It’s called Odaiba, accessible by crossing the Rainbow Bridge from Tokyo (yes, it all sounds rather fantastical!). Created in the 1950s, it morphed from an island built for defense into one of shopping, relaxation and entertainment. It has a myriad of shopping centres, and also the likes of Fuji, Panasonic and Sony with their headquarters and prototype showrooms there.
We took the monorail across, to enjoy the scenery as we crossed over to Odaiba. It takes about 10 mins before you’re plonked on the massive island. I basically made a bee-line straight for the shops 😛 Didn’t end up buying much, though, because I was gobsmacked and fascinated with one of the pet stores there. IT IS MASSIVE. Spacious and super-clean, the stuff were cheery and helpful, everything was laid out so precisely, and it was just so ridiculous clean and nice-smelling! When I walked in, I thought I’d walked into a supermarket or store, not a place that sold pets.
Best of all… the pets were all in the peak of health, alert, clean and happy. It was surprising to see the difference between animals in a regular pet store, and those in a Japanese pet store. I spent over 2 hours there, just gawking at all their stuff, and cooing at the animals. Best shopping trip ever 🙂
The Rainbow Bridge
On the monorail to Odaiba
Randomly, the Statue of Liberty
Looking towards the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo city
Some ad that they were filming, about 200 people dancing to Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion”!
The Panasonic, Sony, etc prototype centres were all there.. cool
Clean glass walls housing lots of happy animals
OMG they have baby ferrets!! So sweet and cuddly 🙂
Back in Shinjuku, Chris and I were walking around amongst the 235203482035 different restaurants, trying to find somewhere to eat. On a whim, I’d decided I wanted ramen and by a stroke of luck, we found a little hole-in-the-wall type place (though it actually was right in the middle of the busy walking street) that was PACKED. We eagerly went in and sat down on their (again, teeny tiny) seats by the counter. A mere 2 mins later, our ramen came out.
It was completely different to ANY ramen I’ve had before. The broth, that is. It was so surprisingly rich, it honestly was like drinking liquid pork fat. Chris took a bite of his seaweed sheet (which was half in the broth) and said “Oh! This seaweed tastes really fatty” and we realised it was because it was soaked in the broth. The noodles, all squiggly and tender, were delicious slurped up with the fatty broth, and they were VERY generous with the pork slices – 5 large in my bowl! Usually ramen shops only give 2-3 small slices.
They don’t offer tea there, you just get a cup which you pour iced water from a big communal jug. Everything is extremely no-frills and messy, but it all adds to the atmosphere.
Okay! Mum just told me the noodle place’s name.. ‘cos I’d totally forgotten 😛 It’s Tenjin Hakata Ramen, we went to the one in Shinjuku. You can find it ‘cos there’s a big pig statue in front of their shops. They’re famous, so now I’m feeling pretty smug and pleased we found (okay, stumbled across) it randomly all by ourselves!
So the noodles are Hakata noodles which are a little thicker than regular ramen. The portions are very decent, and that fatty broth.. OMG. You can see as it’s being made too – in a massive vat next to the cooks. He opened the lid and when we peeked in, it was full of pork and pork bones boiling away. Mmmm…
A total heart-attack in a bowl. If you like fatty, rich, luscious food like we do.. you’ll LOVE it. If not, you’ll probably stomach about 1/2 of the bowl and then feel ill 😛 But it’s luscious. Next time we’re in Japan, we’re going back!
The famous Tenjin Hakata ramen shop at Shinjuku
Boiling the ramen pork broth in a HUGE vat
Ultra rich, ultra fatty ramen *heart attack*
Crepes for dessert, to wash down all that fatty broth
Wandering around the red light district of Shinjuku 😛