Monday, February 12, 2018

5 Must-visit Cafes in Tokyo

Back when I was still living in the Philippines, I was like a cafe tenant lol haha! I'd really maximize my hours in a cafe especially if I went there to study. Boston Cafe, Coffee Blends, Cafe Antonio... ahhh those were like my second home when I was still in university. If ever I'm in the metro, Starbucks, Bo's Coffee, and UCC Park Cafe are household names. 

Since coming to Japan, I felt like my preferences have changed. I'd go for less crowded ones, hole-in-the-wall kinda stuff. I rarely go to Starbucks (only during Spring cos they have sakura-themed drinks and cakes). Right now, I am in a seemingly never-ending process of immersing myself with the city's myriad collection of cafes, well as long as I can... as long as my wallet can haha! Hay, you'll never run out of cafes to try in Tokyo! They're everywhere! And good ones at that!

Here are five cafes I've visited early this year. You might want to check them out, if ever you're in Tokyo as a tourist or as a fellow resident wanting to get some much-needed dose of caffeine. Enjoy!

1. Cafe Stay Happy, Shimokitazawa




Chill defined, omg! So much love!


A kotatsu table! Perfect company for the cold winter weather! 




Cute nooks are everywhere!



This place has a wide selection of beers! For this visit I tried the #1 beer stout from Minoh, Osaka, which really made my stay in this cafe a happy one! My friend Jaydine tried something from Belgium. One of the staff who took our orders was kind enough to recommend beers and even gave brief details about each... in English! Perf for visiting tourists! 

Access: 2 Chome-29-14 Daizawa, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0032
Nearest station: Shimokitazawa Station, South Exit
Website: http://cafestayhappy.com/

2. Mahika Mano Hammock Cafe, Kichijoji

The beau surprised me with a visit to this cafe. He didn't say we're going to this place until we reached it haha! It is pretty popular, I think. We went on a Sunday afternoon and had to wait in line outside the cafe for about 25min to be seated. 




Well, I waited happily cos there was a hammock outside~




Foods and drinks were on the pricey side but were delish! Not complaining! 


Plus, you get to sit in hammocks inside yay!



Such a lazy but lovely way to spend an afternoon in the city!

Access: 2 Chome-8-1 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0003
Website: http://mahikamano.com/ 

3. Coffee L'ambre, Shinjuku

This cafe is the beau and I's latest discovery. We went in for the free wifi cos we're planning on staying long for studying and journaling. When we got there, it was a little crowded and yup, no wifi. But we stayed in for the ambiance and the details! Vintage! If you know me
well, you'd know this is my jammmm! 




Felt like I was transported back to the 1950s!


Their cake sets are ¥950 and so yummy at that!


Look at that pink beauty right there~

Access: 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−31−3, 新宿マルイLM別館
Nearest station/s: Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku Sanchome Station

4. Blue Bottle, Shinjuku

This cafe has lots of branches but I always pass by this whenever I go to Shinjuku for my Friday conversation lessons. So when I had the time to spare, I readily went! The place doesn't have much seats and it is inside a mall but whatever, their coffee is really good!


Drip drip drip


That blue bottle~

Access: 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 4丁目1−6
Nearest station: Shinjuku Station, South East Exit

5. 815 Coffee Stand, Setagaya

Going to this cafe has some backstory. I was looking for the name of the park near the school where I'm working at, and I accidentally saw it there. I researched a little more and found out they have really good ice cream but when my former workmate and I went, it was already closed. It closes early on weekdays at 6PM. So even if it's near my workplace, there's no way I can visit it unless I go on a day off (but it's too far from where I live so no, thanks). Last Saturday, I have to "work" cos it's the school's VDay party and guess what? It finished at 5PM so I was able to go with the beau yayyyyy!


It is in a residential area but you cannot miss this beautiful facade for sure!




Nice interiors! And it's a very quiet place great for relaxing and just you know, taking a break from people haha~


The ice cream that I wanted to try was not on the menu when we went (cos rn it's winter here, that's why maybe haha) so we opted for some good 'ol latte and cafe mocha which were really good, too! And they have french fries with different flavors and the butter-shoyu (soy sauce) one was da bomb!!!

Access: 〒154-0016 Tokyo, Setagaya, 弦巻4丁目11−17
Nearest station: Sakurashinmachi Station, West Exit


 These are just a few ones I've been to. Hopefully, I can write about the others (a loooot actually haha), too! 
Any cafes you'd recommend for a fellow caffeinist? 
Comment down below! Thank you!♡






Thursday, January 4, 2018

Life, Lately: 2017's Last Hurrahs

I can't believe how fast 2017 went! It seems like yesterday when I was panicking because my luggage was stuck in one of the lockers at Kyoto Station a few minutes before my bus to Tokyo departs on the first day of 2017... and now, that year just finished? Howwwwww~

Lots happened in 2017, well, I tried to write them all down here in my blog, but uhm heh, so much for trying~ But now I'm gonna try again, for all the months I've missed so bear with me, yeah?

