Japan Day 16: Shinjuku

This entry is copied from my Dayre – I have more photos in my DSLR so I’ll be adding them, together with more information about Brooklyn Parlor and 8 Bit Cafe!

Managed to finish swatching only these colours last night before succumbing to the Zzz monster…

Tabulated our expenses for yesterday and yay! Only 4121 yen for the two of us, even though we had a relatively pricier dinner (dinner was almost 2000yen) and had stocked up on some toiletries and snacks. Actually, we were aiming for the bentos in the supermarket to go on sale but when we got there at 8.30pm, they weren’t discounted yet. At 9pm, only a few items were discounted. There would be more rounds of discounts but we decided to give up and try the famous ramen instead.

Now I’m blogging about the butter potato we had in Furano and all the food pictures are making me hungry. Unfortunately Mario is still jetlagged and sleeping so it looks like lunch won’t be happening anytime soon. Couldn’t take my stomach’s rumbling anymore, so I opened this cup of Calbee fried potato sticks, which happened to be butter potato flavour YAYYYYYY! Scored a great deal too – paid only 88 yen for it at a drugstore. It is usually around 100-120yen!

Also enjoying my apple juice from Lawson 100! This is their house brand, so it’s cheaper than other brands. Basically for the same price, you get more juice (700ml compared to maybe 500ml)… Awesome!

Going out to Shinjuku today! This calls for a bit more makeup (ie mascara, which I haven’t worn for a few days)… Whee!

Braid updo for today’s excursion. I’ve been trying to do it a bit differently each time!

We found a Soup Stock Tokyo near the train station and I wanted to try it because I had seen it in Singapore and was wondering if it was any good…

Unfortunately I found it rather underwhelming and not that cheap. The total for the two of us was just under 2000 yen. Mario’s set was a curry rice (with a few potatoes and one piece of meat), small soup and a drink. Mine was a medium soup and bread. My soup was supposed to be like a lobster bisque with tomato, but I tasted mostly tomato and found the soup to be quite watery and lacking the rich flavour that I was expecting.

My bread was supposed to be focaccia but it was more like a stale soft bun. Disappointing! As for Mario’s soup, it was a “Tokyo Borsch Soup” so ok, we knew it wouldn’t taste exactly like borsch soup (and we love borsch soup!) but we were certainly not expecting it to taste mostly of onions instead of beet. His curry rice was decent but again, the curry was very watery when I tried it, though he said it was quite good when you eat the rice drenched in curry, like totally saturated. Never again!!!

First thing we did when we reached Shinjuku was to hunt down a Daikokuya for a moneychanger. It’s a chain store that does money changing at the best rates and also sells things like branded bags at a discount.

They’ve got many outlets (Mario found 4 in the vicinity of Shinjuku station alone) so it’s not difficult finding one!

The exchange rates for today! We noticed that the SGD rates were terrible (notice the large margin between the buy and sell rates for SGD) but the USD rates were decent, so we changed some USD into yen.

Yeah! Such a relief to have more yen on us now. When we landed in Tokyo a few days ago, we only had like 70,000 yen because we weren’t expecting to stay for a long time. But then we made the decision to stay 22 nights because we wanted to catch Comiket and some of the summer festivals, and it became a huge challenge because in Japan, a lot of places (especially cheap places) don’t accept credit card payment. So, we needed to budget our expenditure carefully.

Transport, for example, is mostly cash only. Taxis you can pay by card, but taxis aren’t cheap and we wanted to stick to trains and buses to save money. We estimated that we would need about 40,000 yen for transport alone for the 22 days… And that’s already more than half the cash we had on hand! Oh man… A small consolation was the fact that we had a bit of USD and SGD on hand, but the moneychanger rates are worse than if we were to charge expenses to our card.

So… In a nutshell, we had to keep our cash expenses low, and charge to our credit cards as much as possible so that we wouldn’t run out of money. Today we managed to change some USD so we now have an extra 60,000 yen to work with (the extra yen now means we have a daily CASH budget of 4000 yen for the both of us, not including transport, or credit cards)… but we’ll still have to be very budget conscious… And enjoy ourselves with the occasional indulgence without depriving ourselves.

Luckily, Brooklyn Parlor takes credit cards!! It’s one of the restaurants that I short listed and it’s a really cool hangout place! The decor is very New York chic, with bricks/concrete/wood/plants/bookshelves meshing together in a giant space filled with hipsters. We shared a fish and chips and onion rings, and a parfait for dessert, and the bill was 2800+ yen. Technically not a meal for two, since it was just starter + main+ dessert, so a little bit pricey compared to other budget options!

This is our fish and chips at Brooklyn Parlor! It was decent, with a lovely crispy batter, but the fish they used was quite springy (I prefer my fish and chips to be more flakey) and the wedges were very powdery inside.

And our banana and brownie parfait! I love how generous they were with the bananas! The brownies were very rich and dense and quite dark!

Spotted this super cute yukata with cat prints! I was contemplating buying a yukata to wear to all the fireworks festivals (so many people do that, not just the locals, and it’s so fun to dress up with the yukata, clogs, little pouch and to have your hair done up…), but I was hesitant because a nice one can be quite pricey. Simple ones were selling at Uniqlo for about $70 (not including clogs and little bag)… And the one I bought from Liz Lisa two years ago cost $100+… So… Gotta resist!

We’ve been hoping that the places we want to go to take credit cards, but unfortunately the awesome retro Nintendo-themed 8 Bit Cafe is cash only. Well, some things are worth sacrificing for! The entire place is full of little collectibles and they’ve got games and consoles you can actually play! To enter, you need to pay a cover charge of 500 yen, and order at least one drink for every 1.5hours you spend. We ended up spending 2 hours in there, four drinks, and the bill was 3,200 yen. But fun!!!

After that we headed back to the hotel, but stopped over at the supermarket again. Spotted the Calbee selling for a lot more than the 88 yen I paid at a drugstore! Got a kick out of knowing I had saved so much, haha!

But anyway, the main purpose of our trip to the supermarket was to check out the bento section to see what the discounts were like after 10pm, since we had visited at 9pm the other night and found the discounts to be limited and unappealing.

So this time most of the food was discounted, but more than half had been swept already. I’m guessing there was probably a round of discounts at 9.30pm where most of the good stuff got snapped up, because whatever was left was pretty sad.

Like these gross-looking buns haha!

But we did pick up something for tomorrow’s breakfast though!

Walked back to the hotel and stopped by Lawson 100 again for more drinks and a croquette because I was feeling a bit hungry…

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