Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tokyo 2014 | L'OCCITANE Café, Shibuya, Tokyo.

I'm back with more updates of our recent Tokyo trip! 

After my first post on Tokyo 2014 Day 1, I'm very tempted to jump to Day 2 straight, sharing all the 200+ photos shortlisted. Carefully shortlisted, amongst the many, many shots taken! But after thinking about it, I shall squeeze this post in between because it's really something I can't wait to share with you guys and it deserves a post in itself.

It was Tokyo Day 2, 1st of November 2014, which was also Halloween Day! We knew we had to hit the busiest and most happening part of the city, and we're glad we spent our evening wandering the streets of Shibuya just opening our eyes to see all the creative Halloween getups, experience the warmth and friendliness of the locals and basically just people-watching.

After a whole night of walking around and passing by L'OCCITANE Café multiple times, I told the husby that we HAD to try it! Because firstly, it's strategically located at the Shibuya crossing which was where all the locals gathered to show off their Halloween costumes, and after a whole night of walking, we could use some time to sit down, rest our feet and continue people-watching from the café. And secondly, it's L'Occitane café. How often do we get to experience this? So we decided to give it a try!

This was our glorious supper. 
Most expensive supper we ever had. More on that later on.

Upon entering the café, we could smell the oh-so-familiar scents of L'OCCITANE stores we have back home. The place smelt of floral hand creams with a mild aroma of coffee and sweet treats that had been overpowered by the signature fragrances of L'OCCITANE beauty products.

There were two floors to the café. On the ground floor, there were stalls displaying various merchandises for sale. And no, they were not hand creams or soaps.

They were Flavoured Teas prettily packaged. So gift-ready!

More tea merchandises that were packaged beautifully.

The whole café followed the L'OCCITANE theme and signature colours to the full, from the golden yellow coloured walls to the stairs leading us up to more seats! Most of the customers were ladies having drinks together and couples on a date night.

It's no wonder that ladies love hanging out here. The whole place is so nicely done up, and the lovely scent of L'OCCITANE in the background! Girls LOVE it. I'm a huge fan of L'OCCITANE products so I loved it. Boon...could not comprehend. But I don't blame him haha.

Girls touching up their makeup. Speaking of which, Japanese girls always look tip-top and on-point wherever they go. That's because they're always checking themselves out in the restrooms, touching up makeup, and some even brushing their teeth after meals. This is something that I find pretty awesome because they take grooming very seriously, which to me, is a form of respect to self and others.

The lovely menu.

Especially for Autumn/Winter 2014! Now I'm curious what they serve in Spring/Summer!

With such a beautifully decorated venue and view comes a hefty price tag as well. It was no surprise that their food and drinks were priced above average. 

A dish costs approx 1950yen [RM58] and a drink approx 900yen [RM27].

Initially we wanted to just order a drink to share cos we were still stuffed from Ichiran Ramen earlier for dinner, but the waitress insisted that we each had to order something, so we did. Something to take note if you're planning to visit this café. Haha.

True enough, the view was really good. 
That's the famous Shibuya Crossing which is ALWAYS busy.

A basket to place our bags. How thoughtful.

L'OCCITANE Tea Au Lait- 980yen [RM29]

Most expensive tea latte we ever had in our lives. But it was a bowl of tea latte, and it was nice so, not gonna complain.

L'OCCITANE Dessert Medley- 1540yen [RM46]

This was heavenly!

Crème Brûlée was awesome too.

Look at em chocolates!


The husby who wasn't particularly keen with this supper cos it really was quite expensive. But he brought me here nonetheless cos he knew I would have loved to experience this. Thank you, love.

Oh one thing about this place, it has really bad lighting for portrait shots. Shadows everywhere. But good for food shots.

Sippin' on my Tea Au Lait while watching the Halloweeners go cray downstairs.

Always something interesting happening!

After about half an hour of resting, we decided to call it a night as it was already 11pm local time. The night was still young, but we had more stuff to do the next day so, time to head back to our home. Speaking of which, will blog about our beautiful airbnb crib for 9 days in my next Tokyo post!

We spent a total of RM75 on a drink and a platter of desserts. Considering the quality of F&B served, the ambience and view, it was actually not too bad. It's just that it hurt a little when we think about what else we could have eaten with RM75 in Japan besides a bowl of Tea Latte and some small desserts lol.

So, do I recommend that you check it out? 

If you're a person who appreciates nice ambience and some quiet time to chill, enjoy tea and desserts while people-watching, then yes. It felt nice to just be there. 

If you could do without this experience and would rather spend your $$ on more ramen and sushi, then you can pass this.

