Mallard ice cream menu bellingham wa
Party at CCI tomorrow!
2023.05.30 23:25 zeitness Party at CCI tomorrow!
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2023.05.30 20:53 NYEHSPAGHETTIMASTER I PLAYED UNDERTALE AND I AM REGURGITATING THE KNOWLEDGE BACK TO YOU 2!!
FLOWERY HAS WOKEN UP, AND THIS TIME I SHALL PLAY THE GAME WHILE TYPING IT ON REDDIT TO SEE HOW DIFFERENTLY IT GOES! NYEH HEH HEH!
I ONCE AGAIN HAVE TO READ THE STORY ABOUT HUMANS AND MONSTERS, BUT I LEARN HOW TO SKIP IT ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH, SO THAT'S NICE! I GO TO THE MENU, AND I SEE TORIEL READING A BOOK TO THE CATCHY MUSIC! I CLICK SETTINGS TO SEE WHAT THERE IS, BUT I CAN ONLY CHANGE THE LANGUAGE! SO I GO BACK AND CLICK CONTINUE INSTEAD!
I AM IN SNOWDIN FOREST, WITH FRISK GREETING ME WITH THEIR USUAL STARE! I WALK OVER TO THE BOX AND SEE THE TOUGH GLOVE, WHICH I DO NOT NEED! BUT SOMEONE PROBABLY LEFT IT THERE, SO I SHALL LEAVE IT IN THE BOX! I THEN ENTER THE NEXT ROOM AND FIND ME TALKING ABOUT HOW UNDYNE'S TRAINING WAS GOING VERY WELL, BUT GOT CUT OFF BY ME!
SANS AND I START SPINNING, AND I GET FOOLED BY SANS, THINKING THE HUMAN IS A ROCK! THEN SANS UN-FOOLS ME AND I TELL ME I WILL BE CAPTURED AND DELIVERED TO THE CAPITAL, AND I WILL BE SUPER SUPER POPULAR BECAUSE OF IT, AND SANS AND I RUN AWAY! SO I WALK FORWARD AND OBSERVE THE COOL SENTRY STATION, BUT GET ATTACKED BY A SNOWDRAKE! FLOWERY SUGGESTS I SPARE, SO I DO, AND SNOWDRAKE TELLS A HORRIBLE PUN! I GET HIT, AND THEN, RELUCTANTLY, I DECIDE TO LAUGH. AND THEN I FEEL BAD FOR RELUCTANTLY LAUGHING, AND I AM SORRY ABOUT YOUR FATHER DOUBTING YOU, SNOWDRAKE! THE NARRATOR TELLS A BAD PUN AND I SPARE SNOWY AND WIN THE BATTLE! THEN I INTERACT WITH THE COOL SENTRY STATION, WHICH IS VERY COOL AND WELL-CRAFTED! THEN I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
I IMMEDIATELY NOTICE THIS IS DOGGO'S AREA, AND I SHOULD BE VERY VERY SNEAKY, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, DOGGO SPOTS ME ANYWAY!! THEN DOGGO FIGHTS ME! I'M VERY EXCITED TO SEE HOW A ROYAL GUARDSMAN FIGHTS THAT ISN'T UNDYNE! BUT MY EXCITEMENT IS IMMEDIATELY SHATTERED WHEN I LEARN DOGGO'S ONLY ATTACK IS A BLUE SWORD. BUT, IT'S JUST THE FIRST ATTACK, AND HE CAN'T SEE VERY WELL, SO I FORGIVE HIM! I PET DOGGO, AND HE STARTS FREAKING OUT!! AND THEN HE USES THE SAME ATTACK. STILL, I CAN'T BLAME HIM! I SPARE DOGGO, AND LOOK AT THE SMOKED DOG TREATS! ALSO, I REALIZE I HAVE 64G! I CAN'T WAIT TO FIND THE NICE CREAM MAN AND BUY SOME NICE CREAM!
I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM, AND SEE SANS, WHO ISN'T DOING ANYTHING. I TALK TO HIM AND HE TELLS THE HUMAN ABOUT MY BLUE ATTACK!!! I SUPPOSE IT'S OKAY, SINCE DOGGO ALREADY RUINED THE SURPRISE, BUT COME ON, SANS! I WALK AWAY FROM SANS AND PREPARE TO SLIDE ON THE ICE, BUT GET ATTACKED BY ICE CAP! I COMPLIMENT THEM, BUT THAT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING, AND I GET HIT! I TRY COMPLIMENTING YET AGAIN, BUT STILL, NOTHING. FLOWERY SAYS I SHOULD USE STEAL, BUT I WANT TO TRY TO IGNORE THEM INSTEAD! ICE CAP LOOKS ANNOYED, BUT THEIR NAME ISN'T YELLOW! I IGNORE AGAIN, AND IT WORKS! BUT I ALSO GET HIT. I SPARE ICE CAP AND CONTINUE ON MY ADVENTURE ON THE ICE!
I GO UP AND FIND THE SNOWMAN, AND I TAKE A PIECE OF IT SO I CAN SHOW IT THE WORLD! I THEN GO BACK DOWN AND GO RIGHT, TO SEE SANS AND I STARING AT EACH OTHER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE INVISIBLE ELECTRICITY MAZE! I WALK FORWARD AND MORE SUSPICIOUSLY ACCURATE DIALOGUE PLAYS, BUT AT LEAST IT ISN'T INACCURATE, I GUESS! I WALK FORWARD ONCE MORE, AND SOMEHOW GAME ME GETS SHOCKED!! HOW SAD, AND ALSO CONFUSING, BECAUSE I WENT IN THE CORRECT PATH. NO MATTER, FOR OTHER ME HAS RAN ACROSS THE MAZE AND GIVEN ME THE ORB! I THEN SOLVE THE PUZZLE WITH EASE, AS I HAVE MEMORIZED THE PATH! GAME ME ASKS HOW I DID THAT SO EASILY, BUT I CAN'T ANSWER THAT QUESTION. I TALK TO SANS AFTER GAME ME RUNS AWAY, AND HE SPEAKS ABOUT MY SUPER COOL BATTLE BODY! AND THEN I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
AND THE NICE CREAM MAN SHOWS HIMSELF, AND I BUY TWO NICE CREAMS, WHICH I DON'T NEED TO INSPECT, BECAUSE I ALREADY KNOW HOW MUCH THEY HEAL! I PLAY THE BALL GAME, AND GET THE GREEN FLAG! THEN I TALK TO SANS, WHO IS SELLING FRIED SNOW. I THINK I'LL PASS ON THAT ONE, BROTHER. THEN I GO RIGHT, AND FIND THE DOG MARRIAGE ROOM, AND THEN I GO DOWN AND GO TO THE NEXT ROOM, AND FIND SANS' "PUZZLE", WHICH IS VERY LAZY! I WALK PAST THE WORD SEARCH AND SANS AND I ARGUE ABOUT CROSSWORD AND JUNIOR JUMBLE! FLOWERY SAYS I SHOULD SAY CROSSWORD, BUT I SAY THE CORRECT ANSWER, WHICH IS JUNIOR JUMBLE, AND SANS THANKS ME FOR SAYING THAT JUST TO MAKE ME HAPPY, WHICH ISN'T TRUE! JUNIOR JUMBLE IS HARDER!! I THEN ENTER THE NEXT ROOM
AND WHEN I ENTER THE ROOM, I SEE MY SPAGHETTI TRAP! UNFORTUNATELY, GAME ME DIDN'T CONSIDER TO KEEP IT WARM AND IT'S FROZEN!! OH NO! I GET FILLED WITH DETERMINATION FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE MOUSE MAY ONE DAY FIND OUT A WAY TO HEAT UP MY SPAGHETTI, AND SAVE THE GAME! AND I ALSO INTERACT WITH THE MOUSE YET AGAIN! AND THEN I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM, AND I ALREADY KNOW WHERE THE SWITCH IS, AND I FLIP IT IMMEDIATELY! BUT GET STOPPED BY LESSER DOG! I PET LESSER DOG, AND FLAWLESSLY DODGE THEIR ATTACK! FLOWERY WANTS ME TO SPARE NOW, BUT I PET THEM AGAIN! AND AGAIN! AND AGAIN! AND AGAIN! UNTIL FLOWERY FORCES ME TO SPARE THEM. I GO DOWN TO THE NEXT ROOM, BUT GET STOPPED BY DOGAMY AND DOGARESSA! I TRY TO PET DOGAMY, BUT THEY REFUSE TO LET ME, BECAUSE I SMELL TOO HUMAN-LIKE! SO I ROLL AROUND A BUNCH AND NOW I SMELL LIKE A WEIRD DOG! THEN THE DOGS SNIFF ME AGAIN, AND NOW I'M A DOG TO THEM! BUT I STILL CANNOT SPARE THEM! SO, I TRY TO PET THEM, AND THEY LET ME, AND I WIN THE BATTLE, AND CONTINUE TO THE NEXT AREA!
I ENTER THE X-O PUZZLE ROOM, AND SOLVE IT WITH EASE! THIS FEELS LIKE CHEATING, AS I ALREADY KNOW THE SOLUTION TO ALL THE PUZZLES IN SNOWDIN, BUT ALAS! I CANNOT UN-KNOWLEDGE MYSELF! I WALK FORWARD, AND GAME ME SPOTS ME, AND ASKS HOW I AVOIDED THE SPAGHETTI TRAP! I CAN'T TELL HIM THAT IT FROZE, SO I JUST SAY I LEFT IT! BUT FRISK DOESN'T SAY IT FROZE! SO I'VE FOOLED MYSELF BY TRYING TO NOT FOOL MYSELF!! CURSES! BUT PAPYRUS AND PAPYRUS TRAVERSE TO THE NEXT AREA, AND FIND THE PAPYRUS-SHAPED X-O PUZZLE, BUT I REFUSE TO CHEAT WITH THE SWITCH BEHIND THE TREE! SO I TRY TO SOLVE IT, AND WITH MY INCREDIBLE PUZZLE SKILLS, I SOLVE IT ON MY FIRST TRY! AND THEN I TALK TO SANS, WHO CONGRATULATES ME ON MY INCREDIBLE PUZZLE SKILLS, AND THEN MAKES IT SOUND LAZY, AND I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
I WALK ONTO THE BRIDGE OF THE COLOR TILE PUZZLE, AND GAME ME EXPLAINS THE RULES, WHICH I ALREADY KNOW! BUT FRISK DOESN'T, SO YET AGAIN, I AM GRATEFUL! BUT THEN, I CAN ONLY WATCH IN HORROR AS THE TILE PUZZLE MAKES THE RED AND PINK PATH AND COMPLETELY REMOVES THE CHALLENGE! I WALK ACROSS AND TALK TO SANS, WHO TELLS ME MY FOOD WILL BE EDIBLE SOON! WHICH IS VERY INSULTING, BUT ALSO FLATTERING?? AND I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
AND I SEE SNOWDOGS OF LESSER DOG WITH REALLY LONG NECKS AND HEADS THAT HAVE ALL FALLEN OFF. I GET FILLED WITH DETERMINATION FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT LESSER DOG WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON TRYING TO MAKE THE PERFECT SNOWDOG, AND SAVE THE GAME! I TALK TO THE PERSON WHO'S NAME I TOTALLY REMEMBER, AND THEY TELL ME ABOUT THE SADDENING FATE OF LESSER DOG, AND I ENTER THE NEXT ROOM!
I FIND THE ICE X-O PUZZLE, BUT I GO DOWN TO VISIT MY SNOWPAPYRUS, AND SANS' LUMP OF SNOW. THEN I SAY GOODBYE TO THEM, AND SOLVE THE ICE PUZZLE WITH EASE! BUT THEN FRISK HAS A SNOWDOG OF THE RAMBUNCTIOUS RODENT ON THEIR HEAD, WHICH DISAPPEARS IMMEDIATELY! I GO DOWN TO SEE SANS DOING HIS SHORTCUT SHENANIGANS, AND GET ATTACKED BY GYFTROT, SO I TRY TO GIVE THEM A GIFT, BUT THEY REFUSE IT, SO I HELP UNDECORATE IT! I DO THAT AGAIN, AND GET HIT! BUT I UNDECORATE IT ONE MORE TIME, AND THEN THEY ARE HAPPY AGAIN! BUT BEFORE I LEAVE, I GIVE THEM A GIFT, A GIFT OF 35G! THEN I SPARE THEM AND LEAVE TO THE NEXT AREA!
I FIND A BUNCH OF SNOW POFFS, BUT I KNOW ONE OF THEM HAS G INSIDE IT, AND I WANT SOMEONE WHO NEEDS IT TO FIND IT! I INSPECT THE TINY DOGHOUSE, AND WALK FORWARD TO MEET GREATER DOG! I TRY TO PET THEM, BUT THEY'RE TOO FAR AWAY, SO I CALL THEM OVER AND THEN PET THEM! AND THEN IT'S AWAKE AND VERY EXCITED! FORTUNATELY, I AVOID ANY ATTACKS THROWN MY WAY, AND THEN I PLAY WITH IT! AND I PET IT SOME MORE, GET HIT ONCE, BUT EVENTUALLY I WIN THE BATTLE! GREATER DOG KISSES ME GOODBYE AND WALKS AWAY, AND SO DO I! TO THE GAUNTLET OF DEADLY TERROR WITH ME!
I WALK ONTO THE GAUNTLET OF DEADLY TERROR, AND SAY HELLO TO THE CAMERA UNDERNEATH IT! I SEE SANS AND GAME ME ONE LAST TIME BEFORE OUR EPIC BATTLE OF TROUSLED BONES, AND I LET THE HUMAN PASS WITHOUT THEM EXPERIENCING DEADLY TERROR, AS THIS CAPTURE METHOD HAS NO CLASS! I TALK TO SANS, AND HE TELLS ME MORE ABOUT MY BLUE ATTACKS (STILL UPSET AT HIM), AND I FIND SNOWDIN TOWN, AND GET HIT WITH NOSTALGIA TO THE EXTREME! I GET FILLED WITH DETERMINATION FROM THE SIGHT OF SUCH A FRIENDLY TOWN, AND SAVE THE GAME! THEN I ENTER THE SHOP! I'M GONNA NEED ALL THE PREPARATION I CAN GET IF I WANT TO BEAT GAME ME IN COMBAT! I BUY A MANLY BANDANA, AND A CINNAMON BUN! I EQUIP THE BANDANA, AND PUT MY BANDAGE AND RIBBON IN THE BOX, AND THEN I BUY ONE MORE CINNAMON BUN, BUT THEN I RUN OUT OF MONEY! THIS SHOULD BE ENOUGH, HOWEVER! WITH MY KNOWLEDGE ABOUT MY FIGHTING STYLE, I SHOULD BE OUT OF HARMS WAY IN NO TIME! I WALK THROUGH TOWN AND SAY HELLO TO EVERYONE, AND THEN I FINALLY WALK TO THE END OF SNOWDIN TOWN, AND I CALL TORIEL, WHO DOESN'T ANSWER. SHE HAS PROBABLY BEEN ROBBED BY THAT PESKY PUP! BUT THEN, I FINALLY DECIDE I AM READY FOR THE BATTLE OF A LIFETIME!
GAME ME THROWS ME INTO BATTLE AFTER A GREAT SPEECH ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND POPULARITY, AND I DECIDE TO FLIRT WITH MYSELF! I TELL GAME ME I CAN MAKE SPAGHETTI, AND MEET MY OWN STANDARDS! GAME ME THROWS A BONE ATTACK ON THE FLOOR, BUT HE DIDN'T TURN ME BLUE YET! I SPARE GAME ME, AND I HANDLE THE FABLED BLUE ATTACK WITH EASE! AND I DODGE THE TRICK-BONE EASILY AS WELL, AND I HAVE OFFICIALLY BEEN FLOORED!
I SPARE MYSELF, AND GAME ME TALKS ABOUT THE FUTURE DATE (I DIDN'T KNOW I SAID THAT OUT LOUD) AND GAME ME DABS SOME BONE COLOGNE BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR! I SPARE YET AGAIN, AND JUMP OVER THE BONES EASILY! GAME ME DABS MARINARA SAUCE BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR, AND I SPARE YET AGAIN! GAME ME THREATENS TO USE HIS SPECIAL ATTACK, WHICH I AM HOPING THIS GAME IS GONNA BE INACCURATE YET AGAIN AND NOT HAVE THE BARKING BURGLAR STEAL MY SPECIAL ATTACK! GAME ME DABS MTT-BRAND BISHIE CREAM BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR, AND I SPARE MYSELF YET AGAIN! GAME ME MONOLOGUES ABOUT HIS FUTURE POPULARITY, AND DABS MTT-BRAND ANIME POWDER BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR! I SPARE ONCE AGAIN, AND GAME ME TALKS ABOUT BEING HEAD OF THE ROYAL GUARD, AND DABS MTT-BRAND CUTE JUICE BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR! I SPARE AGAIN!
FLOWERY GETS BORED OF THIS CYCLE REPEATING, SO HE SUGGESTS THAT I TRY ACTING, AND SO I FLIRT ONCE MORE, BUT NOTHING HAPPENS! GAME ME SPEAKS PROUDLY ABOUT HIS STILL HELD TITLE OF BEING THE UNPARALLELED SPAGHETTORE, AND DABS MTT-BRAND ATTRACTION SLIME BEHIND HIS NON-EXISTANT EAR! I SPARE AGAIN, AND GAME ME TALKS ABOUT HOW UNDYNE WILL BE REALLY PROUD OF HIM! WHICH SHE IS! AND HE ALSO DABS MTT-BRAND BEAUTY YOGURT BEHIND HIS NON-EXSISTANT EAR, AND I SPARE YET AGAIN! GAME ME TALKS ABOUT ASGORE TRIMMING A HEDGE IN THE SHAPE OF MY SMILE, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS! AND GAME ME THEN REALIZES HE DOESN'T HAVE EARS, AND I REALIZE I HAVEN'T GOTTEN HIT A SINGLE TIME YET! WOWIE!
GAME ME TALKS ABOUT HOW SANS WON'T CHANGE MUCH, WHICH HE DID NOT! BUT THAT'S A GOOD THING! SANS IS VERY GREAT AS HE IS! GAME ME IS RATTLING HIS BONES, AND I SPARE YET AGAIN! GAME ME TALKS ABOUT THE SINCERITY OF HIS FANS, WHICH THEY ARE VERY SINCERE! GAME ME PLAYS IT VERY COOL WITHOUT TRYING IN THE SLIGHTEST, AND FLOWERY DEFINITELY AGREES THAT'S WHAT THE NARRATOR SAID! AND I SPARE ONCE MORE, AND GAME ME SAYS SOMEONE LIKE ME IS REALLY RARE! WHICH I AM HIM! AND THE AIR ALSO SMELLS LIKE BONES, AND I SPARE ONCE MORE! GAME ME TALKS ABOUT DATING, AND STARTS CACKLING! I SPARE AGAIN, AND FLOWERY HAS DIED OF BOREDOM, OH NO!! I BETTER FINISH THE BATTLE QUICKLY!
GAME ME TELLS ME TO GIVE UP, WHICH I WILL NOT DO! AND THEN HE THREATENS TO USE HIS SPECIAL ATTACK! AND THEN HE THREATENS TO USE IT ANOTHER THREE TIMES! AND THEN THE GAME IS SUPER ACCURATE YET AGAIN UNFORTUNATELY, AND I USE MY SUPER COOL REGULAR ATTACK! AND GAME ME SPARES ME, AND THE BATTLE IS OVER AND FLOWERY IS ALIVE AGAIN HOORAY! BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDUELED DESCRIPTIVE PLAYTHROUGH!
THE FOG FADES AWAY, AND THE GREAT PAPYRUS WALLOWS IN SORROW AND DEFEAT. "NYOO HOO HOO!" HE CRIES OUT, AS HE SHAMES HIMSELF OUT OF SADNESS! BUT WORRY NOT, DEAR PAPYRUS! FOR I, THE GREAT COOL HUMAN, AKA FRISK, HAVE DECIDED TO BE YOUR VERY COOL FRIEND! THE GREAT PAPYRUS CHEERS UP IMMEDIATELY, VERY GRATEFUL TO HAVE ANOTHER FRIEND! THE GREAT PAPYRUS GIVES DIRECTIONS TO THE SURFACE, AND TALKS ABOUT THE GREAT KING ASGORE! AND THEN HE FLIES BACK HOME SATISFIED WITH THE RESULTS OF THIS DUEL! BUT PAPYRUS' GREAT STORY DOESN'T END THERE, FOR FRISK WILL BE COMING BACK TO HIS HOUSE TO DATE HIM, NEXT TIME ON PAPYRUS AND FLOWERY PLAY UNDERTALE AND REGURGITATE THE KNOWLEDGE BACK TO YOU!!
-NYEHFULLY YOURS, PAPYRUS AND FLOWERY
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2023.05.30 20:28 NewYearsD A Detailed Post-Trip Report 2 Weeks in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka) 28/M/US
I spent 2 weeks traveling through Japan - Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto
and I'm writing this for those who are thinking about visiting. To preface, I did travel with a friend but spent a lot of time on my own. I'll cover as much as possible. Pre-Trip
I booked a flight with American Airlines / Delta Airlines for $590 round-trip three months before departing.
I flew out of Los Angeles to Tokyo (Haneda). The trip started on February 9 and ended on February 20. I booked my accommodation before arriving in Japan. I used Hostelworld and Agoda. More about the hostels and hotels I booked are below. COVID Screening and Visa information for US Citizens only
During the time I visited, Japan still required visitors to be fully vaccinated and have a pre-screening for arrival. First I had to do a pre-screening for American Airlines on VeriFly (please do this a day before checking in at the airport if so). Then, save yourself time and use Visit Japan Web (http://vjw-lp.digital.go.jp/en/
) and do the pre-screening requirements a couple of days before departure.
When you land in Tokyo, immediately after deplaning, swaths of airport personnel ask if you have the screener filled out and ready to go. If you don’t, they put you to the side and ask you to fill it out using the airport’s wifi. It takes time and you still have to go through customs after.
Visas for US citizens is a free, 3-month visa if I recall correctly. Bring your COVID vaccination card just in case they ask for it. Tech/Phone
I took my iPhone 14 Pro (unlocked) and connected buying Ubigi 10gb data plan. Do this before flying to Japan. When you land, you can activate your data plan directly on your phone. I didn’t get pocket wifi as the Ubigi worked perfectly.
Download the Ubigi app. They give instructions but please follow them.
Apps that I used:
Google Maps: you can download offline maps.
Google Translate: Use this everywhere you go. You can use the camera feature and it can translate Japanese to English really great. It saved me a lot of hassle when ordering at restaurants.
You might want to download a VPN if you want to use Netflix and such. Express VPN is one I’d recommend. Money/Currency
I took my Charles Schwab debit card and a backup Chase credit card/Chase debit card. Surprisingly, a lot of stores in Japan are cash-heavy; especially small shops and restaurants. My budget for the trip was $2000 with flights included.
Hostels and hotels were around $20-35 USD. Food prices were about $7-$20 a meal. It can get really expensive if you eat at fine dining restaurants. That being said, I stuck to eating mostly at hole-in-the-wall establishments where no English was spoken. Believe me when I say that the best ramen I ever had was only $7 USD. More on what restaurants I recommend are down below. If you really want to save money, don’t buy alcohol.
A solid budget for me was $60-$80 per day without lodging expenses. Some days, I only spent $40 which was all food (I spare no expense for food), then some days I went over because I bought cool souvenirs for myself and some excursions were pricey. You can visit Japan for less but I didn’t want to money pinch myself because I was only there for 2 weeks. Transportation
I love Japan for this reason. So here’s my take: If you are visiting Japan for exactly 14 days; get the JR Pass on Klook. You buy this a month before departing your home country. For me, Klook delivered it about a week after I bought it over Mail. You could buy either a 7, 14, or 21-day JR pass so I would recommend planning a trip that matches these exact number of days to get the most out of your money.
Now imagine you’re in Japan. It is your first day officially visiting…go to a JR Pass office at any major train station and ask them to redeem your pass. They will ask for the paper ticket that arrived in the mail to your home and they will ask for your passport. After they verify that it is you, they will give you a small ticket which will be your JR pass. DO NOT LOSE THIS! I believe they will not replace it. On how to use it, check out this video
Now to navigate, I used a combination of Google Maps and Apple Maps to get around. Use whichever one is more comfortable for you. These 2 apps are really exceptional at mapping out the best routes and the times trains depart. Note: the JR Pass only works for JR rail lines! Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka all have their own subways and train lines with their own payment system. More on this…
So the best way to get around the city is using a Suica card. These are sold virtually at any train station. If you can't find it, ask a train station attendant and say “Suica?”. They point you in the right direction.
A Suica card can be refilled unlimited times and can be used for any rail lines (JR included, but not for Bullet Trains). It is used by tapping at the turnstiles to enter the rails and at any vending machine in Japan! Also at arcades! It is a total mindblower haha Also in Tokyo, some hostels or hotels have a 3-day subway pass for cheap.
Bullet Trains - You can use the Shinkansen bullet trains if you have the JR Pass. Make an important note: You can only ride the Hikari or Sakura trains with your JR Pass. The Nozomi and Mizuho are reserved seating and cost extra because they have fewer stops. If they catch you using these rail lines, they will ask you to get off the next stop or worse, fine you and report you. To see Mount Fuji from Tokyo to Kyoto/Osaka, sit on the right side of the train (right side of the direction it is going). Use Google Maps and Apple Maps to pinpoint when to look out the window. Food
I usually ate sandwiches and pastries from 7-Eleven in the morning or whenever I needed to pack a lunch. It was a great way to save cash and the food was delicious. High-quality foods and snacks.
As I said earlier, I really spare no expense for good, big meals. I save money at 7-Eleven so I can go all out for lunch and dinner. My go-to meal was usually ramen because it was so damn good. I tried a lot of foods. I’ll try and remember which ones I ate: - Ramen - Okonomiyaki - Unagi - Katsu Curry - Taiyaki - Tempura - Japanese cheesecake - Macha ice cream - Macha waffles - Onigiri - And a lot of different ice creams, confectionary snacks - McDonald’s - please try lol they have interesting combinations Pack List
I used a 40-liter Osprey backpack.
