Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Ernie Surveys the Imperial Palace, Shinjuku, and Tokyo Station

We woke up pretty early but that just meant we were going to get more Japanese sunshine. We are talking a bit about Hello Kitty in this video because we were discussing maybe going to the Hello Kitty theme park but that did not end up fitting in the old schedule.

Conbini food is the most important meal of the day, so I took Ernie to visit a 7-Eleven.

I got hooked on these Hot Pocket looking things that were full of spicy curry. They were a big win.

I had some business to attend to at the Imperial Palace so we headed in that direction. I'm as surprised as you are.

"Kusunoki Masashige 1294 – 4 July 1336) was a Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period remembered as the ideal loyal samurai." If you've ever heard the term "shogunate" it was a type of military dictatorship that pretended to rule in the name of the emperor but was actually in total control of Japan and did not answer to the emperor. So Kusunoki here fought to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate and restore power in Japan to the Imperial Court. Hence him having a gigantic statue outside the Imperial Palace. 

I had to strike this Captain Morgan pose in homage to Grandpa Milito who served in Tokyo during the Korean War.

I think this was around 1953ish. He wrote on the back of the photo 

"Taken in Tokyo

It's a nice place but I like home much better."

Well said.

The summer sun was punishing and I didn't want my little son to get roasted like a piglet. Luckily we've been to about 12 baby sections of department stores so I bought an umbrella for our stroller. It's doing a decent job I think.

Onigiri with my Lyly.

The subway system and the underground shopping labyrinths often connected to it were a nice respite from the heat.

We passed by a Disney Store that had a very Japanese and very cool natsu matsuri (summer festival) event going on and I couldn't resist investigating.

Ernie was excited about the lights. Really, taking a baby who's biggest hobby is looking at lights to friggin' Japan puts me squarely in best dad ever territory if we're being honest with eachother.

Department store to feed the man! I got some chores done in here as well while Lydia was occupied. There were a couple of power cords that we forgot to pack that I was able to track down in the electronics department.

They had an impressive home shaved ice machine selection.

Game & Watch are kind of like tiny Game Boys that have one game built in and that's all they are able to play. This was actually Nintendo's first big video game product, and came out before the NES.

I think this is like a waterfall that you add ice to in order to cool down your vegetables? I don't super get it... do they not have refrigerators?

While crossing the street in Shinjuku we saw one of those cool giant tv screens that wrap around a building and has 3D-seeming graphics on it.

Our destination was this cool looking Tokyu Kabukicho Tower. This thing was completed this year so we are quite the trendy kids right now.

Inside was sort of a magical food court.

Ernie doesn't eat food but he was excited about all of the lights.

Lydia had some katsudon..

and I chose the okonomiyaki.

We explored more floors of the tower.

I really liked the lighting and presentation of everything in this building.

Hanazono Shrine

We ended up in a fancy department store that featured a bunch of designer children's clothing. This was dangerous because Lydia was busy feeding Ernie and I was completely unsupervised.

There was an OshKosh B'gosh/Gucci collaboration that I spent some time examining.

I did make a small child sized clothing investment and then hurried over to the tax office to get that dirty tax stink off of my acquisitions.

Ern got him some Bathing Ape.

We checked out the shopping caverns around Tokyo Station.

They have a whole section that they refer to as Tokyo Ramen Street. The sign was entirely in Japanese but luckily Lydia has a language genius showing her around.

We strolled around and then pretty much decided upon the only place that didn't have a line. I don't know why, though, because the food was pretty damn good.

While we were eating I asked Lydia "do you hear that?" She paused for a beat, then said "I do now." It was a symphony of people slurping their soup. It's the certified, scientifically best way to eat hot soup, and definitely ramen in particular. I learned how to slurp with the best of them. Lydia is a slurp hater which is tragically wrong.

This was one of those joints where all purchasing takes place in a vending machine. It spits out a ticket, then you hand the ticket to your server. It simplifies things for them.

We stopped for a dessert to go.

I was excited to see the Kirby Cafe. The place was sold out sold out. Like empty shelves. Sadly they had some pretty cool Kirby related baked goods.

The to-go dessert from Tokyo Station ended up being anmitsu from Anmitsu Mihashi. The English version of their website is both amusing and informative:

"The Anmitsu is a symphony

It is a symphony made of red peas, brown sugar, agar, gyuhi, and orange.
In the old days, red peas and brown sugar was mixed together for eating.Later agar was added.
Thus, Brown sugar with red peas became a dessert. Lastly, Anko red bean paste was adding.
This elevated the flavor, and created an Anmitsu sensation. Due to the importance of ingredients, Mihashi takes great care of them."

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