Will I return to L'OCCITANE Café in Shibuya when I visit Tokyo next time? 
Probably not. Yea, no.

love, Careen

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tokyo 2014 | Day 1: Putting a Night at Com Com Manga Café

I've been dying to update about our Tokyo trip last month and finally, here's the first post on our first day! :)

This trip was pretty spontaneous and we only decided to go about a month before out trip. Which was a pain because those few weeks of waiting were SO agonising! Those waiting time served as motivation for us to work hard, so it was a blessing in disguise. We look forward to this trip super a lot because we both love the Japanese culture. Having been to Osaka and Kyoto last year and experiencing all the Japanese goodness from its culture, people, nature and food, we could only imagine how the capital of Japan would be like! It's Tokyo! THE Tokyo! 

Plus, like I updated HERE while I was bursting with anticipation for the trip, that the husby was probably 10x more excited than me because Tokyo had been in his bucket list, and a no.1 must-go country in the world. He practically grew up watching Japanese anime and series, and being an avid Gundam fan, it made him super excited! While me on the other hand only looked forward to eating and soaking in the Japanese culture.

Our goal for the trip was to go free and easy, get lost, explore the streets and do what the Japs do, hang where the Japs hang. Basically just take things slow, taking time to soak in their culture. That's why we decided to stay 10 days in Tokyo and Tokyo alone. 

The night before our trip was one cray one. I hosted three different events on two days before our trip, and with lots of work to hand over before we flew off, I literally had zero time left to pack. The only time I had to pack was the night before, which sent me packing into wee hours in the morning, all while thinking that I could redeem my stolen sleep during our 8-hour flight.

Here's a no-make, flight face with the husby! You're gonna see a lot of my no-make face in this post because I don't put make up when I fly (especially long distance). I hope you could get used to it :P

Our flight was 2.30pm Malaysian time, and we would reach Tokyo at 10.30pm local time. Initially quite bummed out that we would spend the first day travelling, but too bad it was the only flight for Air Asia on 30th October 2014. So we decided to work around the timing and made full use of it! More on that coming up.

Knowing that we'll be heading to Shibuya and we'd see the legendary Hachiko statue, we planned to watch Hachiko in the plane cos well, it's 8 hours! We should be bored to death right?

But...plan failed. We ended up forgetting all about Hachiko and caught 3 episodes of Masterchef US instead. After that I knocked out for hours til our pre-ordered food arrived.

Here's my pathetic-looking Teriyaki Chicken in-flight meal. It actually tastes pretty okay but it's just really small portion with two tiny pieces of chicken. For my return flight I ordered some club sandwich which sucked big time and made me miss this Teriyaki Chicken meal hahaha.

Boon's Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak. He ordered this for our return flight as well lol. He said it was not bad and I didn't believe him at first. But after I tried I really thought so too! Again, portion really a bit too small la.

I really hope Air Asia could up their menu standard, especially for long flights. I don't mind paying more, just feed me with good food please! 

After eating I KO-ed again, until the captain announced that we were landing shortly.

Anddddd we arrived at Haneda airport at 10.30pm! The last train was said to be 11.30pm, so we quickly got our luggage and headed out to the train station.

By the way, the moment we touched down, we were straight away connected to the Internet which helped us A LOT on how to go around for the entire trip. Thanks to Wiyo for the portable wifi! High speed, user-friendly Internet that allowed us both to get connected and surf the net anytime, anywhere in Tokyo!

Thank God everything was smooth and we managed to make it in time! For a 10-day trip, we only carried 1x large and 1x small luggage. I don't like to travel light because that means I gotta bring fewer choices of clothing, but since we had quite a lot of walking to do before we could settle down, we had no choice but to pack light haha.

Selamat Datang! This is worth a picture. *feeling welcomed* haha

That's the husby checking on what time the next train will arrive via Google Maps. Super accurate and helpful!

We boarded the train and made a stop at Higashi-Ginza, and started looking for our shelter for the night. Or rather, shelter for the next 3 hours lol.

The weather was amazing. It was chill and still, making walking outdoors at 12am a breeze as there weren't much wind and it wasn't too cold. Took a deep breath and tried to register in my head that we were in Tokyo. No more back home, no work for the next 10 days. Just, Tokyo. Surreal, but it sure felt nice.

After quite some walk, we found it! Com Com Cafe!!!

3F means third floor, btw. They have these 1F, 2F, 3F signs everywhere in Tokyo.

That's right, we were going to spend our night here in this Manga & Internet Café called Com Com Manga Café at Higashi-Ginza. There are quite many manga and Internet cafés all over Tokyo for manga enthusiasts to immerse themselves in manga haven, people who need access to Internet with all the privacy in the world (hmmm), people who fought with their wives and no where to put the night (just kidding), or simply people like us who needed just a few hours to lay our heads.

