Monday, December 15, 2008

Daikan-yama , Tokyo's Little luxury spot


"Proud" janneserojas©2008 (amazing building in Daikan-yama)

There's so much to write about my last trip this Fall, and I've barely scraped the top of my 2007 trip, there's so much information to share.
Tokyo offers so much shopping and so much variety, just stuff you'll never find anywhere else in the world. Every neighborhood is filled with great shops and places to eat.
Today I'll start with my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo, Daikan-yama, it's really easy to get to and there are so many amazing boutiques. When you first exit the station you'll see a VW van set up as a coffee stand, according to my traveling partner the best coffee she had in Japan. Then you'll also see a pretty popular cafe called "Sign", the prices are reasonable and the food is pretty decent, of Ameri-Euro variety. Smoking is permitted only inside, not in the outdoor seating area, which is strange to a New Yorker, it's the opposite here. Keep walking and you'll hit Hachiman Dori, this is the main drag, lots a high end stores. Hang a right and walk down the hill. Another really fun place to get a snack and a delicious cup of macha is a place called Suruga it's on the left side of Hachiman dori, it's upstairs and you can see it has a small terrace from the street, it's five minutes from the station also.My first favorite boutique is, CA4LA (pronounced Ka-shi-la, means the head, also the top), on the right side of Hachiman Dori. CA4LA has unique hats of every variety, from cold weather knits to fedoras, each is fabricated with something special, be it the materials or just amazing adornments. The store is on the high end market, like most of Daikan-yama, but you can pick up a really spectacular hat for about $50-$70, I bought two, I couldn't help it. Another really awesome little store is, Kutsushitaya , also on a corner on Hachiman Dori. This store carries socks,tights,leg warmers and other soft footwear for women and men. Lots of lovely knit and crochet socks and leg warmers, including really nice wool intarsia socks for men. I never gave a second thought to socks until I went into this store. You'll also find that this is one of the most dog friendly neighborhoods aside from Shimo-kitazawa (which will be my next post). You'll find several doggie clothing and grooming stores in the neighborhood and will see many a pooch taken out for their walks. There is a well known dog store were five corgi females work with their owner and we got to meet them they were totally amazing. Daikan-yama is also the home of the Blythe doll mecca, Junie Moon also located on Hachiman dori, It's a great store for Blythe and Blythe acoutrements but the staff is really unfriendly, unlike many stores in Tokyo where people are super polite and friendly. There are many little streets chock full of stores and cafes at every turn, so Daikan-yama is well worth the visit. If you have any questions please feel free to write.

Cutie Pie Corgi one of five

me in my new hat

Hat store:

Different Locations around Japan and London:

Sock Store:



Getting there:

Take JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station,
Transfer to the Tokyu Toyoko line (follow the red signs)
It's two different companies so you'll have to buy a new
ticket at vending machines for the Toyoko line. Shibuya is the last and first station for this line so when you go up the stairs take the train that is on the farthest
left. Daikan-yama is the next stop after leaving Shibuya. Head out the Main exit you'll see sign cafe on your left.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Pics on the left of 2008 trip

Will make recommendations of new areas I visited,I'm just pressed for time at the moment. The pics are of Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dirty Japanese Panties!

Had to share this video, because I almost peed myself laughing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Preparing for Japan trip

