My husband, mother, and father (visiting from America) came here after 3 years of hearing about it. We hiked up the mountain and the beer and food was definitely refreshing after a long hike. The views are nice and it is an all you can eat and drink. It was a little crowded - there was a line to get in and lines for food & drink but no reservations required. The food is rather crap but I liked that it wasn't just unlimited beer, there was also chu-his, shochu, wine, etc. I thought it would be lots of young people but there were actually a lot of families (children and grandmas included). A nice once in a lifetime experience!
I got the 11,000Y/month plan. Kinda expensive but I became a real fitness freak so I liked that I could jump around to any club for any amount of time.
Ebisu is by far the nicest. New everything - the machines even let you plug in your USB device so you can watch movies from your iPod on your personal tv screen, etc. You can even charge your device at the same time. THIS IS JAPAN, people. The studios are a little small but they have multicolored lights which lets face it who isn't impressed by that? Makes you feel like you're in a club while you do your Body Jam. The baths are very pretty and clean, the Ebisu club even has an outside one with skylights.
I also went to the Shibuya one (ghetto, old machines, weird setup), Ikebukuro (old baths but very nice studios, can't speak much for the equipment 'cuz I only went for the big classes on weekends) and the one by my work - Musashikosugi. That one is relatively new, it has a lot of work out machines and a decent sized studio.
I like that at the Ebisu one they have people who speak English (I didn't find that to be the case at any other club) and that it's in a fun area where I can get my shopping done too, etc.
I live in America now and I am a fatty now and I was SPOILED by Konami. The gyms here pale in comparison and I refuse to give my money to crappy San Francisco gyms when I had the best, cleanest, friendly, luxurious Konami.
Soooooo, sooooooo, so good! The view was, of course, fantastic. The service was great and the food DELICIOUS. Minus half a star for their awful drinks.
We came here to celebrate our marriage at the Shijuku ward office earlier that afternoon. We were greeted at the door, they took our coats and belongings. We were walked to our table and every member of staff greeted us as we walked through the restaurant to our table. Chairs pulled out, napkins placed on our laps, menus opened and handed to us.
The waiter suggested champagne and of course we took him up on that. Everything on the menu looked stellar, mostly meat just how we like it. We decided to order off the a la carte menu because we don't do fish; I decided to go with the surf and turf, new hubby just went with the steak. The waiter informed us that it would a 40 minute wait to cook it and suggested an appetizer. We got the Caesar salad which I wasn't too impressed with as it was just a few pieces of (uncut) Romaine lettuce, some soft croutons, and a sprinkle of bacon. They brought us warm complimentary bread to tide us over as well. The waiters were very attentive and kept coming over to fill our water cups, America style.
We also ordered garlic mashed potatoes and duck fat fried potatoes but I really think one side for two people would cover it. Our main courses came out and we were full just from that. My lobster was cooked to perfection, served with all the trimmings. My Australian steak was also great, juicy and full of flavor. I forgot what cut hubby ordered but it had quite a lot of fat on it, which he was disappointed by. Still, we had plenty of food with the two sides, and we left absolutely stuffed.
We ordered two drinks: the L.I.T. for me (Lost In Translation!) and something blue for hubby. We didn't like either of them. We like alcohol and I looooove cocktails. Points for originality but they did not taste good.
It was all expensive, I think we came close to $400? But definitely worth it, at least once. Everything was great and I really appreciated the attentive and friendly service.
This club gets a "very bad" from me. Went here last night for Halloween because it's supposed to be the biggest party in "Tokyo". After about a 20 minute wait we hopped on the shuttle bus which was convenient and nice. We got there and the line was massive, as everyone said it would be. We waited in line for 2 hours, getting to know other people around us and joking around (and drinking of course). There was quite a bit of pushing and shoving once we got towards the front. The bouncer did a quick ID check and there was another line to pay. That line took about 10 minutes, and that's when things really went wrong. Apparently you need to get your hand stamped for your costume to get the 2,000 yen discount. The b!tch at the register was trying to charge me 4,000 yen after I waited in line for 2 hours! I told her look, I realize I don't have a stamp but the bouncer pushed me into the club without me realizing I needed one for the discount. Apparently the bouncer stamps your hand if you are in costume. Well guess what, I went as Where's Waldlo/Wally and it was brilliant. I got so many compliments on my cute and original costume when I was walking around Shibuya. She told me I would either need to get back in line or pay the 4,000. I showed her Where's Waldo on my keitai and she obviously knew I was in oostume. What was the point of having me go back for a stupid little stamp? It was the bouncer's mistake and I shouldn't be punished for it. I raged and raged at the chick. So finally I took my friends ticket and she jumped to the next register and bought another 2,000 yen ticket with her hand stamp. Yeah that's right Ageha, beat your dumb little system.
