sunday karaoke & distractions
The rain stopped sometime during the night, and Sunday turned out to be a rainless, though pretty overcast day. We woke up bright and early (relative to the day before), made ourselves kefir smoothies, and headed out to meet our friend Sabrina in Kabukicho for a few hours of karaoke at our karaoke establishment of choice.
Breakfast smoothie of home-raised kefir, frozen banana, half a peach, cottage cheese, and chia seeds with coconut butter & cacao nibs on top.
Eric and I are both very interested in music. We both studied for a good chunk of our lives growing up, and it was what originally drew us together when we met eight (..o.O”) years ago in college. So it should come as no surprise that here in Japan we go to a lot of concerts and often end up at karaoke on the weekends with other musically inclined friends.
The first few years we lived in Tokyo we went to karaoke nearly every week. First with other students from our respective exchange programs, and then just on our own after everyone else moved back home. We also went through a period in our third year of residence in Japan where we participated in a bi-weekly karaoke club called Karabaka (roughly Karaoke Fool). We were among the only regular foreigners, and had great fun walking into the Western Songs room and seeing looks of pure unadulterated terror wash over the faces of unsuspecting first-time participants at the thought of having to sing in English in front of real-live Americans. These days we don’t do karaoke nearly as much, and when we do we tend to go in small groups with our friends rather than large organized parties.
Today’s session lasted from 11:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon. We had planned to stay later, but unfortunately Karaoke no Tetsujin (our favorite karaoke company) had changed its free-time policy and we were only able to get in about four hours. As usual, I got myself a coffee float and edamame to snack on while we sang, but without a real lunch I was pretty starving by the time we finished our singing.
After we were kicked out of our room, we decided to head over to the south exit to make a quick stop at Doughnut Plant before heading our separate ways, but, it being Sunday in Shinjuku, we had to deal with a few distractions along to way before reaching our goal.
Distraction the first:
The streets around a couple of the major stations, most notably Shinjuku and Akihabara, are closed to traffic on Sundays and holidays, and often have street performers and other exhibitions on them. I have no idea what this was supposed to be, or if it’s a recognizable character, but it was pretty damn awesome to see coming down the street as we made our way up to Shinjuku station. A huge circle of onlookers with cameras and cell phones formed and reformed as he/she made their way up the street. I’m so glad I decided to haul my DSLR out with me today, I don’t think my iPhone would have cut it for this.
(click to see these bigger, they’re pretty fantastic)
Distraction the second:
There is a particular spot near the South East Exit of Shinjuku Station that a friend and I often refer to as being cursed. In the years we’ve lived in this country, we have seen shop after shop open and abruptly close at this location, with an average life span of about 6-12 months. The most recent closure was an overly trendy frozen yogurt stand that played the most annoying song on a 30 second loop all day, every day.
It is currently home to a fancy looking taiyaki shop, which opened about a year ago. Every time I pass by I have been tempted to stop by the amazing aroma– unfortunately, each time I’ve been on my way to or from dinner with a friend, so until today I had never really had the chance to see if the taste lived up to the smell.
For the record? It totally does.
We were all instantly drawn to the Apple Custard taiyaki on the seasonal menu, and OMG did it live up to expectations. So I seem to have another shop to add to my ever-growing list of seasonal menu must-tries.
After taiyaki we continued on to Doughnut Plant. I have had a love affair with Doughnut Plant since I first discovered them about 6 weeks back and have consumed more than my fair share of doughnuts since then an attempt to play catch up on their menu (thus proving that doughnuts -can- be part of a healthy and happy lifestyle *cough*).
Eric and I bought this month’s seasonal raised cream filled doughnut, Banana Pecan & Banana Cream, to split and dug in on the spot. The filling was mostly fresh banana puree and had a very authentic banana flavor. As with most of their doughnuts, it had just the right amount of sweetness (unlike most doughnuts which I find to be overly sweet) and I really liked it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to last month’s Lemon & Lemon Cream doughnut, but I don’t think anything will.
After doughnuts we said our goodbyes to Sabrina and headed onward toward Harajuku, where we spent an hour looking around the shops on Takeshita-dori before meeting my German co-worker and his wife for dinner and drinks.
Not a very productive day, but what we lacked in productivity we made up for with fun.