Monday, October 27, 2008


Friday was a rainy day. It brought back memories of a rainy trip to Tokyo 2 years ago. There were many places that I wanted to check out while Satoshi was visiting his university's new baseball field.

My first stop was Daimaru in Marunouchi. They have the only Boissier in Japan, I went to the counter and was a bit shocked at the prices. I wanted to buy their caramel tea, but didn't want to pay $40 for a tin. I wanted to buy their petal chocolates, but didn't want to pay $30 for a tiny package. So I settled for their chocolate pearls for 1980 yen (about US$20), I hope they are good. (UPDATE: delicious, high quality)

I got back onto the train and went to Ginza to check out their Laduree. It is the only one in Japan and I think the only one outside of France. The shop and cafe are quite small but very elegant. It was lunch time but I didn't want to pay $42 for their lunch, so I had 4 macaron (1200 yen about US$12) and coffee (1000 yen about $10) instead for "lunch". The macaron flavors I chose were cedrat (citron), fleur d' oranger (orange flower), petale de rose (rose petal) and fruits rouges (red fruits). Each was flavored nicely, delicately. It was a nice way to get out of the rain.

After "lunch", I went back into the rain and jumped onto the train and headed for Roppongi to check out Tokyo Midtown. This is a new office complex with lots of eateries and cafes. I wanted to see Belberry, a Belgian confiture (jams & jelly) maker. I was about to buy some marmalade when this caught my eye...purple fig chocolate...I immediately picked this up. Can't wait to try it on baguette and ice cream. (UPDATE: sweet but delicious on toasted baguette)

The rain was still coming down but I still had a few more places on my list and I still had a couple of hours before I had to meet Satoshi. I jumped on the train to Jiyugaoka. When I first got on, I thought I made a mistake but didn't (whew!). The train/subway system in Tokyo is massive, you can easily jump or transfer onto the wrong train. Signage is really bad too.

My first stop in Jiyugaoka was Le Palais du The. I first knew of them when I visited a cafe in Biei, Hokkaido. The owner was serving their tea and I was immediately hooked on the sweet aroma. When we returned to Osaka, I looked on the internet to find that the only store in Japan is in Jiyugaoka.

When I checked their site before this trip, it just so happened that they were having a sale. I noted down the teas that were on sale that I was interested in. It is a good thing that I did this too as when I got to the store, you have to tell them what teas you want and then they weigh everything out for you.

I bought several Earl Grey varieties (Earl Grey Fleurs Bleu, Earl Grey Imperial, The de Lords). The thing that was good about this sale was that you could purchase small amounts starting from 20 grams for a really low price. (When I try something new, I've come to like buying small amounts...just in case I don't like it.) I bought about 7 different teas at 20 grams each. I can't wait to try them. (UPDATE: all are great, my favorites are The de Lords & Earl Grey Fleurs Bleu)

On the other side of the Jiyugaoka station, is a spice shop called L'epice et Epice. They have so many different spices that it was hard to decide what to get. I ended up purchasing a little flask of masala chai for 525 yen (about US$5.25)...mmm chai season is here!!

Since I didn't have a real lunch (again!), I stopped into Paul Bassett for something to eat. I got their quiche plate, but was very disappointed. It was really watery and the crust was burnt, definitely not like the quiche I had in Kyoto. I guess the highlight of the meal was the latte art.

After re-fueling, I went to meet Satoshi at Shinjuku Isetan. I wanted to pick up some things from their gourmet shop. I picked up this French salted caramel chocolate sauce, Italian chestnuts in syrup & some rose petal jam by Christine Ferber. (UPDATE: this rose petal jam is really delicious, a light rose aroma, very nice, texture similar to honey)

It was a long day with lots of walking, but I was happy that I was able to check out everything that I had on my list.

Saturday started out early...we went to check out Tsukiji Fish market. This place is crazy. People rushing around trying to get their fresh fish out as fast as possible. I couldn't help but feel like I was in the way.

After walking around the market, we had sushi for breakfast at Yamazaki. Luckily, we didn't have to wait in a long line. (hint: don't try the place in your guide book--you'll just have to stand in a long line, anywhere that is serving sushi at Tsukiji is worth it!) I had the 7 piece (2100 yen about US$21) and Satoshi had the 8 piece (3150 yen about $31.50)....delicious.

After breakfast, we caught the subway to Tsukishima, Satoshi was interested in seeing this man-made island from a recent television drama. The Tokyo area is known for monja, similar to okonomiyaki but very wet and mushy. Satoshi doesn't care for monja, so we didn't try it.

From Tsukishima we went to Jingu Stadium to check out his university team. The Tokyo Big 6 is similar to America's Ivy League. Satoshi's university, Meiji, is part of the Big 6. The oendan (cheering team) for both sides cheer all through the game. Talk about noisy! Though Satoshi's team lost, it was an interesting experience.

From Jingu Stadium, we went to check out Tokyo Tower. The last time I visited Tokyo Tower, the tour only took us to the bottom area, unfortunately the lines were so long that we didn't get to check out the observatory deck.

Again, I didn't get to eat "lunch", but saw a crepe stand...Marion crepes. I remembered Lori's post. And got the chocolate banana crepe (300 yen (about US$3)....ooey gooey chocolate and banana with a slightly crisp edged crepe....delicious.

From Tokyo Tower, we went to see Satoshi's friend in Asagaya. This area has a huge shopping arcade. They were having a jazz festival and it was quite lively.

On Sunday, our last day in Tokyo, we went to check out Shibamata. This area was a location for many "Otoko wa Tsurai" movies. The shopping arcade is quite tiny, but there are many retro looking shops. I am not too familiar with the movies but since Satoshi wanted to see this area, I went along to check it out.

