Discovering Shibuya

I must confess, I was too lazy to update my blog as I am up to my neck with all my wedding preparations. But I thought I should definitely keep my memories of staying in Japan intact, especially since the food there is something I can mostly probably live with for my entire life without ever getting sick of, and the scenery it offers is unlike any of those in our concrete jungle. But as it has been weeks since my stay forgive me if my memory is hazy.

Recently, I stumbled upon a video that showcased how it would be like to be in virtual Mario world. First, you enter the gaming zone complete with individual seats and VR sets that makes you look like part of the Matrix reality. Then you put on your VR glasses and get ready to take a wild ride. The VR Zone Mario Kart game promises to transport you into another world of hurtling objects racing towards you as you race to the finishing line. The premises are exciting, and I do hope that it will be a success, as all my previous experiences with VR were pretty much a letdown. As a dreamer, there is nothing I’d like better to be able to stay in a parallel universe. Yes, I’ve previously mentioned that I am very interested in the idea of VR games, and now that I’ll be staying in Japan, I think I would definitely give it a try.

Anyway, the video reminded me of a particular scene I came across in Shibuya, that is, actual Mario karts racing across the Shibuya streets! They do look rather adorable, but I think I’d most likely give it a pass, I am not a fan of ingesting carbon monoxide from the cars around me, thank you very much.

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Since I am on the subject of Shibuya why not let you in on some of the yummy delights I have found?

Maishin (米心)  is a must-go place for both an authentic and an incredibly contemporary fusion Japanese food experience, and finally, not forgetting, premium sake at low prices in the busy streets of Tokyo.

The menu is unfortunately entirely in Japanese, so it would be inadvisable to go if your knowledge of Japanese is basic. Even I struggled to read the words, if not for my bae, I would never enter this shop on my own. Actually, I wouldn’t even have found it. The izakaya is located at the basement level, so you would first have to go down a flight of stairs to reach it. Finding the stairs would be your first challenge, for there is no indication of the shop anywhere on the streets. The next challenge is the door leading to the izakaya. There is no sign above the wooden door of the shop, and curiously, the door opens at my chest level. You would have to duck down to enter, it is as if it is a shop for dwarves and hobbits. But once inside, you’d be relieved to find that the izakaya isn’t quite as small as the door, though the bar area may be a little snug as it is situated right at the entrance.

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The door starts from the window area downwards.

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The quirky sake bottle lights of the izakaya adds to the ambience of the shop

Every single thing I ordered here was so wonderful, that I simply wasn’t looking forward to return home though it was my second last day in Japan.

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Fried fish and chicken starters to pair with your alcohol. I ordered whiskey highball (mix of whiskey and soda), which I sorely regretted after tasting bae’s sake.
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I usually don’t like sake, but I have to make this an exception. Yuki no Bijin (ゆきの美人) is smooth and sweet without any strange bitter aftertaste that I often associate sake with.
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Mixed fresh sashimi
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Tamagoyaki stuffed with mentaiko
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Salmon and cheese pie, flaky crust and melting cheese with big chunks of salmon ❤
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Scallop on fire
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Tai and ikura don (sea bream and fish roe rice) tastes best mixed with spring onions which brings out the fragrance of the dish.
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The scallop broth tasted of the sea ❤

If you are a soba lover like me, you would definitely love this shop, Shirou (しろう), for its soba is not only good, its soup really can lift any dampened spirits up. Shirou is a no-frills soba shop, small and unpretentious, strictly for soba lovers. Eat up your soba, and savour the broth at the end by adding the hot water used to cook the noodles into the soba dip. The tempura is nothing to shout about, but the soup alone can take you to heaven and back. The dip tastes like usual soba dip, a mix of soya sauce, wasabi and spring onions, but once you add the hot water into the dip, the flavour changes, perhaps it was the taste of the soba noodles that makes it so light and refreshing despite its savoury taste.

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Now moving on to sweet delights. I love Japanese dessert, especially their crepes and ice-cream. There was this one weekday evening while I was strolling in the streets of Shibuya, that I came across this crepe shop, Dipper Dan Crepe, with an all-day long 300JPY offer with surprisingly no queue. If this had been Singapore, I would probably have to wait for half an hour to get my order. Being the cheapskate that I am, I was more than happy to get my hands on a lovely baked apple crepe with an ice-cream topping. Two of my favourites made me very happy even though I was all alone. This is one of the few times I can bear to be out alone for long, when I have a sweet treat, or when I am looking at accessories (less likely to be disturbed by shop attendants as compared to shopping for clothes), or being in a library surrounded by books. Yes I’m a solitary being.

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I couldn’t believe my luck, stumbling upon such a great find.
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I am no apple-pie lover, but I do love a good baked apple crepe!

On another day, I found this sweet little shop that is made for ladies, Shibuya Coffee. The name is kind of uncreative, and clashed with the shop’s pretty garden interior, but who am I to say anything when they offer my favourite ice-cream, Cremia. Cremia is a brand of soft-serve ice-cream (also known as “softcream” in Japan) filled with 25% Hokkaido fresh cream and 12.5% high milk fat content, touted by some (including me) as the BEST soft-serve in the world. I can never get enough of its creamy and velvety-rich indulgence. Cremia can be found in many places across Japan, and I was seriously tempted every corner I turned. Though the Cremia in this shop doesn’t come with its unique buttery wafer-like cone which tastes very much like Shiroi Koibito, it is complemented by various other desserts which serves as a good substitute for the cone. But the cone still tops as the best combination for the soft-serve.

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Look at the vines dripping down from the ceiling. ❤
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Left: Cremia and brownie; Right: Cremia and cheesecake

 


Maishin (米心)  

Address: Suyama Bldg. B1F, 2-10-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-10-12 道玄坂スヤマビル B1F
Tel: +81-3-3464-1644
Nearest station: Shibuya
Opening hours: 5~11:30 p.m.; weekends, holidays 4~10:30 p.m.
Price : 4000~6500 JPY (plus drinks)

Shirou (しろう)

Address: 3-5-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-5-1
Tel: +81-3-5414-2311
Nearest stations: Omete Sando exit A2 , Gaienmae exit 3
Opening hours: 11:30〜22:00(L.O.21:30) closed on Thursdays
Price: [Lunch] 1000-1999 JPY, [Dinner] 4000-4999 JPY

Dipper Dan Crepe

Address: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho, 31−2, 渋谷BEAM
Tel: +81 3-6416-3773
Nearest station: Shibuya

Shibuya Coffee

Address: 150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho, 13−4 丸 秀 ビル 2F

東京都 渋谷区 宇田川町 13-4 丸秀ビル 2F

Tel: +81-50-5592-9453 (For reservation only)

Tel: +81-3-6809-0014 (For inquiry)

Opening hours: 11:00~22:00 (L.O.21:00)

Nearest station: Shibuya

Price: 999 JPY (Day and Night)

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Sometimes I manifest as an elf, sometimes I take the form of a daisy. But oftentimes, I wish I am a fairy.

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