Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!!

The base had its Trick or Treating shindig!!!  I'm just as shocked this year by the insane crowds as I was last year!  Lines down the sidewalks and along the streets trying to get to the doors and get some of the treats.  I don't have a lot of story to go along with this post...just some pictures of a beautiful Viking and a cute little dragon....

Toothless and Astrid from How To Train Your Dragon

I forgot to have Boy tuck his white shirt in.  He wasn't too thrilled that I was making them stand there and have pictures taken, especially since he saw several of his friends walk by our building (and, I had already gone through almost a whole bag in the first thirty minutes.)

The tail didn't turn out quite like I wanted.  I didn't think about his shirt hanging down over the top of his tail when I glued it all together, so it got a little covered up and smooshed down.

Daddy walked in right when I snapped this picture of Mackenzie.

The hair.  

Kris' great idea this year:  we donated a huge bag of candy to one of the main houses out on the main drag that gets overloaded every year.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CupNoodle Museum with Dave

We had so much fun at the CupNoodle Museum with Grandma and Grandpa that we decided it would be an awesome stop for Uncle Dave on our way home from Tokyo. we go!!!

I got a few new shots this go round.  I didn't notice last time, but there were several art pieces around the museum this time.  Like the shot exploding cup of noodles.

After walking through the exhibits and reading about Momofuko Ando, we headed upstairs to our Ramen-making appointment.

Garytt and Dave decorating cups.  Garytt did some awesome ninja's but he didn't think they were as good as Daddy's so Daddy switched cups with him.  For some reason, I wasn't as good about taking pictures of the cups this go-round.

Mackenzie's ninjas....can you tell this was the day after our visit to the Ninja Akasaka?  And, a picture of Olaf.

Lotsa noodles!

Adding some yumminess to the noodles.  Note to self:  the imitation crab...not so good.

Afterwards we were walking to the car and decided to stop at the pastry shop across the street.  The kids had donuts, Kris got a sandwich with a sausage in it, Dave got garlic bread, and I got a delicious cheesy sandwich.  These pumpkin pastries were so cute!  But, I was afraid of what might be hidden in the middle so I passed.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Magical Night at the Ninja Restaurant

Two weeks ago I went to the Ninja Restaurant's webpage ( and after Google translated it for me, figured out how to email them and ask for a reservation.  I quickly got an automated reply saying they would call us back to set up our reservation.  The next afternoon Kris got a phone call confirming our requested 5 pm spot for Wednesday (five days from requesting the reservation).  We were already in Tokyo for a few days with Dave, and after a rainy day in Asakusa and Akihabara, we headed over to Akasaka.  

Once at Akasaka Mitsuke Station, we walked up to ground level and headed out of the East exit and right across the street was the Tokyu Plaza...the restaurant is on the first floor.  The door was kind of tricky to find.  There is a sign that says "NINJA" but I missed it because someone was standing in front of it.  Don't be silly like me and try to open the door (hint:  the people standing in line probably already tried that, duh!).

Shoe closet
At exactly five o'clock someone opened the door and started asking people for their names and reservation times.  Once it was our turn we all headed in and followed our ninja greeter.  She walked us down a narrow hallway and then had us stop because there was a river and the bridge was out!!  She said a few magic words and that bridge came right down!!!  {cue kids' jaws dropping}

Once we got to our little room, we took our shoes off, put them in a shoe closet and then took our seats.  The lady who took us to our room told us three times, "Godzilla 3, Godzilla 3, you will find 3 Godzilla".  So, we were on the lookout for three Godzillas....turns out the room we were eating in was the Godzilla room 3.  ha!  So, Garytt was now on the lookout for Godzillas everywhere.  Both kids insisted they saw Godzillas painted on the walls.  And then oooh the excitement when they discovered the ninja stars carved into the table.

