Kakigori, Japanese shaved ice, is one of the most refreshing treats you can get yourself in the summer. The “flakes” are much lighter than the shaved ice in Denmark, almost like a cup full of snow, and the fluffy texture makes it almost impossible to eat without a spoon.
Back in 2003 I visited Japan for the first time. I was there with Rikke, and in less than one week we managed to party hard in Tokyo, sleep through an earthquake and fly off to Sapporo to meet my friend Mari before heading back to Denmark again. This was my first hectic introduction to Japan, and it was love at first sight.
In a dynamic city like Tokyo, things change quickly, and what’s popular today is often forgotten tomorrow. Calbee is one of the exceptions, which has managed to stay relevant for decades, and the brand’s potato-based snacks never seem to go out of style.
Crepes have been all the rage for quite a while, but these days, the absolute must-eat in Tokyo is the super fluffy soufflé pancakes, and one of the places to get them is at Burn Side St Cafe. So even though it was raining and there was a long line outside, this was where I went, after I was done browsing the shops in Harajuku. I think I waited for almost an hour to get a table. Not sure about the exact waiting time, but it was long enough for me to consider leaving, because I hate waiting, even if it’s for pancakes.
This morning, Poul and I jumped on the busy Yamanote line to Shibuya. Our plan was to visit the cat cafe Hapi Neko, but it was easier said than done, as Hapi Neko was tucked away on the 3rd floor in a building we couldn’t find, and all the signs were in Japanese.Just when we were about to give up, we finally saw a sign that had an image of a cat and some paw prints on it and knew, that we had finally come to the right place.
Purikura are the super-cute photo booths you’ll find in most gaming arcades throughout Tokyo. They come with advanced, beauty-enhancing functions, which will twist your facial features to fit the Japanese perception of beauty: Fair skin, big eyes and a tiny nose. Forgot to put on make-up? Didn’t wash your hair? Don’t worry, the purikura will take digitally care of that.
Being a solo traveler in Tokyo is easy. It’s a very safe city and there are lots of things you can do on your own. Through the week, I had been busy exploring the city, and after my ramen dinners, I usually just passed out in my capsule.
Jumble Store is a Japanese second-hand chain with several branches spread throughout the city. Last season’s dresses and shirts from international designers occupies the shelves alongside one-of-a-kind items from smaller Japanese brands, and generally, the prices are very reasonable.
On the 52nd floor in the elegant Park Hyatt hotel, high above Tokyo’s bustling streets, is New York Bar. This is the place to sip Bellinis and listen to live jazz music while taking in beautiful views of the city.
I don’t know how long Motown has been around, but it seems like forever! Located one stair up in an anonymous-looking building on the busy street Gaien-higashi-dōri, Motown 1 is one of the only places in Roppongi, which is always crowded in the weekends.