2 cotton t-shirts
2 thermal polyester long-sleeve shirts (Odor resistant)
2 pairs of joggers
1 pair of Nike thermal leggings
8 pairs of Nike Dri-Fit boxers (lost 1)
4 pairs of ankle socks
3 pairs of Darn Tough Merino wool blend socks (Highly recommend, Odor resistant)
1 pair of Adidas Ultraboost shoes
1 Hershel toiletries bag
2 Forge cable combination locks
External battery pack (13000 mAh)
Bose QC-25 noise-canceling headphones
Over the course of the trip, I bought a much-needed 30L Patagonia day backpack
I don’t sweat heavily so I re-wore my shirts, the Merino wool blend socks, and joggers. I did my laundry maybe once or twice at the hostels. It was freezing at the time I went, so I usually layered up when temperatures were lower than usual. Safety
I am a 6'1" (1.85 m) male with a light brown complexion. I felt safe most of my time there. I think it was the safest country I have ever been to. Some Japanese people are known to be racist but I didn’t experience it. So I wouldn’t worry about it. Itinerary/Activities
Feb 9 Day 1 Tokyo Feb 10 Day 2 Tokyo Feb 11 Day 3 Tokyo (Day Trip to Odiaba/Yokohama) Feb 12 Day 4 Osaka Feb 13 Day 5 Osaka (Day Trip to Hime-ji Castle/Kobe) Feb 14 Day 6 Osaka (Day Trip to Nara) Feb 15 Day 7 Kyoto Feb 16 Day 8 Kyoto Feb 17 Day 9 Kyoto Feb 18 Day 10 Tokyo Feb 19 Day 11 Tokyo Feb 20 Day 12 Tokyo (Fly Out)
I will put a star (*) next to anything that I highly recommend! 2 stars are for more emphasis! I will list the accommodation first, then activities, and then bars/restaurants. Tokyo - 3 Nights (Asakusa + Akihabara + Odaiba + Yokohama)
Lodging: Sakura Hostel Asakusa
Activities: *Tokyo National Museum, *Senso-ji Temple, Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise-dori Street, *
Sengaku-ji Temple, Hirose Entertainment Yard arcade, Animate Akihabara, **Mandarake Complex Akihabara, Tsukiji Outer Fish Market, TeamLabs Odaiba, Gundam Yokohama, NISMO Museum Yokohama, Nissan Headquarters Yokohama
Restaurants/Bars: Fuji Ramen Asakusa, Asakusa Unana, *Naruto Taiyaki, *Koyangi Asakusa, *
Ouzakura Ramen Yokohama
Took a Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka Osaka - 3 Nights (Kobe + Nara)
Lodging: Backstage Osaka Hostel
Activities: *Hime-ji Castle, *Kaiyukan Aquarium, Dontonbori, Shinsekai, Round 1 Stadium (arcade), *Nunobiki Waterfall Kobe, *
Todai-ji Temple, *Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha Temple, Gilco Sign
Restaurants/Bars: *Wakakusa Curry Nara, *Nakatanidou Nara, *cafe CROCO Nara, Fanny Mae Bar Osaka, Rikuro’s Namba Main Branch, PC and Retro Bar Space Station, Bible Club Bar Osaka, Untitled karaoke bar next to Rock Bar Cherry Bomb lol, Takoyaki Wanaka Sennichimae Osaka, Sushi Dokoro Kuromonsuehiro Osaka, *Dotombori Ichiaki Osaka, *Hamamoto Coffee Himeji, Tairku Ramen Kobe
Took a Shinkansen bullet train from Osaka to Kyoto Kyoto - 3 Nights (Day Trip to Uji)
Lodging: **Gojo Guesthouse
Activities: Otagi Nembutsu-ji Temple, Adashino Mayumura (closed when I arrived early), Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, *Tenryu-ji Temple, Togetsukyo Bridge, *Nishiki Market, *pocoapoco Record Store, Super Milk Record Store, *
Fushimi Inari Taisha Temple Complex, *Byodo-In Temple Restaurants/Bars: *
comorebi Ramen House, 茶室 tea room Uji, *
Gion Duck Noodles, 自家製麺 うどん 讃式
Took a Shinkansen bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo - Saw a glimpse of Mount Fuji :’) Tokyo - 2 Nights (Shinjuku + Shibuya + Akihabara)
Lodging: **Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Shinjuku Station (Males Only)
Activities: Tower Records Shinjuku, Disk Union Shinjuku, Mandarake Complex Shibuya, Nakano Broadway, Tokyo Dome for Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, *
Shibuya Sky at Night, Tokyu Hands Shop
Restaurants/Bars: Ramen Kaijin, Shakey’s, McDonald’s, Ichiran Nakano Tips, Advice, and Bonus Stuff!
- Goes without saying but please respect the local customs.
- Please learn how to say “Thank You” in Japanese! Just learning and using “Arigato” anywhere you go will make you seem like you care and respect everyone. Nothing was more embarrassing than watching an American say “thank you” to a Japanese person.
- Plan to do the major tourist attractions early in the morning. You will get nice pictures without any tourists and you’ll sometimes get the whole temple complex to yourself. The staff will also be more friendly and willing to chat with you. I usually aim to be at temples around 7:00 when they open.
- Use Google Translate for everything! You can have full conversations with friendly Japanese people when using the conversation feature on the app! Use the camera feature to translate Kanji at restaurants that do not offer an English menu.
- Get a Ubigi data plan, I bought 10GB and it had good service anywhere I went. Get more GB if you plan on staying longer.
- I ate at 7-Eleven most of the time when I was too lazy or tired to go out. The 7-Elevens here in Japan are nothing like the ones in the US. Expect to find high-quality sandwiches, Onigiri, and more Japanese snacks.
- Shop at supermarkets near the end of the day (1 hour before closing) and they usually mark down prepped meals half-off or at a discounted price! If you really on a budget, this can help you to save a ton of money and still get a taste of the local cuisine.
- If you need to buy random stuff like clothes, bags, or toiletries; go shop at any Don Quijote or Tokyu Hands department store. They have other shops too that are great to find cool stuff.
- Use Google Translate to translate English to Kanji (Japanese) and use Kanji to find restaurants that are hidden because they don’t use English words. For example, if you want to find the best ramen place, search “拉麺” and you’ll find hidden gems with 5-star reviews!
- The best souvenir I brought back myself was a Goshuincho. These are “honorable stamp/seal book” used by people visiting shrines or temples. If you want more info, google this! I highly recommend doing this!
If you have any questions, comment below or send a DM. Peace!
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2023.05.30 17:25 themclones My Japan trip itinerary
I'm planning to visit Japan from India for 10 days- October 7-17 2023.
The itinerary I made is from my love towards anime, Japanese culture, food and electronics.
- The sequence of the places are from morning to evening- The locations are picked according to my likes and interests
Constructive criticism and recommendations are welcomed.
Day 1 Tokyo-
- Chuo City- Tsukiji Market- Early morning for fresh street food and knife stores
- Toshima City- Kitkat Chocolatory- AFAIK the only place which has Variety Party pack (multiple flavours in one pack)
- Shibuya- Parco Building- Anime shopping- Jump Shop, Pokemon Center, Nintendo Store & Chaos Kitchen- for Ramen
- Shibuya- Hachiko Statue- if you want to
- Don Quijote- A good place to shop for souvenirs the SHibuya one has the biggest collection
- Shinjuku- Tokyo Govt Metropolitan Building (46 Floor, Observation Deck, Free of charge)
- Shinjuku Toho building-- Godzilla head- you can travel up to see the head up close
- Golden Gai- For affordable food and drinks. Recommendation- Death Match in Hell for drinks
- Omoide Yokocho- Good alternate to Golden Gai
- Hub British Pub- For good music and drinks
Day 2 Tokyo-
- Shibuya- Meijijingu Shrine 6 AM ¥500 YEN entry fee. Get Goshuin stamp and Omikuji fortune (payable extra)
- Shibuya- Anakuma Cafe where a bear paw serves you takeaway coffee
- Yokohama- Nissin Cup Noodle Museum- Tuesday Closed, ¥500 for admission and ¥500 for Custom Noodle Cup creation
- Yokohama- Gundam Factory to see the life sized moving Gundam. More info
- Shibuya- Shibuya Scramble Square- Shibuya Sky and bar. Best enjoyed at night. ¥2000 entry free. buy ticket online
- Shibuya- Baia Club for nightlife
Day 3 Tokyo-
- Bunkyo City- Nezu Shrine 9:30 AM entry time
- Excelsior Cafe (Multiple locations). Famous for Cremia Ice cream
- Odaiba- TeamLab Planets- A must go. Book ticket here
- Odaiba- Small world Miniature museum
- Odaiba- Aqua City- Joy Polis indoor amusement park
- Odaiba- Aqua City- Ramen Kokukigan (multiple ramen place)
- Odaiba- Poop museum if you want o have a different experience
- Odaiba- Fuji TV Building (Observation Deck and Ground Floor has Jump Shop for anime related shopping)
- Odaiba- Diver City- Unicorn Gundam. Timing
- Shinjuku/Shibuya- Monkeycart for go karting across cities in Tokyo (Starts at ¥14000). More info. You'll need International Driving Permit for this.
Day 4 Mt Fuji-
- Take bus till Mishima Station
- Explore Hakone region
- Visit Koyodai Observatory for good view
Day 5 Kyoto-
- Fushimi inari- Shrine opens at 6AM
- Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple
- Arashiyama- Bamboo forest
- Kinkakuli (Golden Temple)
- Ninenzaka street- Machiya Starbucks- Famous for its traditional architechtural design
- Yasaka Pagoda
Day 6 Kyoto-
- Nishiki Market- Opens at 9.30AM, famous for street food
- Kichi Kichi Omurice- Made famous by a flambouyant chef. Book here
- Nanzen-ji Temple (Stone temple)
- Pontocho- Happy Stand bar, good place to have beer and they let you scribble on the table
- Macha House for their tasty Matchiya Tiramisu and Parfait
- Ten, Higashiyama, Kyoto- for great coffee
Day 7 Osaka-
- Uncle Rikoru Cheesecake- for jiggly cheesecake
- Visit more than 40 of Osaka's famous tourist attractions for free, as well as unlimited rides on buses and subways. Purchase an Osaka Amazing Pass to enjoy the following and more places. Osaka castle, Umeda sky building, Hep 5 ferris wheel and more
- Dotonbori- for street food and nightlife
Day 8 Osaka to Nara and Back-
- Todai-ji Temple, Nara Park to see Bowing deer
- Kuromon Market (less crowded, more spacious)
- Shinsekai market in evening
Day 9 Back to Tokyo- Shopping in Akihabara
- Keeping shopping for last days so that one doesn't need to pull heavy luggage while travelling
- Good places to shop Anime stuff- Animate, Mandarake (lower ground floor has good manga collection, Radio Kaikan-Ami Ami, Yellow Submarine )
- Good Places to shop for electronics- Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera
- Good places to shop for souvenirs- Don Quijote, Can do (¥100 Shop), 3 coins+ (¥100 Shop), Watts, Daiso (¥100 Shop)
Day 10 Tokyo-
- Book hotel which is closer to train stations so that you can reach NRT or HND on time.
- Gotokuji Temple- Cat temple
- Asahi Sky room
- Benitsuru pancakes
- Tokyo Sky tree
- Purchase JR Pass only if you are making ling trips. Post October 2023, prices will hike by almost 125%
- JR pass can be used within 3 months from the date of purchase
- Affordable Food can be purchased from Konbini's like 7 Eleven, Lawsons and Family Mart.
- If you are planning to stay in Tokyo and travel a lot, purchasing a Tokyo Subway Ticket makes sense. As you will save a lot of money in train/subway fare
- SUICA/PASMO card can be purchased from the airports
- Rental pocket Wi-fi or SIM cards can be purchased from Airport.
- Important medicine if needed, click here
- Use Japan Travel app along with Google Maps for accurate journeys.
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2023.05.30 10:35 musicboxofsadness My birthday is tomorrow, and I won't be counting calories
This is a pretty big deal for me and something I've been both trying to coax myself into and talk myself out of depending on where I've been at with my disorder as of late. For the first time in 576 days, I won't be counting any calories. I counted my last birthday and looking back my memories of that time feel so tainted by the constant anxiety and not being fully present during the celebrations my friends and family threw for me because calories were always haunting my mind. I've bought a quater slice of chocolate cheesecake from The Cheesecake Shop and I'm planning to eat some of that as a special breakfast tomorrow. I've also been promising myself for months that I'd buy myself a can of Cherry Coke on my birthday, and I hope I can still stick to that plan and not end up skipping out on it. My Dad is taking me out to a place that does Cajun Creole to celebrate after uni, and I'm gonna really try not to think of the food as numbers. Fuck this disorder and how much it's taken from me, fuck that little demon voice that screams at me abusively everytime I don't eat perfectly enough for its liking, fuck MyFitnessPal and all the other calorie counting apps for the mental torment that they have enabled, fuck everyone in my life who has ever had anything unpleasant to say about my body, and most importantly, FUCK the sick society that straight up encouraged me to reach this point. I'm gonna order whatever the fuck I want at that restaurant, order a little bit of everything to get a bit of a flavour range, I might even have a glass of red wine alongside dinner. Hell, maybe I'll even get a DESSERT afterwards. I looked at the menu online and they have a classic American apple pie with ice cream or rich chocolate cake with cherry sauce, and both sound equally tempting.
I know I'll most definitely feel the guilt the day after, and I may even feel the guilt during the dinner itself. I don't care. I'm gonna try push it down and focus on the things that really matter. Maybe I'm being too cocky but I want my 22nd birthday to mean something goddamn it.
The only other thing I have to mention is that my doctor's appointment to discuss treatment plans and where to move forward with my ED is scheduled for the day after. I'm a bit concerned that they're going to want to weigh me and that the number that comes back won't be accurate because of water retention and food waste, and I don't want that to both trigger me and make it seem like I'm overexaggerating my suffering for attention, because even though I'll still be underweight I worry that I won't be underweight enough for them to take me seriously. I'm wondering if it would be possible to be able to politely decline if they ask to weigh me and instead give them my the average of all my weigh-ins for the past 2 weeks. I feel that'd be more accurate and doesn't allow for fluctuations to skew my doctor's perception. Has anyone on here had experience with this and can offer their 2 cents on the situation?
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to fuckeatingdisorders [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 06:30 farmer_giles91 12 Days Honeymoon in Tokyo & Kawaguchiko with tips and observations
I just had my honeymoon (originally scheduled for Jun 2020). My wife and I are in our early thirties. It’s my wife’s first time in japan while it’s my fourth. I’ve benefitted immensely from stalking Tokyo travel reddit and would like to return the favour. I’ll provide some of my tips and observations to the end (skip to the end if the itinerary doesn’t interest you), some of which I think haven’t been mentioned before.
Thank God pretty much everything went to plan, and my wife thoroughly enjoyed the trip. We spent 12 days in Japan, most of it in Tokyo and 2 nights in Kawaguchiko. Many people were surprised to know that we’d be spending most of our trip in Tokyo, but I thought it was just fine because Tokyo had a lot to offer. My wife and I aren’t big on visiting shrines or ticking tourist hotspots off a checklist. We don’t shop much, but we did a lot of it simply because it’s Japan and we bought lots of quality-of-life items (not fashion) for ourselves and others. Given how much my wife really enjoyed the trip, I think others with similar interests could find something helpful too. Pre-trip planning
Planning during the trip
- It was out first leisure trip in years, and my wife's first trip to Japan. I wanted to show her my favourite parts of Japan, and took months trawling through reddit posts and trip reports, watching youtube videos, and just soaking in all the things before deciding on an itinerary that I thought my wife would enjoy. It was almost exclusively planned by me, and I would consult my wife along the way.
- Other than the hotel & flights, I booked the highway express bus to Kawaguchiko one week prior.
- Decided on the airport limousine bus to bring us from the airport to the city a few days prior.
- Studio Ghibli tickets booked one month in advance. There's a good guide available on reddit already. International tickets were quickly sold out, so we used a free VPN to get onto the Japanese site which had more tickets & timings available. Simply Google translate the entire page.
- Booked a cooking class on cookly months prior.
- Did Visit Japan QR two days prior. It takes some time, so do it earlier rather than later.
- Added all places of interests in a Google list, and all food places in another Google list. I tried the custom Google maps at first but didn’t feel the UI was easy to navigate.
- Planned itinerary based on location proximity, and also highlighted parts that were interchangeable in case we wanted to switch it up (which we did).
Day 0 (Wed) 17 May - Arrival at Haneda Airport to hotel in Shinjuku
- The Google maps foods list was always just for consideration: if we had time or were craving something. We didn't hard-code food places into our daily plans. But when food was the primary activity (e.g. visiting Tsukiji market), we'd determine to visit particular food stalls. Otherwise, just needed to do a cursory Google review check on whether a random food place is worth eating it. As a principle, we didn't want to spend time queuing >20m for food.
- I'd plan the next day's itinerary the night before, considering fatigue, interest, and proximity. I would create a brand new Google maps list for the next day, including potential food places.
Arrived in Haneda late, about 11pm. Clearance was quick but baggage took 30mins. As I wouldn't make my stipulated airport limousine timing, I had no choice but to cancel my airport limousine and take the metro to our hotel in Shinjuku. I tried Apple wallet’s Suica at first. It worked seamlessly but I felt that a physical metro card was just faster so I eventually switched over. We reached after midnight, so do let your hotel know in advance if you anticipate arriving at odd hours. Day 1 (Thurs) - Shinjuku exploration
Originally planned to visit Tsukiji on day 1, but given that we arrived late the previous night, agreed with my wife to change the plan and spend the first day doing the Shinjuku itinerary.
Day 2 (Fri) - Kappabashi St., Fabric Town, Akihabara
- Walked to a popular Tsukumen place at 11. Queued for 20mins and it was an interesting experience as there were lines of people standing right behind watching you eat. Wife said it was her best Tsukumen ever!
- Sekaido for art & stationary supplies: My wife does art so it was a haven for her. We spent a few hours there!
- Tokyu Hands Shinjuku: Wanted to look at more stationary/home/fashion stuff but two floors were under renovation.
- Omoide Yokocho: A quick walkthrough of this famous street for salarymen which comes alive at night. Many tourists.
Day 3 (Sat) - Cooking class in Shinjuku, Shibuya
- Kappabashi Dougu Street: looked at kitchen supplies aimed to find a nice nakiri knife! (If you want to buy a knife, do research on what knife you need beforehand).
- Fabric Town: My wife just passed a seamstress exam so she eagerly anticipated visiting fabric town, we spent a few hours in Tomato.
- Akihabara (Animate, Bic Camera, Gyukatsu Don): It was drizzling the entire day so it was not the most comfortable lugging that many bags around a wet Akihabara in the evening. Wife wasn’t interested but I wanted to let her experience this unique culture. Had dinner at a popular gyukatsu don (beef cutlet that you’d have to cook yourself). It was our first time eating gyukatsu. It was so tender and juicy and mmm. But it was a long one hour wait. It was after this episode that we decided we were not going to queue this long for food again.
Day 4 (Sun) - Komazawa Church, Harajuku, Shibuya
- Private cooking class in Shinjuku: Our host was great! We were invited into his cosy house and he taught us how to make Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, and a Japanese salad. I paid careful attention to the menu beforehand as I wanted to learn dishes I could easily recreate back home (i.e. not choose dishes that depended on seasonal Japanese ingredients). My wife absolutely loved the experience of getting to know a local and understanding his life story, Japanese culture, and hearing some of his horror stories of foreign guests. We got more food recs from him to understand where the locals really ate at.
- Shibuya 109: Paid $5 for a drink to have a bird’s eye view of the Shibuya crossing. It was Saturday so the crossing was at its full force. Even if you think this is touristy, it’s amazing to see that many people like little ants crossing a street. There are several nice locations here to take some artsy shots.
- Ishibashi Music Shibuya: absolutely loved the vibe in this music store. Back home, I’d been thinking about getting a particular keyboard but never got a chance to try it. I was able to play this particular one undisturbed and feel like I could go on for hours without any pressure from staff. Bought a few Japan exclusive guitar picks as gifts.
- Shibuya Tokyu Hands: This was amazing. I thought Shinjuku Tokyu Hands was the flagship store. So I only stumbled into this because I urgently needed to pee and someone said Tokyu hands had toilets. We were confused as its name was rebranded to simply "Hands" with a new logo. If you only have time to visit one Tokyu Hands, visit the Shibuya one. Each floor had 2 sub-floors so that’s a ton of floors! Lots of quality-of-life improvements one could get from this store. My wife got a buckwheat pillow.
- Shibuya Loft: After Sekaido and Tokyu Hands, I didn't think there was much daily life products/art/stationary to look at. But Loft was very different. Similar to Tokyu hands but seems more modern and fashionable. Worth visiting together with Tokyu hands! It also had packaged food available! It was late and my wife and I concluded that we didn’t have to to explore all the floors and that we’d return to Shibuya again.
Day 5 (Mon) - Tsukiji Market, Ginza Muji/Uniqlo, Tokyo station
- Church in Komazawa: not a tourist activity, but we linked up with some partners from our home church and attended service at a little church held in a nursery. It was an amazing and encouraging experience to hear the gospel preached in a foreign language.
- Harajuku: Way too crowded. I had anticipated this as it was a Sunday, but thought to just try. Takeshita street was so packed my wife feared there would be a stampede risk (it wasn’t that bad). We did queue 20mins for pretty tasty crepe. After checking out all the recommended streets (e.g. cat street, uru-harajuku), my wife simply felt that she couldn’t stand the Harajuku crowd and the vibes. So we decided to go back to Shibuya again!
- Shibuya JINS: I didn’t mention this but previously in Shinjuku and Shibuya, I had been checking out recommended optical shops in the vicinity for a particular style of glasses. Japanese-made glasses are highly-rated, but I couldn’t find something at the right price-point. At JINS, I found a design I liked. Though not made in Japan, it cost me less than 5000 yen. Took them 1 hour to make it. For some reason I loved the vibes at Shibuya, and I earmarked it to return again later.
Day 6 (Tue) - Tokyo National Museum, Fabric town revisit, Akihabara revisit, Ochanomizu
- Tsukiji market: wanted to arrive before 8 but arrived at 8.30am. Thankfully the crowds weren't that bad yet. Everything we tried was lovely. Potato/corn fishcakes, strawberry mochi, tamago, wagyu beef, uni inarisushi (my first time trying uni - wife loved it but I didn't like it), unagi. But the star was Masa burger (thanks to Paolo from Tokyo), which we waited till 11am to try. By then, the tourist buses had come and the streets were packed. But Masa burger was in a corner and we were their first customers. We tried fried codfish burger + homemade ginger ale. Both were was so well done and the fried cod was so crispy yet fresh and tender. It was also nicely completed with very refreshing salads! It was soo good we had it twice.
- Ginza Uniqlo/Muji: we wanted to take a look at some of Uniqlo’s exclusive items. Apparently they do have exclusive t-shirts for each region (e.g. Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza), which tend to be collaborations with well-known food places in the area. However, they were always white in colour (cheap to produce) and not made-in-Japan-quality. Muji @ Ginza was a disappointment, not a lot more than the usual.
- Tokyo Station Ghibli store & Tenugui hunting: Went to Tokyo station to check out the Ghibli store and to look for a particular traditional tenugui (Japanese towels) store as my wife were hunting these down to give as gifts.
- Shinjuku Ichiran & Mister Donut: We returned to Shinjuku for Ichiran ramen, specifically at 5+pm. No crowds at all. Yummy! We then saw a Mister Donut, and recalled news in our home country that when it had its first opening in my country, people queued 5 hours for it. We thought to try it to see what the fuss was all about. Cash only, but the donuts were wonderfully textured and not too sweet. My wife doesn’t like sweet stuff, but mister donut really hit the sweet spot (no pun intended).
Day 7 (Wed) - Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, Mori Museum, Ginza Wakamatsu, Shinjuku
- Tokyo National Museum: We had a good time learning about Japan’s early history, and discovered that so much that we know of Japan resulted from Chinese/korean influence.
- Fabric town & Akihabara revisit, Ochonomizu: We decided that this was likely the right time to go back for items we missed out on or didn’t have time to see. My wife went to fabric town again while I went to Akihabara’s Yodaibashi camera, which I felt to be better and with more varied things than Bic Camera. I then went to nearby Ochanomizu to look at more music and sport shops. We met up again at Shinjuku for another Gyukatsu Don before heading to mister donuts again.
Day 8 (Thurs) - Kawaguchiko
- Shinjuku Gyoen Garden: lovely large garden grounds. We spent almost an hour just lying under a tree and watching clouds float by. Wife was doing some rough sketches of the garden. We had mister donuts from last night for breakfast.
- Mori Museum: Saw the exhibition of Heatherwick studios, which was inspiring and educational. Paid for the rooftop access to have a quick view of Tokyo from 50-ish floors up.
- Ginza Wakamatsu: Because of one of the Uniqlo-ginza-exclusive t-shirts, my wife was curious about this traditional Japanese dessert. So we gave it a check and realised it’s been around for more than a century. There was a short line (mainly Japanese elderly). The shop interior transported us back decades. It felt surreal eating a dessert that the Japanese ate centuries ago. Unlike modern desserts, this Japanese dessert certainly doesn’t excite and overwhelm one’s taste buds immediately. But there’s an old charm to it.
- Shinjuku Okadaya fabric: Returned to Shinjuku as my wife wanted to check out another of their famous fabric stores. Prices were more expensive than fabric town, but had somewhat different items.
Day 9 (Fri) - Fuji Q Highland, Shimoyoshida Honcho St, Batting Cage Planning for Fuji Q & Morning Jog:
- Bus to Kawaguchiko: Packed light to Kawaguchiko, and forwarded our remaining luggage to our final hotel in Tamachi. The Shinjuku hotel staff were very helpful. I was merely inquiring on how luggage forwarding was done, but the staff picked up the phone, called my Tamachi hotel to confirm the booking, and prepared the documents for me. All I had to do was roll my luggage the next night to them and make payment. Took our 7:45am bus to Kawaguchiko and managed to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji when we were on our way there!
- Cycling In Kawaguchiko: We lugged our bags to our ryokan and headed out again. My wife was quite hesitant about cycling overseas and I was also worried it’d tire her out too much. I debated between cycling or simply taking the sight-seeing bus. Eventually felt that it was worth trying to cycle. We unexpectedly walked by an e-bike place and decided, why not? Neither of us had tried an e-bike before and that could reduce the effort required for my wife. So we did and boy was it fun! It took a while to get used to the e-bike but it really reduced a lot of effort up the hills! I barely perspired at all thanks to the e-assist. Kawaguchiko had pretty narrow roads so it wasn’t the easiest to cycle. But I had plenty of road-cycling experience back at home so I was not daunted. We borrowed helmets from the e-bike place but saw that we were the only tourists that wore them. Yes, I'd recommend wearing helmets when cycling.
- Kubota Itchiku Art Museum: Cycled here knowing that this museum would interest my wife. It had a garden free for entry and it was really quaint, quiet, and charming! The pond had a singular vibrant-coloured Koi swimming in it. Museum entry requires tickets. On this trip, I realised that visiting museums tired me easily. It could be because I spent time reading each description. I told my wife to go ahead as I waited outside. She eventually took 45m in the museum and was so enthralled by it. She even bought a heavy hard-cover book of Itchiku Kubota’s kimono art :/
- Momiji Corridor: was just 50 meters away from the museum. Still beautiful with only green leaves, but I’d imagine it would be majestic in Autumn/Spring.
- Oishi Park: Many colourful flowers! It’s a pity that it had been cloudy the entire day, and Mt Fuji was not visible. That would have made the cycle perfect. Had a peach/plum ice-cream. Park was crowded with tourists.
I didn’t plan to go to Fuji-Q highland before the trip. Always felt it a bit of a waste to visit amusement parks overseas. That’s until I realised that Fuji Q had some of the most exciting (I mean world-record-holding) rollercoasters in the world. Maybe they don't hold the records anymore, but that intrigued me enough, because most amusement parks only had 1-2 coasters. Problem was that wife is terrified, and she said cycling on the streets of Kawaguchiko was already like a coaster ride for her. Still, I'm really thankful she encouraged me to go and said she was happy waiting and taking pictures for me. So I decided I would reach at opening time, and buy time by paying for the fast passes and try their top three coasters. The night before, we felt that we had to make decisions on our itinerary as it was our last day at Kawaguchiko. If Mt Fuji still wasn’t visible the next day, we'd go to Oshino Hakkai, if it was, we could try going to Shimoyoshida to get a nice picture.
Day 10 (Sat) - Kichijoji, Ghibli Museum, Kichijoji Jazz bar
- I went for a morning jog and as the path brought me along the river's perimeter, my jaw dropped when I saw Mount Fuji towering into view. I raced back to tell my wife (about 6am) and we both trekked up to a viewing spot to enjoy the view. This made it more urgent to not spend too much time at Fuji Q as we didn’t know how long Mt. Fuji would be visible for.