The countdown is on, I leave to Japan October 22nd, I am so jumping out of my skin. In my preparations for this trip I've neglected the blog so I apologize to those looking for info and didn't get what they needed. I started in May to formulate my plans and doing my research and first thing was buying the tickets. Going with Japan Airlines again, unfortunately flying coach, was hoping for the new premium coach but the plane we are on doesn't offer it. The have a few new planes with this feature, 24" seats lots of leg room and a leg support for sleeping and relaxing. Kinda bummed. But I decided to go with JAL goes I wanted to rack up the points and their service is amazing even in coach. My planned itinerary is Tokyo for 6 nights at Oakwood Apartments, then Hakone for one night, staying at Kinnotake, but we will leave Tokyo early to take advantage of the whole day in Hakone and leave late afternoon the next day to Kyoto. Kyoto we'll have 4 nights and we will be staying in a our own Machiya called Maeniiya, and we plan to make a day trip to Osaka, since it's a 30 min train ride from Kyoto. Then we are back in Tokyo for 2 nights giving us time for last minute shopping. The great thing about staying at Oakwood is that they will provide a similar service as many of the main train stations do with luggage. They will hold our luggage until our return for about $20 a piece, which is great, that way you don't have to lug a giant suitcase around Japan with you. Plus, Oakwood has a washer/dryer and so does the Machiya, so we don't have to pack a lot of clothing because we can wash what we wear, making more room in the suitcases for stuff we buy and travel light!

We are staying at Kinnotake in Hakone which is a Ryokan with your on onsen in your room, it's pretty amazing! The Machiya is pretty exiting too, there aren't many left in Japan, but Kyoto had quite a few that have been restored and are rented out to tourist. Many Machiya have been converted into restaurants, hair salons, and bars.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Derishious treat!!!!

Ok if you are anywhere near a japanese supermarket or convienence store I highly recommend this delicious treat called "Cho-pan" It's the first packaged green tea and chocolate treat I've had that actually taste like green tea and chocolate!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kyoto outskirts Ohara

Sanzen-in Temple grounds©2007

Wow I haven't posted in a while, been kinda swamped. I have more info on Tokyo, but figure I'd mix it up a bit with Kyoto and Ohara.

Ohara is a small farming town in the mountains outside of Kyoto proper. It's really lovely you don't have to stay there at all you can take a city bus from Kyoto Station
and you will be there in 40 minutes. The bus will make stops along a regular bus route with many stops, so if for some reason you have a car or moped, it'll probably take you 20 minutes. If you have the cash I would highly recommend staying in a Ryokan in Ohara for one night, it's lovely. We stayed in Seryo, pricey, but worth every penny. In the price is included dinner, which you can choose from Kaiseki or Sukiyaki, all very delicious (oy-shi). Each of these dishes takes a better part of a day to prepare them and then about 2 hours to eat them, really amazing. Also the use of outdoor onsen baths which are just relaxing and beautiful. If you stay ask for the western/japanese combo room, it's the loveliest. You also have your own mini deck, that leads out to the garden.

Seryo Ryokan pics:

What's in Ohara? Well there are gorgeous temples all walking distance from Seryo and you are surrounded by the woods. Sanzen-in Temple is the main attraction in Ohara it covers a lot of ground and it's in the middle of the woods, the temple grounds are simply a marvel to behold. Another really worth visiting and the YP500, is Hosen-in temple it's all of a 3 minute walk from Sanzen-in. It's not a large temple but it's lovely especially when you are allowed to go sit on the elevated garden deck and they bring you matcha and cinnamon mochi, it's so serene.

Sanzen-in Temple grounds©2007
Hosen-in Temple

Hosen-in Temple

Getting there: it's actually pretty easy. From Kyoto Station take bus number 17 or 18, they will leave you right at the Ohara bus stop. It's about 40 mins, only because it's a city bus and makes every local stop, but it's a really nice bus trip. Costs about Y580 each way. If you stay in a ryokan they may offer pick-up service from the Ohara bus station, Seryo does.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Elusive Golden Gai

The Golden Gai are these tiny alley ways filled with miniature bars, were 5 people at most fit in most of them. It looks like a movie set. This is where the artists, actors, directors and those obsessed by film go to hang out. If you are gaijin good luck, cause either you will be met with icey stares, or get over charged. Also you have people that are just the regulars and since there are approximately 4 to 5 spaces at the bar and no standing room you kinda have to get there early to actually be able to get in. Now I'm not saying everyone's unfriendly, I did not myself partake at the bars just perused. BUT I'm going back in October and I plan to avail myself of these fine mini establishments,becuase the rumor is that big companies and the government are bullying these guys to shut them down much like Yakitori Alley, also known as Omoide Yokocho, or as the locals delightfully call it "Shonben Yokocho" (piss alley). So if you are in Tokyo try to not miss the Golden Gai or Yakitori Alley, they are what you are really looking for in Tokyo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

OWND Cafe-bring your dog!