There is a very old temple called Taishakuten, for 400 yen (about US$4) you can see the intricate carvings on the sides of the building as well as the beautiful Japanese gardens.

There is a Tora-san (the main character in the "Otoko wa Tsurai" movies) museum as well as many Japanese sweet shops.

One interesting sweet shop, Ishii, was selling shio dorayaki (salt dorayaki). They filled the inside of the dorayaki with buttercream and sweet bean paste....addicting.

Our schedule in Tokyo was packed, we didn't get to visit many friends (sorry!) but we did get to see a lot!

Hope you have a great week.

Boissier (UPDATE: no longer at this location)
Tokyo Daimaru-B1

Ginza Mitsukoshi 2F

Tokyo Mid-town B1
Roppongi UPDATE: as of 9/2010 seems to have closed

Le Palais du The UPDATE: they moved to Akihabara in 2012?!
5-24-2 Okusawa
Phone: 03.5701.8750

L'epice et Epice
2-2-1 Jiyugaoka (UPDATE: 2019 moved to 2-9-6 Jiyugaoka)
Phone: 03.5726.1144

Paul Bassett (UPDATE: no longer at this location)
2-3-12 Jiyugaoka
Phone: 03.5731.5820

Isetan Shinjuku Gourmet Shop B1

Yamazaki sushi (UPDATE: no longer at this location)
inside Tsukijimarket
Phone: 03.3541.1105
Open 5:30-14:00

Taizankan (UPDATE: no longer in business)
Asagaya Shopping Arcade
Phone: 03.3314.1286

Ishii sweets
Shibamata 7-6-20
Phone: 03.3657.1749

Takagiya sweets
Shibamata 7-7-4
Phone: 03.3657.3136

Yabuchu soba
Shibamata 7-7-8
Phone: 03.5668.6658


Anonymous said...

Wow, what an action-packed weekend for you and Satoshi! Your experience with the quiche at Paul Bassett made me wonder. What do you do if the meal/food you are served is so bad that it is inedible? I have the general impression that you don't return things in Japan, but what do you do about a really bad meal? Do you complain and get another meal served as in the U.S.?

Icymar "Iceman" Tagimacruz said...

wow... I want to go to Japan.. Great site.

K and S said...

Actually Anon, I haven't run into a really bad meal here in Japan. As for this quiche, I left half of it. I think the only time I would complain about the meal would be if there were "something" in it. I've never seen many people complain about their meals either, but have seen people complain about the service at different places. Hope this answers your question :)

Take care.

Rachael Hutchings said...

Oh this post makes me so "home sick"! So many places that I know so well, and that crazy train system that I'm so comfortable with after making SO many mistakes! Yes, the signage is BAD! Glad you're making the most of your time.

K and S said...

Thanks Icymar, I hope you get a chance to visit soon!

Sorry to make you homesick Fuji Mama!

Take care you two.

Juliarso said...

I lived in Japan 20 years ago. Your post remind me beautiful memories there. Thanks for sharing.

Phoebe said...

WOW baseball game and food! Delight!

HAHA a bunch of ultraman in the last photo. You must have enjoyed your weekend there eh?

Anonymous said...

Japan, especially tokyo. I love this city. :)
Warm regrads from Bali.

Tamakikat said...

Kia ora from Kyoto.

What a fabulous weekend! As I was reading I was thinking 'Kat always makes the most of things as she is so organised'. You've certainly given me more ideas for what to 'do' (=eat LOL) when I next go to Tokyo.


K and S said...

I hope you get a chance to come back Juliarso!

It was great, Phoebe :)

Thanks Bavin!

Thanks Tamakikat, I hope you have a delicious adventure the next time you go to Tokyo!

Take care everyone.

Parisbreakfasts said...

What a weekend! I've only looked in the window of Le Palais du The in Paris...this time I will go in...I hope :)
Merci Kat for you delicious adventures.


K and S said...

I am jealous you will actually be in Paris soon, Carol!!! Pack me into your suitcase :)

Take care and enjoy!

Darren said...

This sounds oh so exciting! Can't wait until I can afford to get myself a plane ticket and head to Japan for a couple of weeks!

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

that sounds like so much fun! one of my good friends is currently teaching ESL in japan!

Lorant88 said...

hey dude nice blog!

vieni a farti un giro sul mio




K and S said...

Thanks Lorant88, DDF!

I hope you get to visit Japan soon, Darren!

Take care everyone.

Sonja said...

Hi I am flickr friends with you! I know there are at least two Ladurées in Switzerland as well, but maybe not cafés? Salted choco sauce and salt dorayaki sound sweet and salty combos!!

K and S said...

Thanks Sonja, I was under the impression that they were only in France and Japan, but I looked at their site and they are in London and Monaco as well as Switzerland :)

Take care and thank you!

Deb in Hawaii said...

What a fun weekend--rainy Friday or not. It sounds like you did a lot. BTW--that chocolate salted caramel sauce sounds to die for.

K and S said...

Thanks Deb, we did get to do a lot, I'll update when I taste the chocolate salted caramel sauce :)

Take care.

The Rambler said...

You take such great photos! My mouth waters at some of the shots of the yumminess (that a word? :).

P.J. said...

I miss Japan so much! Tokyo Tower is probably my fondest memory. Did you feed the pigeons crepes? Thats probably the funniest thing I've ever witnessed. Those pigeons go nuts for those things!

K and S said...

Thanks Rambler :)

No I didn't feed them crepes PJ :)

Take care you two.

leo said...

All look foreign to me except for sushi and ultraman ^_^ kinda xpensive too eh'? enjoyed your post nonetheless. peace.

K and S said...

Thanks Leo.

Take care.

Mrs. Tomacina Wuthrich said...

Thank you for sharing your trip and all the adventures.

K and S said...

Hope you enjoyed it Mrs W!

Take care.