We went in after another line to be bag and body checked. It's a truly massive club. The main dance floor has an awesome sound system and lights. The thing is.... no one was dancing. And I could understand why. All throughout the club, all night, the same relentless House beat was playing. I couldn't tell one room from the other, the music reminded me of the scene in "A Wrinkle in Time" when Calvin and the group are in the room with the brain that's beating the same steady humdrum and slowly taking over their minds. Play some crowd movers, would you? A little Daft Punk or dare I say it, MJ? Everyone room was the same garbage. My friend said "Come on, let's go to the pool and dance there." The rooftop pool was awesome and again the same ridiculousness there. People were swaying around lamely. I wanted to sit down and found a sofa where I promptly fell asleep for 2 hours. When I woke up, it was time to go, and the shuttle bus was sold out. We waited around for a friend at a different dance floor with the same crap, and then walked to the station.
Another thing I noticed was the security guards. They acted as if we were in an Iraq battlefield and we were all terrorists. "MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! STAND UP! STAND UP! WAKE UPPPPPPPPPP!" I could've sworn I saw them hitting the legs of one chick to try and get her up. They were evil and merciless, and I'm pretty sure they were yakuza.
So long story short, it's a huge club with a good sound system and amazing dance floors. Cons, everyone that works there, from the bouncer to the security to the cash register girls is a complete douche and a--hole. And the music sucks. It is DEFINITELY not worth the trip out there, and I'd never pay 4,000 yen for this ish. There are better clubs around Tokyo where you can have more fun especially on a Halloween night. There were lots of people dressed up so we saw some cool costumes but you can do that walking around Shibuya. Never, ever come here.
I've been here on two occasions: once, to end a night of karaoke and drinking, and again to have a pint and British fare with my English future hubby. Most brews are 1,000yen per pint. When I went late on a Saturday night, there was still room to sit down and have a (drunken) chat with my friends. When I went with my darling early Saturday night for dinner, it was practically empty but the food took foooooreeeevverrrr to come out. My boyfriend said the sausage was quiet nice and my shepherd's pie was perfectly average. I'd say it's a good place to grab a (slightly overpriced) pint and have a (decent) meal in Shibuya (if you like foreigner magnets).
Arty Farty is a fun crowd. Some nights you will have to pay an entrance fee, some nights you will just have to buy a drink (and get a hand stamp). I don't particularly like the music they play so I always pester the DJ, luckily they have forms you can fill out for requests. I'd say drink prices are cheaper than the norm. Stripper pole and small stage if you like attention :) The problem is it's always packed- hard to dance, hard to breathe! You'll always wind up with a drink spilled on your shoes or at least sticky soles. It gets hard to get a drink as they club gets packed later on in the night. Mostly gay crowd but straight guys and gals are OK too.
Alps is amazing. It's hard to find, but look for the Hotel Listo (with a water fountain) in Kabukicho, past the pretty hosts trying to lure in O.L's, and it's around back and across the street. If you are a foreigner they will put you on the 4th floor with the rest of the troublemakers. Order beer immediately and consume many for 100 yen a glass, or 500 yen for a pitcher. Karaage, gyoza, pork kimchee, nabe, salads, fried rice, cheesy mentaiko fries, grilled fish... it's all delicious and so cheap! The negatives: my friends and I are semi-regulars at this izakaya, and we've never had to wait except for one time when it was just my boyfriend and I. They told us the wait would be 30 minutes and then seated some Japanese girls that had come in after us. That wasn't cool. On a packed Saturday night, food comes really slowly. There's a 500 yen seating charge as well. That's about it.
There is tons of fun to be had at this place, I recommend stuffing yourself and getting tanked off 100 yen beers before heading out for the night.
It's very easy to make an appointment at TMSC, just give them a call and they have usually been able to fit me in the same day. The receptionists speak perfect English and are efficient. Make the trek up to Tokyo Tower and the office is right across the street. My doctor is British and she made me feel comfortable talking to her about what I needed. Really, the experience was just like going to the doctor back home. I sent my boyfriend there to get his ingrown toenail fixed, and his doctor was Japanese but spoke English well. They fixed his toenail up for 30,000+ plus. They don't take National Health Insurance here and that is a bummer. From what I understand it's only travelers insurance or foreign company insurance. It's easy to get a prescription refilled, too, just call the pharmacy and they'll verify with the doctor, then call you back and let you know to come in. Sometimes the waiting room is super crowded but I've never had trouble getting an appointment.