OWND Cafe is located in Yoyogi Uehara and it's another crazy japanese spa/cafe. You can get oxygen treatments and so can your pooch! And then share a snack!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kabuki-cho! Pachinko, Putas, and Puke.

"Cool Dude", Kabuki-cho, Tokyo
Kabuki-cho is kinda like the red-light district but with panchinko
(gambling) palors, puking teenagers, and high-priced crappy eateries,
besides the sex and "host" clubs. Don't get me wrong it's actually a
lot of fun just to take a walk around and be a voyer of the chaos just
as the crowds get started and when the crowds start dashing for the
last trains home. It's great to see the stragglers who were just to
wasted to make it a few blocks to the train station for their last
train. After 11pm it's kinda surreal because it's still all flashing
lights but really dead, except for the foreigners from Africa trying to
lure customers (especially other foreigners) into their seedy little
clubs. We had a couple of them follow us for a couple of blocks and
tried to invite themselves back to our hotel and "give us happy times",
eeewwww! If you go before midnight it's quite safe and just
overwhelming with lights and sounds, lotta fun.

Here's a little taste of a walk through Kabuki-cho

All Images Copyrighted 2007
"Hostess" Club
Pachinko, Gaming, and Spa!
Panchinko, Everything's gonna be fine.
Gateway to Kabuki-cho
Kabuki-cho flashing lights
Kabuki-cho after the crowds
strange all-night puppy store with van to go
Heading into Kabuki-cho

Monday, April 7, 2008

Murakami exhibit was brilliant!

I will post some pics later but this is a video that was on exhibit, it's freakin' funny.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 5th! Murakami! and Japanese festival at the Brooklyn Museum!

Just want to give everyone a heads up, if you are in Brooklyn this Saturday it is Target free Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum which means it's a free all night long. The only thing that is not free is the Murakami show, but that's $10, well worth it. Here's the schedule:

April 5, 2008

Japanimated! Arts and Cultures of Japan

5:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Cosplay Photo Contest
Rubin Lobby and Hall of the Americas, 1st Floor

Come dressed as your favorite anime or manga character, and get your picture taken for a chance to win a © MURAKAMI catalogue!

5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Music
Hall of the Americas, 1st Floor

Taiko drumming group Taikoza performs traditional Japanese music and dance.

6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Poetry
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Forum, 4th Floor

Kimiko Hahn reads from her book The Narrow Road to the Interior. A Q & A follows. Free tickets (30) are available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Film
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

See the anime classic Kiki's Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, 1989, 103 min., G) about a young witch in training. Free tickets (330) are available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Hands-On Art
Education Division, 1st Floor

Draw a cartoon alter ego. Free timed tickets (380) are available at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m. Curator Talk
Meet at the entrance to Utagawa, 1st Floor

Join Curator Laura Mueller as she gives a gallery talk in Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770รข€“1900. The talk is Sign Language–interpreted. Free tickets (30) are available at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Young Voices Gallery Talk
Meet at the entrance to Utagawa, 1st Floor

Student Guides Kimberly Macron and Judith Barnes discuss the prints of the Utagawa school and popular culture.

8:00 p.m. Film
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Forum, 4th Floor

The documentary Smoke and Mirrors: A Geisha Story (Artemis Willis, 2004, 63 min., NR) chronicles the relationship between an elderly ex-geisha and a young Brooklyn filmmaker. Free tickets (30) are available at the Visitor Center at 7 p.m.

