Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costco car batteries are the best deal!

My car battery went dead the other day and I went to Costco to buy a new one. That cost $50 but what's great about Costco is that when you return your old Costco battery, they check to see if it's under warranty and they give you credit depending on how new it is. So, I got $30 credit back because I had the battery for around two years. Costco batteries have a 100 month warranty also. I love Costco!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Japan Day 4 - Oct 9

Made our way to Shibuya to go shopping and check out the sights. Stopped by Starbucks to get quick caffeine fix.

Took picture with the popular Hachiko statue right outside of Shibuya train station.

Bought some EXPENSIVE CDs from this cool music store - HMV. Most Japanese CDs cost around 3000 yen which is around $25 to $30!

Went across the street to the Loft which is a store which has a little bit of everything. I don't think we have a store that would compare to it in the U.S. It has sporting goods, toys, furniture,
jewelry, etc. Make sure you check it out if you go to Tokyo. You should also check out Tokyu
Hands which is another store where you could spend an hour or so looking around.

We felt like getting a snack so we got some ice cream from this place called Sweden. Yummy sundaes!

Afterwards walked towards Omotesandoo which is one of the trendy streets in Tokyo with alot of fashion stores like Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

We ate okonomiyaki (In Hawaii they have okonomiyaki at Kai and Chibo's) for dinner which was delicious! They had these deep fried baby shrimp which were super good!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What's on When?

Cool site that shows you what's going on when/where all over the world. Good to use for trip planning....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Japan Day 3 - Oct 8

Headed out to Asakusa to check out the popular temple Sensooji. We were starving since we didn't eat lunch so we grabbed some age manju or fried manju. That was just the beginning...we also ate chicken yakitori (teriyaki chicken on a stick), tako yaki (octopus breaded, rolled into small balls and fried up), and a crepe.

At the temple, they have these fortunes printed on paper called omikuji that you can try out. Mike went first and he pulls out the Dai-kichi or Great Blessing basically telling you that you will like like a king, encounter countless beautiful women, become rich beyond your dreams, etc, etc. Needlees to say, he was stoked! Beef pulls a small blessing out and it's pretty good. It's not like Mike's but better than what I pull. I have "luck" of pulling Dai-kyoo or Great Curse! I thought I was gonna be struck down by lightning right there and then! It was the worse of the worse! Death, poverty, hunger, you name it. Now, we had to clarify on what needed to be done because I was feeling a bit sick now so we asked the priests and they said if it's a good fortune, you keep it. If it's a bad fortune, you tie it on the tree to leave the bad luck there instead of taking it with you. I tied mines on as quickly as I could. We went to the other shrines to cleanse ourselves or Now, I felt I had to get a good luck paper so I asked Mimi if it was OK to go get another one and she said it was. If I got another curse, then Buddha is definitely sending a sign! Luckily I got a medium luck one which calmed me down a little.

Next stop was Akihabara, the electronics section of Tokyo. Nancy and Mimi heard about this weird thing where socially challenged guys go to talk to young girls dressed in maid costumes.
I don't know why they wanted to take us there but away we went. We got a flyer from one of these girls dressed up as a maid handing out flyers on the street and we found the place. At this place, all they did was dress up as maids and serve food. We didn't see any of them talking to the customers. It's not like we would be able to carry on much of a conversation anyway plus they all looked like they were 12 years old.

We ate at a Korean restaurant where you cook your own food on the grill. Kinda like the stuff you would find at Gyu-Kaku in Hawaii.

Played pool and darts at a place in Shinjuku which was pretty expensive. Dunno what the bill was since MC took care of it. Thanks MC! Don't play Mimi in darts or pool. Especially darts! She was killing everyone!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Read this on the way to Tokyo

Good read. As one review on Amazon put it: Bubble gum for the mind.

Wikipedia for Asian Dramas

Wikipedia is really getting popular in a lot of different areas....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Japan - Day 2 - Oct 7 2006

Our next stop was a nightclub called Muse. It's full of foreigners so we kinda felt more at home. Music over here was a little better too. Beef felt like being the go-between between us and everyone else so he was like - "Hi, what's your name? Yukiko? This is my friend, Todd! It was almost like being in a booking club in Korea! haha We all had fun though dancing and talking story. So we finally left the club at closing time which was 5am. We found some Vietnamese place to eat and get rid of some of our alcohol and by the time we came outside it was daylight! I think we took a taxi back to the hotel but it was kind of a blur.

