Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tokyo: Day 1 --
We took the 740am flight from Cebu Mactan International Airport to Narita earlier today.
Our flight was actually delayed for a few minutes because one of the passengers forgot a hand-carry luggage and had to go retrieve it. This was after the cabin doors were closed and the engine was already running. (This is the same passenger who was drinking beer at 5-something in the morning while we were waiting for the counters to open.)
We still arrived 7 minutes ahead of schedule -- customs and immigration wasn't that difficult and we were lucky that we arrived during a not-so-busy time. My youngest brother was at the exit waiting for us with bento boxes and drinks, which we ate on the train going to Ikebukuro.
It was a 50-something minute train ride to Nippori (from Narita), where we transfered lines and trains. From there, it was another X stops (I lost count!) before we arrived at Ikebukuro.
We are staying at The B Ikebukuro, a concept hotel by the Isshin Group and we are in an AMAZING part of the city -- we're a few blocks away from a Big BicCamera store (the place to go to for electronics and whatnot) and we're about 20 minutes away from Sunshine City and Tokyu Hands.
The lobby has a lovely waiting area -- very mod. I really love the mosaic wall that greets you when you get off the elevator.
Our room is small but is such a perfect example of Japanese style and technology. It is 18 square meters of careful planning -- and it doesn't feel small or crowded!
One of the best features of the room is the open "closet" -- I've been to a lot of hotels and I've never used the cabinet to hang my clothes -- at The B, for the sake of economy, they just have this accent wall with two hooks where you can hang your clothes on.
The bathroom is "the little bathroom that could" and the highlight is the ultra-efficient and ultra high-tech toilet --
It is all electronic. And, yes -- we did take a few minutes to try out the "bidet" and "spray" option. You can adjust the water pressure! Cute!!! >_<
After resting for a few minutes it was time to go for my haircut. I've never written about it, but I hate my hair. It's flat and bleh. I hate the haircuts I get in Iloilo because they never get it right.
I decided to find a salon here in Tokyo that would give me a nice style/cut -- and I did!
Watanabe Hair Salon is in Harajuku and has been voted best hair salon by several magazines.
I had my hair done by Chie -- who speaks English and who is lovely and attentive.
There's apparently no such thing as simply walking in and asking if they have an available slot -- you really have to go make an appointment ahead of time.
The experience began with the lady at the front desk offering to take your bag and parcels so you won't be encumbered while sitting for your cut.
Then they lead you to a shampoo area -- where they make sure that your clothes don't get wet buy putting a big cloak (?) and a smaller cloak (?) on you. And they also put a blanket on your lap so you don't get cold.
After that you're led to your chair.
Here's the interesting bit -- you have to know which style you want already. Chie was a bit surprised when I asked her for her opinion in choosing which style would suit me best.
I had booked for a haircut and a perm but I was feeling a bit afraid/worried about the perm part and was trying to squirm my way out of it.
But I went ahead with it -- because this was a rare opportunity for me (who knows when I'll be coming back to Tokyo) and I was trying to be more open to new possibilities.
So we selected a style and Chie went ahead with the cutting.
I was dreading the perm part because I know how bad it smells (I've had a perm before) and how painful/itchy the chemicals are on the scalp. But this one wasn't -- it smelled a bit and they remedied that by rubbing lotion on my forehead, the side of my face and my chin. It smelled really nice. ^_^
I had 3 people working on the rollers and putting in the chemicals -- they were very efficient and it lasted for about 45 minutes total. After that they rinsed my hair and gave me an amazing back and scalp massage. At the end of the rinse, they put a nice warm (moist) towel on your forehead and the rub it on your temples and they finally place it on your neck -- very, very relaxing. ^_^
So this is what I look like!
I love it! When Johann saw me, he laughed and said I look like my daughter now. Hahahaha!
I was so excited to go back to the hotel so I could admire my new cut -- I passed on eating out (my youngest brother and Johann already had dinner) and just picked up a sandwich at a konbini (convenience store at the subway station). I also picked up a pudding cup!
As we were walking to the exit, we discovered Doughnut Plant tucked in one corner --
We first found out about this shop when we were watching Food Paradise.
We picked up 2 doughnuts: A Triple Chocolate Valrhona and an Apple Cinnamon one (for Johann) -- they have 2 sizes and we opted to get the smaller ones. (We'll go back for more!)
I ate mine when we got back to the hotel. So, so yummy! (I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures of it -- I ate it too quickly. =^_^=)
Our first day ended with us watching a Yakiniku special on a Japanese channel. It was a group of people trying out the different varieties of Yakiniku all over Tokyo. It was insane! (It was also at almost midnight!)