8:30 p.m. Film
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

Journey into outer space with the classic anime film Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage (Toshio Masuda and Takeshi Shirado, 1979, 95 min., NR) ) from the series that inspired Takashi Murakami. Free tickets are available (330) at the Visitor Center at 7 p.m.

9:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. Music
Hall of the Americas, 1st Floor

The Brooklyn-based Japanese bands Love Etc. and Sakura Madams perform their blend of pop and rock music.

9:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. Dance Party
Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion, 1st Floor

Japan's top DJ, Muro aka King of Diggin', spins his legendary mix of hip-hop, funk, and soul.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yakitori Alley!

Yakatori Alley, Shinjuku, 2007©janneserojas
Yakitori Alley, also known as Omoide Yokocho, or as the locals delightfully call it "Shonben Yokocho" (piss alley). It's really not like that though. It's what you expect when you go to Asia, small eateries in tiny alleys. Yakitori Alley, is just that, a winding alley filled with small yakitori stalls, where most can only accomodate about 5 to 6 people at most. Mostly locals go there, but on occassion you will see a foreign face squished in the back chugging back an icy cold one, or a delicious sake to go with there tempting meat skewers, yum! Yakitori Alley is hidden between the train tracks and Shinjuku station, so it's easy to miss. Head here any time of the day or evening they are open 24 hours which is great if you missed the last train home and don't want to spend 10,000Yen on a cab.

Getting there: Get out the west exit at Shinjuku station walk towards the Epson sign along Otakibashi-Dori until you get to the corner of Yasukuni-Dori, hang a right you'll see the elevated train with the underpass right in front of you, about 20-30 feet from the corner you will see an alley on your right (look for restrooms sign) walk up this alley and it will lead right into Yakitori Alley.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tokyu Hands, the Greatest Store on Earth!

Tokyu Hands, Shibuya, Tokyo, 2088©janneserojas
Tokyu Hands, might just be the most amazing store ever made. If someone thought to invent a product chances are you'll find it here. From dog umbrellas to lucha libre costumes, you will be amazed and will want to buy everything. The best one to hit is the one in Shibuya, don't bother with the one in Shinjuku. The most fun is checking out all of their crazy costumes. My favorite was the craft department, and don't miss out in purchasing a folding piece of luggage on the ground floor, that's my greatest regret, not getting that, because I sure needed it when I was packing up all my Japan finds. It's definitely a minimum of a couple hours needed at this glorious store, but be sure to check it out you won't regret it.

Getting there:Take the JR Yamanote line to Shibuya Stn.
Head out Hachiko Exit, walk to the large intersection and cross the road toward QFRONT. Go right and turn left at the next traffic light. Follow this road and Tokyu Hands will be on the right.

more Tokyu Hands pics:
All 2008©janneserojas

Monday, March 24, 2008

A little video tour of Tsukiji Fish Market

This is sort of part two of my previous post, I wanted to include this short video of the fish market but I hadn't uploaded yet. Enjoy. The res on it looks like crap through youtube, but what can you do. Here it is, please excuse my strangely elfin voice at the beginning and mis-pronunciation of the market's name it was 7am

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tuna Freezer, Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

Okay, so when you get to Japan take advantage of your jetlag, because chances are that you will be getting up before 5am for the next 3 days and you can visit Tsukiji Fish Market. The key to going is getting there between 5am and 7am, I know that sounds awful but you will be trust me. If you get there early enough you can watch the Tuna auction which we missed only because we couldn't find it once we got there, the place is humungous! You say why in the world do I want to go to a fish market, that's what I said, and I tell you it was freakin' amazing. It's the largest fish market in the world, and it's madness. Be really careful because there a guys on mini forklifts zooming around like the Tasmanian devil, and they will run your ass over, these people have been up since you went to sleep. When you are done clicking away on your canon, which you will, I have about 800 pictures to prove how coll fish can look in pics, make your way outside and find the small eateries right on the fish market's permises. You will have the freshest sushi ever and at the very late hour of 8am, or you can have some very slimey chicken katsu at one of the other counters. It was a lot of fun. And you can walk over to Ginza afterwards from here it's not far.