Reason why we opted to put our first night at a manga café was because we planned to head to Tsukiji Fish Market the day after, and the Tuna Auction starts at freaking 4.30am! No trains operate past midnight and the earliest train is at 5am, so for sure we would miss the tuna auction. And instead of getting a cab from our studio apartment in Ikejiri-Ohashi which is quite a distance from Tsukiji Fish Market which would cost a bomb (cab in Tokyo + midnight fares!), we decided to put just 3 hours at the nearest manga café which was Com Com, that was only 5-10 mins walk to Tsukiji Fish Market! :)

Super cute Com Com mascots!

I love the lift buttons. So classic :')

That's us squeezing inside the tiny lift up to Com Com Café. That's the best wefie I could manage in such a small space :') And that's my after-flight hair all over the place. 

Upon entering, we paid for 3 hours up front which cost 990yen/pax. So it was 1980yen for the both of us, approx RM61 in total.

The price list. Thank God we can read simple Chinese! It really helped us to at least guess what the words meant which was better than having absolutely no clue! But not to worry, most people in the service line in Tokyo can speak basic English so it's all good.

It was a cozy space full of manga libraries which were sadly all in Japanese only. Or else, I don't think Boon will sleep lol.

Further in were the many different cubicles! 

Each cubicle has a "room number" and a contents list of what that particular cubicle has! For this one, it comes with a desktop, reclining chair, movies, headset and plug points (I think haha).

But since we had portable wifi and our own laptop, we only needed a place to catch a quick sleep, so ours only had a reclining chair and plug points, which was good enough!

Welcome to my humble abode. 

Very humble indeed. Lol I only had enough space to park myself in sideways.

Aside from just cubicles for rest and leisure, they also offer quite some interesting stuff!

Exact floor plan of the café.

They have food for sale, and apparently CDs and DVDs for rent! All drinks were complimentary, by the way. And not just any cheapo, tap water drink.

Complimentary soda drinks and juices.

AND, complimentary coffee, espresso, cafe mocha, cocoa, milk tea (both hot and iced) AND...

...spicy onion soup and corn soup! O.O Imagine my joy! After a long flight and walk, I can finally have my hot cocoa and corn soup!!

There were also instant noodles for sale at 100yen (RM3) so I grabbed one cos I was hungers.

Tadda! Instant noodles with some egg/tofu thingy. It was so yummy!

Aside from food and beverages, they also have a phone charging vending machine. Vending Machine. It's like they have a vending machine for EVERYTHING.

Oh they only had chargers for iPhone 5 by the way hahaha.

Wet tissues, cleaning utensils and ash trays.

We're non-smokers so the only drawback about this café is that smoking indoors is allowed. So you can imagine how the whole place was filled with ciggie smell. After a few hours it just wasn't breathable anymore T-T

My first Tokyo meal! 

Corn soup which was yummmms!

And that's about all the space I had on my throne. Hahaha. It was the most peaceful meal I had in a long time too, cos no one was allowed to make noise in there. It was nice....until the uncle next to me started snoring audibly. And then Boon too. 

Spying on the husby see who he was cheating on me with. Turns out he was checking out...

...the weather forecast. hehe.

Their washrooms were decent, looks like a homey Japanese toilet with toothbrushes and toothpaste readily available.

We were supposed to catch 3 hours of sleep, but because we were so intrigued with this and that (especially countless rounds of drinks refill for me, trying out different drinks hehe), we ended up only sleeping for one and a half hours hahaha!!

The husby woke me up at 3.30am, and we left for the most amazing sushis at Tsukiji Fish Market.

That's all for our Day 1! One of the things that we were super glad and proud we did was to put a night here at Com Com Mange Café. It opened our eyes to see another side of Tokyo that only locals experience, and it saved us quite some cash too! Much cheaper than booking an extra night at our studio apartment and then taking a cab to Tsukiji Fish Market. That would cost at least RM350-400, and we only spent about RM108: Manga café- RM67 (paid extra 200yen cos we spent slightly more than 3 hours there), food- RM6 and train tickets- RM35.

If you're planning a trip to Tokyo, you might want to have this arrangement too cos it's really convenient and saved us quite a lot of money which we can spend on eating good food instead. And why we wanted Tsukiji Fish Market first thing we arrived was firstly, I couldn't wait to try the fresh sushis there! Secondly, I don't want to have to wake up at 3am in the middle of our trip just to go there. It'll mess up our sleeping patterns and we'll end up tired the whole day, which I foresee would ruin our plans for the trip. So yeah, get it done and over with, then focus on the other parts of Tokyo! There are lots to see, eat and do so no time to waste! :)

Com Com Manga Café
Pricing- 3 hours- 980yen, 7 hours- 1500yen
Opening Hours- 24 hours

If you're interested in trying a manga café for yourself, search up THIS and THIS LINK! Tokyo Cheapo was one of our favourite websites to visit while planning for our trip.

That's all from me for now! More updates on Tokyo coming up ;)


love, Careen.