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Old 1st October 2016, 06:19 PM   #16
yflyer
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As SPG Platinum, we could eat breakfast either in the lounge, or in the lobby restaurant.



The lobby restaurant had a wide selection of Japanese, Asian and Western dishes for breakfast, but what I really liked was the premium eggs from Kumamoto they used for all their egg dishes.



Not all eggs are created equal. These had deep yellow/orange yolks, and a rich, creamy texture.



The chef manning the omelette station that day was a real artist, and did justice to the premium eggs...



Even their scrambled eggs were a delight..tasting as good as they looked...moist and creamy, with excellent mouth feel...



Another highlight was the ham, cut thick to bring out the flavours of the alternating layers of meat and fat...some of the tastiest ham I have ever eaten...

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Old 1st October 2016, 06:27 PM   #17
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Our room was just steps away from the Westin Executive Club Lounge...



Some hotel lounges are small, crowded affairs. Not this one. This was a large, spacious lounge, with great views of Tokyo. It was never too crowded during our stay. A very pleasant place to spend time, whether at breakfast, or in the afternoon or evening.







The lounge had a smallish but perfectly adequate breakfast selection, consisting of both cold and hot items.



On our stay, we alternated between breakfast in the quiet, peaceful lounge, to the bustling lobby restaurant, with it's much larger selection of dishes.

In the afternoon, cakes and pastries were served, along with hot soup, served in small cups...



Corn soup...



In the evening, complimentary wine, beer and liquor was served...







...along with hors d'oeuvres...



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Old 1st October 2016, 06:54 PM   #18
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As usual, Mrs yflyer was in charge of the leisure and eating itinerary.

"Let's go to Tsukiji Fish Market! You have never been, and they are going to move it soon," she suggested. This place had been on my to-do list for some time now, but I somehow never got round to it. Now there was no excuse not to go...



Initial impressions? This is much more of a working, functioning, fish market than a tourist attraction (Although it does attract hordes of tourists). Most of the real action happens in the pre-dawn hours as fish are hauled in, auctioned off, and then sent off to the far corners of the world...by the time visitors are allowed in, all you see in the main market is the aftermath and clean-up...





...and even at that hour, you had to keep a lookout for vehicles and goods transporters whizzing by...



Occasionally you had glimpses of what had happened just hours before...a frenzy of hooks, knives, slicing and cutting...







...but mostly as we walked through the aisles of the market, the main thing we saw was the sellers and workers here relaxing, and chilling after a hard morning's work, before heading home.

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Old 1st October 2016, 06:55 PM   #19
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The action had shifted to the periphery of the market...where stalls sold a wide range of preserved goods and other items...



...and where several rows of eateries were doing roaring business, with long queues outside each restaurant.



I suspect those in the queues would be lining up for an hour or more before getting a seat...





Signs like these were common...



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Old 1st October 2016, 07:13 PM   #20
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Rather than queue for sushi, we decided to join a shorter queue (meaning we queued for "only" 45 minutes...) for a delicious tendon (Tempura and rice) in a small outlet named Tenfusa, which is apparently the only tempura eatery at Tsukiji, right next to the popular sushi eateries at Tsukiji.



This is a small, casual eatery with less than 20 seats, and a small menu of various tempura dishes, including tempura prawn and tempura anago (sea eel).



This was strictly first-in-first-out...we eventually reached the head of the queue, and as soon as two previous diners finished their meal, the table was swiftly cleared and we were shown to our seats, and offered cups of hot green tea.



Apart from tempura, the eatery also offered tuna sashimi as a starter...this was not ultra refined, or even toro, but the freshness of the tuna was never in doubt, and it was a great way to start...



I ordered the mixed tempura on rice...this was freshly battered and fried in the adjoining kitchen, and served as soon as it was done...



...Mrs yflyer chose the tempura anago...impressively large eel laid out on moist Japanese rice...



This was a delightful, satisfying meal...



...the tempura batter here was crisp and went perfectly with the fresh prawn, fish and eel within.





Any regrets not queuing for sushi? Not at all. If I were ever to head back to Tsukiji, I would probably head back to Tenfusa again...
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Old 1st October 2016, 08:18 PM   #21
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Over a weekend, we took a day trip to Enoshima, a small island just over an hour away from Tokyo by train, to visit the day spa there and sample a local speciality, small fish known as shirasu.



