Monday, July 25, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Akihabara - Real life Mario Kart

In Akihabara we did a super crazy fun thing which on the flip side I was crazy nervous about doing! Ben had suggested we go-kart through the streets of Tokyo, without a helmet or seat belt which caused me to have a mini heart attack. I'd almost convinced myself not to go "what happens if a truck can't see me and squashes me??" when I agreed that if we could have a guide I would brave up (the guide cost an extra 2000 yen but def worth it!). The karts themselves were easy enough to work (another thing I was freaking out about!) and since we were dressed up as Mario and Luigi we became instant stars (real life Mario Kart!) and traffic was very much obliging :) 

It was pretty cool to be an instant celeb, we got stopped everywhere for photos and people yelling out our names (well Mario and Luigi's names) he he! I couldn't recommend it enough, you do need a international drivers license and perhaps a booking (although we only rang the morning of) but everything else is super straight forward - the site which you can translate to English has a lot of good info too.  Akihabara is also just worthy of a visit being the nerd part of Tokyo, with arcades and electronics and a Gundam cafe.

We didn't go inside the Gundam cafe as the line was long but they had a shop outside selling taiyaki!

Our karts! Akiba Karts is located in the basement of the building, we met another australian lady (who rode with us as toad!) and she found the instructions on how to get to the building really confusing. We had the opposite experience but hey, in the end we both got to the same location, so it worked out for all :) On a side note, everyone kept yelling out "Kinopio" to Toad, It took ages to click that just like our pronunciations of Sega in Australia, we also had a different name for that cutie mushroom character!

Ben had done a little research and saw most people put on the Mario and Luigi costume, so he suggested we buck the trend. When we got there the guy who runs the place (who btw is the most relaxed cruisey japanese person I've ever met + with pretty good English!) straight away said the Mario costume is good for large people and grabbed it for Ben :p I was quietly happy to Luigi because he's my fav!

Ben already came pre moustached but I got my very own fake mo which was especially handy when we hit those cold Tokyo streets!

Our guide took photos every so often on his phone which they then pop up on their facebook page. I actually totally forgot about that, so these photos are kind of late additions to the post! 

You can see my gnarly moustache here! 

We ended up driving to Tokyo sky tree, which was fun and the whole experience was the perfect amount of time - I believe we did the 1 hour for 2700 yen. They also let us divide up the costs of the guide between us (Anna aka Toad was also keen for a guide so it worked out well!)

Some more costumes! When we got back, I saw a giant Bowsers shell around the corner - slight regret!

Akihabara at night

Big thumbs up to Akihabara and go-karting in peak hour Tokyo traffic :) :)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Japan Road Trip: Shibuya

I always thought Shibuya was just for the famous crossing and overpriced stores but Ben and I managed to have a lovely roam around, changing my previous opinion on this part of Tokyo. The crossing is fun but there were lots of little and big stores we popped in an out of, plus a cat cafe, happily filling a few solid hours :)

Ben wanted to check out tower records because he read they sold Japanese comics in English subs (unfortunately only super main stream comics!) but I was surprised to find myself browsing and being inspired by all sorts of books and stationery and treasures.

Who wore it better?

Mega regret for not buying that amazing swan boat ceramic. I'm not sure what it is, maybe a soy sauce dipping bowl?


Cat sushi Gachapon 
And the elusive sushi cats!! (I'll show you which ones I got in my loot post later on)

Whilst strolling the semi back streets we stumbled upon a cat cafe, called cafe MoCHA

It cost 200 yen for ten minutes and to be honest, we didn't stay very long because it was soo packed!

It was ridiculously beautiful though with an amazing view of Shibuya

MoCHA cat cafe 
In the middle of the main room upstairs was a giant cat tree with lot of spots for cats to jump up and sleep the day away. When we arrived a lot of cats had found higher refuge away from eager pats and photo taking. The cats left at arms reach were all busy being loved upon, which meant Ben and I awkwardly sat around, whilst quietly thinking of all our amazing free interactions with street cats and our cats which made the whole cat cafe thing kind of funny for ourselves :p

But hey I can definitely see the appeal, especially if you're living in Tokyo and can't have a cat yourself!

Behind the tree were also these bird cages hanging from the ceiling, I wholeheartedly love that the cats had many places to escape humans!

Some kitties didn't seem to mind though

I definitely recommend a stop to Shibuya, the train station with its many exits and entrances is a little manic but getting lost is sort of part of the experience as well :)