I’ve been so busy with my niece’s visit and the release of the Ask Caroline book that I haven’t had time to write anything! Here’s a quick rundown of some great things I did with my niece Megan, in case they might be useful to other people visiting Tokyo.
As I wrote last time, sitting at the top of Tokyo Tower and watching the sun go down is definitely something I would recommend. Get there for about 5pm and you’ll get a great seat facing and also be able to hear the live band playing.
Yakiniku is always popular with overseas guests, and I’d recommend the Toraji chain. The one in Ebisu has an English menu so you can have fun pointing out all sorts of interesting things that Westerners would usually never dream of eating! Another great restaurant is the tonkatsu place opposite Zest Cantina, also in Ebisu. Melts in your mouth!
Exploring Roppongi Hills can be fun, and depending on where your guest is from, the tower may well be the tallest building they’ve ever seen—it still remains the tallest building I’ve ever seen! On the day we were wandering around Roppongi Hills, there happened to be the world premiere of Bio Hazard IV. Neither of us are into the movies but we were having a rest while watching all the people in the arena get excited, and about to head off when suddenly a black car pulled up, out of which stepped Wentworth Miller. We then made it our mission to find out exactly how these stars get whisked away from the Roppongi Hills arena and up to the movie theatre—and we succeeded in finding the secret walkway, which shall remain secret!
I took Megan along with me to this month’s Brits Lunch, as I thought it would be fun for her to see a bit of what my professional life is like. And then we headed off to Yokosuka for the night to cheer on my husband in his second triathlon. I love the triathlons. There is such an incredible atmosphere surrounding the whole event. As with Richard’s first triathlon in April in Okinawa, I made t-shirts for us to wear, which brought a big smile to his face! It was a great event, and again I planned places to pop up on route and cheer Richard on—it always surprises him and he says it keeps him going. While I’m waiting for him to appear I cheer on all the other triathletes too, and it always brings a smile to their faces as well. Also as with the Okinawa triathlon, I found waiting at the Finish Line to be rather emotional—you watch one person after another run through to the end and can see all that effort on their faces. Some are smiling, and some are too exhausted to do anything other than put one foot in front of the other. You know that some of these people have their own personal battles that have lead to them completing a triathlon and you can really feel huge waves of emotion as people come through. I usually just watch and cheer with a huge lump in my throat. When Richard came toward the end Megan and I ran into the middle of the course and grabbed either of his hands and ran across the line with him—I am so proud of him!
After the triathlon we drove over to Kamakura, had lunch at Bill’s, and visited the big Buddha before heading back to Tokyo. The following day we visited Harajuku: the dancing rockabillies, Meiji Shrine, the people giving out free hugs, Takeshita Dori, and Oriental Bazaar. I love Meiji Shrine and have been there many times, but it was the first time for me to see a wedding—a great treat for Megan.
Another first for me was a visit to the Ninja restaurant in Akasaka. Incredible food, amazing cocktails, and really friendly staff. The interior is very well done, and you dine in your very own “room.” A great place to take visitors for the novelty factor but also really worth it anyway because of the food. Highly recommended!
Odaiba Onsen Monogatari was another highlight for us. I’ve only visited there once before, and that was during Golden Week when it was packed, but on a normal weekday, it’s quiet and calming. There’s a great Japanese restaurant at the very back of the “Edo town” that serves a lunch set that allows guests to sample a little bit of everything. And don’t forget Doctor Fish!
Being a huge Disneyland fan (I think I have been there 14 times in all my 14 years here) I was relieved to hear that Megan didn’t consider herself too grown up for it and we spent 11 hours at Disney Sea. They’ve just started their Halloween celebrations so there are purple and orange decorations everywhere, special Halloween performances, and a truly incredible fire and water display on the lake in the evening.
We had booked a trip on the Tokyo Bar Summer Cruise for one night, so the three of us got all dressed up in yukata (see how to put on a yukata here), only to find when we arrived at Takeshiba Pier that we had missed out boat by a matter of minutes. If you book one, make sure you find out what time the boat actually leaves as well as the time that you have to be there by! All dressed up, nowhere to go, and feeling a bit silly, we eventually went to the Okura Hotel’s sushi restaurant—absolutely fantastic!
Sumo opened on the 12th of this month, and we had a box on that day so went to see it (I cannot believe that I have been to Disneyland so many times yet this was my FIRST trip to sumo! Shocking, really!). Your box is yours all day so can go anytime but I would probably only recommend you go from about 4pm until it finishes around 6pm. Definitely worth doing! We saw a couple of sumo wrestlers that we actually have on our walls—David Stetson has the most incredible series of sumo photographs I’ve ever seen and we have a few of them.
Then last Monday I held a party for my and Satomi’s friends, to celebrate the launch of the Ask Caroline series. It’s not the official launch party (which is this coming Thursday 23rd) but it was a party I organized so that I could celebrate the series with male friends as well as female (the official party is a women-only affair!). We had about 80 guests at Fifty Seven and it was a really fun night. I’ve never been able to celebrate my books with family so it was lovely for me to be able to share this special time with Megan, who I actually wrote about in the book too!