Enroute to Enoshima, we stopped by Kamakura, a small city with a lot of historical significance, as well as a pleasant traditional shopping street.







The other reason for stopping there was to try the Enoden, a classic electric railway train that wound through a scenic route from Kamakura to Enoshima.





The train winds its way along the countryside, passing close to homes on either side of the railway, and also along the coastline...



...where surfers could be seen riding the waves on this very hot day...



The train continued at a stately pace...



...and at one point the train tracks even merged with the city streets, and ran along the road alongside cars and buses!



In the age of driverless MRT trains and even self-driving cars, this train was reassuringly manual, with a courteous, alert and very cautious driver.



How they kept time on this train also brought a smile to my face.


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Old 1st October 2016, 08:51 PM   #22
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After a very pleasant ride, we arrived at the station just across from the bridge linking Enoshima Island with the mainland.





We took a short stroll across the bridge to Enoshima Island.



Just across the bridge, in a large brown building by the coastline, was the Enoshima Day Spa, with hot springs and indoor/outdoor pools where you could soak in the restorative waters of the spring while taking in stunning views of Mt Fuji, if the weather was right.



The island itself has several attractions, including a shopping street leading to a temples, shrines, and the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse and observation tower.





The Pokemon Go craze was in full swing while we were there...




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Old 1st October 2016, 08:52 PM   #23
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On the way up to the temple and Sea Candle, you could grab a snack of raw shirasu, a kind of whitebait or small fry of fish, which was in season...





But Mrs yflyer had a more substantial shirasu meal in mind...we headed to a nearby restaurant. This was past the regular lunch hour, so most restaurants had closed, and the streets were fairly empty.



This restaurant was still open...we walked in to a warm welcome from our host and cook. You could order shirasu in two different styles: raw or cooked. The fish was served over rice.

For the indecisive (Or maybe the kiasu...) you could order a combination bowl, which had both raw and cooked shirasu, and that is what we did.



This was a unique and quite delicious dish. The taste and texture of the two styles of shirasu was quite different: smooth, gelatinous and cold when raw, fluffy and light when cooked.



It is not easy to sample the raw shirasu, as it cannot be easily stored or transported long distances, and we were glad that it was in season while we were there.
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Old 1st October 2016, 09:02 PM   #24
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Further up the hill on the island (There is an elevator that will also bring you up for part of the way, for a small additional fee)...there are various shrines and gardens.







Apart from shirasu, the other must-have snack there is the seafood cracker, made fresh when you order it. This is a paper thin snack into which seafood such as octopus are pressed onto the base...again this is something you have to queue for, but it does taste good!



The Sea Candle itself offers stunning views of the surrounding area, as well as Mt Fuji, if the day is clear.





Large birds of prey in the air above...




On the day we were there, it was quite cloudy and hazy, so Mt Fuji was not visible during much of the day.

In the next picture, you can just make out the faint outline of Mt Fuji, dominating the left side of the landscape in the picture...far taller than every other hill and mountain in the photo.



It was only in the evening, when we were at the Enoshima Day Spa, that the outline of Mt Fuji could be observed, against the orange evening sky...
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Old 1st October 2016, 09:25 PM   #25
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I have no photos of the interior of the Enoshima Day Spa and hot spring baths, as no cameras were permitted inside, however this is a very pleasant way to spend some time, relaxing in the hot springs or warm pools, or getting a massage or some other treatment.

No membership is needed, visitors are welcome for a daily admission charge.

There are traditional hot and cold springs, where no clothes are permitted and where the pools are separated by gender.

There is also a common pool area for both genders (swimsuits required) where there are are series of pools of spring water at various temperatures, both outdoors and indoors, including a cave-like section. Here, you can soak in the pool, and take in the scenic views of Mt Fuji.

This is quite a popular day spa, with a large Japanese clientele, both young and old, including a large number of college-age visitors, and a number of Caucasian visitors as well.

There are extensive restaurant and dining options with the spa, and interestingly, you can order food, and drinks (including alcoholic beverages) in the common pool area as well.

Mrs yflyer and I first headed to our respective men and women's hot spring areas, where we checked out the public baths and sauna, before heading to the common area at the appointed time to explore the common pools together.