- Fuji-Q Highland: Was absolutely amazing. Yes, I blew a lot of cash here buying fast passes for the three available coasters. But they were some of the craziest coasters. Took Eejanaika, Fujiyama and Takabisha. Total time it took probably a little more than 1 hour with the express passes. It was so good, but so fast that I have little memory of it, except that there was a 90 degree climb to the top for Takabisha and I had a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji while climbing to the supposed world record of 79m for Fujiyama (this was 2 days before the news reported that Fujiyama got stuck in the middle of a ride and the people in the carts had to climb down :o). Had more time to take a few other rides, and enjoyed all the Naruto statues around for fun photo-taking. What I really enjoyed about the park was that it was mostly filled with Japanese tourists; in fact, there was a Japanese school having an outing there. It was nice to see excited students running about. If I could spend the day here, I'd take the three coasters multiple times to imprint the sensations in my head. But I'm still thankful I got to try some of the world's most thrilling coasters!
- Shomoyoshida Honcho St: This destination was simply to take the famous street view of Mount Fuji with Japanese shops lined in the foreground. It’s not easy to get to, and there was quite a walk. We noticed there weren’t much people around, and most shops were closed. But when we reached the destination, there were many tourists right at the particular traffic light. So much so there was a grumpy Japanese traffic police person managing the crowd. We saw the worst of tourists that day. People were disobeying traffic laws and just running in the middle of the road just to get a shot. We then chanced upon a hidden udon shop and it felt like we were transported back to the 50’s! It was super old school, people sat on raised platforms, and several elderly customers were watching the tele while eating. There was only one udon option available, with free cabbage top-ups. We learnt that the shop had been around for 73 years. We actually headed back to Fuji-Q Highlands to take a 4D 'plane ride' with Joe Hisashi music in the background. Since my wife actually wanted to ride something, I was happy to agree to her request. Ride was very ordinary but wife actually felt terrified at times lol. Rushed back to the hotel for a private onsen booking.
- Batting Cage: I had never played baseball/softball and my home country doesn’t have a baseball culture. Yet I had seen batting cages in Japanese drama and always wanted to try. Loved it! My technique was probably pretty bad! I did well at first but as I tried faster balls, I tired out and failed to hit any haha. Some teens beside me were knocking out 120km/h balls out of the park! We ended the day eating ramen outdoors with a view of Mount Fuji.
Woke up before sunrise for a run and to attempt to catch a sunrise picture of Mount Fuji. Streets were completely empty. Even ran to the famous Kawaguchiko Lawson for a picture. Headed back for an onsen bathe (note: we never used the room's shower, and always went for an onsen bath throughout our stay in Kawaguchiko as it was just too convenient). Took a 7am bus to return to Shinjuku.
Day 11 (Sun) - Tokyo Sky Tree, Shinjuku, Back to Kichijoji, Shibuya
- Kichijoji: Arrived at Kichijoji at about 10am. Wife really loved the vibes there. We tried the Tsukuba suisan fish cakes which were really tasty, and my wife was intrigued that a line had formed at the adjacent store named Ozasa. Apparently they sell traditional Japanese desserts and locals would go there as early as 5am to get a ticket. So we queued 15m and managed to get three boxes worth of the snacks! Tried the Amane Taiyaki fish-shaped bean paste snacks, another traditional dessert. It was a small lovely old shop.
- Ghibli Museum: Requires a long walk through Inokashira park. Ghibli was fantastic. Many people have been saying recently that it’s over-rated, and that it doesn’t cater to foreign crowds and most things are in Japanese. We similarly struggled with that at first. But we found out that if you asked the staff, they actually had English language exhibition booklets ready for every exhibition! That was a revelation. And we managed to understand almost all the exhibitions by asking the uniformed staff (except the short film, which had minimal dialogue anyway). I mentioned this to one foreign group and they were really grateful for that. But I saw that many other foreigners that probably came earlier were just bored or simply going crazy at the Ghibli shop. My wife bought the museum book (which also has English explanations of each exhibit), and we understood Miyazaki’s vision for the museum - to make it suitable for kids and adults, with no pre-determined route, allowing for play, exploration, to help people be inspired by the artists’ process. Through that, we saw that every thing in the museum was intentionally designed, all of the exhibitions, cafe, shop, and garden. Reading that helped me appreciate and enjoy the museum much more.
- Roaming Kichijoji and Some Time Jazz bar: My wife and I split up to roam kichijoji. I checked out some sports shops and saw that their prices were lower than Ochanomizu. We reconvened for dinner at Sometime Jazz bar. I’m picking up Jazz piano but had never been to a jazz bar. Booked it one day before, but was sad that our table position only allowed us to see some of the drummer and the pianist’s expression. Still, it was a very hip place for jazz cats and we had a wonderful time. We only sat through the first half of the performance that night. Note that there are seating charges, so that + dinner added up to quite a lot. But we rationalised that this was akin to paying for a performance. Checked into our hotel in Tamachi.
It was a crazy day where we simply hit the places we wanted to revisit regardless of proximity. Headed to Tokyo Skytree in the morning to check out another Ghibli store in hopes of getting another Ghibli shirt; reason was because I ended up buying one at the museum I really loved (made in Japan, beautiful colour, perfect fit. I hesitated at first because I couldn't try it). If you’re not going to the Ghibli museum, this is probably the best store available for Ghibli goods. Alas, the museum's items were really quite exclusive. Headed to Shinjuku to try curry udon, then to Kichijoji to try satou beef balls and dangos and to make some purchasing decisions on some sports equipment. Then we ended up at Shibuya (my favourite place!) to the mega Don Quijote and Tokyu Hands to shop for gifts for others. It was a lovely end to our trip! Day 12 (Mon) - Back home
Best trip ever, says my wife. Tips for travellers
- Spread out your itinerary: I originally planned to front-load all the must-see tourist stuff and leave the remaining days for shopping. But in May, Ghibli Museum was closed for two weeks so we had no choice but to schedule it at the end of the trip. That was a better arrangement. It felt that each day was distinctly different, and we could remember the highlight of each day. Also, be specific about where you want to go. Don’t simply put locations, e.g., Visit Harajuku, or visit Shibuya crossing.
- Plan your itinerary in consideration of weekend crowds: Places like Tsujiki market, Ghibli Museum, Fuji-Q Highlands and other stuff are likely going to be very crowded on weekends. If you want to shop in Harajuku or Shibuya, try to avoid weekends. I opted to put the cooking class and ‘less-exciting’ Museums on weekends.
- Carry more cash than you think you need: In my experience, the cash-to-card ratio was about 40:60. Considering that all metro card top-ups require cash, you'll need quite a bit of cash! Sometimes even bigger restaurants are cash only.
- Bring foldable tote bags, and use lockers where necessary: If you’re buying stuff, packing them in tote bags makes it easier to lug around. Bigger shops will charge you for bags. If you just arrived from one area with bags and are going to explore another, use the lockers. Most metro stations likely have lockers and they are really affordable and convenient.
- Travel light by planning to do laundry: I only brought four sets of clothing, and we did laundry every 3-4 days or so. It’s really convenient, about 200 yen per 30m wash, and another 200 yen for a 1h dry. It’s worthwhile to check if your hotel has coin laundry available.
- Buy discriminately: Many people say the kind of things available at places like Don Quijote or Uniqlo are mind-blowing. Fact is, most of them are made in China or elsewhere. About 95% of the items we saw in Daiso were made in China. In fact, many items in Kappabashi street were made in China. You’re more likely to get value for money by buying a made in Japan item. Sometimes the shop will highlight if a product is Japan made. But other times, you have to scrutinise the fine print. Learn to look out for these three words in Kanji: 日本製. This is where the camera function of Google translate is immensely helpful. This was not available or widely publicised when I last visited Japan years back in 2016, so use this tech to your advantage and scrutinise the fine print!
- Plan your toilet trips if possible: If you know you’re headed to low-rise areas like Tsujiki, Fabric town where it’s just shop after shop, it’s going to be hard to find a toilet. Make sure you relieve yourself beforehand at the train station. But if you still need to go, try to find a multi-storey building and chances are, there’ll be toilets available there.
- Avoid queuing for food by timing right: In general, I found that most popular food places that required queuing had queues mainly consisting of foreigners. I wonder if this is because of the reddit/youtube/google maps review effect (not a lot of Japanese review on Google I think). So if you have to queue, there's a good chance you're competing with other foreigners. Simply put, almost all food places open at 11am, so be there at 11, or have early dinner at 5pm and perhaps you may avoid the queuing.
- Scrutinise Google maps to figure out the different train types: for daily travel, there could be local, rapid, and express trains. Local trains stop at every station. Rapid skips a few, and express trains likely only stops at key location. They make a big difference to travel time, and to your comfort. When Google maps recommends a route, scrutinise the detail to ensure what kind of train they are recommending. It gets confusing at the station as the platforms on your left and right may end up at the same location, but one could be a local train and the other an express train.
- Learn just 2 essential phrases: It always felt weird for me to speak Japanese because I felt like a try-hard. But this time I did - just learn to say thank you in Japanese (arigato gozaimasu). The other essential word is - summimasen - excuse me/sorry. Useful for if you need to exit a crowded train, or if you need to get someone’s attention. We survived with just these two phrases. As our cooking teacher told us - it’s better to say something in Japanese than say nothing at all. For the rest, you can use Google translate app’s picture function.
- Other misc tips: as mentioned, bring trash bags. Some shops explicitly tell you not to walk around and eat their food. So the solution is to finish the snack in front of the shop, and say, “summimasen, can you help me to throw this trash?” That helped us avoid carrying trash around a lot. As a traveller, you’re gonna get a lot of carbs (my curry udon meal included a bowl of udon + a bowl of rice...) and fried food. To get more fiber, try the basements of shopping centres and get yourself some fruits. Also, if you exercise regularly like me, you'd be concerned about getting some exercise. I did pre-trip research on pools/gyms/parks to visit. But visited none of them. With what little hotel room space I had, I settled with a daily morning routine of 100 squats and 100 pushups. That and walking an average of 18k steps daily helped. I actually lost some weight somehow.
- Drinking culture in Japan: we saw quite a few drunk people in the streets. Some of them at the parks. I had never really seen drunkards much in my home country (it could be because I don’t stay out late). When we walked by a bar area with our cooking instructor at 10am, he told us some of the people in them had been there overnight. At Inokashira park, we saw a lady dressed in office wear face planted on the ground. Her friends tried to help carry here elsewhere but her entire body was limp and almost lifeless.
- The Japanese sleep late: when we arrived, we were still on the train to our hotel at 11:50pm. But the train was still packed with salarymen in suits and many others. In fact, it seemed the later it was, the more crowded the trains.
- Foreigner influx and how we stick out: there were way more foreigners this time than the last I visited Japan. I commented to my wife that I felt more immersed in Japan on the metro or at places like Tokyu hands as I could hear Japanese being spoken around me. But at tourist spots and some museums, I felt like I could have been in any other country. I tended to feel very uncomfortable when large groups of foreigners were around. I had to tell myself not to be hypocritical as I was a foreigner myself. But I suppose one reason is that there were many inconsiderate foreigners. Speaking loudly, making brash comments, and just not behaving like visitors. We saw a foreign couple locked in a head-to-toe embrace on a picnic mat in a park full of families. And they chose a spot right next to the footpath. Many foreigners also leave unkind Google reviews for places just because it’s not up to their expectations. I get it, we worked for our holiday and are paying customers, and there is often an innate tendency to feel entitled or complain when something isn’t up to our expectations. But I think it helps to remember that we are like visitors in someone’s home. Be self-aware, don’t speak loudly, note the traffic customs, where to stand on the escalators, how to behave etc.
- Japanese men have great hair: the Japanese men’s hairstyle feels frozen in time. I didn’t see the typical Korean-inspired center-parted hairstyles in Asian guys nowadays. And balding men were a small minority somehow. As someone whose hairline is slowly receding, I was envious to see many Japanese men have wavy long hair deep into their 60-70s! My wife commented that the women's hairstyles were more or less the same - dyed, curled etc. But the men were rocking so many styles!
- In-person shopping still matters: as the days went by and as my wife and I began to covet the "made-in-Japan" label, we realised that we hadn't done such shopping in years since online shopping became prevalent. I also recall people commenting that you could get these goods online anyway, so why bother shopping in Japan. Well, physical shopping makes comparison easy, it allows you to ask for recommendations, and enables you to know the items's size, feel, and look on you (if buying fashion items). It also makes discovery of new items possible. I'm not a huge shopper or a foodie, but in Japan, it's worth it to be one simply because the Japanese are thoughtful about their craft and tend to produce quality that's quite unmatched. I suppose it's a blessing in disguise that our honeymoon got delayed 3 years, as we are now well-aware of our post-wedding lifestyles and the items we'd need in the kitchen/around the house.
- Reading culture is strong: in a week when I read reports that leisure reading had declined in my home country, I was pleasantly surprised to see many people reading hard-copy books on the train, many of them even had personalised leather book covers. Kinokuniya was also teeming with life. As a bookworm, this is a great encouragement. And I wish English language books came in such compact sizes too, although I think that's due to the limitations of the language. As Japanese characters can be read vertically, that allows for more play on possible book sizes.
- No one culture is worth idealising: Japan remains my favourite country to visit as a tourist, but I've come to see that Japanese culture - like any other culture - has its flaws. That's simply because people are flawed. Yes, their service culture is impeccable, especially when you're served by middle-aged super helpful and super kind ladies. But on every Japanese trip so far, I've always had at least one unkind or impatient service encounter. On a day-to-day basis, people don't really apologise if they bump into you, and may not give up their seats for the elderly too. My cooking teacher says the Japanese are extremely polite in person but would rant and give very bad reviews anonymously at home. I've come to just enjoy their products, service, and their views of certain ways-of-life as a tourist, but stop short of idealising their culture. There are kind and unkind people in every culture. That said, I would still say on average, the Japanese may be more civic-minded than most. That doesn't mean they are innately kinder or warmer people, but simply that they are more self-aware of how their actions are perceived by others.
I've decided not to mention the specific food places as far as possible because I think there's more than enough recommendations available elsewhere. I also think sometimes that we get a bit fomo if we build up too many must-go spots. Enjoy the process of discovering new places! But feel free to ask me more if you like.
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2023.05.30 04:41 -Specific_Cookie- Village Ice Cream
2023.05.30 04:32 mrspwins MSC Meraviglia - NYC - May 7-14 Review
Hello! My husband and I went on our first-ever cruise on the MSC Meraviglia earlier this month and it just occurred to me that it might be nice to post a review. Since the biggest questions I see people ask about with MSC are "how is the food?" and "why do people hate the food?" I thought I'd do a food review. Obviously I can't compare it with any of the other cruise lines, but we like to eat out and are willing to spend money on a great meal so that's what I am comparing it to. We've eaten at Michelin starred restaurants and typically avoid chains but on a normal day we're making spaghetti with meat sauce or dumping frozen garlic chicken pasta into a pot like the average American.
Before I get started with this, I need to note that I have been dealing with a health issue that makes me constantly somewhat queasy and have little appetite. While I've lost a bunch of weight I do not recommend this method. However, some days I feel better than others, and I had a couple of good days on the trip, enough to try a couple of specialty restaurants, but not enough to try everywhere I wanted to.
So MSC food is *different*. It's like when you go to Europe and the food isn't really unfamiliar, but you don't find the stuff you're used to eating. They don't really have fried food, they didn't seem to have bags of chips or candy. On days I didn't feel well, I ordered a chicken sandwich from room service. It came on thin-sliced white bread with no crusts, with sliced roasted chicken (not deli slices), tomato, and darker greens. The potato chips were hand-sliced potatoes and tasted like potatoes pan-fried with a little salt. There was a small side-salad too, again with darker greens, not iceberg or romaine, dressed with a little vinagrette. I got chocolate-chip cookies for dessert, and they were crisp and the size you'd get making them at home, not the giant size you usually get here. And it was all delicious! Hopefully that helps to clarify what I mean by "different".
My husband ate at Kaito Sushi by himself, and I joined him at Butcher's Cut and Ocean Cay specialty restaurants. He said the sushi was good, not spectacular, but at least as good or better than we get in our Midwestern city (which has a well-respected food scene). He liked it enough to eat there twice. At Butcher's Cut, I had bone marrow with parsley sauce for an appetizer, filet mignon and crispy fries for the entrée, and lava cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The steak was done perfectly medium-rare, per my request. I didn't try the sauces on the steak because it didn't need them. The scoop of ice cream with the lava cake was small but rich and creamy. Best, though, were the fries. OMG the fries were the most amazing thing I have ever tasted! I cannot express how much I loved them. Steak fries, perfectly crisp and lightly salty with almost a caramelized crust on the outside, perfectly soft and almost melty on the inside. If I could only eat those fries for the rest of my life, I would die happy. This was as good a meal as we would get at a higher-end steakhouse, and definitely worth buying the package.
At Ocean Cay, I had the crackling fennel salad (very good, and a large portion), the roasted lobster tail with bourbon vanilla cream and pureed carrots (very surprising and delicious flavors, not sure that I would have roasted lobster again) and crème brulée (large portion, very rich, so much that I couldn't finish it though I sure tried). I tried my husband's crab cakes - they were tender and seasoned fine for me but he thought they were a bit bland. His tuna steak was good, though. The waitstaff there were particularly attentive and helpful. Worth it with the package, though I got the lobster off the regular menu.
We are not drinkers so did not get an alcohol package. I got a glass of wine with supper at both specialty restaurants, but there were surprisingly few choices by the glass. They were both nice wines but I would have liked a few more options. BTW, there are AA meetings ("Friends of Bill W") every evening in the "library" - more a corner with some bookshelves - in case you need them.
We only ate in the main dining room once for supper. I would say it's like eating at a mid-range restaurant, maybe like a local chain. Not the best meal ever, but far from the worst. This is where you're most likely to find food that is closer to a typical American restaurant - they had meatloaf and potatoes as one option the night we went. Again, the staff is fantastic and are happy to give you more cheese or pepper or leave off the sauce, etc.
We ordered continental breakfast every day but one (it was free with our Fantastica experience). Pain au chocolate every morning, with fresh fruit! The only bad part was that I couldn't get a diet coke delivered with it - my husband ran up to the buffet to get some for me every morning. He said his coffee was great, though, plus he got big bottles of Sanpellegrino all day, so he was happy. We tried eggs and bacon one morning, but it wasn't that great. I had pain au chocolate with a little peanut butter and fruit the rest of the time and was quite content.
The buffet was big and very busy whenever I went to it. They had multiple stations for the more popular items, but I don't think everyone realized that. The pizza was, in fact, very good, but again it is not much like American pizza. The slices were large but had thin, flexible crusts that were not greasy and did not have tons of cheese or tomato sauce. There were pepperoni slices when I was there, but also white pizza and different kinds of veggie slices. The one closest to plain cheese was either pepperoni or one that had small slices of zucchini scattered on it that would be easy to pick off if you didn't want them. If you have a picky person in your party that intends to rely on pizza for their meals, please reconsider - it really isn't even like the Neapolitan pizza I've had here. They didn't have peanut butter out anywhere but they had it available. They had a grill section for burgers and hot dogs (I didn't get a close look, so not sure what else might be there but I didn't see chicken nuggets). They had lots of salad fixings and pasta salad and fruit and a rotisserie chicken station. A wide variety of tasty bread and rolls and real butter. Desserts were usually small - two bites - pieces of cake in different flavors, not necessarily plain chocolate or vanilla. ETA: We just put together a charcuterie plate with french bread and prosciutto and salami and fresh mozzarella and pears, etc a couple of times. Highly recommended.
The chocolate place served an absolutely divine hot chocolate with whipped cream, and the gelato was stellar, but they are extra. Budget for them, both in cash and calories.
My husband gained two pounds even though he mostly lounged around and he ate constantly. I'm sure it's possible to gain a lot more but the smaller portion sizes and dearth of heavy sauces and fried food definitely helped. Neither of us felt deprived at all.
So TL;DR: MDR food was fine, specialty restaurants better and worth the package prices, but picky eaters or fried-food lovers may not be happy with food options.
submitted by mrspwins
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2023.05.30 03:04 moistbrisket17 Things to do May 30th-June 4th
Join the Fort Worth discord to connect w/other folks in FW, chat & check out different meet ups: https://discord.com/invite/9KUdWdQVdJ
Thought this post would be the first w/o the PSA, but need to include it again: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Early voting begins May 30th-June 6th for the Sat, June 10 runoff election. The ballot will include District 11 City Council member, District 5 Fort Worth ISD school board member, and District 4 TCC trustee.
[Tuesday May 30th]
Gymnastics - Level 1 3:30 p.m. Southwest Community Center $20-$65 Kids ages 5-18 can learn basic skills in a well-structured class.
Free Yoga Burnett Park 5:30-6:15PM bring your own mat
Silent Book Club 6:30-8PM Hotel Dryce free Silent Book Club
Geeks Who Drink T&P Tavern 7:30PM
Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night University Pub FW 8-10PM
Trig44 presents Trig Tuesday ft. Dalton Torres, Taylor Ochs, Matt Gumley Tulips FW doors 7, show 8PM
[Wednesday May 31st]
Martin House Brewing Company new permanent food truck, The Barley Gastrovan, serves options like wagyu burgers, confit pork wings, & cheese curds Operated by the owners of Rye in McKinney, the food truck’s open Wed-Sun
“Lucas before Luke” 7-10:30 p.m. The Stage West Theatre Free Join the FW Film Club’s monthly screening party
Nature Hike 10-11:30 a.m. Nature Center, 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd. $5 Take in the beauty of the Texas countryside during this morning hike surrounded by blooming flowers.
Lunchtime Music Series Burnett Park 12-1PM Grab your lunch & enjoy the beautiful weather paired w/local artists
We Run Wednesday’s The trailhead at clearfork 6:30-8PM
Fort Worth Film Club May Signature Screening: Lucas before Luke The Stage West Theatre 7-10:30PM
No Pressure w/ Koyo, Illusion, & Fleshwater Tulips No Pressure, Koyo, Illusion, Fleshwater Tulips FW 7PM
Tekken 7 weekly meet 6-11PM, 21+ after 8PM Electric Starship Arcade $10 for the night/ $20 monthly pass Can bring your own wired controllefight stick or they’ll have some for public use If enough people, casual tournament bracket @ 9
BettySoo and Pat Byrne The Post at River East 8PM An intimate acoustic performance $20+
[Thursday Jun 1st]
Family Camp 6-9 p.m. $45-$200 Bring kids ages 8+ to learn how to make a glass vase, suncatcher, and daisy.
Happy HouCrazy Crowler Sale 4-9PM Salsa Dance Lessons 7-8PM Neutral Ground Brewing Company
Erick Willis LIVE Rusty Nickel IceHouse 6PM $10+
Summer Menu Tasting Taste Community Restaurant 6-8PM
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Concerts in the Garden Festival Gates open 6:30 p.m. start 8:30 p.m. Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Greater Tuna Downtown Cowtown at the Isis June 1-3 8PM 2-man comedy show
Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night HopFusion Ale Works 8-10PM
Crimson Wine Tasting at Neighbor’s House Grocery complimentary wine tasting for sipping & shopping. Guests get to try 4 different wines from Napa’s Crimson Wine Group Drop by anytime 4:30-6:30 pm
[Friday Jun 2nd]
First Fri-YAY All day Fort Worth Bike Sharing Stations Free Explore the city on wheels with a free bike rental courtesy of Fort Worth Bike Sharing and the Blue Zones Project — promo code “92020APP.”
Kimbell Happy Hour Kimbell Art Museum’s weekend happy hour 5-7 pm beverages & bites w/live music by the Allegro Guitar Society.
National Donut Day TX Whiskey 6 p.m. a donut + cocktail pairing, burgers, live music, on-site engraving, & a donut hole bar $35
FWSO’s Concerts in the Gardenl Gates open 6:30 p.m. start 8:30 p.m. Radio Highway Performs the Music of the Eagles *The orchestra does not perform on this concert.
Locals Only Hip Hop Haltom Theater 7-11PM
Live Music on the Plaza, Sundance Square 7-10PM every Fri-Sun
Dial Up - A 90's Party Experience Dial Up Tulips FW 8PM $15
Rhett Miller Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall 8PM $28+
D.L. Hughley Arlington Improv Jun 2-4 times vary
That Texas Meskin Tour - THAT MEXICAN OT Ridglea Theater $40+
Special E.D w\ Dude-Man & MORE Doors 7:00pm, Start 8:00pm Lola's Fort Worth
[Saturday Jun 3rd]
Drag with Me! The Show: Brunch Located upstairs at The Red Goose Saloon the ONLY interactive Drag Show of its kind: 2 audience members will be selected each show to be transformed into a Drag Queen themselves, lip sync battle, & win their very own Drag with Me! Crown! Ticket price inc Meal & Show! 18+
FWSO’s Concerts in the Gardenl Gates open 6:30 p.m. start 8:30 p.m. Chicago Nights featuring Jason Scheff
Zumba Sundance Square Plaza 9:45am - 11:00am
Goat Yoga Bedford! Generations Park at Boyd Ranch 10-11AM $20+
Catalina Canned Wine Mixer Truck Yard Alliance 12PM themed after the movie Step Brothers. Wear your best tuxedo t-shirt for a wine tasting, photo ops, food trucks, & a Step Brothers cover band. Admission is free, but a $15 wine tasting is offered 7-9 pm, ft. six wine samples & a souvenir glass filled w/frose. Costume contests held 5 pm & 10 pm.
Random Direction artist pop up 1-6PM Love Sammy's chef popup 2-7PM Neutral Ground Brewing Company
CyberPunk w/ APT 75 + P!xel Ampersand 5:15-9PM
Miracle Nights Allmo$t Music US Tour Fort Worth Ridglea Theater 6PM
Ill Nino with Through Fire, Dropout Kings and more The Rail Club Live 6:30PM
WOODEYE (One Night Only) w/ Brave Little Howl + Vacation Dad Lola's 8PM $15
FANCY: Queens of Country Party - 21+ Tulips FW 10PM $15+
WOODEYE (One Night Only) w / Brave Little Howl + Vacation Dad Doors 7:00pm, Start 8:00pm Lola's Fort Worth
[Sunday June 4th]
Panther Island Beer Yoga Panther Island Brewing 10:30AM $20
Sunday Supper Club: Courtney Patton and Bri Bagwell The Post at River East 6PM $25+
The Damn Quails Fort Brewery & Pizza 7PM $10
FW Symphony Orchestra’s Concerts in the Gardenl Gates open 6:30 p.m. start 8:30 p.m. Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles**The orchestra does not perform on this concert
Summer Afternoon Tea at Indulge Enjoy 3 courses inc chicken tarragon sandwiches, roasted vegetable phyllo cups, street corn crostinis, scones w/clotted cream & jam, cream puffs, madeleines, & shortbread cookies. The tea service is $65 & begins at 2 pm.
Riders of the Purple Sage Hip Pocket Theatre until June 11 Fridays-Sundays 9PM $10+ Featuring action, adventure, & romance in the wide open spaces, it’s a classic Western of the silent film era
“Lives of the Gods” until Sept. 3 Kimbell Art Museum $14+ Explore the divinity of Mayan art at this exhibition of nearly 100 rarely seen masterpieces & discoveries
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2023.05.29 11:07 Responsible-Ad-2758 [EU to anywhere][Sell/Swap][Perfume] BPAL, NAVA, Alkemia, Arcana, Nui Cobalt, Possets, PULP, etc.
