I mentioned in a previous post that the accommodation I stayed at in Tateishi was my first experience with an AirBNB. It was probably due to my obliviousness, but it was only when I arrived in Tokyo that I realised how far the suburb of Tateishi actually was from some places I wanted to go, such as Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya. Due to this, I probably wouldn’t stay at this particular AirBNB again, despite it being affordable and providing me with a free pocket wifi to use.
During my stay in Japan, I also noticed that the walls in Japanese houses are quite thin, so if someone on the floor above you is walking, it sounds like stomping even if they aren’t. Early on Saturday morning, the third day of my Japan trip, I was awakened quite early in the morning by others returning home. Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been a problem, but as I had been drinking Friday night, I couldn’t get back to sleep after being awakened at all, and lay there tossing and turning for about 4 hours until it was almost time for me to check out.
During my AirBNB stay at the Tateishi sharehouse, except for a brief meeting on my first day, I had barely encountered anyone. It wasn’t really the warm welcome I had expected. Although the hosts had emailed me about meeting for drinks on Friday night, I hadn’t checked my email until too late, and I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway as they were staying in the local Tateishi area. They had provided good information and tips about getting around and tourist attractions, as well as the free wifi, but in terms of convenience, Tateishi was much too far away from the main city for me to consider staying again.
I checked out of the Tateishi AirBNB without seeing anyone as it was a self check out. It was still early in the morning, around 10:15am and I had no plans that day except to go meet the girls at the airport. As I was walking to Tateishi station I was thinking about what to do until they came. I walked past Suni Zushi and decided to have sushi for breakfast.
It was early when I came in, but the elderly couple said they were open. I sat at the bar and was forced to use my Japanese to communicate with the elderly sushi chef and his wife. It was challenging, but I was thrilled at being out of my comfort zone and being forced to use my language skills.
As with the first time I had dined there, all the pieces of sushi were wonderfully fresh with that same melt in your mouth texture.
The bill came to about 5,400Y. After paying the bill, I chatted with the sushi chef’s wife. I told her that I had just checked out of my Tateishi accommodation and would be going to meet my friends at the airport, then going to check into our next hotel, which was around the Roppongi area. She saw that my luggage was quite heavy and took pity on me, so she walked with me to the station and carried my umbrella for me. The station wasn’t very far, but it was a hot and humid day so I appreciated the help. We said our goodbyes at the station and she told me to take care.
Although I could have gotten to ANA Intercontinental faster than the airport from Tateishi, I was eager to meet the girls, A & J so I decided I would go meet them at Narita. It took me about an hour and half to get there. Their plane was scheduled to arrive at 2:45pm but ended up being 2 hours delayed. After we were all together, we caught the Skyliner to Tokyo station. The Skyliner is an express, premium train, so our tickets cost around 2,200Y. It was much faster than the train I had caught to go to Narita.
All up, it took us about an hour and a half or almost 2 hours to get to our hotel after changing a few times. The nearest subway station to ANA Intercontinental was Tameike-Sanno, so we got off there. ANA Intercontinental was right outside. We checked in quickly and then got ready to have dinner in Roppongi nearby.
We went around 8pm and walked 15 minutes to Roppongi. J and I had nothing particular in mind for dinner and were starving so we went into one of the first restaurants we saw, which was called Roku-Maru.
J and I ordered the Shabu Shabu (950Y), the Tofu with Deep Fried Baby Sardines and Japanese Leeks (550Y) and the Potato Salad.
Immediately after ordering, we were brought a small dish of tofu, prawn and greens in a light sauce. The tofu was served cool and had a creamy texture.
The Potato Salad was creamy and soft. I enjoyed eating the crispy pieces of bacon that came on the side.
The Tofu in this dish had a creamy texture as well, and was slightly salty due to the sardines. It was cool and refreshing.
The shabu shabu was the last of our dishes to be ready. When the restaurant staff brought it to our table, he explained to us how to eat it. The pork slices were to be put into the pot, then dipped into the accompanying sauce and eaten with the sliced vegetables on the side. Although the staff were young at this restaurant, they didn’t speak much English and had a little trouble communicating with us.
In hindsight, this was probably one of the worst restaurants that we ate at in Japan. The service, like everywhere we ate in Japan, was friendly and polite. However, the food wasn’t up to scratch. In comparison with all the other places we ate at, the food was average and I wouldn’t bother coming back.
After J and I paid the bill and left, we walked around looking for a dessert place.
I didn’t have any preferences for dessert, so J chose a place she liked. It was a dessert and cake cafe right on the corner of Roppongi Crossing.
I found the cakes at Almond to be aesthetically pleasing, but not delicious. J’s cake consisted of strawberries and cream sandwiched in layers of pastry and dusted in icing sugar. The pastry layers were stale and it wasn’t pleasant to eat.
My parfait was nice, but admittedly it’s quite difficult to go wrong with ice cream. After finishing up our desserts, we bumped into A again. As it was J and A’s first night, we decided to have a few drinks in the area. I picked a downstairs beer garden. A decided to have something small to nibble on and settled on fish and chips, which was proclaimed on the menu as ‘the best fish and chips in the world’.
You can be sure that when a restaurant declares one of their items as ‘the best in the world’, it definitely will not be.
After we had finished our beers, J and A decided to call it a night as they were exhausted from the flight. Not feeling satisfied with going home early on a Saturday night, I told the girls I was going out and met J and his friend at a nearby dive bar called Geronimos.
Geronimos was a fairly inauthentic Japanese bar, in the sense that there were no Japanese people there. The place was loud, and the walls were covered with artistic graffiti. It was fairly small, so they only had two bartenders, but this was sufficient. After meeting J and his friend inside, we had a few drinks. In Japan, there’s no laws about alcohol, so I could line up 5 shots in a row and have them all at once if I really wanted (not that I did). I had 2 shots at the same time, and a Bloody Mary, before we decided to move onto another bar called Sports Bar.
We met another two of J’s friends at Sports Bar. I think it was about 1 or 2am by this time. J and his friends joked about how they were giving me a totally inauthentic Japanese experience due to the bars we went to. Sports Bar was also full of Americans, not that I had a problem with it. I don’t remember how long we spent at Sports Bar but I had two Bloody Marys there before someone suggested that we go to Feria. I had intended on going to Feria since before leaving to go Japan, so of course I was happy with the suggestion.
We walked to Feria, which was within walking distance of Sports Bar. At Feria, the entry fee for women was around 1,500Y, but women also get 2 free drink vouchers with their entry. J and I went to get drinks immediately after we came in and the night was blurry after this point. Feria was like one of Sydney’s nicer nightclubs, like Ivy. It had 4 levels, with a smoking area at the rooftop. They played EDM and mainstream music like Iggy Azalea.
At Feria, after having an obligatory shot because of the voucher, I found myself very drunk, very fast and called it a night. Clubbing in Japan was definitely an experience, and in my opinion, beats clubbing in Sydney any day.