enigmatic's Reviews

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  • Tsukiji Hongan Ji (Temples / Tsukiji)
  • 2009/01/29
  • When I first went here I was unsure if this was a university lecture hall or a temple. But once you start paying attention to the details....oh wow. It is breathtaking. The architecture is amazing and reminded me of the great European cathedrals. You can see a variety of influences from around the world play out in the details of this temple. If you're in the area, you simply must stop by. But keep in mind that it is quite an active temple (actual religious ceremonies, not just coffee break prayer).
  • Kotoku In (Temples / Yokohama)
  • 2009/01/29
  • First and foremost...you've made the trip all the way out there...shell out the pocket change to go inside the buddha. It's really interesting to see how such a large sculpture is constructed and after visiting hundreds of temples in my lifetime I've only ever been inside one buddha. There are a lot of kids on school trips in this site and of course, a lot of tourists (not just foreign ones). They have a great bookstall right near the buddha statue, so you can pick up some lit to improve your knowledge of boddhisatvas and symbolism. Also, don't forget to check out the giant straw sandals. All I know is that if they can make shoes that big, why can't I ever find any in my size?

    Oh, and if you're traveling with a kid (or a grown man who thinks he's a kid) be warned that there is a really "cool" giftshop outside the temple selling weapons. You've been warned.
  • Cafe 246 (Bookstores / Akasaka)
  • 2009/01/29
  • Yummy chicken tenders and creative choices on the menu. It's always really loud, except at lunch time, of course. They have an outdoor patio area, perfect for evening beers in spring and summer. They've also got computers for you to use if you simply HAVE to check your email.
  • 82 Ale House (Bars / Shinagawa)
  • 2009/01/29
  • This place is pretty close to one of the Temple University buildings so it is frequented by a quite a few students. But the place is nice, the staff is friendly, and the imported beers are cold. Oh, and the fish and chips is rockin'. But probably the most interesting feature of this place is the built in mechanism for knowing when you've had too many drinks. The bathrooms are down in the basement at the bottom of a very steep flight of stairs. If you're too drunk to get back up them, then you're done for the night.
  • Amrta (Bars / Hiroo)
  • 2009/01/29
  • I've only been here once before on a weekday when the bill was being covered by the company expense account, so I have absolutely no idea how much anything cost. And the place was pretty much empty. But the music is great, the decor and atmosphere are wonderful, and the staff is awesome. Everyone seems just genuinely happy to be there and the vibe was really chill (again, could be because it was a Thursday). If you're in the area, it's worth a trip down the stairs into the basement.
  • Absolut Icebar Tokyo (Bars / Hiroo)
  • 2009/01/29
  • Ok, any bar that can charge 3500 yen cover, impose a time limit, and requires reservations all while freezing your butt off? Yeah, there's probably something pretty cool about it. Either that or they've got the greatest scam ever dreamed up. All that aside, I had a great time here. But I'm also the kind of person who savors and enjoys an occasional memorable experience. It's not something I think I'd ever repeat, though.
  • 4 Count Bar (Bars / Roppongi)
  • 2009/01/29
  • I don't much care what people say about the lovely drinks and pleasant atmosphere. The fact that the cover charge is hourly is like being in a discount hostess club. No thank you. Left after one drink to go take a shower.

    Nothing whatsoever against the girls, as they are very nice. I just felt like a dirty lech.
  • Bar Piano (Bars / Shibuya)
  • 2009/01/29
  • Yet another one of those places in Tokyo that makes you feel like you've just been teleported to an alternate reality. Classic "germanic" decor sometimes feels more like a cross between garage-sale chic and a bordello. But the staff is delightful and it's all in good fun. Honestly, the atmosphere is a welcome change from the inside of most places. Drinks are a bit pricey, but you are pretty much paying for the environment (but isn't that always the case?)
  • Bagel & Bagel: Ikebukuro (Cafes / Ikebukuro)
  • 2009/01/29
  • I LOVE bagel & bagel!!! You simply must try the "everything" bagel...it has, as you may have guessed, everything on it and in it. Fabulous toasted with plain cream cheese. And the wheat bagels with the sweet basil cream cheese are awesome. Probably the best thing about this place is that they dont' stop at just making different flavored bagels - the cream cheese offers a delightful variety as well. You can also buy extra cream cheese and take it home so you can actually have a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast the next morning (I actually go out of my way to find one of these places since there are none near my apartment).

    Oh, and remember, the sandwiches are made in advance...nothing made in advance is ever as tasty as the freshly made...