Tracked shipping estimates are (depending on weight): EU $6, UK $7.50, US/Canada/Australia $12. 50% off tracked shipping over $60 (so $6 or less), free shipping over $120! Untracked (at your own risk) is $2 cheaper.
I'll ship within a week, usually within 2 days. Let me know if you want photos of fill levels. I have much more samples than listed, let me know if you're looking for anything specific. $12 minimum please. I'll hold for 24 hours. Open to swaps, I'll gladly take a look at your destash list!
Fill levels and notes in my destash list
- I'm always adding more Alkemia:
Alpha Musk: Arcana Wildcraft:
- Moroccan Tea - 50% - $7
- Ambre Caramélisé - $3
- In a Railway Carriage - $3
- Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure - $4
- Old Books and Fresh Flowers - $3
- Snow Witch: Agaricum - FS - $20
- Chillum - $5
- Witches Befriend Unicorns - $5
- Yurt - $5
- Apples Crave Cake - FS - $15
- Pumpkins Crave Trees - FS - $15
- Blue Amber - $3
- Honey Craves Fairy Rings - $4
- Pumpkins Crave Samhain Fires - $3
- Aziraphale - FS - $24
- Elegy No. 1 S. 196 - 70% - $19
- Gaueko - FS - $15
- Hello, Salzburg! - FS - $18
- High School Orientation Day Glamour - FS - $23
- In Silvery Accents, Whispering Low - FS - $26
- Keichu Nyoetsu Warai Dogu - TOL - $18
- Matthew 25:34-36 - almost half - $10
- October 32 - almost shoulder - $15
- Poor Monkey 2016 - FS - swap
- Prosperous Flowers of the Elegant Twelve Seasons - FS - $20
- Schlafende Baigneuse - FS - $20
- Temple: Daoist - FS - $20
- The Fairy Lovers - almost half - $13
- Theodosius 2015 - sniffie - FWP
- Time's Infliction of Eternity - FS - $26
- Tis Thy Voice from the Kingdom of Souls - FS - $24
- Vampire Princess - FS - $40
- When the Frost is on the Punkin - near TOL - $17
- Winter: My Secret - FS - $20
- Witches Taking Off for the Sabbath - 2ml - $9
- Abalone and Peach Blossoms - $5
- All While Dreaming, Shakes Her Head - $3
- Apple II - $3
- Bedroom - $5
- Blackcurrant Sufganiyot - $15
- Buck Moon 2021 - $3
- Chasing Fireflies - $3
- Conception by the South Wind - $5
- Coral Snake - $4
- Dead Leaves, Blood Orange and Dried Apricot - $3
- Dead Leaves and Molasses Pumpkin Cookies - $3
- Dragon's Bone - $5
- Étienne de Boray Oak - $3
- Geisha in Orange Kimono Admiring a Samurai - $2.50
- Ghost Milk - sniffie FWP
- Hierophantes - $3
- Hot Speckled Gloom - $5
- Humanite - $3
- I Hear America Singing - $3
- Iced Apple Dumplings Plopped into a Sweet Potato Pie - $5
- Kimi Ga Dai Wa - $2.50
- L'essence du Chagrin - $3
- La Danse de la Sorcière - $4
- Margaret Magdalena Muffinhead - $3
- Men Will Fall to her Darkness - $3
- Monastery in the Winter Night - $5
- Mystery Powder Fizzy Candy - $3
- Orangeblossom and Driftwood - $3
- Pandemic Vanitas - $4
- Peasants Fleeing - $4
- PGAI17 - $2.50
- Philosopher Reading - $5
- Pine Needles, Frankincense, and Beeswax Absolute - $5
- Pink Silk Peony - $5
- Rosewater and Myrrh - $3
- Saw-Scaled Viper - $4
- Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards - $3
- Skoginterior - $5
- Snooty Bat - $5
- Still Life with Dooting Skull - $3
- Sugar Cookie - $3
- Sugar Skull - $3
- Tea Leaves, Vanilla Bean, and Incense Smoke - $5
- The Butterfly - $3
- The Houses at the Back - Frosty Morning - $3
- The Magician's Hands - $2.50
- The Morning Star Among the Living - $5
- The Shepherd's Dream - $5
- Three Pairs of Shoes - $4
- Toy-Strewn Attic - $3
- White Oakmoss and Lavender - $3
- Why and What Art Thou Dreaming Here - $3
- Wild Rose and Dandelion Sap - $3
- Wrestlers - $2.50
- Zima v Lese - $5
Plus many GC imps on my destash list! D&F:
- Blueberry Lemon Cooler - $3
- Merry Christmas, Time Has No Meaning - $3
- Myrrh Scented Roses - $3
- Cross - FS - $20
- Lavender Amber - FS - $18
- Lavender Musk - FS - $30
- Oman - FS - $27
- OP Baba - FS - $23
- OP Sekhmet - almost shoulder - $20
- Orchid Garnet - 2.5ml - $10
- Pomegranate Aurora - 4ml - $15
- Purple Musk - FS - $32
- Vampire Wine: Lilac Blood Wine - FS - $20
- Banana's Flambe Ice Cream - $3
- Blood Rose - $3
- Butterfly Green - $3
- Ederra - $3
- Encens Bois - $6
- Encens Vanille - $6
- Eternal Necropolis - $5
- Gabriel - $8
- Glamour - $4
- Go Halainn - $4
- Koaliday - $3
- Konafa - $8
- Licorne à la Fontaine - $3
- London - $8
- Mina - $9
- Mr. Collins - $4
- Mr. Dandridge - $4
- My Heart Is Filled With Twisted Light - $3
- Neon Skull - $3
- Nibiru - $6
- Nocturnals Lustre of Moonlight - $3.50
- Orchid Crystal - $4
- Pfeffersneuse Chai - $3
- Poison Potion - $3
- Pumpkin #27 - $3
- Purple Claw Potion - $3
- Pyramid Honey Cake - $3
- Ra - $8
- Raguel - $8
- Renewal Elixir - $3
- Santalum - $5
- Satyr - $3
- Sommeil du Printemps - $3.50
- Svadhishthana (orange) Sacral Chakra - $5
- Velociraptor - $3
- Wisteria Musk - $7
- Xavier - $6
- The Conjure Man's Cabin - 1/3 - $8
- Aphrodite Chrysea - $3.50
- Balefire - $3.50
- Bee Kind To Yourself - $3.50
- Blarney - $3.50
- Bryophilia - $3.50
- Canoodling in a Crypt - $3.50
- Chionophilia - $3.50
- Cloak of Evergreens - $3
- Deus Ex Machina - $3.50
- Entombed - $3.50
- Ghost Cat - $3.50
- Guiding Star - $3
- Hobgoblin - $3.50
- House of the Frontier - $3.50
- Incense & Spidersilk - $3.50
- Kazzate - $3.50
- Li Hing Margarita - $3
- Melophilia - $3.50
- New Moon - $3
- Ominous Orchard - $3.50
- Peace - $3.50
- Scaredy Cat - $3.50
- Skeletal Birch - $3.50
- Sleep Elixir - $3
- Spectral Spidersilk - $3.50
- Sylvan Spidersilk - $3.50
- Tall Tales - $3
- Waipio Valley - $3.50
- Waltz of the Flowers - $3
- Mysterious Fossils - $5
- Rose Without Thorn - $3
- Adamus - $3
- Joan of Arc - $3
- Lavender Corset - $3
- Pink Corset - $3
- Ponder - $3
- The Kiss - $3
- And to All a Good Night - $3
- House on Widows Hill - $3
- Mark of the Moon - $3
- Moon Dust - $3
- New Snow Moon - $3
- Sonnet X - $3
- Dryad - $2
- The Princess Di of Reagan High - $2
- You Look Like a Doily - $4
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2023.05.29 01:07 BIGBOOSTING Sandals Royal Curacao Review
Just got back from Sandals Royal Curacao! This is a long review. I took over this subreddit to make it as informational as possible about the resorts, so here we go! Please feel free to ask any questions if I missed something. Room:
We stayed May 22-27 in a Sunchi Swim-up Club Level room (HSUP). We were in Sunchi Building 8, which is the last building on one side of the resort. We stayed in 1253, which is the second-to-last room on the first floor. All that to say, Curacao is a long resort and you'll definitely get your steps in! But we were also right next to the dive shop, which was fantastic for us.
The swim-up room was amazing and highly recommended! We ended up using it more than the double infinity pool. They did a perfect job at keeping the in-room bar stocked with alcohol and juices/water (around 10am). We didn't have to call for anything once. So we would hang out in the pool (which connects across buildings 7 & 8, and there is a common area) and make our own drinks. Many times we were the only ones in the pool out of all the rooms. The swim-up pool is completely private, there is no entry except through a room, and there are a lot of gorgeous plants and flowers blocking it from the other side. Hummingbirds would be 1 foot away and were fun to watch. Floats are provided for each room. Use the ice bucket to keep bottles cool outside.
Ordering food from Room Service was consistently 40-45 minutes. At night it was quiet, as the music from the main area doesn't really reach building 8. No one would be in the swim-up pool after 10, it would start to get a little chilly with the wind. It gets very, very dark towards the Sunchi end of the resort. I recommend using the building side to reach your room, not the garden path.
Two subjective complaints:
(1) Housekeeping was very late. Some days they didn't come until 4-5pm, and the evening turn-down and towel replenishment didn't happen until 10pm. Between the swim-up and shower and wet floors, you NEED towels. We supplemented with the brown pool towels, grabbing them any time we went by the other pools. The late service could be because we were in the last building, but I'm not sure. The housekeepers did do a very thorough job and the rooms were clean and new.
(2) When we first checked-in, the back door's lock looked like it was forcibly broken and mangled. We had them replace it, but it still didn't lock. There is a second set of heavy wooden doors (blinds really) that do close and lock, so we weren't overly concerned. I don't think someone tried to break in, based on how the pool would make it hard to get to. But I can see someone getting locked out accidentally and having no other option but to break the door, since you can't get out of the pool area otherwise. Restaurants/Service
The service across all restaurants and bars was outstanding. We never experienced a wait or long times to get our ordedrinks. The waitstaff were happy to talk to you and literally everyone says hello as you pass by. Concierge was perfect and accommodating as well. Restaurants had most of everything, and they would tell you what they're out of as you sat down.
Pietra - Our go-to breakfast buffet. At lunch they change the buffet to different food by country (Asian, Mexican, American, etc.). The food was all great at lunch. I ate too many fajitas.
Vincent - Reservation required. I recommend the Escargots and Foie Gras. They were out of the Cured Beef Bresaola.
Toteki, La Palma, Kishi - Food trucks. These were great for a snack. Get the cuttlefish and shrimp from La Palma, and the General Tso's Steak Bao Buns from Kishi.
Strand - For dinner, absolutely get the Snapper. It was my favorite meal of the trip. My husband liked the Surf & Turf at Strand better than Butch's. Strand also has a lunch menu with American-type items on it. The shrimp Caesar wrap was a nice light lunch.
Butch's - Reservation required. We went twice for dinner, once for breakfast. For dinner appetizers, try the Waldorf Caesar, Crispy Goat Cheese Salad, and Grilled Black Pepper Bacon (definitely that one). The Aged Prime Rib and Chargrilled Lamb Chops were great. We also had the Surf & Turf and Steak Diane which were very good too. Absolutely get the Willy Wonka Brulee - it was my favorite dessert on the resort.
Gatsu Gatsu - We went twice. The sushi here is so good. It's 4 pieces per roll. I recommend the Champagne Lobster and Caribbean Dynamite rolls. Shrimp tempura and crispy chicken karaage were our favorite appetizers. They were out of edamame and tonkotsu ramen.
Kanaal - Nice to pop into for a cappuccino or sweets.
Zuka and Aolo's - did not try.
Note: We wanted to order champagne (Veuve Clicquot) but the resort (or at least Butch's, Kanaal, and Pietra) was out of that and several of their Proseccos. We did end up getting 2 bottles of Prosecco though. Scuba Diving
Scuba was great and the team was a lot of fun. You have to do a check-out dive if you haven't logged a dive recently (they do check your log book if you want to avoid the check-out dive). We did ours around 11am and were able to go on an afternoon dive the same day (we were waitlisted, but some didn't show up). You sign up for dives starting at 8am 2 days out, so if you want to dive Friday, show up on Wednesday morning at 8am to sign up. They do keep waitlists for each dive. The dive shop has lockers! Great for if your room is at the other end of the resort and you don't want to walk with your stuff every morning.
The dive schedule seems highly variable - while we were there, they did 2-tank morning dives Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and a 1-tank afternoon dive those days. Tuesday and Thursday they do a 1-tank morning dive, and 1-tank afternoon dive. I'm not sure about Saturday-Sunday since we weren't there. But, they said just a month ago they were only able to do 1-tank morning dives each day and no afternoon dives, as the water would get too choppy. And yes, the water was very choppy and it was windy all day. I saw a red flag or two at the resort while we were there. So you may want to check out the weather in Curacao the month you want to book.
They mentioned all the dive sites were 5-10 minutes away, but we were able to go Double Reef Thursday, the farthest site at 30 minutes. There were several turtles, a reef shark, squid, and a great variety of fish and coral. It was the best dive I've been in on years. However, they said it had been a month and a half since they'd been able to reach the site because of the choppiness. A couple on the boat had been able to go with an offsite-company and enter via shore, so that's an option as well. City
You can take a cab from the resort to Willemstad for $49 each way. Our cab was private and air conditioned. The drivers were very nice. They dropped us off next to the CURACAO sign, and pickup was there too (they gave you a card and you call them 30 minutes before you're ready to leave). Right by the Curacao sign, there's a tiny alley with a white and blue cow - go down that alley for some great gelato. There's also an ice cream place near the sign that claims to give you an orgasm in less than a minute, but I didn't partake. There are lots of cafes and souvenir shops around Willemstad. There's a fresh fish and fruit market. You'll be near where the cruise ships dock. Check out the bridge and forts. Pop into a casino for some much-needed A/C. As an aside, a local man very persistently forced his help on us (where are you going, follow me down this alley, etc...) and wouldn't leave us alone and stop following us even after we said we knew where we were going, and ultimately asked for beer money, but the city seemed safe. There were several police officers around the streets we passed. Just be aware of your surroundings (as in any city). Miscellaneous
The bus ride from/to the airport took us 40-45 minutes. It's a very nice and comfortable bus. You'll see a Sandals area at the end after you pick up your luggage. The airport was very nice and modern and quick to get through (we were first off the plane though). On departure, there seemed to be only one main hot food place after security, but they have a VIP/Priority Pass lounge that had some good light food on the buffet and a hot menu to order from as well. Check if your credit card has that as a perk to avoid the long line at the other restaurant. It opens at 1pm.
Spa/Gym - The spa was nice and clean. You have your own private bathroom/changing area in the table room versus a general locker room. The gym had a steady flow of people, but wasn't ever too crowded.
Curacao is HOT in May. Seriously. It was 86 every day, with a heat index around 96-97. Now, I was born and raised in South Georgia where it gets 95 with a 110 index in the summer, but this heat hit different. The UV index on my weather app said 11. Wear sunscreen and stay in the water. And get used to being wet - it'll either be pool water, ocean, or sweat depending on your location at the resort. It was mostly sunny every day, with a few clouds in the afternoon. No rain. At night it cools off well enough. Thankfully there's always a nice breeze going on. But stay hydrated and pay attention to your skin. Walking around the city with the heat was a bit much, we started at 9 and made it to 12 before calling it quits.
I loved it! I highly recommend a Swim-up room, but maybe ask for a central building instead of on the edge of the resort (walking that far in the extreme heat with no shade gets old fast). Great service, wonderful staff. I would pick another month to go back though. May was just too hot for me!
- People get out to the main pool EARLY - there were people laying out at 7:30am. We were able to find a pair of chairs around 10 the one time we went to the infinity pool, but not around 2 the second time we thought about going.
- This is subjective, but the beach was underwhelming. It's rocky on the side facing the ocean, and you aren't allowed to go down to the water. The side facing the inlet/strand just doesn't have that beach & open water forever feel. We didn't go down there except for the check-out dive (no dive pool)
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2023.05.28 10:24 Danger_Rock Everybody Loves Comics!
“Is there a lot of rat in the Chocorat Ice Cream?”
Freddy doesn’t look up from his chopping. “About average rat.”
How much rat is average?
You can order a Chocorat Ice Cream,
if you’re in the mood for some ice cold confections with average rat. There might be worse options.
Or you can look at the menu again,
if you're one of those odd people who hates ice cream. Or head back to the corner.
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2023.05.27 20:31 FarmWhich4275 Everyone Loves Uncle Bernie
The tension hung heavy in the air as it was finally realized that peace talks were collapsing and war was inevitable. Tyraxis, Hive Prince of Corsica faction had gathered here for a modicum of peace hoping to avoid the losses of his men. He sat in his chair opposite his former brethren with his two Praetorians flanking him, plasma spears at ready. His human diplomat, Johnny was desperately trying to ease tensions. Arborean, the Crown Prince of Hive Arrakkis sat proud at his seat, his purple skin glistening in the light of the room.
Arborean was so certain of his victory he had the barefaced audacity to carry his human concubine with him. His human diplomat Martinez was unamused by tensions as he cast passing glances to the Praetorians flanking his employer. Arborean made sure to prominently display his most prized possession with the woman sitting on his lap.
"Surely we can find a way around this? There has to be a way to sue for peace. At least for this battle. Perhaps we can exclude some ships from the roster and at least make it an even fight?" Johnny could sense he was getting nowhere, but he still had a few angles.
"Sure... we can sue for peace. AFTER you hand over the system! Those Gehennan spice mines are ours and you damn well know it!" Martinez slammed his hand on the table.
"You and I both know that if that fleet goes to battle it would be an absolute slaughter! If your master was half the warrior he so claims he is, he would agree to roster the battle to make it fair!" Johnny blasted his opponent.
Arborean whispered into his diplomats ear. The shame tactic and personal attack worked. "A point made in anger but still a point. We will agree to the standard galactic Ship Points Allocation system. However... No holds barred. Last man standing rules only." Martinez said with a certain sinister grin.
Tyraxis hung his head in shame. The Queen would have his head after this one way or another for this, but at least it would give his men a fighting chance. He gave a nod to Johnny and sent him a note on his wearable data manager. "Fine. If we win, you will not come back to this system. The point was proven, tactics ruled the day. If we win, you leave and don't come back!"
Arborean thought for a moment then nodded his head. "Deal." Martinez said, extending a hand out.
Martinez and Johnny shook hands and started drawing up paperwork as Arborean began to greedily fondle his prized possession, much to the blistering rage of Tyraxis burning eyes. Suddenly the door flung itself open, a human marine barged through the door.
"UNCLE BERNIE'S HERE!!!!" He yelled with unimaginable excitement, and charged back out again.
"Uncle Bernie!?" All three of the humans said this at once, and all three, suddenly got up from where they stood and bolted to the exit with such speed it made everyone's heads spin.
A few moments of awkward and stunned silence followed this occurrence. "What the hell is an uncle Bernie?" Arborean asked, as if expecting an answer.
"Well... Uncle is a human term, it means the brother of my father. Bernie is I believe someone's name." On of Tyraxis' Praetorians said.
The two princes regarded each other for a moment longer before one of Tyraxis' Praetorians broke the silence as his communicator beeped. "My Prince... every human ship in the system has disengaged!"
"WHAT!?" Both Princes yelled out in unison.
"Warp signature detected! There is a battlecruiser class vessel entering the system!" Arboreans Praetorian warned.
"What treachery are you planning Thraxis?!" Arborean lashed out.
"What are you talking about? This is YOUR doing! How much did you bribe my ambassador hm?"
Just then, an interruption. Every communications unit on the station suddenly came to life. It was some kind of... song? Silly, whimsical. Catchy.
"Are ya lost in space?
Need pie in your face?
Come on down to Bernies!
Do ya need a drink?
Well thats a sinch!
Come on down to Bernie's!
Bernies Bar and Grill is now open, active servicemen get a beer on the house!"
All of the Hivers on station and on their ships stood with absolute bewilderment as to what the flaming hell was going on. In the meantime, a very familiar looking ship warped into the system, drowned out by a cheering crowd as all of the twelve human made ships in the system swarmed it and docked as soon as it was safe.
Thraxis stood from his seat and made his way to the exit. "And just where do you think you are going?" Arborean said with annoyance.
Thraxis moved down the concourse ramp to his shuttle and waited as his Praetorian Guard, and hastily at their heels, Arborean and his guards, caught up and sat down. Thraxis called the robotic driver to go to the Human ship 'Uncle Bernies'. The driver, a machine, let out a happy beep for some reason and with careless abandon charged his way to the ship.
Uncle Bernies was a battlecruiser class. The six Hivers took careful note of its exterior. It was several times larger than most Human warships, and ten times more heavily armed. Mounted in various spots were storage tanks that looked like distilleries and one could clearly see the ship had its own hydroponics and protien synthesis bays built into the hull. The human support ships had been completely emptied by the time the shuttle made it to one of the airlocks.
The robot driver let out a mechanical "Woohoo!" as it hopped out of its car and hastily wheeled its way into the ships maintenance bays. Even the machines were entranced by this ship. The six hivers made their way through the clearly marked hallways into a massive restaurant. Immediately they were surrounded by humans of all classes and types who immediately reacted to their presence with a loud "AHOY MATEY!" of approval before returning to the meals they were enjoying.
The restaurant had over two hundred humans in it, but could comfortably seat a thousand more. The place was a massive circular arnoretum, surrounded on every corner by restaurants, eateries and even a quaint little gift shop.
"What in the Queens tits is this place?" One of Thraxis' Preatorians thought aloud.
"I can answer that my man! Welcome to my humble restaurant and bar!" A human suddenly spoke up from behind the group.
The six turned around to the sight of a grey bearded human with a large midsection, a toolbelt with cooking utensiils in a strange uniform with a funny hat. "Who are you?"
"Im uncle Bernie! Shut yer holes and drink a beer! Activer servicemen get one free beer!" He excitedly said, then jammed a purple aluminium can into everyones hands.
At this point Thraxis was what humans would call 'done.' so, he took a taste of the beverage. "My goodness!" His expression instantly changed to one of happiness as he drank more.
Arborean timidly took a sip of his own can of beer. "By the Mother!" He exclaimed, then chugged the rest of it down with a fist raised high.
Bernie regarded his new customers with a hearty smile and lead them all to a table before serving them a pizza. Within a few moments of them sitting down, Arboreans concubine Jessica returned to her masters lap with flushed cheeks and a silly giggle. The two ambassadors arrived as well, carrying a family size two cheese pizza with mushroom, onion and smoked ham. Jessiica showed them how to eat a pizza by grabbing a slice, then squealing in delight as she tasted the slice. Martinez and Johnny likewise did the same, sighing in happiness as though it was their first christmas.
The hivers tentatively took their own slice of the delicious smelling confection and took a small, cautious bite. Thraxis gave it one taste and threw decorum to the wind and began to aggressively scarf the slice down. The four Praetorians likewise did the same, followed by Arborean who had Jessica feed it to him.
Thraxis sat back in his seat, carefully considering a small fact he suddenly noticed. This place was rather... empty. Uncle Bernie approached and smiled his usual moustachio'ed smile. "Can I get ya anything else boys? Theres plenty for all!"
Thraxis suddenly perked up. "Yes... Olokarn." He looked at his all too happy Preatorian guard.
"Yes My -burp- Prince?" He said.
"Hand me your communicator, patch me into the fleet."
Olokarn did as commanded. "This is Thraxis, Prince of Hive Khathorn. All ships are to immediately disengage operations and report to Uncle Bernie's for lunch." He stopped, after Johnny handed him a piece of napkin with something scrawled on it. "And also... anyone who does not leave a tip, will be shot."
Arborean followed suit, commanding his own substantial naval forces and military to stand down, placing several thousand take-out orders for the planet and station at Martinez' instructions.
Within minutes, the ship was flooded with a thousand Hivers from both factions. To Arborean and Thraxis' astonished shock, Uncle Bernie was there to meet them. All of them. Thraxis noted this and asked Martinez what the hell was going on.
"What, My Lord?" Martinez asked, confused.
"Th-theres Uncle Bernie. And there! And there too! Am I seeing a strange genetic anomaly or is this man a clone?" He said bewildered.
"Well... yah. Thats uncle Bernie there. And there. And there too. And thats... thats Frank actually. Hes Uncle Bernie too but he likes to be called Frank." Martinez said, gesturing to the chefs and cooks of all the various restaurants.
"Care to elaborate? Please?" Arborean said as he held a sleeping Jessica in his arms.
"Uncle Bernie, My Prince, is a human that owned and operated a restaurant at an old shipbuilding yard before Sol was lost called Jupiter Drive Yards. After about twenty years on the job with that very rerstaurant, the company gave him one of our old Refurbished Munificent Class Ornament ships. Thats what this ship is. Its based on an old Trade federation Munificent class in old Star Wars movies." Martinez explained, sitting down with a new can of beer.
"MMmyes, a lot of other restaurants and food franchises exist, but none come close to Bernie's. He turned that ship into a roving restaurant and was there when Sol collapsed. Hes been everywhere. Just roams the stars, feeding and hydrating anyone he comes across at an absolutely rock bottom price. He even caters to machine consciousness because the tech cults have a presence on this ship. All in all, Bernie is just a nice guy, who just wants to own a restaurant. And damn does he do a good job!" Johnny responded in kind as he helped himself to a hotdog.
"And in order to ensure I can provide the service that is needed, nay, demanded of my establishment, I opted to do some cloning and mind copying, just to keep it all running how it needs to be! We share somewhat of a gestalt consciousness too so... it makes things a lot easier. Now, perhaps I can interest anyone in our dessert menu?" Uncle Bernie said, firing up the ice cream makers and waffle irons.
In the end, with all that had happened, neither side was ready or willing to engage in warfare. Both sides were either too full, too sleepy, or too drunk to do any fighting. When the hangovers and bellyaches passed, there was a strange feeling of contentedness between the two factions. Both of them essentially forgot why they were fighting and were too stuffed, happy or filled up to bother asking.
Martinez and Johnny drew up plans for the conflict anyway but they were never used. In all, Arborean and Thraxis agreed to a fifty-fifty split o resources in the star system ultimately benefitting everyone. Especially Bernie. One of the conditions of peace talks, was that Bernie always come round at least once every three months for a good booze up.
Because after all, everyone loves Uncle Bernie!
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to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.27 18:48 Crohwned Hopefully a fair Scarlet Lady review from a return VV cruiser.
Warning- this ended up being much longer than I thought when I started. Wall of text incoming!
Up front, to get my "bias" out there, VV has been my wife and I's go-to cruise line since our first Scarlet Lady sailing back when cruise ships were first starting to sail again after COVID. We absolutely love the VV vibe, service, food, and all there is to do on the ship. For other folks who have sailed VV in the past (and specifically on the Scarlet Lady) I thought I'd post a review with some changes we noticed on the sailing we just got off of. I really hope that this review is helpful, and shares both the good and not-so-good things we experienced in a fair way.
The Overall TL;DR- We had a a great time, but a lot of the shine when it comes to service seems to have faded. Dining in the restaurants was spectacular as always, but dining in the Galley was not a great experience for us on this sailing. We *really* enjoyed the new (to us) Its a Ship Show, but the Guilty Pleasures show didn't strike much of a chord. We had a lot of fun with the other "smaller" entertainment, and really enjoyed our time in ports. Due to our frustrations with the service on board we're taking a bit of a wait and see approach for our next cruise- I'm hopeful that this was a one-off bump in the road, but if it turns out this is the direction VV is going, it isn't a good thing.
