young. Besides, we had walked more than 12 km today again.