    Don't forget the cheesecake!
  • Dean and Deluca: Shinagawa (Groceries/Supermarkets / Shinagawa)
  • 2009/01/29
  • Dean & Deluca...one of the things I do like about this place is that all of their products are base-line natural. Take the lemonade for example...no concentrate...actual lemons, natural mineral and sparkling water, with a bit of gum syrup. Even though it's a little pricey, it is definitely well worth it. And let's be honest, if you've made the trip out to the immigration office you deserve to give yourself a treat on the way back home.
  • Delifrance (Bakery / Akasaka)
  • 2009/01/30
  • Typical Japanese bakery chain located all over Tokyo, but this particular chain has more of the things I like than most other bakery chains. The quiche is fabulous, the chocolate chip muffins are heavenly, and the fruit smoothies are almost as good as a smoothie from Baskin & Robbins. They make fresh stuff all day long, but just be wary of the pre-made sandwiches...that thing you think is mayo probably has a healthy dose of horseradish.
  • Narrow K's (Cafes / Kichijoji)
  • 2009/01/30
  • This cafe is a bit small, and doesn't feel as warm and inviting as a lot of other cafes. While the cakes, teas, and coffees are pretty good, they are a bit on the expensive side, especially given the multitude of options available to you in Kichijoji. The only time I go back here now is when I am waiting for someone to meet me and I have more than 10 minutes I need to fill. I can enjoy a snack while people-watching and notice when my group arrives.
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: Shibuya (Doughnuts / Shibuya)
  • 2009/01/30
  • The smell wafting from a Krispy Kreme is enough to give you a cavity. But it is absolutely divine. In the satellite locations like this one, the line is significantly shorter than at the Krispy Kreme in Shinjuku. Due to the length of the line in Shinjuku, I was never able to enjoy the cafe treats they have to offer (like specialty coffees and smoothies). But in locations like this one you can sample pretty much everything the company has to offer. Just keep in mind that no matter how large or small the Krispy Kreme is, the noise level is fairly high.
  • koots green tea (Japanese Sweets & Cafes / Harajuku)
  • 2009/01/30
  • This cafe can basically be summarized as a Japanese style tea house with a western twist with organic products. A Starbucks for tea, if you will.

    They have loose organic teas (but they don't sell it bulk...I would totally buy it if they did) and they also have more western-y treats like matcha smoothies. The location is quiet even when it's pretty full.
  • Le Cafe Doutor (Cafes / Ginza)
  • 2009/01/30
  • Disappointment. Say it with me now.... dis-a-ppoint-ment. It felt slightly less like a fancy Denny's, but it is still just a Dotour. The things I hate about "regular" Dotour still exist in this one...it's smokier than a run-down bingo hall. I do not enjoy going in to a place for a simple cup of coffee or sandwich only to leave reeking worse than a night out in Roppongi, sore throat and red eyes included. If you're in Ginza, there are much nicer places you can go for a cup of coffee. I suggest you try them out.
  • Lupicia: Roppongi == CLOSED == (Tea / Roppongi)
  • 2009/01/30
  • This place is wonderful. I felt terrible for having lived in a tea-centered culture for so long and knowing so little about it. So one afternoon on a shopping trip I went into the store. The staff is fabulous, friendly, helpful, and passionate about tea. I learned a lot from them, and went back for a couple of tea making classes. Once you figure out what you like, you can start ordering for home delivery. This is really good if you live far out of the city and don't have a chance to get to Roppongi very often. I think it's also a good place to bring out of town visitors to learn more about tea.
  • Cerveza (Beer Bars / Roppongi)
  • 2009/01/30
  • Benjamin Franklin said, "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Places like Cerveza are proof that mankind agrees. And in my eyes, any place that offers beer so enthusiastically should be revered. It should be worshiped as often as possible. Not only does every beer have a glass that perfectly highlights the the beverage's unique flavors, there is a snack somewhere on the menu that perfectly compliments it. You can be snobby about the selection if you like, but it is rare to find places with such variety in Tokyo. Now if only someone would start importing Fat Tire...
  • Maruara-Watanabe (Japanese Goods / Shibuya)
  • 2009/01/30
  • I stumbled into this store for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, it is the perfect place to stop in and pick up gifts before heading home for the holidays. It's also a great place to take out of town guests so they can do all their shopping for friends back home. They've got generic souvenirs like keychains and postcards, but they've also got sandals, bags made of kimono-style fabric, aprons emblazoned with the names of different brands of sake, and yukata.

    The ladies who work in the store are originally from the Kyoto area and provide you with a lot of gift options indicative of that area. They are also extremely friendly and helpful.
  • Yamaya: Shibuya (Liquor / Shibuya)
  • 2009/01/30
  • Life is good with Yama-ya. Tim-tams. Beer. Dried fruit snacks. Cheeeeeeesssseeeee!!!! Chips. Ice cream. Chili. Soup. *drool

    Pretty much a one-stop shop for all your "western" food cravings. Forget having mom mail over that box of Cracklin' Oat Bran and Bsquik! Pick it up at your convenience, but remember: Yama-ya is like a can of Pringles...once you shop, you can't stop.
  • Shang lou (Chinese / Shibuya)
  • 2009/01/30
  • I tried to like this place. I really did. But I had a horrific experience with this dish in Chongqing. That experience (and the horrific week that followed) was enough to make me reluctant to eat more than a couple of bites. Everyone else in the group seemed to really enjoy it, but when I went home I had to make myself a sandwich. Given the price of dinner, for me it was a bit of a disappointment.
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