The Review Service Issues Lets get the negative part of the review out of the way. And keep in mind, while I'm not going to be real positive here, we did still have a great time on board, and didn't let this get in the way of our fun. That said, it did have an impact on our cruise, and I felt it was worth mentioning, because it is my wife and I's biggest concern about VV going forward. I will also admit that you notice a bad service experience much more than when it goes smoothly, so there is some bias here.
Our cruise started off with a big thud. The incoming sailing had been a chartered sailing, and apparently a bunch of people refused to get off the ship until very, very late in the morning, which delayed boarding significantly for some (early boarding groups were delayed more than the later groups). While this was out of VVs control, the port employees reaction was not. I understand that it was a stressful situation for all involved, but there seemed to be a lack of care from the employees who were managing the lines. They seemed annoyed, and irritated, and were short with waiting passengers, and for a long time were slim on letting us know what was going on. (YMMV, as the waiting lines are all out front, and some lines may have had better service than others- I'm only presenting what I observed around me).
Once we got on board, and went to our room, it was clear that the room cleaning had been rushed. While our room had been all made up, there were dirty glasses in our bathroom, and some "gross" stuff that had been wiped on the inside of the bathroom door but not cleaned (I wont go into any more details, but just say, it wasn't a pleasant thing to brush up against). That said our room attendant was FANTASTIC as we were able to get her attention, and she was mortified that something so bad was missed, and immediately got someone to come to our room to clean the bathroom. She then asked when our dinner reservation was and let us know that while we were at dinner, she'd have the entire room re-cleaned/made up to ensure that nothing else was missed.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the only room issue we had. We've had rooms directly under the Galley in the past, and never had any issues with noise. Our room (and our neighbors room) on this sailing, was directly under a seating area with heavy wooden chairs/stools directly on the tile floor. TIL that the sound of heavy chairs scraping on tile gets amplified greatly with the ship's steel structure. Every minute or two, there would be an extremely loud "GGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" sound. It took me a while to figure out it was the chairs in the Galley, and at one point I joked that someone must be playing shuffle board by sliding deck loungers across the floor above us. Luckily we had brought good ear plugs, or we would have suffered the fate of our neighbors who were unable to sleep much the entire cruise. We spoke to sailor services about this, and the person we talked to essentially just shrugged it off saying there was nothing they could do (in a very "I dont really care about your issue" way), and even said that it couldn't be that loud (narrator- it WAS that loud). Our neighbors said they went down and talked to sailor services about it every single day (as they were unable to sleep), and on the final day in Bimini, were told they could be moved to another room. So a lesson learned- while other rooms under The Galley are just fine, there are some areas you *dont* want to be. Avoid rooms directly under The Galley. VV- if you read these threads at all, an easy fix- put some Teflon sliders and/or rubber feet under the legs of the heavy wooden chairs/stools that are on tile in the Galley (like you have on the wire/metal chairs). It'll not only greatly reduce the noise, but will also keep the tiles from getting scratched up. The level of noise could have been a complete trip ruiner for us, had we not brought ear-plugs, and had we been treated like our neighbor cabin was.
Speaking of The Galley, this was the biggest negative change for us. Many of the servers in the Galley seemed either inexperienced, or like they just didn't want to serve anyone. One example was when we sat down at 11:55pm for lunch one day. The server told us most of the places didn't open until noon, then walked away. At 12:20, we finally got up and moved to a new spot, as a server had still not returned to take our order. A few days in, we found that the servers who worked the outdoor area at the aft of the ship were much more attentive and provided great service. That said, our food almost always came out to us cold, and the quality seemed like it had taken a nose-dive from our last sailing. The 2 big exceptions- the Sushi bento boxes were WONDERFUL, and the French Toast I had one morning was great. Unfortunately, we went from loving the Galley for a bite to eat on our prior cruises, to avoiding it on this sailing. (We ate a lot of steak bites and polenta at the dock, so all was not lost :D ).
One last thing we noticed- empty glasses/plates/etc.. all over the ship. In one case near the pool, a couple left took their towels with them, leaving a couple of plates and empty drink glasses. A new couple came and moved the dirty dishes next to the loungers, got the attention of a server and asked if it could be cleaned up. Over an hour later when my wife and I were leaving, the dirty dishes were still there. My wife and I like to walk laps around the ship a lot, and on both the top decks and promenade level, we noticed a lot of dirty dishes just sitting out on tables, the ground etc.
Overall, the issues that came up for us on the ship related to service were a huge contrast from our prior sailings. Sailor Services didn't seem very interested in resolving (or even empathizing with) the two issues we brought up to them, and the service in the galley (and general level of service on the ship) definitely feels like it has gone downhill. And holy cow this turned out long! Lets move on to some greener pastures!
As we have had in the past, the restaurant dining was fantastic.
On the first night, as we always do, we went to Test Kitchen. For those who have done Test Kitchen before, on this sailing it was the Corn/Beet/Salmon/Lamb/Strawberry menu. While a lot of people complain about this menu, I quite like it, including the Asparagus Sorbet. Our server was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, and chatted with us quite a bit, answering all of our questions about how things were prepared, what they'd pair well with, etc. I had the test-kitchen Old Fashioned cocktail and loved it. I can totally see how Test Kitchen is not for some people, but my wife and I always enjoy the experience, and this sailing was as good as its always been for us.
On the second evening, we went to my favorite restaurant onboard, Pink Agave. Being my favorite, I am always worried that I'll be let down, but never am, and this sailing was no exception. We ended up eating with a passenger we met in line and had fantastic conversations for the entire meal. We ordered all of the small plates for the table, and enjoyed sampling everything. For our mains, I ordered the Ribeye (which IMO is the best steak on the ship), and my wife had the smoked pork. There was also sea bass on the menu, so we ordered one to split- surf and turf FTW! All the food was great! There were no misses at all, and our server, like at the test kitchen was amazing!
Night Three was The Wake. For appetizers, my wife ordered the Wedge Salad which she said was great, and I decided to try something new- the Bone Marrow, and it was very nice! My wife then had the Fillet, and I took the recommendation from our server and went with the Hanger Steak for the first time. After sharing, we both agreed- the Fillet was good, but the Hanger Steak was FANTASTIC. We had Spinach, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Asparagus for our sides, which all came out delicious. For dessert, we both had our favorite on the ship- the Lemon Cheesecake, and it was wonderful as always. Our server at the Wake was our favorite this trip. That evening we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, and our server was so kind, and genuinely happy for us. She brought even more joy to a very happy evening for us.
Night four was Gunbae. Food-wise this is probably our least favorite restaurant on the ship, but it is always a very fun and energetic evening! We both always enjoy the appetizers, but feel like the main courses end up being a bit over-cooked and don't have a whole lot of flavor. I think with Gunbae your experience can be heavily dependent on who you are seated with, and our table-mates were a ton of fun, so it all turned out great! We both really enjoyed the green-tea ice cream at the end (I don't recall ever having this before? Is it new?), and FINALLY, I won the counting drinking game (I'm normally the first or second person out). :D
For our final night, we did Extra Virgin. We've never done EV on the final night, and for us, I think I'd schedule it earlier in our itinerary, as by this point on a cruise were we ate entirely too much, a really heavy/rich dinner was probably the last thing we needed. The food was fantastic as always- for appetizers, my wife had the Crispy Artichokes which she enjoyed, and I had the meatballs where were delicious (though i was only able to eat about half of them). For our main, I had the Gnocchi, and my wife had the spaghetti bolognese). She passed on dessert, but I had the Whisky gelato, and it was very yummy!
The only non-shining experience in the restaurants was breakfast/brunch at Razzle Dazzle. It wasn't as good as it had been in the past (cold eggs and missing parts of our order) and it felt quite rushed. I don't have a whole lot to say about it other than that.
On the other hand, we had breakfast at The Wake on our disembarkation morning, and it was AMAZING. We split the banana french toast, and each had Steak and Eggs, and it was the best breakfast we had all week. It was a great way to end the cruise.
On past cruises, I always felt a little let down by The Wake. It was always good, and I enjoyed it, but it didn't really live up to the hype in my mind. On this sailing, The Wake absolutely lived up to the hype for us, both for dinner and breakfast. Pink Agave is still my favorite, but I was much more impressed by The Wake on this sailing than in the past.
I'll touch on the shows that were new to us on this sailing. The first show we went to was the Guilty Pleasures show, which ended up being a fun sing-along, interrupted by IMO, not very entertaining or funny comedy. Singing along to the songs was a blast, and they most definitely were the guilty pleasure songs that my wife and I belt out when we're driving alone in the car. Unfortunately between the songs was what I can only describe as a "plot-based standup comedy routine that told the same tired joke again, and again, and again." If it had just been a music/sing-along, I would have loved it. But hey, everyone is entertained by different things, so I hope there were those who enjoyed the show!
On Gunbae night, we also hit up the late showing of It's a Ship Show. It had a small-portion dinner (we've had first dinner.. why not have second dinner?!?) and the food was fine. The show itself is a variety show, with a very fun Emcee, a good band, a fantastic singer, and several very entertaining acts. We both really enjoyed It's a Ship Show, and would highly recommend it if its on your sailing. I wont say much more as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but it was a lot of fun.
On this sailing my wife and I were going for a more relaxed vibe, and as we'd seen them all before, didn't go to any of the mainstay shows (Duel Reality, UNTITLED, Ships in the night, etc..).
For the smaller activities, we did the VH1/Shake-weight workout which was a blast as always (though they seemed to tone down the innuendo a bit from prior sailings), and had a ton of fun getting our butts kicked in Dodgeball.
One thing we noticed on this sailing that disappointed us a bit- in the past the "Happenings" cast always seemed to be out and about, and a presence on the ship. I love magic/slight of hand, my wife loves art, and we're both foodies and love games, so we'd get to know (specifically) The Charmer, The Artist, The Foodie, and The Gamer, both during their events, and just chatting with them around the ship. This time around, outside of their specific events, we didn't see them out and about at all. Additionally, it felt like their events weren't really planned for a more full ship like we were on. For example, the Charmer's Lounge was done at the Sip Lounge. He worked his way from one end of the room to the other, table by table, spending about 15-20 minutes at each table. We were lucky that we picked the third table from where he started, and so we "only" had to wait an hour. Half way through the event, it looked like they started kicking people at the other end of the Sip Lounge out, to do afternoon Tea. I think he might have gotten through all of 15-20 people, when there were well over 50 who showed up to the event. Also, this was the only time I ever even saw The Charmer out and about the entire cruise.
Having those interactions was something we really missed from prior sailings, and perhaps we were just always in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they definitely didn't seem to have the presence they had onboard in the past.
We did one excursion on this trip- in Cozumel we did the Snorkeling/Beach day/Cooking/Tequila Tasting, where they take you to a private beach/resort, have you snorkel off the beach, show you how to make a really tasty Guac, and let you taste some Tequila, all the while having a buffet for lunch and open bar. We had a very nice time on shore, and our guide was lots of fun. It wasn't terribly expensive as far as excursions go (about $80pp if I recall), and I'm very glad we did it. The only thing about it that gave me some pause- the description of the excursion specifically states that your price includes gratuities, yet the guide was specifically asking for tips. I didn't tip him as much as I normally would if gratuities weren't included, but it was just a little bit awkward.
We didn't do an excursion in Bimini, but were on the first tram to the beach, and spent the entire morning between swimming in the ocean and in the great pool they have at the resort. As always, Bimini was one of the highlights of the cruise, and was an absolute blast.
First off, if you read this far, WOW. I didn't realize this was going to be such a novel, but here we are! :D Overall my wife and I both had a great time on our cruise. The food was fantastic, most of the shows/events we went to were a blast, and as always on a VV cruise, we met and got to know a bunch of wonderful people, while relaxing and spending some quality time with each other. Our excursion in Cozumel and time in Bimini were wonderful.
That said, this is the first time we haven't put down a deposit on a future cruise. One of the places where we always saw so much value in sailing with VV, and a huge reason we were willing to pay the VV premium was the level of service on the ship, and on this sailing there were a lot of misses in that regard, and for the first time, we didn't feel like we got quite as much value out of what we paid for the cruise (because of what is important to us, YMMV). That's not to say we wont be sailing with VV again- its just that we want to watch how things trend, and how things settle out as the other ships come online and the various ship crews get used to more full ships. As I said ages ago in the beginning of my review- we really hope that this was just a one-off not-as-spectacular sailing for us.
I've seen others talk about how the Scarlet Lady has become the defacto "Training" ship, and from our experience this sailing, I wouldn't doubt it. While that is a reason, it is not an excuse. If that is what's going on I hope it is a temporary situation, as I don't think the quality of a sailor's cruise should be affected by what ship happens to be leaving port the dates they can sail. So here is to hoping that VV gets this all figured out soon, and the experience on ALL of their ships gets back to what it has been in the past.
Finally, I'll just say, if you find yourself on a cruise, and something the cruise line does is letting you down, don't let it ruin your trip. While we were disappointed in several aspects of the service, my wife and I were still able to fully enjoy our cruise, and specifically our time with each other. It was a special anniversary trip for us, and it would have been an absolute shame if we let the issues we had with VV's service ruin it. Instead we filed our issues away, continued to enjoy all the ship had to offer, and will use our experience to shape who/where we do our next cruise with, rather than letting it run the experience in the moment.
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2023.05.27 07:04 next3days Memorial Day Weekend Event Rundown....
For anyone in town who's looking for events to enjoy this Memorial Day Weekend and/or ceremonies to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, here's 28 local events you can enjoy and participate in. 1. 2023 Wilderness Road Bike Ride Bisset Park, Radford Saturday, May 27, 2023, 7:00 AM - TBD Youth Up To Age of 17: $40.00, Adults (age 18+): $50.00, Family of 3-5: $120.00
FCA Endurance SW Virginia presents the 32nd Annual Wilderness Road Ride titled "A Gran Fondo" starting and ending at Bisset Park's Shelter #2. The Wilderness Road Ride is a scenic and historical adventure through Southwest Virginia’s beautiful New River Valley, the ride follows part of Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road. This is a recreational ride for all cycling levels to enjoy, with something for everyone, five routes to choose from ranging from a 26 mile relaxed journey for novices, to a century challenge for the fittest cyclist. This is a great ride for cyclists of all ages and athletic abilities. The start will be a rolling start open from 7:00-8:00 AM. Riders may also gather in front of Bisset Park Shelter #2 at the starting line at a designated time for an optional group start time. Those who sign up for the century and 80 miler must leave no later than 7:30 AM. All pre-registered riders are guaranteed a technical t-shirt and other goodies. ANSI or Snell Certified helmets are required. Riders under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and riders under 8 years old must have permission from the event director. All proceeds will benefit FCA Endurance ministries and missions projects in Southwest Virginia. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707984 2. Used Book Sale Park United Methodist Church, Christiansburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Price depends on book(s) purchased.
Stop by for some summer reading. Hard cover, paperbacks and children's books will be available for purchase with something for everyone. Proceeds will support Park United Methodist Church's children's missions. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708111 3. Pearisburg Junior Woman's Club Junior Jamboree and Donut Dash Pearisburg Community & Recreation Center, Pearisburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Donut Dash: Children: $5.00, Adults: $15.00, Family Pack (2 Adults & Up to 4 Children): $40.00 Junior Jamboree Vendor & Craft Show Admission: Free
The Pearisburg Junior Woman’s Club will be hosting the Junior Jamboree starting with the Donut Dash Day at 9:00 AM and the Junior Jamboree Vendor & Craft Show from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Participants in the Donut Dash will stroll along the park trail with tasty donut stops along the way. They will make their way to the pavilion where gourmet donuts and coffee await along with a prize for each participant. At 11:00 AM, artists, crafters and food trucks will be set up on the lawn and in the gym of the community center. All proceeds from the event will help fund future community service projects through Pearisburg Junior Woman’s Club. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=697325 4. Music at the Villa with Stella Trudel Villa Appalaccia Winery, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Relax and enjoy some great music along with great wine and food. Stella Trudel is a singer and songwriter who lives in Floyd, Virginia and winters in Canyon Lake, Texas. She is also the lead singer of the band Cocobolo. She loves to sing from the heart and consciously directs her attention and focus to music to see what will unfold. Kids and well-behaved dogs welcome. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707445 5. Jeff Levy in Concert Chateau Morrisette, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Jeff Levy is a real country, old rock, bluegrass, Americana folk and gospel musician from Radford, VA. Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase out of the Hut on Saturday and Sunday. Bringing seating is suggested as the tables fill up fast. Note: Music will cancel if there is inclement weather. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707485 6. 2023 Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad Open House Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, Blacksburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
The Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad presents their 2023 Open House on Saturday, May 27, 2023. See what we do, be social, have fun and enjoy some free food! Get a tour of Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad's ambulances and see some of the special equipment they carry during their technical rescue demonstrations while enjoying free food, cotton candy and face painting. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708076 7. Dark Blue Paradox and Dan Fox in Concert Buffalo Mountain Brewery, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 1:00 - 4:00 PM (Dark Blue Paradox) and 6:00 - 9:00 PM (Dan Fox) Admission: Free
Buffalo Mountain Brewery presents Dark Blue Paradox in concert from 1:00-4:00 PM and Dan Fox performing from 6:00-9:00 PM. Dark Blue Paradox is an acoustic-electric duo hailing from Richmond, VA. Dan Fox is a singer and songwriter performing primarily acoustic guitar music including many favorites and originals from a wide variety of genres including folk, rock, country and Americana. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707884 8. Shawsville Ruritans 75th Anniversary Celebration and Ice Cream Social Meadowbrook Center, Shawsville Saturday, May 27, 2023, 2:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
The Shawsville Ruritan Club and Meadowbrook Museum presents the Shawsville Ruritan Club's 75th Anniversary Celebration and Ice Cream Social. In addition to free ice cream (complete with toppings), the celebration will feature a "Shawsville Ruritans Through the Years" exhibit curated by the Meadowbrook Museum and music from 1948 and the surrounding period. The Shawsville Ruritan Club was chartered in 1948, making it one of the oldest clubs in the nation. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708095 9. 2023 Youth Film Festival Lyric Theatre, Blacksburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 2:00 - 3:30 PM Admission: Free
Support young filmmakers, both international and local, as The Lyric showcases their films to the New River Valley. Admission is free with a free complimentary popcorn. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708100 10. Ash Devine in Concert Moon Hollow Brewing, Blacksburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 4:00 - 6:30 PM Admission: Free
Award winning songwriter, folk rock musician, caring clown Ash Devine is based the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville North Carolina. Ash Devine’s folk Fusion style gleans sounds of Appalachian traditional folk, Americana-pop and classic rock. Ash Devine is an accomplished instrumentalist on finger-style and flat pick style guitar and innovative original ukulele picking style. Her breathy and rich vocals are captivating and cathartic, reminiscent of Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young. Ash’s stage presence is dynamic, charismatic and steeped in audience connection and participation. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708091 11. The Salt Pond Pub Summer Kick-Off Party Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke Saturday, May 27, 2023, 5:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Celebrate Summer at Mountain Lake Lodge and kick-off Memorial Day Weekend. Enjoy good food, live music from The Untrained Professionals, giveaways, and more. The Untrained Professionals are an acoustic music duo featuring Clinton Scott and Chris Huddle. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=697573 12. High Country Grass in Concert Wildwood Farms General Store, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 5:00 - 7:00 PM Admission: Free
High Country Grass is a bluegrass band that was established in 2014 by founder Charles McMillian. The kitchen will be open until 6:00 PM with a limited menu. The concert will be held inside. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708114 13. Blue Phoenix in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Blue Phoenix is a vibrant band based in Blacksburg, VA that brings together a powerhouse of talented musicians that take you on a musical journey that transcends genres and ignites your soul. From blues to classic rock, americana to jazz, and folk to country, Blue Phoenix masterfully blends these styles to create a unique sound that will keep you grooving all night long. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707873 14. Old Time Dance with The Crooked Road Ramblers Floyd Country Store, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: $12.00
The Crooked Road Ramblers are an old-time band from Southwest Virginia, steeped in the traditional music of the Blue Ridge. They have played at the Carter Family Fold, the Wayne Henderson Festival, HoustonFest, The Floyd Country Store & many other venues across Virginia and North Carolina. They have won 1st place in the old-time band category at the Ashe County, Alleghany County, Laurel Bloomery, Fries & Union Grove Fiddlers Convention in addition to a 2nd place finish at the Galax Fiddlers convention. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708079 15. Ian Vest in Concert The Mason Jar at Claytor Lake, Dublin Saturday, May 27, 2023, 7:30 - 10:30 PM Admission: Free
Ian Vest is a Southwestern Virginia native, born and raised in rural Floyd County. Music has been his passion from a very young age: singing, learning to play several instruments, and performing in churches. Ian has a throwback style of country music that is reminiscent of those like George Strait and Randy Travis. His original songs are heavily influenced by the experiences in his life, faith in God, family, and pride of country. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707515 16. Timewave Zero in Concert Dogtown Roadhouse, Floyd Saturday, May 27, 2023, 8:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: $8.00
This group of all-star musicians hail from the New River Valley, up in the spine of the Appalachians where rock and blues meet to jam, where the mountains meet the sky and raise your spirits high, where psychedelic funk punch is just what’s for breakfast. Timewave Zero music drives crowds straight into the heart of the singularity connect today. With a band name inspired by Terrence Mckenna's i-Ching mathematics and eschatological explorations, TW0 is always at the ready for a live dance music adventure. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=697283 17. A Tribute To The Band's "The Last Waltz" Square 5 Public House, Blacksburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 8:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: Free
Enjoy an evening of music from The Band and their historic 1976 farewell concert "The Last Waltz" featuring an all-star lineup of New River Valley musicians. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708092 18. Lost In Taste Cosmic Comedy Club Lost In Taste, Christiansburg Saturday, May 27, 2023, 9:30 - 11:30 PM Admission: $5.00
Enjoy a night of comedy hosted by Aayush Patodiya with featured comedians Andrew Gustafon, Katherine Rogue and Jordan B. and introducing comedians Garrett Brumfield and Taylor Reschka. For ages 18 and up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708093 19. Sunday Mountain Music Series Kickoff with Ash Devine Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke Sunday, May 28, 2023, 4:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free
Stop by Salt Pond Pub every Sunday starting Memorial Day weekend through Sunday, August 20th for live music and delicious food and drinks. Perfect for relaxing with the whole family (furry friends too). Award winning songwriter, folk rock musician, caring clown Ash Devine is based the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville North Carolina. Ash Devine’s folk Fusion style gleans sounds of Appalachian traditional folk, Americana-pop and classic rock. Ash Devine is an accomplished instrumentalist on finger-style and flat pick style guitar and innovative original ukulele picking style. Her breathy and rich vocals are captivating and cathartic, reminiscent of Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young. Ash’s stage presence is dynamic, charismatic and steeped in audience connection and participation. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=697572 20. The Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs in Concert Palisades Restaurant, Eggleston Sunday, May 28, 2023, 5:00 - 7:30 PM Admission: Free
The Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs are a folk(ish)/Americana group hailing from Winston-Salem, NC. Their influences range from Neil Young to Regina Spektor. Blending their unique musical sensibilities, the band seeks to craft an entertaining experience that has a little something for everyone. Reservations are not required, but recommended for dining area seating. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707368 21. 2023 The Murph Workout Challenge Blacksburg Fit Body Bootcamp, Blacksburg Monday, May 29, 2023, 8:00 - 9:30 AM Admission: Free
Blacksburg Fit Body Boot Camp is an official host location of The Murph. The Murph is a challenging workout that builds confidence, camaraderie, and honor to all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. Participants can participate in one of three options, the Full Murph, the Full Murph (scaled), or the Half Murph. This workout is about challenging yourself. You can modify the movements however you need to and break apart the total reps in several sets. There is no set time to finish, just the goal to finish. The Full Murph usually takes about one hour and the Half Murph about 30 minutes. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Murph foundation. This year, Blacksburg Fit Body Bootcamp will also be hosting a Kids Lil' Murh at 10:00 AM, open to all ages. The Lil Murph will be a 0.1 mile run, 10 push ups, 20 mountain climbers, 40 body weight squats, followed by another 0.1 mile run. Parents are welcome to participate alongside their child. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708113 22. 2023 Jimmyfest Memorial Day Cruise-In & Cook Out Jones Car Company, Shawsville Monday, May 29, 2023, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Admission: Free
Jones Car Company presents the 2nd Annual Jimmyfest Memorial Day Cruise-In and Cook Out to celebrate the life of James "Jimmy" Buriak. Classic cruisers, muscle cars, off road SUVs, lifted trucks, euro specialties, and everything in between is welcome. No entry fees or awards, this is just for fun. Jones Car Company will be providing free hot dogs, chips and non-alcoholic beverages. Donations will be gladly accepted for the AWS1 James Buriak Foundation. AWS1 James "Jimmy" Philip Buriak, USN, died 31 August 2021 in a Naval helicopter crash on the coast of San Diego, where he served as a naval aircrewman rescue swimmer (AWS) with HSC-8. The legacy of a hero is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. This foundation was created in the wake of Jimmy’s death as a way to honor him and his memory, but also keep his purpose alive – to help others. Jimmy was a Salem High School graduate. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708096 23. 2023 Memorial Day Ceremony Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery, Dublin Monday, May 29, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Admission: Free
The public is invited and encouraged to attend this tribute to honor and remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation. The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be former Chief Master Sergeant of the US Air Force, Rodney McKinley (US Air Force, Retired). Members of the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery Volunteers will place American flags on all graves prior to the ceremony. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708098 24. 2023 Radford Memorial Day Program Bisset Park, Radford Monday, May 29, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Admission: Free
Radford VFW Post 776, American Legion Post 30, the NRV Marine Corps League, the Dublin-Radford Ruritan Club, the Radford News Journal, WRAD AM1460, and WPSK 107.1 presents the 2023 Radford Memorial Day Program. The ceremony includes a speech by the Radford Army Ammunition Plant Commander, a 21-gun salute and music. The Master of Ceremonies is Dana Jackson, the past Commander of American Legion Post 30. The program will serve to remember the veterans of all wars who have sacrificed to serve our country and also the families who have lost loved ones because of those sacrifices. The ceremony will be broadcast on radio across the WRAD Talk Network (101.7 103.5 and 1460 am) as well as streaming live. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708103 25. 2023 Memorial Day Cruise In and Car Show Narrows Fire Department, Narrows Monday, May 29, 2023, 12:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: Free
The Narrows Memorial Day Committee presents the 2023 Memorial Day Cruise In and Car Show in the fire department parking lot. Vehicles of all types are welcome and will be on display. There will be a 50/50 raffle and food will be available for purchase. All vehicles are welcome and there is no entry fee for your vehicle to be included. Dash Plagues will be provided by Newberry Ford. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708101 26. Dedication Ceremony for the Field of Honor Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Gallery, Radford Monday, May 29, 2023, 2:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: Free
The Radford Noon Rotary Club presents the Dedication Ceremony for the Field of Honor on the grounds of Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Gallery. The event will be the official start of the Field of Honor display of American flags sponsored to honor heroes of all types from service members to individuals who have made an impact on someone’s life. The ceremony will include remarks from multiple members of the community. Master of Ceremonies Dr. Richard Harshberger will lead the program, which will include Mayor David Horton, Radford VFW Commander Gary Harris, Grace Episcopal Church Rector William Yagel, and Virginia Delegate Jason Ballard. A 21-gun salute will be provided by the Dublin American Legion Post 58. The Field of Honor is comprised of flags sponsored by members of the community, and the proceeds will benefit 14 organizations. Those groups include the Radford University Scholarships for Students from Radford High School, Vittles for Vets, the Women’s Resource Center, Beans and Rice and the Glencoe Mansion. The Field of Honor display will be on display from Memorial Day through the 4th of July. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708097 27. Music Road Co Trio in Concert Rock House Marina, Pulaski Monday, May 29, 2023, 2:00 - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
Rock House Marina concludes their four-day 2023 Claytor Lake Music Festival featuring the Music Road Co. trio. Music Road Company is a Floyd, VA based band that plays a great music featuring elements of rock, funk, reggae and fun for your dancing and listening pleasure designed to groove and move you. Food will be available for purchase. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=707887 28. 2023 Narrows Memorial Day Parade Downtown Narrows, Narrows Monday, May 29, 2023, 3:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
The annual Memorial Day Parade will feature floats, bands, cars, trucks, bikes, military & emergency vehicles and more. Following the parade, there will be a Hero's Dinners for all local doctors, nurses, EMTs, fire, rescue, veterans and active duty personnel / members and their families. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=708102
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
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2023.05.27 03:14 RIPRylie Has anyone ever heard of the Cold Stone Witch?