Sakuratei offers standard okonomiyaki/monjayaki fare in a cool atmosphere at great prices. It's got a very indie/hippie vibe with all the artwork and graffiti on the wall. You have three options: go for the all-you-can-eat (tabehoudai) course, pick from their original mixes, or choose your own without the tabehoudai option. The place is very foreigner friendly, with English instructions on how to cook the stuff if you've never tried, and an English menu/drink menu. I'd say the taste is like all the other okonomiyaki places I've tried, so come for the ambiance and the cheap prices. It's 1,900 (for men) and 1,700 (for women) for tabehoudai, and a group of 8 of us went recently and had 5 dishes for an amazing 750 yen per person without the tabehoudai option. Make reservations, this place is huge but very popular and you'll have to wait (especially on weekends) if you don't!
I went to pure with a few friends and my boyfriend last year and it was really lacking before 12. It's all you can drink and if you come in before 12 it's at a discounted price (2,000 yen? or something for ladies) but the music was ridiculous and there was hardly a crowd. Luckily this gave me time to focus on my drinking before the bar got crowded. I was already pretty tipsy before I even stepped through the door, but my friends who've been here a few times say there's hardly any alcohol in the drinks. Anyway, around 1 or 2 the crowd started to pick up and it was your typical rowdy English teachers + foreign tourists + Japanese guys and girls picking up gaijin club. They played hip hop until the wee hours of the morning and even got in a little Bay Area stuff, much appreciated. I would recommend this to tourists trying to find a club like one back home, English teachers wanting to hook up, and people who want to dance to generic hip hop. Bonus points for not yelling at my boyfriend when he passed out in front of the lockers outside and not kicking my girl friends out when they started to fight.
I got a cut and a straight perm at watanabe from Chie. She was very professional and helped me out even though I didn't know what style I wanted, same for my friend in the next chair. Don't be afraid of the language barrier here, Chie's English is perfect and you can tell her exactly what you need. Coming to a Japanese hair salon is a real experience because you get great service, including a back massage! At no time did I feel panicked about what was happening to my hair, I was very relaxed throughout the 3 hours+ process. I give it 4 stars because the straight perm didn't last as long as predicted and in less than 2 months I had poofy, wavy hair again =( When I left Watanabe I felt like a princess though. Total for cut and straight perm by Chie: 20,000+yen.
Possibly the most authentic Mexican food in Tokyo (and believe me, I've been searching) and for that I give it 5 stars. The boy and I came here for our 1 year anniversary and it was very romantic on a Monday night. We were sent to a smaller room where it was just us and candlelight for a while. The boy got carne asada and I got fajitas. It was his first taste of Mexican food (being from England and all) and he loved it. The spices were perfect, the meat was juicy and came with soft, warm tortillas and guac, even the beans were yummy. I've got somewhat of a discerning palette for Mexican food being from Southern California and this is hands down the best. The service was very attentive too. To top it all off, mariachi came and sang Selena for us as we were finishing our meal. It's a bit pricey but it's worth it for the quality and the experience. Bring someone here if you want to impress them. Total for two meals and a few beers: 8,000+yen.
My fiance and I came to Zest on Valetine's Day night. I busted up laughing as soon as I entered because the decor is SO kitsch and trying so hard to be like a Tex-Mex steak house, think cow skulls, waitresses in cowboy hats, and neon Budweiser signs on the walls. We had to wait a while to be seated but the waitress set up a makeshift table with chips and salsa and took our drink orders. When we were finally seated, FH got the steak and I ordered the burrito, and we split some chicken tacos. The food is not authentic but the boy loved his steak and I thought my burrito was OK. We'd come back again for the familiarity of Coronas, chips + salsa, and our hilarious waitress. Total for the evening: 7,500 yen.
EDIT: Came back here on September 30, 2009 for a friend's birthday. NO complimentary chips+salsa, burritos, or fajitas anymore. Our drinks came after our meals and service was generally slow. Head to El Torrito (helloooo chips+salsa), as the menu here is boring (really, what kind of texmex place doesn't have burritos?) and service is too slow to be any kind of fun. I got the nachos which were alright I guess, I felt bad for my friend who ordered enchiladas which were tiny tiny tiny!