~OCTOBER~

Cosmos Festival at Showa Kinen Park
Underwhelming sight but we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of biking, napping under a tree, singing along to a ukulele... such a perfect day~


Cambridge Sports Day and Halloween Party
Too much preps needed but I kinda enjoyed seeing my students do the activities we've prepared for them. Plus, it has become a habit of mine to observe how they act with their parents around. It surprises me everytime! They're like different beings and the ones with me in my classes are doppelgangers hah~
Photo from the school's Facebook page

In our Halloween party get-ups!
This year, I was tasked to do face painting (ahhhh feels so nice to do some artsy stuff for work)

Shibuya Halloween Street Party
The much-awaited event of the quarter yay! Planned and prepared for our costumes a few months ahead, unlike last year haha! The beau and I went as Team Rocket's Jessie and James! And oh, our costumes are DIY!!! Woohoo, did it!!! Also, meeting up on Halloween in Shibuya has sort of become a tradition for the beau, Kuya Ikki, and I. Happy night for dinner and some drinks after work!
Jessie of Team Rocket~

 The trio

Love how strangers in Shibuya were so game for a photo that night! Ahhh that community feels~

~NOVEMBER~

Autumn in Nikko
A shotgun trip. New faces, no itinerary but a fun trip, I may say. I hope I can make a detailed blog post about this soon! Thanks to these fun people for a day full of laughter and nature!


Nikko crew
Photo grabbed from Ben

The Doraemon Tokyo Exhibition 2017
My childhood friend Dhana came to Tokyo for a vacation so I tapped another childhood friend Tomo who's currently living here in Japan, too, for an ultimate Tokyo meet-up! Originally planned on checking out an exhibit in Mori Art Museum but it wasn't available when we went so we checked out the Doraemon exhibit at the same venue. Also went up the Skydeck and had our photo taken with all of Tokyo's skyscrapers and lights! Of course, lots of catch-ups happened! Plus  a side-trip to Shibuya before calling it a day!
My childhood friends, Tomo and Dhana ♥︎
Our moms are amigas til now and we literally grew up side-by-side while we were in the Philippines. Now, Tomo and I reside in Saitama and Tokyo, respectively.

Doraemon x Takashi Murakami

The Sun and the Moon cafe had a matching theme~
Yay for Doraemon-inspired dishes! 

View from the SkyDeck
Paid for a print plus a downloadable copy of this shot haha

Onsen Day in Shimura-sakaue
Since that impromptu onsen trip in Yamanashi earlier this year, I new-found love for onsens blossomed and so we researched for onsens in Tokyo and found one in an unknown area that is Shimura-sakaue haha. But in all fairness, our experience was really good and relaxing. The lola inside me is very happy heh~




~DECEMBER~

Dates with workmates and friends coming over to Tokyo for a visit
Random ones on rare occassions that I'm free after work haha! These times, I really treasure. ♥︎

Pizza x karaoke with Tori and Saki

*Fancy* dinner with workmates on a Monday night

Buffet night for Kuya Ikki's birthday! Unli everything, and yassss unli crabs omggg I live for crabs haha

Okonomiyaki night with Kuya Rey (na ginagawanh probinsiya ang Japan sa ilang beses niyang pagpunta in a year haha not complaining, though)

Roasted quail experience with the beau and Ryo

Roppongi Day 2 with my childhood friends (again)
Too many things happened this day, the steps I took according to my Mi Band 2 were 16,000ish haha! Went to Zojoji Temple, had late lunch at Cafe Mugiwara, checked out Tokyo One Piece Tower, then went up Tokyo Tower's Observation Deck for the sunset. Sulit day~
Zojoji Temple feat. Tokyo Tower

Cafe Mugiwara's One Piece-themed dishes

One Piece Amusement Park, Tokyo One Piece Tower

View from the Observation Deck of Tokyo Tower ahhh! For some reason, I always, always take a shot of this view whenever I visit Tokyo Tower hah~

Caretta Illumination 2017
Side-tripped to Shiodome after the happenings above (haha omg walang kapaguran) for the illumination, ate a gigantic burrito at Frijoles for dinner, had ice cream and coffee at Tiki Taka x Sarutahiko!



Kimono Roboto Exhibit at Omotesando Hills
Saw an ad of this randomly and thought it's pretty cool so I went! Ended up getting heart eyes as I look at the kimonos on display and *yay* free prints as well~


Ended the day with some coffee and...


some nice city views~

Cambridge Christmas Party 
My last Christmas party in this school *ahhh mixed emotions* It was fun teaching my students how to make the crafts alongside their parents!

Photos from Pearl

Christmas dinner at the Fujimotos
Glad to be present that night. The Christmas spirit in that household was kickin', not to mention the digital fireplace heh~ Thanks for having me po!

Christmas Eve with family
Simple dinner at home, I think better than last year's "3AM Christmas Eve dinner" at Royal Host haha!

Christmas Dinner with the beau
Second Christmas together at our favourite Italian restaurant yayyyy *heart eyes*

Media Noche with family
The 31st of December and we're all warming up around the kotatsu eating home-cooked meals ahhh~ I loved this night, I'm gonna keep this memory in my heart forever! We also got to video chat my lola who is living in the PH, as well as other family relatives currently in our house celebrating the coming of the new year as well!♥︎


Wewwww what a year 2017 was! It was all sorts of fun but I had down times, too! But if there's one takeaway I got from 2017, it is breathing and trying one more time~

How did your 2017 go? Any learnings you might want to share? Comment down below freely!

P.S. To you who's reading this now and to you who has been reading my blog for the past years, thank you for reading and sparing my blog some time! I appreciate you and I'd like you to know that readers like you make me go on writing here even if sometimes I feel like doing so is a waste of time. Thank you!♥︎

Cheers to a better 2018,
Alyssa