It was a late summer night, definitely past curfew, and I was hiding behind a large, twisted tree next to a dilapidated tombstone. I was about fifteen at the time and still relatively afraid of the dark, but I didn’t want to show any fear around my older brothers’ friends. You see, we were all playing ‘Ghost in the Graveyard’. If you’ve never played this creepy children’s game, it’s basically like hide and go seek tag in the dark. Usually contestants play it in their own backyard, but we decided to spice it up a bit and head to an actual graveyard. This graveyard was about two miles from our house and posed as the perfect venue for our activities.
This time, Kent was the “ghost”. His job was to find us and stop us from reaching the base, which in this case, was the gate to the graveyard. Kent was a character. He was the MVP of his soccer team, voted most-likely to succeed, about to graduate with honors, but man, was he a pig. I loved him, but he was a total pig and everyone who knew him wouldn’t disagree. He really just had no filter and had developed a strong reputation throughout the years for speaking out-of-turn a little too often.
“Gotcha!” My heart dropped as Kent grabbed my arm and pulled me to the ground. He found me. I was bummed.
“Am I your first victim?” I whined. “I thought this was a good spot, too!”
“Nice try, Grace… just kidding! That sucked! Worst spot ever!” He laughed, loudly.
I was annoyed, but I could hear his friends snickering in the distance in their own shitty hiding spots. I giggled as he took off.
“1, 2, Kent is coming for you…” He terrorized in a melodic tone.
Just then, I heard someone scream hysterically, but it was followed by a bunch of laughter. Kent was chasing after this goth girl that had come along. She clearly didn’t fit into the group, as most of Kent’s friends were total jocks, but this was his best friend’s new girlfriend. Her name was Samara. I heard that she used to practice witchcraft at lunch and do tarot readings for her friends during assemblies. As weird as that all was though, she seemed fairly sweet and happened to be the only one that actually acknowledged me when we arrived earlier that night. I had nothing bad to say about her.
Finally, Kent tagged her, but not before yelling something so unnecessary that even my eyes widened.
“Promise not to perform a hex on me?” He chortled and then smacked her back, attempting to tag her, but actually just forcing her off balance. She hit the ground and looked up at him.
“You better watch your tongue.” She snapped.
“Okay, okay that’s enough.” Samara’s boyfriend came out of his hiding place and helped her up.
“What? It was a joke.” He reassured, but you could tell he was still laughing.
“Alright, fun’s over.” His other friend stepped out from behind a rose bush and grabbed a blue backpack from the grass. “Let’s go. It’s getting late anyway.”
I knew this was going to happen. He always pushed the envelope a little too far. With everything.
“Where’s my flippin’ soccer ball?” Kent asked. “I had it earlier.”
“Dude, I’m sorry, but I got to go. I can help you look for your ball tomorrow, but it’s too dark and there’s like no moon tonight.” His friend apologized.
“Just go. I’ll make Grace look with me.” He pinched my arm, playfully.
His friends hopped on their bikes and began peddling down a shortcut through the woods. About ten minutes went by. I was pretty tired at this point and really didn’t feel like looking for my stupid brother’s soccer ball anymore, but it was his prized possession and there was no way he was leaving without it. I certainly couldn’t leave without him. I was just an innocent young girl and we lived in an area in the country with lots of crime. It was also extraordinarily dark and we were still about two miles from home. Literally the only amenities in the immediate area were a church, a graveyard, and a desolate cornfield.
“I’ll start scrounging through this ditch. I can barely see, but it’s worth a shot!” He yelled. “You just wait right there.”
He could tell I was becoming antsy as I glanced back at the long, quiet road in anticipation of our future-trek. I could see porch lights to houses all the way at the end, but just barely. The rest of the road was absolutely barren. I felt shivers go down my spine as a gust of wind blew in. It smelled… sweet. Strangely sweet.
Then it began. It started off very, very quiet.
“I think I found it!” He yelled. “Never mind, it’s a weird decorative bowling ball. Who decorates a tombstone with a bowling ball?” He snarked.
“Hey, Kent. You hear that?” I yelled over the trench-like ditch.
His head popped out.
“What?” He shouted back, annoyed. You could tell he thought he was on the right track to finding that dumb soccer ball.
“What? What?” He started gesturing with his hand for me to explain my disruption. Then, as if something had snapped in his spine, his gait straightened entirely. His posture was immaculate, his eyes dilated to the size of his irises, and he turned his head to face the sound he so obviously heard now.
It was the sound of a very eerie, slow ice cream truck. It was tinkering its way down the asphalt directly towards us. Something felt very off. Why was there an ice cream truck out this late? Why was it driving this slowly past a graveyard? More importantly though, why was my brother walking towards it?
This ice cream truck did not seem friendly, yet he seemed drawn to it like a moth to a flame. The music emitting from this vehicle sounded like the melody of an ice cream truck, but it also sounded as if it were coming through distorted speakers. It appeared to be disguised in bright colorful lights to cover up its rusted, worn exterior. Had this vehicle just been rescued from a junkyard?
“Kent! Stop! What are you doing?!” I begged, pulling on his sleeve, but he just ignored my pleading and kept on his merry way.
The ice cream truck finally came to a slow screeching halt directly in front of the graveyard gate. I stood back a good distance and observed as my brother swooned at a beautiful young woman in the driver’s seat.
“Hello,” she began, “Would you like to try one of our new flavors?”
I felt very uneasy now. This was not normal. Anyone in their right mind would be questioning the intentions of this late-night ice cream truck driver, but not Kent. He was at that age though, you know, where his eyes were constantly glued on female counterparts.
“Yes, please.” He said, elated.
I rolled my eyes.
She turned around and began scooping something from a large tub, then finishing up, she handed him a tall cranberry red ice cream cone.
“This one’s my favorite.” She smiled. “And for you?” She fixated her eyes on me. It felt like she was looking into my soul, like she could hear my thoughts. Her eyes looked completely black, like there were no whites to her eyes. I wondered if Kent noticed this as well.
I stammered, “Uh, I’m good, thanks!”
She backed away from the window of her truck and my brother yelled, “How much do I owe you?”
“That one’s on the house.” She smirked and put the truck in gear. She hit a button by the steering wheel and the music began playing very eerily again. She smiled and waved as she pulled away, but I noticed something strange in her smile. Her teeth almost appeared to be a golden brown, like little roasted mini-marshmallows. I quickly shook off the discomfort and turned to my brother.
“Well, you don’t have your soccer ball, but you do have some weird random ice cream.” I patted his back as he went in for his first lick.
His tongue scraped up against the scoop of red ice cream, his eyes rolled back in his head, and immediately, he began screaming. I didn’t know what was going on.
“What? What?! Are you okay?!” I stammered, grabbing onto his arm.
The ice cream seemed as if it had been sewn to his tongue. He began pulling the ice cream off of his tongue, gripping the cone tight, but it just wouldn’t budge. At this point, I began panicking too. I glanced down the road in the distance and found that the creepy ice cream truck from moments before had somehow completely disappeared. It wasn’t driving fast and the road was a straight-away, so it was quite odd we couldn’t even see it in the distance anymore.
“Just relax. Everything’s going to be okay.” I reassured him. Then he looked at me with tears in his eyes and almost impulsively proceeded to rip the ice cream out of his mouth. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t seem to be optimal, as with it came the whole top half of his tongue.
“No!” I yelled, but it was too late. He had succeeded in removing the ice cream from his tongue, but blood was now dripping from his mouth. You could see the inside of his tongue stuck to this ball of red goo and could barely make out where the ice cream started and his tongue ended. I took a step back in shock. At this point, Kent’s whole body went limp as he hit the grass. I tried to catch him, shaking in fear, but he was a very big guy.
Questions and fears began filling my mind. Where did that truck driver go? Who was she and what did she feed my brother? Why was she out this late?
I got down in the grass and began vigorously rubbing Kent’s shoulders.
“Wake up! Kent, please! I need you right now! Please be okay!” I begged, hysterically.
I didn’t give up though. Mustering the energy to pull his torso upright, I began patting his back, incessantly. I felt the blood from his lips dripping onto my collar bone as I was holding him, but I could barely see anything through my tears. Glancing around, I noticed the suspiciously red ice cream cone, but it was now melted all over the dirt path.
“It’s going to be okay,” I mumbled through my weeps, “just relax.” Honestly, at this point, I think I was actually just trying to calm myself down.
Finally, after about five minutes of sincerely devastating pleading, he came to. I was really losing hope there to be honest and was so relieved, I didn’t even know what to do with myself. He looked up at me and tried to say something, then realized his tongue was still partially gone and almost passed out again. I had to talk him through this moment. You could tell he wanted to sob, but it hurt too badly.
“Come on. Let’s go.” I helped him up, but he kept his head down. Not only do I believe he was absolutely sickened by the hanging flesh in his mouth, but he also seemed emotionally defeated.
We started our way down that long, black road to home. The porch lights in the distance were still bright with tiny lights. I could hear Kent whimpering between each step, but I desperately wanted to get home. It still felt unsafe, like something bizarre was out, waiting for us, watching for us.
Just as we were passing the church, I began to hear the faint ringing of ice cream truck music again. My heart sank into my throat. We were still about a mile away from home. I swallowed deeply and looked at Kent. He looked at me and, in unison, we grabbed each other’s hands and began sprinting down the road with no words exchanged. Bugs were buzzing past my ears as we made our way under a bright street lamp and zipped through a 4-way intersection. I could hear the music following us, but we were both too afraid to look back. We hung a left and were now facing our old, little home.
We barged our way inside, panting and covered in sweat, glanced at the clock, and noticed it was midnight. For some, getting back this late wouldn’t matter too much, but for us, this was bad news bears and we knew it. I turned around and immediately locked the door. Kent peered through the blinds, looked at me, and shook his head, indicating they were gone.
“Who is it?!” My dad bolted in the kitchen with a SPAS-12.
My brother and I were still leaning up against the door, breathing heavily in fear. My dad immediately saw the blood on Kent’s shirt and called our mom in.
“Cheryl! Come look at this!” He yelled, desperately.
My mother came out in a moo-moo with tight hair rollers in.
“Oh my gosh! Honey! What happened?!” She cried in fear.
My brother tried to answer, but half his tongue was still missing and somewhere out on the pavement with that melted ice cream, but how could I tell my mother that? She’d never believe me.
“I- wa- ah-...“ Kent tried muttering the explanation out, but he just couldn’t form the words. He teared up, as trying to pronounce any consonant hurt him.
My mother turned to me at this point and started shaking my shoulders. “What happened to my son?!”
I stopped her and started spilling the beans. I told them everything.
“Who told you to say all this?” My mother started, “I bet it was those bad eggs he’s been hanging out with! Who did this to him?!”
She didn’t believe me.
My dad jumped in, “That sounds like the legend of the Cold Stone Witch.”
My mom was not happy with his ghostly acknowledgments and shouted, “That's an urban legend! It's not real!” She finished, “Someone clearly played a prank on my poor baby!”
“Cold Stone Witch? Tell me more!” I shouted.
“Legend has it that the Cold Stone Witch will come out after curfew and lure bad children in to teach them a lesson.” My father replied, “But it’s all just hocus pocus.”
We all jammed in the car and sped to our small town’s E.R. My mom took out a piece of paper and a pen and tried to get my brother to write down what had happened as she obviously didn’t believe me. All he wrote was: ‘She’s telling the truth.’
When we had taken him to the hospital that night, the doctors tried performing surgery on his tongue, but the muscles seemed to have developed atrophy almost immediately upon severance. He was unable to talk for a number of years and was even put through speech therapy to try to recover. I don’t think he ever will though, not fully anyway.
Don’t think he wasn’t affected mentally by all of this either. He was distraught, never the same again. He used to have such a vibrant, carefree personality, but not anymore. He was now very quiet most of the time, even though he had learned to talk again with the limited amount of tongue he had left. He rarely expressed himself and seemed driven to long-term depression.
I’m sharing this experience here in hopes I can prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else. I am thirty now and have three beautiful children. Some may say I have a chip on my shoulder, but, I do have three simple rules.
- I never allow my children to go out past curfew.
- They are not allowed to play ‘Ghost in the Graveyard’ anywhere, at any time.
- Ice cream trucks are absolutely forbidden, lest they wish to face the wrath of the Cold Stone Witch.
submitted by RIPRylie
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2023.05.27 03:03 ScottyDaQ Creemee (soft serve) workers don't know what a pint is.
2023.05.26 00:49 Trash_Tia When I was nine years old, I wished to be a mermaid. Five years ago, my wish came true in the worst way possible.
I always wanted to be a mermaid as a little kid.
I guess my fixation first stemmed from my obsession with water—or pools when I was younger. I’ve looked for an explanation online, but there isn’t one. For reasons unknown, as a child I was mesmerised by water. Not real water. But the water on TV. Real water freaked me out. Mom would take me to the local pool during the summer and I have a vague memory of being wrapped in floaties and accidentally bobbing over to the deep end of the pool.
I only went under for maybe half a second, though it was enough to make me realise real-life water was not fun. Real life water could hurt me. The pools on GTA however, when my dad used to play it on the family TV, was where it was at. Yep. I would sit there for hours on end watching my dad playing Grand Theft Auto, waiting for the magical moment when he’d suddenly dive into the sea, or even better, some random person’s fancy pool.
It didn’t matter if he drowned, I just enjoyed those precious moments of the little character diving into the depths, the funny motion he did with his arms and legs as bubbles exploded around him and the bar at the top of the screen started to flash red. I would crawl over to the TV and press my face against the screen, scanning every pixel for underwater life. It was the same for every game. If there was a water level or a pool level, or enough water to submerge my character, I was in heaven.
The first level in Kingdom Hearts on the beach? I would just force Sora to swim out as far as the game would let me—much to my siblings' annoyance. Hitman (I can’t remember which one) I would direct him into a pool. Regardless of whatever the guy’s mission was, Agent 47 was going swimming.
I’m not sure why I was so fascinated by pools on the TV. They just looked pretty. As I got older, I attached myself to water-related, and then mermaid related media. The Little Mermaid, Aquamarine, and Splash to name a few. I was that kid who searched for “mermaid potions” online and was convinced if I swallowed a glass of salt water and prayed really hard, I would grow my own tail. Thankfully, I grew out of whatever the hell that was. After finding a picture of what a real mermaid looked like, or at least the ones from lore—and they in fact looked nothing like Disney’s depictions, I was put off by them.
Especially when I read they lured people to their deaths. But that’s every fairy-tale, right? Magic always comes from the darkest and most twisted tales ever written.
I wasn’t expecting to find a mermaid restaurant in one of the most remote parts of Japan.
Sure, I knew Japan had some interestingly themed café’s, but this one stood out. It was supposed to be a vacation. Japan—a two week stay in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s islands, famous for its food, hot springs, and ski resorts. I had spent four years planning this trip.
I was sixteen when I decided I was going to go to Japan in my second year of college, and in the middle of Summer of 2018, three of my housemates and I landed in the capital. After spending the first half of our trip in Tokyo, and stuffing ourselves with mouth-watering cuisine, we were ready for a change. According to every video I had watched on YouTube related to tourism in Japan, as well as Rui, my half Japanese housemate who was acting as our sort of tour guide, Hokkaido was the best place to find local dishes we wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Born in the south of Japan and quickly moving to America before he turned two years old, Rui was fluent in the language despite living in South Carolina for most of his life. It was his parents who were determined not to leave their culture and language behind, so growing up, he had quickly gotten used to speaking both Japanese and English, favouring Japanese when he was comfortable with us, and we could just about speak the very basics. When he was drunk, Rui didn’t bother translating. So, we were pretty much in the dark about whatever he was laughing about.
I can admit, however, that I was an idiot for expecting him to know exactly where we were going. I already knew Hokkaido was going to be deserted in places. We were warned that some towns’ populations were tiny, with most of them being elderly people, and not all of them were foreigner friendly.
I could understand that.
I would too if I was them. But we were determined to get the full experience, and if that included being turned away by locals, I figured I could deal with it.
Our bus dropped us in the middle of nowhere, a small coastal town with a dwindling population. We found the Mermaid restaurant after almost an hour of searching for a place to eat—and getting turned away from three café’s.
Again, I didn’t blame these people. I would be weirded out too if four tourists appeared in our small little town which wasn’t used to strangers. Rui would go in to test the waters and see how the locals were—and they seemed okay with him. It was when the rest of us peeked in, the owners eyes sort of widening, and suddenly they were closing soon—and when Sara pointed to the sign on the door which translated to “open late” they were ushering us out, and I was trying real hard not to be offended.
These guys were polite in the nicest way possible but made it very clear our presence made them uncomfortable. So, we kept looking. Until Sara found a place on Google Maps. The place translated to “water café” and that was exactly what we wanted. Food—and the perfect view of the sea. It was a ten minute walk, and right next to the ocean. The photos on the website didn’t even give it justice.
The building was old and crumbling, and yet still standing strong on top of the sea, a giant dolphin carved into the roof. The sun was setting when we rushed in with rapidly melting ice-cream we had gotten from a nearby vendor. Sara was already freaking out because the sea was so close, and Rui jumped onto a platform and stood on his tiptoes, taking as many different angled photos as possible. The last time I saw the sun for a really long time was that night.
I remember staring up and grinning at a cotton candy coloured sunset which blended in with ocean waves slamming into rocks below. I remember wanting nothing more than to stay in that exact position forever. Moving down the platform set up for outside dining, we were standing right over the sea—and when I peered over, my stomach flipped over. I couldn’t swim well, and yet the idea of diving into the watery oblivion below was strangely appealing.
I was in awe as soon as I stepped through automatic doors into the restaurant, revelling in the air con. Japanese summers were brutal. Not necessarily because of the heat, but because of the humidity. We had only been there for maybe six of seven days, and I was going through three shirts a day, and maxing out five cans of deodorant. The sudden blast of ice-cold in my air was perfect.
Nate and Sara were already rushing inside, freaking out over an ancient vending machine full of brightly coloured seals, and I was following hesitantly behind them, with a nervous looking Rui at my side. The place was mostly empty to my surprise. It was the middle of summer, and this beautiful restaurant sitting right on the edge of the sea had barely any customers. I guessed it was a small town so they didn’t have many patrons.
The place was large, lit up in warm golden light and a low ceiling. While Nate and Sara grabbed us window seats and Rui ordered food, I found myself mesmerised by a large glass tank spanning the circumference of the room. At first, I didn’t see her. I was hypnotised by glowing blue water—my childlike self seeping back into me. But then there she was, a beautiful woman with hair the colour of the night.
At first I thought she was some kind of performer doing water-tricks for customers. Then though, I realised she didn’t have legs. Instead, a long bluish tail. For a moment, I was startled. Looking at this girl, there was no sign of breathing equipment or even an inclination that she was struggling to breathe underwater. And yet there she was, right at the bottom, her hands pressed against the glass. I couldn’t resist, pressing my palm to the ice-cold surface. I wanted to join her, suddenly.
The water looked so good. So tempting.
“She’s not real, genius.”
A voice startled me, and I twisted around to find Rui three inches from my face, a smirk curving on his lips. It was his ponytail which had attracted me to him upon first meeting. At that point, he’d said he couldn’t be bothered to cut it and was waiting for the right time. He never did.
Now, it was his staple style; a loose ponytail, stark black hair straying in playful eyes, and a dimpled smile I often found myself captivated by. Rui was the first guy I had met who suited ponytails, and that only attracted me more. Moving in with the guy, however, had made me realise he was more of an annoying younger brother type. You know, the kind of guy who never cleans up after himself and has an unhealthy obsession with video games. I was expecting him to join me. His facial expression was teasing as usual, brown flecked eyes drinking me in, a brow raised. When I could only frown at him, he shrugged and pointed to a sign stuck to the tank—which I had failed to notice. “I’m not great with Kanji, but I’m pretty sure that means she’s fake.” Rui nodded to the sticker. “See? It says it right there.”
Turning back to the girl in the tank, I could only protest with a laugh. When I was really looking, though, I noticed her tail wasn’t moving—or it was, but only in intervals. Her face looked real, but her body was more of a mannequin-like form which looked robotically controlled. When the mermaid’s fingers tapped the tank, I had to hold in a hiss. Jeez, I couldn’t believe I thought she was real for a moment. “Her name is Ai.” Rui’s gaze was on another sticker which I failed to notice.
“Nise,” Rui translated, poking me in my cheek. “Also, fake. If you could read Japanese, which you can’t,” he shot me a grin. “There’s an explanation right in front of you.” He read it out in Japanese, where I could only understand maybe three words before translating.
“Ai is said to be the last of her kind, and has been with us since we opened,” he read out. “Please treat her with kindness and do not put your hands on the glass.” Rui frowned. “It’s said that Ai and her family were hunted for their flesh which was rumoured to hold the key to immortality and power. When her siblings were brutally killed and skinned by fishermen, Ai cut her heart into pieces and dropped it into the sea.” He squinted. “Shit. It’s hard to read because half of it has been rubbed off…”
He groaned. “Uh, something about her cutting out her own voice box to prove to the town she wasn’t a threat. She offered to grant four town’s people’s children power in exchange for her life being spared. They tried to kill her that same night, and she fled the town. They built this to commemorate her.”
Straightening up, Rui pulled a face. “So, in conclusion? Human’s suck.” He heaved out a sigh. “Buuut, we knew that already.”
I couldn’t resist my gaze flicking back to the mermaid. “They built this to remember the girl they supposedly…” I lowered my voice into a murmur. “Hunted and skinned?”
“They killed her family.” He corrected, pointing to another sticker. “She had two brothers and two sisters. Their voices were ripped out.”
In the corner of my eye, Nate and Sara were manically gesturing us over. “Why would they be threats with their voices?”
“You’re kidding.” Rui arched a brow. “Have you ever heard of a Siren? You know, bloodthirsty fish people who lure fishermen to their death? Why do you think Ursula needed Ariel’s voice?” He knocked on the glass of the tank. “To hypnotise Eric, and like, take the throne, or whatever. I think I fell asleep halfway through the second movie with the other mermaid.”
I chuckled. “You mean her daughter? You’re strangely knowledgeable on The Little Mermaid lore.”
“Yeah, well, having you as a housemate for the last few years has turned me into a Disney freak.”
“Hey! We need a translator!” Nate, while trying to be polite, was doing a hell of a good job at getting our attention.
I gestured for him to shut up, and he immediately stopped dramatically waving his arms. Nate Costa was an introvert inside an extrovert’s body. By that, I mean he looked like he played college football and definitely had the form for it, broad shoulders and built like a brick wall, but preferred to hang out with the resident cat at house parties and had recently gotten us all obsessed with Criminal Minds.
Brandishing thick, reddish curls and pasty skin, my housemate definitely stuck out like a sore thumb. Sara was half Korean on her dad’s side and was probably the most beautiful girl I had ever met, willowy brown hair framing a heart shaped face.
Like Nate, she was quiet around strangers, and a menace when it came to just the four of us. The two of them deserved each other. Two little awkward peas in a pod.
Nate was getting impatient.
Rolling my eyes at them, I gestured to the table they had sought out—and after one last look at Ai, the two of us made out way over and quickly took our seats. It was dark outside by the time we had ordered our food. The menu’s weren’t in English, though were expecting that. Thankfully, Rui helped us pick. I did notice there weren’t many employee’s; only a guy in his early twenties, his identity hidden by a mask. I turned in my chair to marvel at the eerie glow of the half crescent moon illuminating the sea below, when a perky waitress practically dived to our table, and immediately took an interest in the boys.
She was nice enough to us, nodding and bowing, setting four glasses of water down.
But then her gaze flashed to Nate, who was frowning at the lack of signal on his phone, and Rui peering at the menu. Initially, it was a fairly normal dining experience. I got a soupy like broth and noodles with its own local name. I was halfway through it, practically salivating it was so good, when the waitress appeared again with bright eyes. This time, she grabbed Rui’s arm and dragged him to his feet. It was playful, though there was a glimmer in her eyes, a certain twist in her lips which told him he didn’t have a choice.
“Boys.” The waitress was grinning wildly. She gestured a clueless looking Nate to get to his feet, and after getting the go-ahead smile from Rui, he did. Looking thoroughly confused, and slightly scared, my housemate couldn’t have looked more awkward. His gaze kept going to his unfinished meal, but every time he made a move to return to his seat, the girl made a protesting sound. I was nodding and smiling at this girl, giggling when she said something in English, referring to the boy’s as special, but when I was really looking at her expression, her eyes seemed… still. Unblinking. Almost like she was looking right through me. When she laughed, there was no contortion in her facial muscles, and I could have sworn there was something tingeing her face, like a sickly green mould creeping its way across her cheek.
The more I was looking at her, she was beginning to resemble Ai in the fish tank; her body moved in twitching intervals to mimic human movement but there was no real life in her face. I was ready to grab my friends and make a run for it. Especially when she started to repeat the same thing over and over again in both Japanese and English, her grip seemingly tightening on a squirming Rui’s arm.
“Boys!” She gasped out in a breathy laugh, gesturing over to the counter. “Danshi.”
Sara laughed nervously, shooting me a look. She had already finished her meal, sipping her water.
“Uh, what’s going on?”
Rui didn’t exactly look like he was enjoying himself, trying to wrench from the girl’s grip, but his slightly strained smile was reassuring. I didn’t trust it though.
His expression, unlike the girl’s, was filled, ignited, with life. Life, which was silently begging us to do something. “They’re just surprised to see us,” he said, when another girl seemingly came out of nowhere, and latched herself to Nate. When the two of them were dragged away, I had no idea what to do.
I jumped from my chair, with Sara following suit, but Rui was quick to twist around. “They’re just excited to see us!” He shouted. “We’ll be back soon, okay?” From the tone of his voice, I could tell Rui was lying. He had no idea where the fuck he was being taken and was subtly telling us to maybe call the cops if they were gone for too long.
Nate was quieter. He may act like an idiot sometimes, but the guy was on anxiety medication. We were in a partially deserted town in the middle of nowhere with several slightly unhinged waitresses who were treating him and Rui like god’s, the guy was bound to be freaking out.
I watched the two of them shoved into the back room behind the counter, and when I was sure we were alone, I slumped back into my seat with a choked out laugh. Sara’s eyes were wide. She kept glancing at her phone frantically, and I shook my head.
“They’re probably…just talking to them, or whatever.”
