The Big "T" - Part I

Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
Trip End Apr 25, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Tōkyō,
Thursday, April 12, 2012

After a brief rest, we walked out into the neighborhood to find a meal.  The area where we were, Ikebukuro, is a nightlife spot, so not much was open at 8:00 am.  We settled for a cozy little Beef Bowl, a chain of very small eateries with about a dozen stools overlooking the cooking area. No cereal and toast here!  We had a delicious meal of steamed rice topped with braised beef and onions.  Mine was topped with a slice of ham and a barely cooked egg.  The yolk was runny and gave the dish an enriched flavor and creamy texture. Delicious!  Susan and Brent's meal came with a raw egg which could be beaten with chopsticks and poured over their dish.  This was the first of many meals we had with raw egg.

We looked for a post office to exchange our dollars for yen.  The branch we entered was too small for this service, but they directed us to a nearby bank.  Upon walking into the bank, the guard and exquisitely dressed manager greeted us with a deep bow. We were directed to a desk where the transactions took place with very limited English spoken.  I was amused that they wouldn't accept two of my hundred dollar bills because Benjamin Franklin's face was slightly marred.

We then headed to Sunshine City, a major shopping complex, to do some browsing and visit Ice Cream City... an enormous space which included many separate shops with their own specialties, such as gelato, frozen yogurt, chocolate-covered bananas, and an assortment of novelties.  Most fun was reading the names of the pre-dipped flavors in the "Cup Ice Museum".  The range of flavors boggles the mind -- garlic, wasabi, whiskey, avocado, old taste ice cream, the cake that fried the sweet potato, octopus, ox tongue, crab, and viper.  The latter cost 5x the others,  Needless to say, we didn't try it.

Susan chose avocado and I wimped out and opted for a blood orange sherbet cone.  It was refreshing and yummy.  Brent bought three cups for us to try.  We decided we liked the whiskey best.  It was fun watching some young girls buying dishes decorated like cats or flowers.

While Brent checked on rail tickets, Susan and I spent 20 minutes walking through Seibu, one of the world's largest department stores.  It had entire floors devoted to single departments, such as lingerie, children's clothing, and shoes and handbags.  The floors were sub-divided into tiny boutiques-- each one clearly distinct from the others.  We were struck by the innovative designs and smart looks showcased on the mannequins.  Most ensembles were completed with a beautiful, long, summer-weight scarf.  

Women were taking these looks to the street.  Susan and I were amazed by the wide range of styles and the simple, classy outfits worn by women of all ages.  Lots of Prada, Gucci, Fendi bags on display. Tres chic!

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