Monday, May 13, 2013

Otakara Ichiba (Treasure Box) お宝市場; Daiba Ichome Shotengai 台場一丁目商店街; Decks; Odaiba; Tokyo

Welcome to another round of wonders and oddities coming out of the land of the rising sun.  This one involves a store of... Mystery boxes!!!  That's right, you don't know what you will get in the box, maybe tickets to Tokyo Disneyland, maybe an iPod or maybe a pig sculpture or a keychain!  You can find this shop in the Daiba Ichome themed area of Decks shopping mall in Odaiba.   This area replicates 50s, 60s and 70s Japan, known as the Showa era.

 Now in all honesty this mystery box thing got us really excited and as silly as it seems,  I had no problem paying 300 yen for a chance at (really rare) getting Disney tickets or an iPod.  Every New Year's holiday, Japanese retailers have a similar concept with fukubukero (lucky bags) where people buy mystery bags from stores.  A lot of times it is stuff retailers weren't able to clear during the year but other times it is truly good stuff.   Even the Disney store has these mystery bags around the New Year's holiday.

So on with the festivities!
Here we have a lovely lady picking out a chance for something special.  It is customary to shake the boxes to get an idea what is inside.  The premium prizes are like that golden ticket from Willy Wonka; they are certificates hidden in normal prize boxes.  So the Disney tickets wouldn't be any lighter than normal boxes.  However,it is still fun to shake as many boxes as possible.
Here are more boxes.  The gold ones are 1000 yen a piece and have better prizes.  The cheap Chinese part of me prodded for the 300 yen box.   However the gambley Chinese part of me kept prodding about the more expensive gold boxes.  Cheap won out in the end.
We have a cutie opening the box here.  You have to open the box in front of the clerks.  They as well as interested bystanders observe the fun.  If you get a premium prize,  the clerks ring a bell and everyone goes nuts.  Well, as nuts as Japanese people get, which is just saying すごい!!!(great).
Here is what we got, a mini Care Bear, which to be honest, was a good deal and made our little one quite happy.   Had we got an I Heart Seoul pin or a cheap compass, we definitely would have felt the 300 yen was not worth it.
Thanks for reading, and please try your luck at getting a 300 yen iPod!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sbarro; Shibuya; Tokyo

Yep.  Here it is.  The Italian restaurant in every shopping mall's food court has landed in Japan.  This one is not too far from Shibuya station.   My buddy Dana and I decided to hop on the train and have lunch here not too long ago.   We were both laughing at our excitement about being at Sbarro since neither one of us would eat at a Sbarro in the States.  But given the distance from home, we gladly took our opportunity to have an authentic slice of Americana.
In that sense Sbarro will not disappoint you as it is a perfect replica of the Stateside pizzeria.  The slices even cost the same, about 400 yen (4 bucks) each.
Unlike the food court staple, the Shibuya Sbarro is decorated nicely (you can't do that in a shopping mall).
In addition to pizza, Sbarro has salads and pasta.  A small salad, drink and two slices set me back 1,100 yen, which is not too bad.  The food, well, was identical to the food court fare.  For that aspect, I give it five out of five pizza slices.   Now if only they would bring Panda Express, Sarku and the Steak Escape over here too to round out the mall food court gang.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ornamental Fish Exposition, Funabori, Tokyo

I'm far far behind on my posting.  However I'll start catching up today.  First off,  what crappy way to start the day, getting up at 4:00 am to watch the Hawks lose to the Wild.  But hell, it is a seven game series and there's no way the Hawks would win the cup without losing a game here and there.

While I have a chance to bitch about things, I'd like to talk about two things that piss me off about Blogger and the iPad mini.  First for the life of me, I cannot access the lower half of this draft post on my iPad mini, which really pisses me off.  Unlike Windows, there is no scroll function and my fingers won't allow me to edit what is below past the the first three or five pictures.  Damn you Apple.  Next, the Blogger app is terrible.  Look at the reviews it has.  My thinking is that the reason the app is so bad is that it is a screw you to Apple from Google since Google owns Blogger.   Come on now, no rich text function for blogging?  One of Blogger's draws is easy blogging, and the app is anything but that.  I wouldn't really be so bothered by this; I'm probably just really pissed off because the Hawks lost and I've been up since 4:00 am.  Still, free is free so I shouldn't complain about Blogger or the app.  But I still had to go home and finish this on the home computer.  A pretty crappy or in this case, carp-py situation.  Drum roll please....

Back to the fish show, it was located at Funabori which is not far from Funabashi.  Funabori is still in Tokyo rather than Chiba though.  The station was adorned with goldfish artwork like the mural below so there must be some relationship between Funabori and goldfish.

There were no fish for sale here as it was just a fish show like a dog show where breeders competed in various categories like discus, goldfish, etc.  Below is a huge goldfish that we saw.  We didn't stay around to see the winners though..
Here are some goldfish waiting to be judged.
Two huge discus.
Here are some more discus. Being a discus lover myself, this made me miss my beloved discus and 55 gallon tank that I left behind in the U.S.  Some lucky guy has my babies now.

Here are some guppies.  Yep they get the competition love too.   I really could not tell the guppies from each other.  I wonder what the judging criteria for these guys were.

Here is a beautiful sakura themed display, perfect for spring.
This is an aquarium diorama where Sylvania Families figures can enjoy aquatic life much like real people.
Neon tetra attack!!!
Here was a really fun part.  They had a lottery game and for each paid admission, we got a spin.
We ended up winning 2 goldfish, fish food, a filter cartridge and a whale tank decoration (the fish food and cartridge were gracious given to us by some nice folks who didn't want them).  We also won a calendar.
Here are our little friends.  The little ones named them Shiny and Flower.
All in all, it was a great time.  Thanks for reading my post and thank you for putting up with my ranting and raving.