Sara squeaked. “You think that was just casual friendliness?”
“Sara, they’re just excited.”
“I wouldn’t call that excited,” she took another sip of her drink and fanned herself. “Did it get hot in here?”
“Relax. They’re fine.”
“That was obsession,” Sara was sweating, I noticed. “Hysteria.”
“Well…” I thought back to the vacant look in the waitresses eyes, and my stomach twisted into knots. “Yeah.” I drained my water, suddenly feeling nauseous. Had it gotten hotter? I could have sworn the air-con was still on, but my arms suddenly felt like they were burning.
Settling my housemate with what I hoped was a reassuring smile, I announced I was going to get more water. But when I jumped up, my head sort of… danced. I’m not sure I can put it into words. It didn’t spin. I knew what a spinning head was—the aftermath of a long night and too many strawberry daiquiris. This was different. Instead of spinning off its axis, my brain felt like it was bobbing up and down. I remember somehow staggering my way to the counter, suddenly incredibly thirsty, a relentless burn at the back of my throat.
It was everywhere, an ignition of fire which had started on my arms, moving down to my legs, and creeping across my gut. “Hello?” Forgetting Sara’s existence, I was suddenly all too aware that as well as feeling like I had just been dipped inside molten lava, I needed to drink something. Whether that was water, soda, fucking sewage. I didn’t care. I just needed something to quench this inhuman scratching at the back of my throat.
“Hey!” My voice became a panicked yell, and part of my brain which wasn’t choked with fog and cotton candy realised Sara was silent. It took maybe half a second for my vision to be reduced to blurry pinpricks—and when I squinted, grasping the front counter for an anchor, I glimpsed movement through the back room doors.
A flash of movement, footsteps running, a shadow bleeding into view; a shadow I knew. Rui. I saw half of his face. His hair was soaking wet, strands plastered over half lidded eyes. It wasn’t until I saw smears of red under his nose, and red tinged water soaking his white shirt, when my brain kicked itself into gear. He was so close. So close to the door, his fingers gripping onto the side, only for a monstrous arm to whip out and slam a hand over his mouth, muffling his cry and yanking him back violently. When the door slammed behind him, I remembered how to walk.
But I… couldn’t. My body felt like it was on fire, and suddenly all I wanted to do was throw myself into the tank with the fake mermaid. I remember my legs giving way. Just like that.
One moment I could feel my legs, and the next I couldn’t.
I was lying on my back, blinking rapidly at something squirming under the flesh of my arms, when a shadow loomed over me. I couldn’t concentrate on her words, on her broken English, as my gaze followed a greenish tinge tearing its way up my arm, and like a virus, it was spreading, filling my veins and expanding further and further until I could feel it choking me, writhing up my throat, my body jolting as I coughed up mouthfuls of water.
It felt… good. At least for the hazy moment I was trapped in a singularity where time didn’t exist and I was mesmerised by the contortions in my chest.
It didn’t feel natural. Nothing felt natural. Not the green tinge entangling my veins and seeping into my bloodstream, or the convulsions in my throat every time my body forced fluid from every orifice, leaving me to choke on my own liquidised insides.
The girl, however, told me with simple touches, her dancing fingertips across ignited bones, that everything was going to be okay. The water which gushed from my mouth, nose and ears—it soothed my skin which was on fire. It was salt water, stinging my flesh at first, but then caressing me like I was already enveloped in the ocean. “Child.” The shadow bled into a real person, and blinking through fog, I could have sworn I recognised the hair which ticked my face when she bent down, her cool hands wrapping around my body, and claw-like fingernails pinching my skin.
She spoke in Japanese first, followed by English. Her hold on me was oddly gentle, and I was grateful for her cradling my body to her chest. When a thicker texture than water slithered from my mouth, and I glimpsed thick rivulets of red dripping down my chin, I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed for it to stop. But it didn’t stop.
It kept going, purging me of every liquid in my body. The woman’s voice was a melody singing inside my head lulling me to slumber, as she moved in slow, solemn strides. Like I was attending my own funeral. Something snapped inside my mind like a switch being pulled, and the hazy fog drowning me began to subside.
I felt how light I was in her embrace, every mouthful of water spilling from my lips felt like razor blades cutting me into pieces. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and when I did, when I sucked in precious gasps for air, my lungs rejected it, stars speckling my vision. It was like drowning, I thought dizzily as the woman rocked me from side to side. I was drowning on land. I was drowning with air in my lungs, and no matter how hard I tried to force my body to realise that, it kept panicking.
I recognised the word for sister floating through my brain.
Eien ni ikitaidesu ka?
Her voice rattled in my ears, followed by the translation – and I allowed the sound of crashing waves to take me away.
“Would you like to live forever?”
I woke with a static radio inside my head and the sudden sinking feeling that I couldn’t feel my legs. I was in a tub overflowing with water, my numb body enveloped inside its depths. It felt like a prison, almost. I felt it lapping under my chin as I sunk deeper, my head sliding down cold porcelain. The burning had stopped. The pain which encompassed me, and the thirst igniting my throat.
But with it, so had every other feeling. I could see ice bobbing in front of me, and yet failed to feel the sensation of the cold. It was shock, I thought. Surely. I waited for familiar sensations to hit me and propel me into fight or flight, but I was numb.
I couldn’t feel anything. For a moment, my brain was sticky with fog, before my vision cleared and I drunk in my surroundings; a large bathroom with marble walls which were supposed to be pristine white, and yet were splattered and smeared old red. I could see it on every surface, on the floor, dripping from the walls, and staining the tub I was in. When I tried to force myself into a sitting position, I couldn't move.
My right arm was cuffed to the tub, and in front of me, I couldn't even see below my torso. The water was too murky, a soup of red dilated around where my legs were supposed to be. Tugging my arm, panic creeping its way up my throat, I glimpsed something which wasn't right. It didn't look right-- but for the moment my mind couldn't register it. The skin on my arm didn't look like skin anymore. Instead, resembling marble, and like a virus it was growing, expanding across my elbow and creeping its way towards my shoulder.
A scream tugged in my throat, and I forced my body to move-- to do something. But it was less like a body, and more like a mass severed from me. My gaze flicked to plastic curtains stained that same deep shade of red-- before a shadow appeared.
The curtain was pushed back, and I was greeted to a figure wearing a plastic apron, a mask hiding their identity. They knelt in front of the tub and dipped their finger in the water before pulling it out. I drowned in silence for what felt like forever while the figure turned and sorted through metallic instruments, before a sound shattered my ears. Splashing. And when I strained my ears and struggled to push through the fog… choking, spluttering, and what sounded like pleading. I knew that voice.
I knew the cries collapsing into gurgling, and if I concentrated, I could sense his flailing body. Nate. When I twisted my head, I see him across the room, strained against crimson stained marble, his head being forced into the freezing depths of another overflowing tub while the rest of him struggled, battering arms attempting to shove away his attacker. But failing.
They were drowning him. Killing him.
The words entered my mind and I expected my body to react, but there was nothing, just the jolt of my arm still attached to the cuff restraining me.
I felt my lips curve into his name, but my voice splintered in my throat, shattering into nothing. When the sputtering sounds stopped, and my friend’s body went limp, I had no time to register what was happening. Nate was picked up and carried away, a sopping wet tangle of limbs dangling from the woman’s arms, and the figure kneeling in front of me had finally picked an instrument. It resembled a scalpel with sharper teeth, and when he held it to the light, cocking their head, I wondered if drowning myself would be appropriate at that moment. If sinking deeper under the water would allow me to escape whatever this person—this monster—was going to do to me.
I watched in feverish anticipation as they removed their mask to reveal a smile with too sharp teeth. It was a guy, not much older than me. Western, judging by his features. I could only guess he too used to be a tourist. But I couldn’t possibly call him a guy, or even human. Now I was fully drinking him in, his eyes were a milky white and resembled the waitresses from earlier. There was an emptiness in his expression, a vacancy in his eyes.
And when my gaze allowed itself to wander, I was seeing more of him; what he had been turned into, or at least almost been turned into. Under the sputtering bulb above, I could just about make out that same green tinge I’d seen onmy arms. This time it had eaten its way through half of his face, and I didn’t even realise until his grin widened, his mouth more of a skeletal sneer. When he reached forward and shoved my head under the water, I glimpsed what was left of his arm, shrivelled up flesh entwined with something resembling scales.
His voice was a low murmur above the surface, and when I struggled, or tried to struggle, he pushed me deeper, water gushing into my mouth. I expected my body to panic, to flail, but it was paralysed without legs. I was forced under the surface three times, and it was only the fourth time, when the guy was getting increasingly more frustrated, when it hit me what he was saying. “Breathe.”
His almost robotic tone hummed in my mind, and I did. Instead of fighting against the water seeping into me like usual, I sucked in a breath and breathed out. And once I did that, noticing my body and brain had failed to react like they were supposed to—I was dragged back to the surface, and his skeletal smile was three inches from mine. He held up the scalpel, and something snapped inside me. No. I mouthed the word when I realised what he was going to do. But I didn’t have a voice. There was just strange hissing around every time I spoke, like my voice had been severed from me. Ignoring my silent protests, the guy forced me onto my side, and I felt it automatically, a heavy mass underneath me which didn’t feel like legs. I kept wondering if they were gone.
That’s what it felt like. These maniacs has cut off my legs and replaced them with… with what? I didn’t feel the blade slicing into my flesh at first. I was numb. I couldn’t feel anything. But then he was putting far too much pressure on it, dragging the scalpel deeper and deeper until I could feel the teeth cutting through muscle and bone. He made four single strokes before forcing me onto my back once more.
Without a word, and putting his mask back on, the guy straightened up and stepped back, tugging the curtains shut. It was only when he had left me bleeding out into icy cold water, I started to glimpse what was in front of me. When I was a little girl, I had sat in my bathtub and stared real hard at my legs, wishing and wishing and wishing they would somehow morph into my very own mermaid tail.
But those types of mermaid's didn't exist. The ones we want to be, mermaids with magical powers and fish friends. Every child's dream. As my own blood diffused the water around me, my eyes found the horrifying mass of flesh which had grown from my torso, fusing my legs together.
It wasn't finished. I could still see its progress, the greenish flesh-eating thing which had eaten away at that boy's face was ravaging through my own body, transforming skin and bone into something else entirely. I don't remember screaming because I no longer had a voice. But when I continued to scream, thrashing against cool marble, I felt it, something went and warm with the texture of soup, or maybe barf, dripping from my mouth every time I attempted to use my voice putting pressure on my vocal chords, blood filled my mouth in fleshy lumps which I had to spit into the water or swallow down. It was when my vision was blurring with stars, and another shadow had come to lift me from the tub, when I realised I had choked up what I was pretty sure was my voice—or at least the shredded organ which allowed me to speak. Time passed.
I wasn’t sure how much. I vaguely remember being carried down a long hallway which felt like it stretched across the universe. I do remember the woman held me gently, almost like a mother holding her child.
Initially, when I was still human, or at least when I could still breathe without water, I was left inside a tiny room for days, like they were waiting for my body to reject air—to reject land. Every so often, they would come in and pour a bucket of ice cold water over me so I could breathe.
I stopped reacting when my body started to climatise. Consciousness was cruel. I delved into the dark and prayed to stay there. But once the thing had finished with my legs, or at least what was left of them, it wound its way through my body, purging me from the inside. There was something I couldn’t ignore. I heard it for the first time in the tub, but now it was stronger. Like a physical thing trying to crack my skull open. Screams. Though they didn’t sound like they were coming from anywhere near me, or rooms nearby. They sounded like they were directly inside my head.
“Where…. am I?”
“I can’t breathe. My chest feels like it’s…burning….I’m hungry. I’m so… so fucking… hungry.”
“Why can’t I move? I can’t…. I can’t… move!”
I don’t remember being dropped into a large tank—only waking up and realising I was underwater. It’s not exactly the reaction you might think. I still felt human, even when half of me wasn’t.
So, the human part of me freaked out, once I was aware of being enveloped in icy depths and my hair spiralling around me in a vicious halo, I panicked and tried to project my body to the surface.
But I couldn’t swim. I never learned how to swim properly so my body just flailed pathetically, and I was forced to come to terms with what was part of me, the disgusting writhing thing which had grown from my torso. It wasn’t a tail. It was too big to be a tail. I couldn’t even move the damn thing. When I slammed my hands into the glass of the tank, a noise splintered its way into my skull. It started like static, like a radio being tuned in, before a voice exploded into my brain.
“Don’t freak out.” Rui. I’d known him for almost three years, and no matter how hard he was trying to sound reassuring, he himself was definitely freaking out. His voice was barely comprehensible, more of a garbled confusing string of static I had to replay in my mind until I could understand it. It came again, this time slamming into me in wave of white noise. “She wants to talk. We’re… we’re going to let her talk. She said if we don’t listen to her she will consider us unfriendly.”
Twisting around in blanketed depths, I could barely see anything. The water around me was filthy.
Rui’s voice was an impatient hiss scratching against my skull. “Will you listen to her?”
I jumped when a knock sounded, and there he was on the other side of the glass.
It was the white in his eyes I saw first; a milky glow which was spreading around his iris almost resembling a crescent moon. Rui was pale, soaking wet, and half of his face had been taken over by the same thing which had stolen my legs.
I could see it eating away at his flesh, converting skin to scale, or half skin and half scale. Looking at him, the guy didn't even look like my friend. More of a mimic.
I could almost resemble him to a... fish. The hollowness in his face, gaunt cheeks, and much sharper teeth when he opened his mouth to speak, before shaking his head, his lip curling. His body was still his at least. Though that thought crumbled in my mind when I realised he was struggling to stand. And when I looked closer, his bare feet on marble flooring were webbed, each toe beginning to fuse together. Rui had legs. They were awkward and stumbling, and he was clearly having a hard time staying upright, but he had them. I just wasn't sure how long he would have them for.
"She said we're... beautiful," Rui whispered into my head, each word sending sharp rivulets of red dripping from his nose. "We're the most beautiful beings she has ever seen, and she wants us to stay with her," He paused. "She lost her siblings, and she's been..." He screwed up his face, and for a moment it looked like he was struggling to breathe. His gaze was suddenly on the tank, on the water imprisoning me. I knew exactly how he felt.. His lungs were burning. "Lonely." Rui finished. "She's been so lonely, and humans amuse her. They excite her.”
Ai, I thought.
He was talking about the mermaid on display.
Rui continued, and I could tell from the look on his face he was repeating Ai's words. “She is the last of her kind. And after hiding for so many years, she has decided to find her family again by cutting her own heart into pieces, and… feeding it to customers.” Rui’s swallowed. “And we… we’re the only ones who… who survived the process. The rest of them... drowned, or rejected the change. But Ai has never hurt the ones she tries to change. Instead, they... they stay with her, and those pieces of them are granted eternal life with her. As she searches for her lost… siblings!” This time, what had been his attempt at a calm murmur collapsed into a strangled cry when something grabbed him. When Rui disappeared from behind the glass suddenly, I panicked. His voice, though, continued, echoing in my skull.
He sounded like he was moving, or more likely being dragged. "She says... we have to embrace it. If we don't, we will have no choice but to become part of her forever and offer her our... humanity. Those who stay at her side sacrifice half of themselves while she continues to… to… uh--- shit!”
A loud splash sounded from the surface, and I found myself with a face-full of bubbles as water sloshed around me.
He gasped out in my head. But I heard her voice too. It was perfectly clear, almost like their voices were intertwined.
“You… amuse me,” she chuckled, speaking in both Japanese and English. “Two full days and your lungs still crave air.”
Her voice was melodic, a hypnotising murmur which filled my brain like cotton candy. “You…. amuse…. me.” Rui’s mental cry came out in sharp bursts of static. “Two… full d—days… and you still… crave… air.” When I tipped my head back, I glimpsed a slender wrist delve into the water and grasp hold of him, yanking him out. Rui didn’t speak after that.
I heard an attempt, though whatever connection had entangled our thoughts was severed once Ai had yanked him to his feet and pulled him away. I was slamming my hands into the glass, as if I could break it if I kept throwing myself against it, when something moved behind me. I saw it, a shadow looming.
Twisting around, I found myself face to face with what was left of a human skull. It was attached to something which had withered away, eaten at its body. But once I was seeing it, and I was looking around, glimpsing shadows which bled into half eaten corpses. I could still see where that thing, the thing which had been forced into my blood, had attempted to convert human tissue into scales, and ultimately failed, skinning them of their flesh.
Mutilated legs and half grown tails.
I was inside her experimentation tank—where humans she turned either submitted to her or were eaten alive.
Rui falling in must have caused a rift in the water, dislodging every failure from hidden depths. Every human whose legs refused to morph, to transform and metamorphosise into a monster, surrounded me, and I just had to hope and pray that the hand wrapped around my wrist, claw-like fingernails slicing into my flesh—was human. Even in the pitch dark water, however, I could still see the glint of red hair, the shimmer of pasty skin which had always looked moonlit in contrast to hair. Now though, it was sickly and pallid.
Nate was breathing underwater, there was doubt in my mind that he had surpassed that stage. His body, however, was still human. His eyes were still his, if only for the slightest tinge of white spotting his pupil. If I looked close enough, I could glimpse strips of his flesh skinned by the water itself, as if made of tiny, perforating blades. I had seen was a success, or at least the beginning of a success was in Rui. Now that I was face to face with Nate, I understood was a rejection was.
Nate's eyes were wide, almost cartoon-like, his mouth open in a silent cry, as his legs, which had failed to fuse into a tail, were slowly ripped apart, chunks of flesh floating around him.
The guy's grip tightened on me, bubbles erupting around him. His mouth opened, and I caught what had been the start of sharpening incisors, before stopping abruptly.
When his mental cry slid its way into my mind, his deafening, pained screams rattling my skull as I watched the skin on his face transform into a fleshy scale-like substance, only one thought brewed in my mind. And it was enough to elicit my own screech joining the cacophony inside my head growing louder and louder, each of us encompassing each other.
Fuck my childhood wish.
submitted by Trash_Tia
to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]
2023.05.24 23:14 eldomtom2 [Flash][mid-2000s]Flash game that tied in to an educational cartoon, where you explored a scientist's house and played minigames
Varied Estimated year of release
:I played it in the mid/late-2000s, but it may have predated them Graphics/art style:
Standard digital cartoon Notable characters:
There was the Professor who's house you were exploring, who only appearing in silhouette until the end. There was also a boy and a girl - at the end of the game it was revealed that the Professor was just the boy and girl disguised. There was also a villain of some kind, but I don't remember anything about them. The Professor was called something like "Professor XYZ", from what I remember. Other details:
The game tied into an educational cartoon, which I believe was French-Canadian? You could make an account to save your progress.
The main menu of the game was the Professor's house, where you could click on different objects to play different minigames. If you beat them all, the two-part final minigame was unlocked. The minigames included:
- One where you controlled the space shuttle
- One where you played as a Frankenstein's Monster-esque creature and had to act as a lightning rod to protect a family in a car
- One where you tested batteries, then dodged cream pies (I think as a robot that used the batteries you tested)
- One that started out by choosing whether to enter the boy's room or the girl's room
- The second part of the final minigame started out with the Professor trapped in a block of ice on an iceberg by a villain, and you had to race across the ocean to save him somehow.
From memory each minigame, when you started it, had a screen with information on the characters.
submitted by eldomtom2
to tipofmyjoystick [link] [comments]
2023.05.24 02:48 Known-Cup7256 We need soft ice cream on the Uber eats menu
I crave the soft ice cream but all I see is hard ones “giggity” Is there a reason why we don’t have it on the delivery menus?
submitted by Known-Cup7256
to ottawa [link] [comments]
2023.05.23 17:39 JackSquirts A date, a good date, and a GREAT date. A man's guide to knocking her socks off.
This comes up a lot in these subs and I often repeat myself, so I figured I'd throw down a basic guide to making a date not just a date, or a good date, but a GREAT date. WARNING - this is gonna be long.
I've dated a LOT in the past year out of a marriage and relearned the fine art of a great date. Rest assured, it's REALLY easy to "wow" a woman these days because soooooo many guys put zero effort in or are absolutely clueless. Truth is, it's so simple and easy you're gonna kinda "duh" your way through it. Nothing I'm about to tell you is groundbreaking or revolutionary, rather it's all very basic shit we all know, but for some reason refuse to put into practice.
I'll start by saying that I believe it's a man's job to get, plan, and manage dates. A gentleman secures the date, makes sure it's a success, and yes, pays for it. I pay for all dates, but you should at least pay for the first date. You asked, you planned, you pay.
First thing you need to understand is what you do is not as important as how you connect. It's about two people getting to know each other and the activity is secondary. So, regardless of what you do, you have to have your shit together as far as conversation, flirting, and escalating are concerned.
You can have the most amazingly planned date in the world, but just not vibe or muck it up by talking too much or make bad moves and it doesn't work out. Truth is, you're the number one factor on a date. It's up to you to knock her socks off. There's a great quote in jiu-jitsu, "a blackbelt only covers 2" of your ass, it's up to you to cover the rest."
This post is about the nuts and bolts of planning a date, not really focused on conversation or flirting skills, but I will address it briefly. Number one thing is to get to know her and be playful. Don't make it an interrogation or job interview, but ask some get to know you questions as you would with basically any stranger and LISTEN to what she's saying. Use the information she's providing, to probe deeper and keep the conversation fresh. You don't want to get too personal or go down any potential dark paths, but you do need to delve into who she is. Look for places to tease her and play with her a little - it's all supposed to be light and fun.
For example, on one date a while back, I asked her if she was local or moved to the area. Finding out she grew up nearby, I asked her what it was like growing up here. Her answer was very basic as it's kind of a shit question to be honest, but it lead me to ask, "tell me about the biggest trouble you got into growing up in FL" which brought about a fun convo about being a bit of a wild child and a story about throwing oranges at a car when she was little and getting into trouble. Jackpot. "That may be the most redneck Florida man story I've ever heard on a date, we just threw snowballs." We had a laugh and I teased her in subsequent conversations about throwing oranges at people who wrong her. Dumb, fun, playful, flirty.
Main thing with convo is you want her to do most of the talking. People trying to impress other people tend to talk more. If she's a chatterbox, there's a solid chance she's nervous and trying to impress you. Insert a little bit about yourself here and there, and answer her questions in fun, pithy ways, then ask more from her. I certainly could have told her a dozen snowball stories, but I didn't. I mentioned that little tidbit, and turned the convo back to her. Getting her talking about herself will make her more comfortable and make you a little different than the other guys.
Again, none of this is revolutionary, but there are some things you may have heard of for dates that are strictly no-go, especially for a first date. You want quiet, but not too quiet. No movies. Movies suck. You sit there for 2+ hours in silence, not even looking at each other. You also want to avoid loud. Live music, clubs, etc. Suck. You don't want to be screaming into each other's ears all night. Also, you don't want to take the claustrophobic girl to an escape room. Proximity is also important. You want to be close, but not too close. You basically want to ensure anything you do will keep you within 10ft of each other most of the time where you can talk and banter.
A note on time. Evening dates whenever possible. Generally they're more relaxed and if things go really really well and you're down for some sexy time, it's much more likely to get an invite back to her place at 10pm than it's at 2pm. Plus, the cover of darkness is very welcome for the goodbye kiss.
Ok, let's back up. You've matched or gotten a number and you're talking to a girl. You need a little bit of intel to plan a great date. It's all very simple and can be part of normal conversation - what she likes, doesn't like, is interest in, and afraid of. You need to bank these little bits of information and use them to plan your date(s). Key here is really to cater to HER. It's not about showing her all the things YOU like, it's about creating an environment you'll both enjoy where she can feel comfortable and appreciated.
Before you even plan a damn thing, you start the date with a seed. You don't ask her out, you tell her you're taking her out. Blend it smoothly into the convo as if it's nothing. "That's really funny, I can't wait to hear more about it on our date Saturday." She agrees, the seed is planted, now you water. She's going to ask what you're doing - be vague and playful with little hints to your ideas based on what you know about her. "We'll start with dinner, then go cliff diving" (she's afraid of heights). "Dinner at 7pm consists of fried goat eyeballs appetizers and dog chops" to the girl who says she "literally eats anything." Don't give her any details, build anticipation.
You have some info, now it's time to plan. Every good plan has contingencies. You want plan A, B, and C at least. D and E can really come in handy, so factor them in. These things can save a date that's starting to go sideways (usually because you didn't ask or didn't listen to her when gathering intel). The basic strategy is you start with A and work your way through. A is something easy, light, basic. B is a little more involved and fun/intimate, C is more relaxed. D and E are emergency rip cords if you've fucked something up and she's not in to the other options.
Holy shit, Jack, this sounds complicated!
Not at all.
Here's how it works in practice:
You know a thing or two she likes to eat/drink, the types of activities she does on her own, the type of place she likes to hang, and a couple phobias or things that make her uncomfortable. Plan A is coffee, drinks, or dinner. Plan B is some first date cliche activity - mini-golf, bowling, walk in the park, etc. Plan C is drinks, ice cream, etc - something relaxing to wind down. D & E are secondary options for B & C.
Jump on Google Maps and look at an area convenient to both of you, or closer to her. Remember, you're meeting her there, not picking her up unless you already know her. Find the best rated coffee shops, bars that specialize in her favorite drink, or restaurants that have her favorite food and fits your budget. Plan A is home base. For each option you find that fits the bill, scan the area for things that fit for B, C, D & F within walking distance (under 10 minutes walk) if possible. If you can't find a spot with that many options, you need to at least cover B in that area. Driving to the last part isn't as big of a deal if the date is going well, but the closer the better (under 10 minute drive, UNLESS where you met and where you go next puts her closer to home).
The first few times you do this it might take you a half hour to figure everything out. After a while, 10-15min is pretty realistic. Even better, you'll find cool spots with lots to do where you can take future dates because they have so many options. Definitely want to avoid doing "the same date" with multiple women, but it happens from time to time cause some places are just too damn good. Double check open/closing times and make reservations as necessary to ensure no snags - last thing you want is to show up and the place isn't open or is closing soon, or it's so fucking blown out there's an hour wait time.
Over the coming days leading up to the date, you're still being vague and playful about the plans. Only thing I say is the plan A activity (dinner, drinks, whatever), the time, and her approximate commute time/distance (always ask exactly how long it took her to get there when you meet up - more on that later). Sometimes, she'll get nervous and demand more information. I generally tell them I want to surprise them, but if they're uncomfortable, I'll divulge the plan. "We'll be very much in public the entire time." If they ask more, I'll provide a basic outline without detail. If she's still not comfortable, I'll provide a full outline of the specific spot for plan A and some generic ideas of what to do after. The goal isn't to be difficult, rather to give her the gift of mystery. Only one time over ~60 dates have I provided a full detail and the majority of the others have noted they appreciated being surprised.
Day of the date, drop the address of Plan A. No detail, just the address. Sometimes I'll add, "don't map it unless you want to ruin the surprise!" I generally do this a few hours before the actual meet up time to ensure she has plenty of time to get ready and make it there on time.
So far, this is a good, maybe great, date, but that's not what we're after. We're after a "knock her fucking socks off, amazing, kickass" first date. The key to that is the details. The key to the details is to listen.
