Tokyo Adventures: Square-Enix Artnia + Sushi Carousel
So, next up was a visit to one of three(?) Square-Enix cafes. There's this one, one in Akihabara (which will be in another blog), and the Eorzea cafe, which is actually modeled as if you're in Eorzea (FFXIV) but is unfortunately difficult to get into. This cafe, Artnia, is the oldest one I believe, and as such isn't as frequented. It's also pretty out of the way, stationed next to Square-Enix's headquarters in a business part of town. Still a fun place to shop, and the food/drinks are pretty good!
In this store there's a gallery of high-priced/rare collectibles, usually holding more of whatever is being promoted (in this case, FF7's remake).
There's also a 'general' store, that unfortunately is usually more populated with Dragon Quest stuff because of its popularity in Japan (duh). There's Final Fantasy stuff, just less of it, and for some reason there was also a weird trend happening this year with...PuPu, the blue alien thing. It's an FF8 easter egg, basically, and as far as I know, has no significance outside of FF8...no grand appearance in FFXIV, no mention of it in other FFs...it was so weird to see not only the plushie available, but also a tea cup with its landing in FF8 (which turns into a crater in game). Does anyone have insight into this?? I mean, it was cool to see as a FF8 fan, but like...why it? Why not moombas, which are 100x cuter??? The world may never know.
Also, there's a section for listening to Square soundtracks and I found the Xenogears soundtrack. Unfortunately, most of these hard copies go for like $40 so it was a sad pass for me. Still cool to stand there and listen to all the music.
As far as food goes, we had planned on going to get sushi after visiting this place, so we just took the opportunity to grab some drinks. Every drink comes with a themed coaster.
So, with the cafe out of the way, we were keen on finding a carousel sushi restaurant. Luckily, there was one quite close with decent reviews! Now, I've been to American carousel sushi, and even a Korean one, but we got the true Japanese sushi experience here.
So, carousel sushi runs cheaper than 'restaurants' but being in Japan and all, still has some delicious sushi. For a rough, easy conversion for those familiar with USD, take away two 0's and you've got the dollar amount. So 260 yen would be about $3. Obviously, things have been upgraded in recent years, and you can now easily order sushi (or soup, or noodles, or drinks, etc) without having to speak to anyone! Huzzah. You also don't have to order anything, since there's sushi on the carousel! But sometimes everyone in front of you is taking the good stuff, so ordering your own can be very helpful. At the end of your meal, they tally every plate (color-coded for price) and additional items you bought.
Everything else is also serve-yourself, so if you look at the pictures...the fountain is for hot water, and you share a cup of matcha with people next to you. Just turn the faucet on and fill to your liking. The plastic containers hold your ginger, so gorge as much as you want! Utensils are in the box on the right, along with sanitizing hand wipes.
Now here's the REALLY cool thing.
Above the usual carousel is a 'second story', and this is where the things you specifically order come to! A 'train' gets sent to your seat, you pick up your plates and when you're done, press the blinking red button to send the 'train' back. It was so cool, and thankfully there were locals next to us so we could watch and learn. Otherwise I think we would've pressed the button and sent it back without taking our stuff...
So that finally ended our day. The amount of walking we did per day in Tokyo was probably something like 20,000 steps, no joke. That just means we could eat as much as we want, right?
Next up for the blog is going to be the more historical side of Japan: shrines! Thanks for reading, and as always, you can see my travels in real-time on my instagram. o/