Getting there: Don't go on Sunday when the market is closed. Take a taxi if you want to arrive really early. Otherwise, the Tsukiji station on the Hibiya subway line will get you within a 5-minute walk.

Mama & baby,Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

In the Thick of It,Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

Red Tentacles,Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

Down the Aisle, Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

Eateries,Tsukiji Fish Market 2007©janneserojas

Friday, March 14, 2008

Toys, Toys, and more Toys

Kiddyland, Harajuku©2007janneserojas

Tokyo does not lack in the toy department, everywhere you go you are overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of video games, over-sized stuff creatures, and licensed characters. Going to the big toy stores is an awesome experience especially on saturdays and sundays when everyone is able to go. Kiddylandin Harajuku on a sunday is just sheer insanity, but fun as hell. The great thing in Japan is that you are never to old to play with toys so no one looks at you like you're freak for hugging a doll in public even if you're a guy! You'll find dolls of every variety, anime characters, Liccas (Licca headquarters at Hakuhinkan Toy Park in Ginza, which are the Barbie of Japan, and tons of licensed characters. One of my favorite floors in Kiddyland offered all sorts of merch with illustrations of some really cool japanese children's books illustrators. Two of favorites are marini-monteany and Michiko Tachimoto/Colobockle, check them out there beautiful. Then there is Junie Moon for the Blythe fans like myself, it's a really cute store and located in a great neighborhood Daikanyama. The staff is not the friendliest but the store is wonderful. You'll find Blythe at Kiddyland and Hakuhinkan Toy Park(in Licca Department) also if you can't make it. Oh and they are closed Mondays, found out the hard way.

PLACES TO GO: Toy stores

KIDDY LAND - Harajuku

6-1-9 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-3409-3431
[Open] 10:00 am-9:00 pm
Closed on the third Tuesday of each month.
GETTING THERE: Take Jr Yamanote Line to Harajuku station

Hakuhinkan Toy Park - Ginza
8-8-11 Ginza
Phone 03/3571-8008
On Chuo Dori, near the overhead expressway
GETTING THERE: Shimbashi or Ginza stations(4 min.)

Junie Moon
4-3, 1F, Sarugaku-cho, Daikanyama
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0033 JAPAN
hrs open: Tue -Sat ... 12:00 - 20:00
Sun + Holiday ... 12:00 - 18:00
Mon ... Closed
GETTING THERE: Take JR Yamanote line to Shibuya station and transfer to Toyoko line to Daikanyama, it's one stop! Follow map below to walk there, very easy.

map to junie moon

map to kiddyland

Toys at 3 stores

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Harajuku Square Dress to Impress

Lucha Libre in Harajuku Square©2007jannese rojas
Harajuku has some really amazing stuff and can get a bit overwhelming,
but the first thing you see when you get out of the Harajuku JR train
station is Harajuku Square. This is where the young and the stupid come
to hangout (much like the cube at Astor Place in NYC, once upon on
time)and dress up in their Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Fruits, or other
"subculture entire" from 1995. Now I know I sound a bit bitter but
that's because I was so excited to see these kids and photograph them
like Shoichi Aoki
of "Fruits" book and mag fame, instead I got the "talk to the hand"
hand from these little snot-nose brats, when I politely asked to take
their pic. Anyway I did get some pics against their will or not,
whatever, they want the attention. There are other fun things that
you'll get to see in Harajuku sq, is dang fools performing, highly
entertaining. More on Harajuku later, there's so much. getting there:
take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku station.
Harajuku Square©2007jannese rojas
Harajuku Square©2007jannese rojas
Harajuku Square©2007jannese rojas
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