Tokyo - Eating around town

 We had two goals for Friday: Seeing the cat temple and eating a lot of sweets! Both were achieved plus some more...

First of all we had another successful go at mastering the Tokyo train system - finding out where to go and how to get a ticket there, preferably on a map that's only written in Japanese... 
We had to go all across town to get to Gotoku-ji. It's in a quiet area of town, where houses are small, the streets are too, and you're more likely to be hit by a bicycle than a car. 

In a small shop we bought our first treats of the day, the "healthy" kind : some chestnuts and a very hot sweet potatoe. Yes, you just eat it like that, it's soft and yummy!
There's an entire complex of temples and this is the entrance to Gotoku-ji.
Pagoda
The actual cat corner is a small temple with all these cat figurines that people bought to be granted a wish.
It's the original waving cat! Legend says that it stood waving in front of the old, poor temple and attracted some rich samurai who then donated a lot of money. This is why it stands for wealth.
Oli praying for the oldest wish in the book - winning the lottery.
Another way of doing it: write it on a little piece of wood.
We were too late for the cherry blossoms but instead these blooming bushes can be seen all over Tokyo.
Waving!
Isn't it all so pretty?
Walking around the neighborhood - also pretty.
Decoration in front of a bakery where Oli bought some Japanese sweets. It's really all so pretty!
OK, less pretty but very Japanese: the open wires and cables across the streets. This is where we walked back to the train station. And I bought some Western style desserts for the way. We were doing good on our eating mission!
One train ride later - still in Tokyo but now Shinjuku! Just a little contrast... After the quiet suburbs we went right into the bustling city.
Only in Japan... Road construction with the help of Hello Kitty!
How to create jobs: employ eight people to occasionally block the sidewalk for trucks to drive in and out of the building. Of course they will then bow to you and ask you to excuse the inconvenience.
Big tower and me!
We were just stolling when we saw a big building that had three magic names on it: Tokyu Hands, Uniqlo and Takashimaya. Basically a shopper's paradise. 

We entered and immediately got sucked into the wonderful and weird vortex of Tokyu Hands. A store that sells everything you want and a lot you never even knew existed.
Just take the umbrella department: not only is there a crazy choice of all kinds of umbrellas, the also sell spare part to repare broken umbrellas! 
We went through nearly all of the 8 floors and bought something whenever we got off the escalator (I dragged Oli through the tools department as fast as I could!).

There are a lot of things you would not find in another country. For example a large choice of fans for men.
Hours later our bodies needed another sugar fix. Takashimaya has several restaurants and cafes, and we went into one that looked a bit like a hairdresser's salon.
I only took this picture of Oli so I could photograph the ladies in the background and most importantly the basket on the floor which was provided for every table so people could store their bags in them. Now how's that for service culture? And we also saw this in other restaurants. So clever, these Japanese!
We finally arrived on the 12th floor where the clothes shop Uniqlo is located. They have nice, affordable garments and I went through them all. Even Oli "I don't need anything" found a pair of shorts for himself.

Then we climbed on to the 14th floor where even the bathroom has a great view.
Walking around the terrace. We owe it to the temples that there are green areas in this concrete jungle.
On the 13th floor there are several restaurants and a little garden.
A little shrine can never hurt. 
Doesn't it look inviting?
We chose a Bretagne themed restaurant where a waiter greeted us with a friendly "Bonsoir" and the menu was written in Japanese and French. So for a change we could actually read what we were going to order!
Take a picture of that galette! 
Little fairy lights in the green
We went back down to Tokyu Hands and saw something else that's very Japanese: when it gets hot and sunny, you should wear MORE to keep cool! Like these gauntlets that will protect your arms from an unwanted tan. I actally bought a pair for bicycling.
And now off to the expensive items...

Kimonos are very beautiful and VERY expensive. 
And don't think you're done with the kimono alone - you need a lot of accessories that are very costly too.
These slippers also don't look like they were made for human feet.
You can't go to a Japanese department store and leave out the food floor! It's not about wanting to buy anything - more like a museum experience. Especially when you're at the Counter of Expensive Fruit.
These melons are sold in their own wooden box! 
Over 100 bucks for the grapes? Makes the mango look affordable.
Watching the creation of Japanese sweets with fillings of azuki beans and sweet potatoes.
We only left because they close at 8 PM!

A walk around the area soon resulted in sensory overload. All those lights and noises!
This is where we spent a lot of time and money for the most part of the day...
Back in the hotel we did the old shopper's ritual of laying out all our purchases on a tatami mat. Mine are left, Oli's on the right.