With only hours left to our stay in Tokyo, I was anxious to spend down the extra change in my coin purse-- it's heavy, it's worth a fair amount and I don't see any reason to save it; Japan is not one of my regular runs.
I went to the fancy supermarket next door to the InterContinental ANA Tokyo hotel and bought two bags of thinly sliced garlic (262Y per bag-- one for me and one for my son & daughter-in-law) and a box of Mere Poulard cookies, my favorite French butter cookie. When I paid, from the coin purse, I did not feel relieved enough... so headed next door to Starbucks.
I bought Sarah a small Latte and me a small Mocha for another 700 yen, total. All in all, I spent about 1400 Y (just under $20) that was 'free' because I had the spare change. And they say you can't find anything affordable in Japan!
We had spent the morning at Tokyu Hands in Shibuya-- the flagship store and in my opinion much better than the newer store in Shinjuku at Takashimya Square. They are adding on yet another building, so there is reason to return. Before heading out, we did a search for Freshness Burger, our newest Japanese obsession, and found one 1/2 a block from Tokyu Hands-- how's that for karma? We rpinted out the map before we left the hotel.
For the uninitiated, Tokyu Hands is a type of department store that carries everything -- but specializes in crafts and DIY, and tsotchkes. Because the main store is created from several adjoined buildings, there are half floors, which makes the walk down so much fun. You can take the elevator to the top and then work your way around and down like in a funnel of fun shopping.
I did not buy the Hello Kitty pouch for MP3 player with built in speakers, but did buy up a lot of rabbit stickers for the new year (will be the Year of the Rabbit, duh). Left off the bath salts because I swear they cost less in Hong Kong...although I was wrong about the little camera I almost yesterday. I figured it would cost less on Amazon, but was wrong. Oh well. Much of the merchandise in Japan is imported and therefore outrageously expensive. I've had this theory that even Japanese products will be cheaper elsewhere, although I guessed wrong on the Sony Cypershot.
The taxi from Shibuya back to the hotel in Akasaka was over $25 -- more than lunch for three people. Taxi fares have been the biggest budget killer on this trip. The subway system is excellent, but takes so much energy that I don't like to use it for shopping trips. There's also a fair amount of dfficulty if you are changing lines as the subway lines are owned by different companies and your next ticket may or may not be compatble with the first.
We fly to Hong Kong tonight on Delta; have researched the luggage allowance online and discovered that we get three bags up to 70 pounds each. That way I can pack up all the ramen noodles I brought from the USA and havent touched. I am leaving behind the half bag of marshmellows that we needed for our group's Japanese Game Show simulation.
In fact most of the group has packed up and moed on, returning to the US today. A few will go on to Hong Kong with a day trip tomorrow to Shenzhen, PRC. Then we can talk about prices!