This was only my second experience in a Japanese public bath. All I can say is that I found it disorientating, but also strangely liberating, to be wandering around the pools stark naked, sharing the pools with other similarly attired (Meaning un-attired...) individuals. The fact that I had no clothes on became a non-issue and non-event as I focused on gently easing myself into the hot pools of spring water and adjusting to the scalding temperatures within.

Later we changed into swimsuits and met up at the common pool area to explore the pools there. At that point, the sun was setting, and as we sat in the pools overlooking the sea and coastline, the silhouette of Mt Fuji could be seen majestically towering over the surrounding landscape.

What a pleasant way to spend the evening. I would highly recommend a day trip to Enoshima Island, and also to the day spa, if anyone is spending time in Tokyo.

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Old 1st October 2016, 09:41 PM   #26
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During our trip, we spent time shopping in Harajuku...



...Akihabara, with its concentration of electronics and high tech stores, such as Yodabashi Akiba...





...which also had an amazing toy selection...



...and a large 8th floor space with multiple restaurants, with a broad selection of dining options, including this restaurant specializing in unagi...





We also spent time in Shinjuku...



The Takashimaya outlet here is on a scale far beyond Takashimaya in Singapore...which is the best reason I can offer as to why we ended up spending time shopping there...



We also visited the Tokyo Tower at night, where you can take in great night-time views of Tokyo, as well as a special light-up within the tower.






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Old 1st October 2016, 10:02 PM   #27
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On our last dinner in Tokyo, Mrs yflyer had something adventurous in mind...

We headed to Manten Yoyogi, which specialized in meat and offal barbeque...



The menu at this restaurant is eye-popping, and not for the squeamish...



It has been a while since I saw the V-word on a restaurant menu...and I am also still wondering what the items marked secret are...

We ordered the Offal Platter (8 types)...which probably translates to "The chef will now have fun toying with his patrons..."



At that point I had no idea what I would be eating. I opened my mouth to ask, but thought better of it and kept it shut. Maybe it would be better not to know...

A charcoal BBQ was brought to the table...



We began to cook...



Hmm...very good!





At some point, our very friendly waitress realized we had no clue how to cook our food, and stepped in to assist...we worked up the courage to ask her to tell us just what we were eating, and she was happy to oblige...



A delicious dinner...we found 7 out of 8 items in our offal platter (Among them stomach, spleen, breast, intestines...) to be wonderful, although we found one of the items, the esophagus, to be a little on the chewy side...



"How did you find out about this restaurant?" our waitress asked. I suspected that they didn't get too many walk-in customers, given their slightly out-of-the-way location...

"On the internet", Mrs yflyer replied...

Our waitress smiled and nodded. Yes, the internet is, indeed, making the world a smaller place...

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Old 1st October 2016, 10:25 PM   #28
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We checked on for our ANA flight back to Singapore at Haneda Airport...





"Did you know that there is an outdoor observation deck at Haneda?" Mrs yflyer asked.

"No I didn't!"

We headed up there.



This is a very large observation deck, with great views of the tarmac.







And down below, we saw our 787 being prepped for departure...

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Old 1st October 2016, 10:36 PM   #29
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We headed to the ANA Lounge. This is their J lounge. There is another lounge called the Suite Lounge for F pax.



This is a fairly large lounge, and a very busy one too, at that hour in the evening.



The seating areas have good tarmac views.



There is also a section where they have desks facing the window and tarmac -- preferable to doing work in a cubicle in a business centre.



Different sake's for tasting...





The liquor selection...



One of the wines available...



They serve Hakushu whisky here!



Beer pouring machines...

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Old 1st October 2016, 10:38 PM   #30
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A decent buffet selection...although I marginally prefer the dishes in the JAL Lounge in Haneda...





Salads...



Ramen cooked to order...this is very popular with regular ANA pax...





...and while JAL offers signature beef curry with rice, ANA's signature dish here is their chicken curry and rice...



This is the main work area in the lounge...



There are showers as well, although I did not use them.



Overall, a very nice lounge, comparable in facilities to the JAL Lounge in Haneda, although I personally prefer the soothing light wood decor in the JAL lounge to the modern, glossy black and white themed decor in the ANA lounge.
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