I think we woke up around 130pm after some snoring battles with Mike. We headed out to get some breakfast, well really lunch and we found a really good tonkatsu place which hit the spot. We walked around Shinjuku and I saw this little pet shop with the cutest puppies and kittens! Wish I could've taken em home. Saw a melon selling for 10,000 yen or around $90! It's kinda like a super expensive rich people give to each other to show off.

We met up with a bunch of people at a place in Roppongi called Gonpachi. This is the restaurant that they based the fight scene from Kill Bill Vol 1 with Uma vs a hundred Japanese crazies, the girl with the flying spiked ball and Lucy Liu. It was way smaller than the movie set but you could definitely see the resemblance. It was kinda cool being in someplace that was in a movie. The food was really good and I was able to taste foie gras for the first time and probably the last time. Yech! Sorry Mimi!

Next stop was to a mellow bar up the street where we had some mixed drinks, shots, and even Soco with lime! Got a little hungry so I went to the nearby convenience store for a musubi and warm coffee. They have the best musubis in Japan! BTW, 7-11s in Japan DO NOT have slurpees so I don't know if I would be able to move there.

Next stop - Feria, another nightclub in Roppongi which was way too crowded! There was supposed to be four floors open but only two were so it was super packed. There were so many foreigners that you wouldn't even know you were in a foreign country. You could barely move around let alone dance but we hung out there till around 5am. We grabbed some cheap ramen ($5) close by and caught the train home....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Japan - Day 1 - Oct 6 2006

Before the trip I decided to but the HP IPAQ RX1955 from Circuit City for around $275 after taxes. It's one of the smaller PDAs that has 802.11b wireless built-in. The processor isn't the fastest but I'd rather have something I can carry around easier than more power and features. I was able to buy a 2GB Sandisk card for $45 from Office Depot. So I loaded up a bunch of songs, installed a Japanese dictionary from here for $18, got a freeware Metro program for the trains in Tokyo. They also have other train/subway layouts for many other cities and countries.

Took off for Tokyo on Japan Airlines at 1130am from HNL. The food on the flight wasn't too bad. I had seafood curry and some soba. The movie for the flight was "The Breakup" which I give a 7/10 stars. Jennifer Aniston looked good and there were some funny jokes albeit cruel in a sense. The movie was a primarily a comedy but it showed how difficult communication is in any relationship. It looks so clear on the screen but not so in real life. K, nuff with the depressing stuff! The 2nd movie was "Click" but I crashed out so I wasn't too tired getting into the city.

Arrived in Tokyo at 230pm Tokyo time. I just carried on my luggage so I didn't have to pick it up. Just went to get my train ticket to Tokyo via the Narita Express. I had some time before my train left so I figure I would get my email fix taken care of before I left the airport. They had 10 minutes of access for 100 yen (around 85 cents at the 117 yen / dollar rate) It took only 1 hour 20 minutes to get to Shinjuku for 3000 yen. You can also take the Airport Limouse for the same price which will take you right to the hotel but it takes longer because of the stops and traffic. My friends took that bus the day before and they got to the hotel at 7pm after arriving on the same flight as me. I got to the hotel at around 515pm. The rain was crazy! A typhoon was just passing by the city and I was getting the tail end of it. Really strong winds and heavy rain. I was thinking - "I came here for this???"

We stayed at the Tokyo Hilton in Shinjuku which was a really nice hotel. I met up with Mike and Beef at the hotel. We were on the executive floor because Mike is an executive Hilton member. Free Internet access in the room! Das all I needed! haha! We were all hungry so we went to grab something to eat. Wasn't too fun walking in the nasty rain - the kind that destroys the cheap umbrellas. These were strewn all over the place! We found this small hole in the wall place that served ramen and it was pretty good. The broth was really thick but it was very tasty. The beer tasted great! No gyoza there though! Boo! After eating way too much, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with our tour guide Nancy.

We headed to Roppongi to meet up with some other friends Todd and Mimi. Met them at McDonald's Roppongi. Had some fries there, tasted just like back home of course. Not liking the liquid sugar in Japan cuz it's not as sweet as Equal but they don't have too much of the artificial sweeteners here.

We went to a bar with an 80's music theme which was interesting. The crowd on the floor had their own dance routine going for all these songs and we felt a bit out of place. The guys seemed a bit fem but they were really enjoying themselves. Must be stress relief!

Next we went to this cool open air bar called Heartland. We had a beer here and moved on to the next stop...