After we took our seats our waiter for the evening opened the door and handed us menus.  He said he spoke a little English, he actually spoke very well.  Every time he came to our door Garytt would gasp and say, "I just saw a shadow go by our door!"  He was definitely on the lookout for the secret ninjas.  Mackenzie swears she saw a ninja in the ceiling when we went into our room.  --Now, a little side note here....because our children are young (6 & 8) we were not allowed to make a reservation after 7 pm.  I'm not sure if that's because they have more magic or maybe they scare you a bit more after that time.  The magic we saw was quite tame, but incredibly exciting for our kids (ok...we squealed and laughed just as much as they did).--
Kris Drink
Ok, back to the food....Our waiter handed us two scrolls and we unrolled them to find an overwhelming amount of food options!  He then showed us the drink menu.  I didn't look to see the names of the drinks Kris and Dave got.  I had a Komachi, grapefruit juice and grapefruit liquer with a side of bird nest.  The bird nest on the side was, "a nest of petrel put up in hollows on sheer cliffs in Indonesia.  It is a quality tidbit that is difficult to gather and very rare."  It had no taste, and had I believed Kris when he said it was bird spit, I wouldn't have put it in my drink.  He was right...bird spit...ugh!  It's supposed to have some sort of beautifying effect.  I haven't noticed any changes.
So, for the food....Kris got the Tasting Course, and Dave and I got the Yamatodamashii Course.  We had two hours to get through all the courses, which we laughed in the world would it take two hours??!!  Well, when your meal has eight courses and a magic show, it takes the whole two hours!

Dave Drink
First course (Tasting and Yamatodamashii):  Shuriken star-blades grissini....the ninja star crackers were a hit!  They were yummy and the kids thought they were amazing!  They came with ninja star  plates as well.

Second course :  Kris' salad...I think it had mint in it.

Kids' course:  So, we were a little confused on this one and wasted quite a bit of money here. We were given a two page menu book that said 'Kids Plates' at the top. We looked at the choices and agreed that the kids would both only eat the chicken plates. Turns out, everything that was listed on that whole menu came with the kids plates!!! Sushi (neither kid even wanted this on their plate), sausage, chicken, shrimp, hamburger patty, and dipping sauces. The adults ate some of their sushi. I ate the shrimp. Garytt had his sausage and chicken. Mackenzie had a ham and cheese sandwich from my bag.

Third Course:  Turban Shell Bombs with Garlic Butter.  This was a shell with a bit of food stuffed inside. It was so yummy!!!

 Fourth Course:  (The picture didn't turn out for these two)  For Dave and I, it was called the "Mystery Dish," we got croquettes cooked in bamboo charcoal with mushroom risotto inside.  De-lish!  Kris got ninja style chicken, which was really just chicken nuggets that he gave to the kids to eat.

Fifth Course:  For Kris....Capellini with Japanese tomato flavor...he wasn't a fan.  For Dave and I....(no picture)  Autumn vegetable cocktail topped with whipped Japanese stock (whipped soy sauce)...Dave liked his.  The vegetable was mushrooms and I don't like eating big mushrooms, so I passed on this one.

Sixth Course:  Special Stone Boiled Soup (Japanese bouillabaisse). Our waiter brought a tray to the table with a huge bowl, pitcher of broth, a bunch of veggies, some meat, three small bowls, and one big hot stone. First, he chopped the veggies and put them in the bowl. Then, he put in the meat and poured the broth on top. Finally, he put the big hot stone in and as the broth started sizzling he put a lid on the bowl and said he would be back. After a few minutes he came back and doled out a bowl of soup to The three adults. Yu-ummy!!

Fifth Course:  Ninja style cream puff.  It didn't have much taste.  The pastry on the outside was supposed to be chocolate, but it didn't have a lot of flavor.  And, the inside was so underwhelming that I don't even remember what it was.

Seventh Course:  For Dave and I, it was Sherbert candy in Autumnal flavors.  It was cold and gingery....we liked it!  It was a good pallet cleanser.

Eighth Course:  No pictures.  This was our main dish.  Dave and I had fish (Dave had sea bream and I had cod) with tofu.  Kris had sweet and sour pork that was cooked in bamboo charcoal, which made it black on the outside.

