tokyo, japan | best moments, part one
where do I even begin? 6am food adventures, lots of shopping, soft serve everyday, the best manicure I have ever gotten in my life. let's rewind to day one in Tokyo.
The jet lag is so real. By 7pm you want to crawl into bed and hibernate and you're up around 5am/6am ready to take on your day. Before we went to Japan I did a bunch of research on YouTube. Pocket Wi-Fi, best way to exchange money, public transit tips, best eats....etc etc. If you can take the subway in NYC -- Japan transit is cake. Everything is super organized by color.
We took the subway so much in Japan. I wish I bought an unlimited train card for the week instead of refilling my card every two days. Make sure you look into this so you're not paying per ride instead you're paying per week or getting the most for your money.
Another thing you HAVE TO DO is order a pocket wifi. Order this before you go. It'll make your life so easy when you're over there. The process is SUPER EASY. For 13 days we went with Premium Wi-Fi by Softbank LTE (187Mbps) and it came out to $72 USD. I split this with my room mate so it was $36 for wifi for my entire trip. I prefer this over buying a sim card because we could use this connection for our laptops as well. It was super fast - there was no cap.
Right when we landed we had wifi from the airport - we used this wifi to navigate ourselves to the post office in the domestic terminal (we had to take a bus over there). Be careful when coordinating your pocket wifi pick up - 1) the post office is closed on the weekends 2) be mindful of the post office hours. We got super lucky and it all worked out for us because we made it just in time before the post office closed at 5pm.
Setting the router up is so easy. You turn it on and use the user name + pw and boom. super quick internet.
We landed at Haneda Airport and took the train into Tokyo. It took about an hour and didn't cost much. It was super easy! Taxis in Japan are expensive - we used the subway the entire trip.
getting my nails done in Japan was A FUCKING MISSION. it was my #1 priority. you can ask Vivian how annoying and reluctant I was in the pursuit, lol. I called, I yelped, I searched, I walked miles, I took different trains, I got us so lost, I even asked a friend in the U.S to call and make an appointment for me in Japanese. LOL don't ask your friend in the states to make a long distance call to Japan. 6 mins cost me $45 USD -_-
anyways, it's super hard to make an appointment to get your nails done in Japan if you don't speak the language. since this is a true art form, appointments are required / preferred.
we were walking in Harajuku and from a distance I saw a sign for a hair & nail salon. also -- I swear all the nail salons are hidden in Japan. It's not like the U.S where they're everywhere. back to my Japanese nail art obsession -- WE FOUND THIS GEM. truly #BLESSED because they took us as a walk in AND spoke a little english.
guys - let me just say this is the best manicure of my entire life. all my dreams instantly came true. 2 days of dragging vivian around in circles was worth it. my color was custom mixed, she was so gentle, so thorough, my cuticles have never been cleaned that way and my design was so beautiful. best $65 I have ever spent.
the next time I go back to Japan I'm getting my nails done here ASAP.
I got my 2nd manicure right before I left Japan/Tokyo. I loved the designed & it lasts an entire month but the experience of this manicure sucked. It was only $35 but no cuticle cutting - only a design change. It didn't feel as special. You were rushed in and rushed out.
you could smell the cones being freshly made. soft serve in Japan is on another level. eat as much of it as you can. you won't gain a single pound.
Shopping in Harajuku for souvenirs. I bought my shopping tote from home, LOL.
the famous candy floss in harakuju
don't return from your Japan trip unless you took kawaii photo-booth photos ;)
bars in Japan have cover charges. most of them are really small and can only fit 5-8 people at a time. I love the personailty from each one. they're all so different. I don't mind the cover charge because the snacks they give you really make up for it.
I saw this green drink on yelp and had to try it. Let's just say it's cooler on yelp. great bar, terrible drink and no snacks :(
this was my favorite bar/drink in Tokyo. Sakura-Moni (cherry blossom cocktail). Damn I still dream and wish I could have this on the daily. loved the vibes in here + snacks! highly recommend if you're in the golden gai area. The drink was super light + girly and was fizzy (my ideal drank) . I was throwing them back as if they were harmless harvest coconut waters. SO GOOD.
it was raining on our last day in Tokyo and finding this bowl of ramen was perrrfeecttt. it's a little hard to find - look at the yelp page for the exact door you need. you have to climb the most narrow flight of stairs and you'll reach the restaurant at the top. ordering is super old school - through a machine and then the chef will freshly serve you. I prefer bun bo hue + udon + pho over ramen when it comes to my soups but WOW. THIS BOWL WAS FIRE. it made me appreciate the art of ramen and why everyone is so obsessed. I got it after slurping this bowl. my entire Japan trip came full circle after this bowl of ramen.
the fresh flat ramen. the rich broth. the fresh anchovies you can add. touching elbows with your neighbor and the perfect english accent the chef had.
We came here twice while we were in Tokyo. once in the beginning of our trip and once before we left. THE WAGYU IS SO FUCKING GOOD. the restaurant is super tiny everyone is standing and you have a grill shared between two people. you cook your meat yourself. we let the chef order us a bunch of cuts since we couldn't read and he DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I also just want to point out that they had the best rice and kimchi i've ever had. top 3 meals in Tokyo! If you want to eat the best wagyu without going broke - come here.
this was the only restaurant I waited in line for. it was worth every second. the best beef katsu you'll ever have in your life. my #2 top meal in Japan. melt in your mouth beef. there's a small stone grill for you to cook your beef katsu if you like it a little more cooked. I can't put it into words. If I didn't eat this on my last night in Tokyo I would of went three days straight. If you ever find yourself in Japan and come across Gyukatsu please go experience it.
WHAAAAAA I MISS JAPAN SO MUCH. I'll have part Thu coming up soon.