13 December 2014, Saturday
After class, met up with Tangent, another study abroad student from America. We were meeting up with Ako, a middle school English teacher who we met at our English Conversation Class information session. We met at Asakusa Station and headed to an Okonomiyaki place for lunch. It was somewhat expensive, with the lowest price at ¥1000 for one okonomiyaki (an order or three was required).
But it was quite delicious. And we chatted around the table. Then we headed out towards Sensoji Temple. The shopping area in the front was a tourist trap, but still had a bunch of good food on it. We stopped for ningyoyaki (basically like tiny cakes with red bean paste inside) and fried manjuu. The
ningyoyaki was cute! There were three different shapes, and we all got different ones. The fried manjuu had different flavor coatings, too. I got the plum flavored one, though the English on the sign called it peach.
At one of the toy shops on the street, there was a camera crew and a crowd of people taking pictures. We were in the front so I got a direct picture. I was just taking them without thinking, but it turns out the guy was Kin-chan, a famous television personality. A bunch of people followed after them after the camera crew moved on.
Sensoji Temple was quite crowded. A lot of foreigners were there. The omamori were the most expensive I’ve seen (¥1000 and up)! There was even one going for ¥10000!!! But it was made of real silver, so I guess it can be justified. In the middle of the grounds was a large incense burner, where people gathered to spread the smoke on themselves. It’s supposed to chase off bad luck. I did it myself, but my eyes were watering badly when I went out. The smoke be too strong. I bought an omikuji fortune, though, and this time, I got regular luck. It wasn’t bad, but I’d like to get big luck sometime…
The fortune also had English on it, which was nice.
We then stopped at the shrine next door and saw pay-for rickshaw rides. And took a group picture in front of one of the guardian dog statues. Ako and Tangent didn’t know what to do next, but I wanted to explore more of Asakusa, since it looked pretty traditional and pretty. Tangent, though not a native, knew the most about Asakusa, so led us to an area where there used to be kabuki buildings, etc. We walked the streets and saw the oldest amusement park (didn’t go inside, since you have to pay for entrance and for the rides), a Naruto cosplayer, and I bought a tiny panda-shaped snack with keema curry inside. On one of the streets, we went into the Traditional Handicrafts Museum and saw handmade dolls, cabinets, utensils, etc.
We decided to head back to the station around sunset, but I saw a long line for a shop near the temple and wondered what it was all about. A lovely smell was coming from the store and it turned out to be melon bread! I went into the line and waited a few minutes, but it was sold out a few customers ahead of us! How disappointing! Apparently, it’s quite a popular shop. I will be going back for that melon pan.
Near the station, we stopped by a cafe known for its sweet potato youkan (which is basically a thick jelly traditional sweet). Tangent and I both got the youkan (and both didn’t like it. Not a fan of sweet potato and it tastes exactly like sweet potato). Ako got a hot green tea. They had anmitsu and a sweet potato yokan latte and parfait, but they were much more expensive. We ended up chatting about the differences in dialects around Japan and in America and comparing.
At 6:30ish, Ako had to leave, so we all went to the station. There was a man selling mochi and warabi mochi. The warabi mochi and dango sets were 50% off so I went for it. Bought a box of matcha warabi mochi, then said bye to Ako. Tangent and I took the Asakusa line back to Mita, then separated.
Back at Hiyoshi International House, I checked my mail, and, to my great delight, my package from home finally came! ORAS!!!! I was waiting for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to arrive from America and it officially became the greatest day ever because they came.
Here’s a picture of the inside of warabi mochi by the way xD