Not only have you chosen a place that has her favorite food, you've also looked at the menu and can tell her they also carry her favorite brand of wine or make her favorite drink. Maybe she has an allergy and you already know they don't use peanut products or have gluten-free options. Maybe you just recommend something she might like or something she should probably avoid. You go for a walk after dinner and make a pit stop at your car to produce her favorite type of wine. It might rain and you have an umbrella. Going to the beach? You have extra towels so you don't get sandy asses when you sit and watch the waves in the moonlight. It might get chilly, you brought an extra hoody/jacket. She likes flowers, well you just so happen to walk by a flower shop, display, or fancy landscaped place. One time, I picked up two airplane bottles of tequila so we could have a shot on our walk in the park - we had joked about doing a bunch of tequila shots and getting too drunk on a date. It was a fun little thing most wouldn't think of, but got the coveted, "OMG, you've thought of everything!"
Understand, these aren't necessarily things you're specifically looking for in the planning stages, but they are the icing on the cake. Keep your eye out for them when planning and while you're actually on the date.
I hate that I have to say this, but the art of being a gentleman has pretty much died. Help me revive it. You open doors, let her go first when being seated, pull out her chair (if convenient - don't shoulder block her out of the way to pull her chair out), practice good manners, and do the little things like walking on the outside line on a sidewalk next to traffic - keep her on the inside next to buildings. That's a subtle thing that many don't even notice, but you're just doing a little thing to protect her. Speaking of which, if there's any sort of situation that appears dangerous - an escalation between two guys, an unsavory character approaching as you're walking, etc - step in and block or remove yourselves from the threat. "I think it's time to go" or simply crossing the street will make her feel safer with you.
If things go well and you are engaged with each other, flirting and being playful, give her a hug at the end and look for a kiss. If you have no idea what you're doing here, a couple simple things will help you. Watch her as you're talking. If she's bouncing between your mouth and your eyes, she might be thinking about kissing you. If she's super handsy and very playful, she probably wants to kiss you. When you're standing there at the end, if it feels right and you're confident, just kiss her. If you're unsure, go for a hug, but when you release, just hold it right before you break for a tenth of a second and look at her. If she's staring into your eyes, or better, eyeballing that mouth - kiss her!
Now that the date is over, you time how long it takes her to get home (you know cause you asked at the beginning) and send her a text asking if she made it home ok because you're a fucking gentleman and for that evening, her safety was your responsibility.
Just like I said at the beginning, it comes down to your interaction with her. However, with a little bit of planning you can set yourself up for the best possible circumstances to make her comfortable and set the bar high for all the other guys out there.
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2023.05.23 15:10 blackkettle Five Week Trip Report: April-May; Kansai, Kanto; Previous long-term resident family
We are a family of three. I previously lived in Japan for about 10 years. My wife is Japanese from the Kansai region, and we have a 6 year old son born and raised abroad, but who speaks/reads/writes Japanese at a native or near-native level for his age. My wife and son traveled back to Osaka several times during Covid, but I did not join them due to the additional logistics requirements at the time, and the sense that it would not be particularly enjoyable. Prior to covid we would typically spend about 4-5 weeks a year in Japan, but this was our first long day-in-the-life trip together in the past four years.
It was a phenomenal trip, and I wanted share what we did. Our trip is probably a little bit unconventional compared to most of the reports here as we all speak Japanese and are very familiar with Japan having lived there for quite some time in the past. Our main goals for our trip were to provide our son with immersion opportunities, to meet family, and to visit with old friends. We lived for many years in both Osaka and Tokyo and I have relatives in Shizuoka. We also love craft beer, games, and quirky museums; I think our trip itinerary reflects all of this.
General Pre-trip Preparation:
Our son is a second-year kindergartener in Zurich, Switzerland, but he also speaks Japanese and attends a Japanese school part time. He's very outgoing and enjoys new adventures (probably because we have been dragging him around to San Diego or Osaka almost every year for most of his life). This year we thought it would be interesting if he could experience a real Japanese elementary school during our stay. To this end about 2 months before we left, my wife contacted the local elementary school near her parents house in Osaka and inquired about the possibility of doing a short 'study abroad' (体験留学) at some point during our stay. To our surprise she received a prompt reply from the school principal, who was very enthusiastic about the prospect, and happy to arrange all the details upon our arrival. Apparently he had previously worked at an international school and had a very positive outlook on this sort of interaction. Final details were to be determined on site in a short family interview in order to get a sense of our son's Japanese ability and disposition.
We typically spend our long-term stays with our relatives but this time we decided to break our trip up into several stages: Osaka at Home, Osaka at Large, Return to Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka at home. The remainder of the report is broken up accordingly.
Part 1: Osaka-at-Home I.
The first week we flew in to Osaka KIX from Zurich via Seoul, and took the Hello Kitty Express :-) directly into Umeda where we met up with family and went straight to a Yakiniku experience at Yakiniku Toraji
on the B2 floor of the Lucua building at Umeda. At first we planned to make the journey home to drop off our luggage but after we realized that the airport express now drops you off at essentially the Lucua B1, we decided to just head straight to dinner. Needless to say, it was epic. We grabbed some bread and pastries for the following morning and headed home with mom and dad. GENERAL ANECDOTES: Masks
; Even on first arrival it was clear that we made the right decision to come after the covid restrictions finally lifted. Everything was open, and people were out. Roughly 90+% of people were still wearing masks everywhere, but this percentage steadily declined over the duration of our stay to, I would say, 65%-70% by the time we left on May 20th. We chose not to wear them, and my MIL/FIL were also not wearing them. At no point during the trip did I feel there was any concern about this in either direction. Anyone traveling in the near future should feel completely free to go whichever way you prefer.
During the first week we sorted out our jet lag, and spent a lot of time roaming around conbinis and the supermarkets remembering all the little delicious nothings that Japan has to offer. We stayed with mom and dad in Ebie, Fukushima, right on Yodogawa. This is about 5 min bike ride from Nodahanshin station, and 10-15min ride to Fukushima station or Umeda. We made all these rides many times during our stay! We made some mellow probing adventures: Prepaid SIMs
. I still have to answer emails and typically work on-and-off during these trips. One of the reasons we are able to do it is because I work in IT. This means it's always important to get a good prepaid SIM. On my last visit, four years ago I was able to find a great deal on a prepaid SIM at Yodobashi in Umeda, so one of my first orders of business was to repeat that experience this time. However after discussing with the sales and purchasing a SIM with 50GB for 1mo @ Y8000, I found out that it did not permit tethering. This was stated as a 'possibility' in the fine print and when I asked at purchase time the sales person said they couldn't guarantee it but thought it should work. I gambled and lost. This was quite annoying given the main purpose of purchasing a high volume prepaid SIM was for tethering to my laptop. Anyway as a result I discovered the eSIM tech which was also supported by my iPhone 14. I ended up buying another eSIM plan using Ubigi and this worked great and supported tethering without issue throughout my trip. It also worked great for our short return stop in South Korea. I'll never go back to prepaid physical SIMs and I still cannot believe that Docomo is still blocking tethering in 2023. Completely ridiculous. Exercise
: I am an avid swimmer and cyclist. Since we typically stay for around 1 month I like to be able to continue my swim workouts while we are in Japan. Cycling isn't a problem since we end up biking and walking all over the country anyway. I always join the Konami Sports Club
network for 1 month as a regular member the first day we arrive. They provide a bunch of different plans and most of the Type III and Type IV gyms in the network have a 25SCM lap pool. If you join the network you can use any of facilities anywhere in the country, which is great if you spend time in more than one city. The Type III and Type IV facilities all have really great bath house areas as well, with multiple sento-style baths and usually a big sauna. You need to make sure that you join and quit on the same day (or at least in the same week) so that your membership will be properly cancelled at the end of the first billing cycle. This might be tough if you don't speak Japanese well, but if you do the staff is super accommodating and will definitely help you make it happen. In addition to the exercise, one thing I really like about doing this is that it gives me another day-in-the-life experience; it's like living there again; doing things that locals do. The Kitahama facility in Osaka is particularly nice; It's a new one and it's my favorite. Internet Cafes
: I worked on and off during the trip and usually do work days at local internet cafes. The three I liked best during this trip were:
- Brooklyn Coffee Namba : Big spacious area with lots of sockets and reasonably fast free wifi if you don't have a SIM (or don't have one that supports tethering...). It's really dedicated to remote work so there is zero pressure to leave. You can spend the whole day working there with a couple cups of coffee and no one will bug you. The only downside is that it is a bit of trek from Namba station.
- Brooklyn Coffee Kitahama : Same chain as above. This one is smaller, but has a similar vibe. It's right on the river which makes for a cool view. It's closer to the station but I definitely prefer the Namba shop.
- Starbucks Umeda MeRise : This is a pretty sweet Starbucks that is much more 'devoted' to remote work than most. They have a 'startup' area on the second floor, loads of seats, loads of plugs and a solid wifi connection. It's a hop skip and a jump from Umeda which also makes it convenient. Starbucks Japan still offers the one-more-coffee receipts which is a great bonus here. You can get a second cup of cold brew or hot coffee for about Y180 in the same size as the first one you purchase.
: We keep a couple of momma-charis at my in-laws place, including one with a kid-seat on the back. We did plenty of riding and my son loves the unique-to-him experience of riding on the back of the bike. We considered getting him his own bike this year, but eventually decided against it due to the complex traffic. Osaka is pretty easy to get around in by bicycle in terms of terrain - there are very few hills in the city proper, however the traffic is a little bit gnarly. Midosuji street is a great example of this. It runs in a mostly straight line from Umeda/Osaka station, across Oebashi and Yodobashi past Osaka city hall, and down through Dotonbori to Namba. It's a cool little ride if you have the time and inclination and it is mostly flat. It runs only in one direction for most of this length however many Japanese cyclists seem to not be aware of this fact. I was surprised/amazed/terrified by how many people I encountered riding against the flow of traffic on this quite busy street. Plenty of mama-charis with kids on back as well. It's pretty chaotic and not for the faint of heart! That said I enjoy the rides and the people watching and the adventure that a little chaos can provide as long as you keep your eyes open.
-------------------------------------------------- LOCATIONS, FOOD AND ADVENTURES
- Osaka Kids Plaza : We made a solid day of visiting Osaka Kids Plaza. This place is great if you have 3-8 year olds and want to find something to do with them, especially on a rainy day. In past years we have also visited KidoKido Bornelund in Grand Front Umeda, but at 6 our son seemed to have outgrown it this time around. Osaka Kids Plaza was still plenty of fun.
- Yakitori Masaya: We looove all Japanese food and Yakitori is no exception. We usually visit the local Torikizoku but it was their day off so we tried this new place in Fukushima. It didn't disappoint.
- Honmachi Seimenjo Ten: I love cold bukkake udon and sanuki udon. This place in Lucua is pretty passable, easy access and great value for money. It's definitely not as good as Tokyo Mentsudan in Shinjuku, Tokyo - which is absolutely banging - but it was a good first taste.
- Round 1 Stadium Sennichimae : My son has started to enjoy gaming and I wanted to explore this with him so we dedicated our first father-son adventure day of the trip to a large game center - the likes of which simply do not exist in either Switzerland or the US. Needless to say it was a massive hit. They have plenty of Mario Kart, Densha de Go, and Taiko no Tatsujin (our favorites) as well as bowling, pool, gokarts and more. Of course there are also oodles of crane games to waste your money on as well. After the game center we walked for Ramen near Namba:
- Namba Ramen Ichiza this place is pretty much brand new from the look of it. It has a slew of different ramen shops and all they all looked delicious. We visited twice after the first success. There are many tourist oriented ramen shops in the shotengai in dontonburi and sennichimae, but IMO this was a much better experience. We found it because my son wasn't into the crowded dark vibe in the shops below. This place was well-lit and spacious, and the shops readily provided kid utensils and smaller tori-zara so that I could scoop more reasonable portions for him. It's also right next to Namba station.
- Edion Namba Kids Park : the Edion building with the Ramen Park on the 9F also has a huge toys, models, and kids park on 7F. We visited this before heading home. They have a big games section, a Bandai section, a very large Plarail and Tomika section, and a great Lego section. Super fun to browse; plenty of open stuff for the kids to play with too.
- Osaka Castle park: We roamed the park a bit then had lunch at the little Ramen park in the Castle Terrace area adjacent to Osakajokoen. The weather was nice and the back area of the ramen park has a great view of Osaka castle. After that we took the tourist road train that runs around the park and road it up to the last stop right in front of Osaka castle. There is always a lot of commentary about walking in this sub; if you don't want to walk all the way through the park for whatever reason, the little road train is a great option. You still have to climb maybe 4 floors worth of steps to get to the castle entrance, but the train gets you pretty close. In the end we decided not to go into the castle since the line was looking pretty long and we've been multiple times before. We ate some jihanki ice cream in the main plaza under the castle. After that we hiked back down to exit via the Otemon gate and made a quick stop at my wife's alma mater Osaka Otemae High School before hopping a bus headed towards Kitahama and eventually back home.
As I mentioned, we love craft beer, and we particularly love Hazy IPAs in all their various forms. We made it a point in this trip to explore this aspect of Japan as it seems to have really exploded in popularity since our last visit. We followed (hazy_mmy)[https://www.instagram.com/hazy_mmy/?hl=en]
for some great ideas outside the brewpubs.
- Lucua Craft Beer Market: This place has been around for several years, and is still going pretty strong. It features a lot of interesting IPAs, Stouts, Sours, and standard Pilsners and Pale Ales. They usually have a Hazy or two on tap as well. There is an unrelated beer and wine shop on the same floor that has a great selection of IPA and Hazy IPA cans as well.
- Ape Brewing: One of our first craft beer explorations of the trip was Ape Brewing. These guys just got started and we got to meet their brew master and taste some awesome brews. Food is great and the ambiance was great too; there's bar seating and nice views of those shiny vats if you're into that sort of thing. They were also very child friendly (as were I think all the spots we hit this time) and had plenty of soda and juice and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Yellow Ape Craft : Ape Brewing is an offshoot of the Yellow Ape Craft brew pub which we had visited on previous trips. It's also located in Kitahama, nearer to the station, and has a more general, different array of craft beers as well as a different menu. We ended up turning our Kitahama visit into a mini pub crawl and stopped off at this spot on the way home as well. It didn't disappoint.
We wrapped up this mini pub crawl with a walk through the Kitahama/Yodoyabashi area in the evening. This is more of business district but it actually has some interesting novel historical sites. There are a number of cool Meiji Era buildings with large explanatory placards. These are predominantly in Japanese and maybe a bit obscure, and you also won't be able to enter most of them, but if you are into this sort of thing it's can be a fun bonus. I'm guessing google translate in photo mode can get you most of the way through the placards:
there are a bunch more, these just happen to be the ones that caught our eye as we passed by on our mini pub crawl.
Part 2. Osaka-at-Large
We spent roughly our first two weeks in Osaka, but in order to get a change of pace and give our family a break, we opted to spend the second week in an apartment-hotel near Umeda. This was a great decision and a lot of fun. We were able to host friends, had even better access to Umeda and could relax and enjoy the city from a fresh angle.
We spent 7 nights in the rooftop luxury suite at Minn Kita Umeda
and it was epic. My wife booked this about 6 months in advance and it was worth every last yen. The room was spacious and quiet with two large comfy beds. The bathroom included a deep Japanese style bath. There is a large rooftop deck with a jacuzzi overlooking Lucua/Umeda/Osaka station. This view at night was phenomenal. At present there is also a ton of highrise construction going on behind Grand Front which my son got a kick out of (and me too). The apartment has a large kitchen and living room space as well, and we used it to host some visits from friends.
-------------------------------------------------- LOCATIONS, FOOD AND ADVENTURES
I ended up working most of this week so we only managed one major adventure.
- SpaWorld Osaka: Onsen from around the world. This was probably the one experience I would categorize as a strong do-not-recommend. My son and I were looking for another adventure day target and settled on an onsen adventure. I've been to Oedo Onsen Monogatari a couple of times and there is also a new one in Osaka city: Solaniwa Onsen but for some reason we picked Spa World. It is located about 5min walk from Dobutsuen-Mae station. This area is basically skid row; my wife and MIL warned me, but I didn't really believe them since I've never seen any truly 'run down' area of Japan. This area was hilariously decrepit and I got a lot of I-told-you-so's after we got back. Spa World itself is somewhat OK. The facility is pretty clean and the baths are relatively well kept. However the water-park area on the top floor was honestly pretty gross. We floated around the lazy river quite a few times; but it was more like a gross, overly warm moat. There was a kiddy slide area but it was not particularly great and had a bunch of really hard surfaces in the play areas that were not kind. There were a couple of pretty cool looking tandem water slides but they had a scale and a weight-differential requirement of 'no more than 20kg'. Unfortunately for us I'm 6'3", 92kg and my son is a gangly 6 year old weighing in at 21kg. They took one look at us and didn't even bother with the scale. The kicker here however was the bathroom. Right before we left to go down to the sento area, I used the mens room and it was absolutely filthy. The mens urinals had a high wooden shelf which is probably not visible to 95% of Japanese visitors but as I mentioned, I'm pretty tall. I could see this thing and it was not only absolutely filthy but crawling with little black bugs. I just about retched and headed out immediately afterwards. The Spas of the World on the floor below was in much better shape. It was clean and good fun; we visited Greece and Spain and Italy :-) and finally headed home. My son had a great time and I would have classified it as 'OK' if not for the bathroom experience which was just unbelievable. In retrospect I honestly should have reported it. As it stands I'd give it a hard NOT recommended; Oedo Onsen or Solaniwa should be much better bets.
- Hep5 Ferris Wheel: We've ridden this a few times in the day but never before at night. It was pretty cool and gives you a nice long view of the city from all angles. The contrast between the Osaka city night and Zurich is pretty extreme! My only minor complaint was that they had some kind of Care Bear theme going on an there was a large temporary Care Bear decal on the side of the car which obstructed part of the view.
- Shuns Kushiage, Kushikatsu: We also love kushiage/kshikatsu and we ate a ton on this trip. One of our favorite haunts is Shuns on 10F Lucua.
- Curry House CoCo Ichibanya: I also love Japanese style curry and CoCo Ichibanya. This is standard chain that can be found throughout Japan. They serve a bunch of Japanese style curry rice and you can customize them with things like tonkatsu, hirekatsu, sausage, cheese, etc. You can also customize the spice level and it goes up to seriously spicy which is sometimes tough to find in Japan!
- Pause Coffee: This little hole in the wall coffee shop is located just next to the Minn apartment hotel we were staying at. It was always packed with locals and made great coffee and great sweets.
- Craft Burger Co. : Solid burgers and some good craft beers on tap. They also had sliders that were perfectly sized for a 6 year old. We visited the Dojima shop. This wasn't the best burger we had, but it was definitely tasty and worth a visit if you like burgers and are in the area.
- Saien Yakiniku : This is a little hole in the wall yakiniku place that we've been visiting for over 20 years. It's good and we always visit at least once, but the biggest reason for this that we know the owner and it's a family tradition dating back to my wife's childhood. Their 'aji kurabe' (taste comparison plate) is pretty good though and comes with a selection of beef from every major region of Japan.
- Yellow Ape Craft: TheBottleShop & Kitchen: This was the final installation in the Yellow Ape franchise, also located in the Kitahama area. This one was really cool in that they have a self-serve tap setup using IC cards. The staff hands you an IC card when they seat you, and you can order food as normal. But the taps are all installed in a public facing wall on the opposite end of the pub and you pour your own beer by inserting your IC card into the reader above the tap. It then records your pour by the ml and charges you sort of like a gas station. I'd never seen this before and visited it with a friend, and later again with the family. It was pretty fun. They also have a few games and a rubiks cube if you're into that. They also have plenty of bottles for takeaway and had 3-4 Hazy IPAs on tap when we visited.
- Drunk Bears Osaka: This place has deep dish pizza and we were hoping it could compare with DevilCraft. The pizza was OK but the beer lineup ended up being pretty subpar.
Part 3. Return to Tokyo
For our third week we returned to Tokyo to visit old haunts and old friends, and take in the even bigger city. We headed up early on the Nozomi shinkansen after checking out of the Minn. We bought bento in Shin Osaka station and our son picked out a shinkansen shaped Ekiben box
to bring back for school lunches.
We previously lived for about 7 years in Jiyugaoka, and planned to spend time there meeting friends, but we decided to stay in an area we were less familiar with in order to get a fresh perspective on the city. We spent 6 nights at the Blossom Hotel Hibiya
which is about 5 min walk from Shimbashi station. It's a highrise with the hotel on the top. We had a room facing Tokyo Tower with a great view. The rooms themselves were clean and comfy with the external wall composed of a single huge bay window. The city scape was amazing night and day.
I ended up having to put out fires at work again during this week even though I had tried to take it off, and this put a little bit of a damper on some exploration plans, but we still managed to see all our friends and make a go of the time. Also since we already spent almost 10 years in Tokyo altogether, we didn't feel nearly as pressured to check out multiple tourist sites and focused on eating, drinking, and meeting with friends.
-------------------------------------------------- LOCATIONS, FOOD AND ADVENTURES
- Poop Museum Tokyo: This place was absolutely bonkers. My wife found it randomly and jokingly suggested that we should check it out. We wandered around Odaiba and visited. There was a huge line. My wife opted to go shopping but my son and I decided we couldn't pass up this opportunity. It was bizarre, hilarious and entertaining and well worth the entry fee. The highlights including a fuzzy mechatronic Poop-animal petting zoo, an Unko speech recognition game where screaming 'unko' (poo) resulted in a poo tower visualization with size corresponding to the volume of your scream - this was then aligned with a landmark of corresponding size for reference, e.g., the Eiffel Tower. There were also various games and photo ops with cute poo and you receive a poo on a stick as a souvenir. Just a bizarre unique experience.
- Tokyo Tower: We climbed Tokyo tower with friends on a beautiful starry night. It was great. I had hoped to climb the stairs but we were too late. There was a special lighting arrangement related to Golden Week which we managed to catch. The view is great but the tower is now almost entirely surrounded by gigantic Mori office skyscrapers that are as tall or taller than the lower viewing platform!
- Tokyo Sky Tree: We also climbed the Sky Tree on another day. This was fun too. It's way higher, but it's almost so high that the features of the city are a bit obscured. I'm glad we did it and checked it off, but I kind of preferred Tokyo Tower in the end.
- GiGO Akihabara 1: With my son newly addicted to Game Centers, we couldn't pass up a chance to visit Akihabara :-)! We made a trip to the GiGO centers. This was a lot of fun. There are five installations, but we focused on 1 and 3. One was definitely the best. We found our favorite games: Mario Kart and Taikou Tatsujin, and also found a top floor packed with 80s and 90s hits, many with co-op options. We spent a few hours here trying as much as we could. Taikou Tatsujin was particularly fun as there were a couple of absolute masters just ripping apart the drums, yet still kind enough to take a break after 10min or so and let us get in a round of easy-level Tonari no Totoro. One thing I noticed was that there were a lot of tourists that seemed to want to try some of the games but had a lot of difficulty with the Japanese only interfaces and writing.
- Jiyuugaoka: As I mentioned, we lived in Jiyuugaoka for about 7 years so we made sure to return and spend a day wandering around and wallowing in nostalgia. I don't have anything in particular to say about it; it's just a nice area to wander and hang out. Plenty of good food and shopping, more relaxed than many areas of Tokyo.
- Akamon): I had planned to go back and visit my old lab here, but unfortunately time did not permit. The Todai Hongo campus is definitely worth a visit though. There are some good eats and it's an easy walk through the campus to Ueno.
- Karaoke-kan: We made one karaoke stop for old time's sake. This particular place in shimbashi is not notable; just part of a chain, but I think Japanese style karaoke is worth trying once, especially if you are only familiar with the western approach.
- Shu Shimbashi: We had a nice group dinner at Shu in Shimbashi. Pretty standard izakaya style fare but reasonably priced and tasty enough.
- Henry's Burger Jiyuugaoka: Great burgers and a nice rooftop area for eating. It's a 5 min walk from Jiyuugaoka station. It also has some nice craft beer that you can add to a set menu.
- Nantahama Jiyuugaoka: This is an amazing little Okinawa style izakaya that has been run by the same family in the same spot for the last 50 years. When we lived here we visited it regularly. Food and ambience is great and the family that runs it is very friendly.
- Mujaki Ramen Jiyuugaoka: Amazing ramen. Amazing.
- Clann Irish Pub Jiyuugaoka: Great little Irish pub with a friendly owner. My wife and met her 17 years ago so we always make sure to stop by for a pint of Guinness and a chat with the regulars.
- Boulangerie Asanoya Jiyuugaoka: Great bread and pastries.
- Devilcraft Tokyo - Jiyuugaoka: Epic deep dish pizza and solid selection of craft beer on tap. There are other locations in Kanda, Hamamatsuchou, and Gotanda.
- Sushi Gyoshin: Great kaiten sushi restaurant in Jiyuugaoka just a few steps from the station. This was another of our longterm haunts and we were happy to see that it hasn't changed. Our son ordered his first sushi by himself and we enjoyed another great meal.
- Quan an Tam: Great little Vietnamese place in Jiyuugaoka.
- Katoriya Jiyuugaoka: Great Yakitori place.
Tokyo is overflowing with great craft beer these days!
- ibrew Shimbashi: This little chain was great. The first one we visited was the Shimbashi installation. This is located in the Shimbashi Ekimae Building-1, just adjacent to Shimbashi station. The building screams Showa inside and out and the beer pub is just a little hole in the wall. They were just wrapping up an all-Hazy-IPA campaign and had a slew of great stuff on tap. The food was also great, and they had a decent non-alcoholic selection as well.
- Isekadoya Shimbashi: This craft beer bar is located inside Shimbashi station, just outside the wicket gates. It has a more modern vibe but plenty of good food and brew. The kushiyaki lineup was great.
- ibrew Akihabara: ibrew has another installation in Akihabara and we had a dinner here as well. They had great food and a different lineup of brews on tap. One thing to watch out for was that they only accepted cash, and the nearest ATM is about 5 min walk back towards the station. Fun spot with friendly staff.
- Antenna America Tokyo: We stopped by this place for lunch on the way to Shizuoka. Nice selection of cans, and a few good ones on tap. It's an open space, and they have a free-to-lay Fussball table which my son and I played a few games on.
Part 4. Shizuoka
After our stay in Tokyo we started making our way back to Osaka for the last segment of our trip. On the way stopped off in Mishima for one night to visit my relatives. Here we stayed at the Toyoko-Inn Fujisan Mishima-eki
. This is a no frills spot but it had nice clean, quiet rooms and a surprisingly good breakfast buffet. We wandered around Mishima in the afternoon then had a big Yakiniku family dinner with my relatives at Anrakutei Yakiniku
. I tried Horumon for the first time and actually enjoyed it!
The next day we headed to Mochimune for one of our long planned trip highlights:
- The Villa Barrel and Lounge. This place was flat out amazing. It's a brewery/hotel run by West Coast Brewing. We stayed one night in the Nelson & Mosaic loft room. This place was so much fun. The restaurant has some great food. We shared several flights of tasty brews including a bunch of tasty Hazy IPAs and the rooms were equipped with a personalized keg with 10L of beer to 'drink at your leisure'. They recommend bringing a growler to take the leftovers with you, and unfortunately they don't sell them onsite. The reservation also included free entrace for the whole family to the adjacent onsen, which was also fantastic and offered some nice views of Mt. Fuji.
It rained heavily in the evening and all through the night, but this made for a fun trip to the nearby 7-Eleven, and a good excuse to just hang out and tap the keg while watching Doraemon reruns on the big screen TV in the room. In the morning the weather had cleared up so we took a long walk on the beach which is just a few minutes from the hotel. The walk from the hotel back to Mochimune station is also quite nice if the weather permits. Truly amazing experience. Also requires booking several months in advance. OUT OF CHARACTERS - SEE COMMENT FOR FINAL TRIP SEGMENT
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