Eighth Course:  Sushi time!  I had the tuna and salmon as well as a sushi roll, but was getting so full I couldn't squeeze much else in.  The egg roll didn't seem appetizing to me anyway.

Magic time:  I don't want to give too much away here, in case friends want to experience this fabulous place.  But, we had a ninja  magician come to our room and perform some cool tricks!  Garytt's jaw was permanently in the jaw-dropped shocked face with every trick performed.  It was pretty darn fun!

Dessert time:  Kris had an apple dessert.  The kids were delivered a five inch by five inch box.  When they took the lids off smoke came tumbling out of the box!  They blew some of the smoke away and found a strawberry and a few cookies on a plate.  When they took the plate out of the box they found that their strawberries were disguised as ninjas!

Dessert for Dave and I:  A cheesecake dressed like a frog!  So cute and very yummy!

We had such an amazing time here!  The food was very different from anything we have ever had.  The atmosphere was so much fun that we spent a lot of time laughing and just in awe!  What a cool way to celebrate Uncle Dave's birthday!

We had the kids take a picture with our ninja waiter...they were supposed to do ninja poses with him, but were too afraid.  

The kids were both given ninja head wraps and then we were given one more surprise as we left....I'm keeping that a secret so you can get a fun laugh like we did!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tokyo Day 2 with Dave

Our first day in Tokyo was picture perfect...clear blue skies as far as the eye could see!  Our second day...not so much.  The rain started just before we got out of the hotel.  What's on tap for today...the three A's:  Asakusa, Akihabara, and Akasaka.

When we first got to Asakusa and walked to Sensoji Temple it was just barely sprinkling.  By the time we started toward Akihabara it was raining on us.

Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate)...the outer gate of the temple

I don't believe I noticed these two statues on the back of the gate the last time we were here.

Hozomon (Treasure House Gate) is the second gate.  The original was built in 942 and has been burned down, rebuilt and then destroyed in the air raids in 1945 before this gate was built in 1964.

Five story pagoda in the rain.  On the right is a man praying to the statue.  A woman stopped me and pointed him out to me.  She said a lot of things that I did not understand at all.  I assumed she was explaining to me what the man was praying for...first he put money in a bowl, then rubbed the statue's head, shoulders, back, hands, knees, legs and then feet.  Then, he stepped back, put his own hands together and bowed.

A brooding sky behind Sensoji.

The temple was built in 645 and managed to survive the air raids in 1945.  

Inside the temple.

Shelter from the drops while checking out the scenery.

A large gingko tree.

On our way to Akihabara we decided to try and find somewhere to eat where we didn't have to cower under umbrellas.  Our answer...the train station.  I'm not sure how proper it is to eat in the station, but we found a part of the platform that was cut off from the rest of the main area.  Sammies and chips, then off we went to Electronics Town!

We had no clue where we were going.  I found a map online and printed it, then circled the shops that I read as "must sees" for this area.  The first stop was a HUGE electronics store.  There was a floor dedicated to cameras and tvs, a floor for home electronics, an anime floor, toys, so much stuff!  Even a Teenage Mutant Ninja Kitty.

I found this hamster tunnel building quite silly, especially standing there watching the people shuffle up and down the tunnels.

After we bought each kid a toy, we decided to find somewhere to sit, somewhere that was dry.  Off we went in search of a table with five chairs and something to either munch on or sip on while we waited for a 1700 dinner reservation.  Well, turns out that when it's raining most people have that exact same thought.  We decided to head out of Akihabara and just get on the train to Akasaka where we could look for a place to sit.  In one of the train stations we walked past an Auntie Annie's and bought a few pretzels.  We heard the restaurant where we had reservations is one of those places where you go for the experience and leave just as hungry as when you arrive.  So, maybe it wasn't a bad idea to get a few munchies beforehand.
Ghost pastries

We finally arrived at our train station and the rain had slowed down considerably. to our awesome reservation!!!  In the next post...