Tokyo Blog, Tokyo Story

The blog of Stephen David Smith, Tokyo, Japan 2014

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Kayaba Cafe, Yanaka

I was out in Yanaka the other day with the intention of going to SCAI The Bathhouse (which was closed again – looks like I missed the recent exhibition although I’m sure it was listed as open on TAB), but this time I came from the main street, Kototoi Dori, instead of through the backstreets where the shrines and temples are, and to make up for my disappointment at not being able to go into the gallery I discovered this great cafe on the corner. I’m sure many of the people who have been to SCAI The Bathhouse are aware of this little gem, although if you don’t pay attention you could dismiss it as just another old style Japanese kissaten. From the outside this what it looks like. Apparently it’s been in business since 1938, but it has recently had new life breathed into it by Yuko Nagayama & Associates architectural firm who have been responsible for the mix of modern and retro inside.

The staff are young and fashionable and the coffee is really good. The homemade cake isn’t bad either, you can get both as a set for about ¥800 as of writing. It seems like a lot of cafe lovers come here to smoke cigarettes and read books while enjoying the atmosphere. The whole building shakes when heavy vehicles pass by and the furniture is just a shade too small for those of us over 6ft, but you put up with that to enjoy what for me is one of the best cafes I’ve been to in Tokyo so far. There are a stack of them in Omotesando, but isn’t that where everybody else goes? I’m taking my laptop next time and I’m going to make the most of my free refills.

 

Lunch at Meal MUJI

Lunch at Meal Muji

When I have time there’s nothing I like more than strolling over to Muji Yurakucho (the Tokyo flagship store) and going into Meal MUJI and grabbing some lunch. The lunchtime and dinnertime offerings mainly consist of a 3 or 4 option deli plate. You can get a combination of hot and cold dishes cooked on the premises. In fact, you can see the chefs at work in the kitchen through large glass windows. They also bake bread and cakes which are sold in the bakery area, which I also highly recommend over any of the Japanese supermarket offerings or the overpriced department store boutique bakery products.

The food is pretty simple and perhaps portion size is a little small, however everything tastes good and is really nutritious and healthy made with organic produce and quality ingredients. I usually get the 4 option plate with the homemade miso soup which you can see above and that comes to ¥1080, which is reasonable. The plate above consists of tandoori chicken, green pesto ratatouille, pumpkin mash and vegetable curry; rice and miso soup.

 

Wired Cafe Shibuya

Wired Cafe Shibuya

I dropped into Wired Cafe on the 6th Floor of Q-FRONT Shibuya today to take advantage of their free wi-fi connection. I’m currently re-working an ongoing Flash project which I expect to be able to unveil soon, schedule allowing.

The cafe is pretty unremarkable. I personally prefer the Shinagawa Wired Cafe just down the road from my apartment, but it served it’s purpose. I also discovered it’s a great place to pick up information on forthcoming music events in Tokyo. I even picked up a nicely illustrated book on surfing in and around the Tokyo area. That’s going to come in very handy when a day off finally comes round and I can finally get in the water again.

The food was average. I chose the French onion soup, an asparagus and mozzarella wrap and a cup of coffee, but it wasn’t worth the ¥1400 price tag. My MacBook Pro battery being what it is, I didn’t really take full advantage of the free wi-fi either, but I got a chunk of work done, then took off back into Shibuya.