What the hell just happened to me?! How did I get there and back? Do I love this place or hate it? These are a few questions I asked myself after visiting Namco Namjatown in Ikebukuro this weekend. Let me start off by saying that Ikebukuro is a cool place. It is a district in Northern Tokyo and is a major hub to the Eastern Prefectures. It's crazy, crowded and packed with cheap shopping, Hello Kitty, multi-level Arcades and food. One of the main attractions is a mall called Sunshine City. I don't think it would be possible to visit every single store in this place but I didn't come for the shopping. I came to eat.
This is where Namco Namjatown comes into play. This is a...theme park maybe? Fun house? I'm still not exactly sure what the purpose of this crazy place is but I do know that it is home to Ice Cream City and Gyoza Stadium.
Roomie and I first stopped by Gyoza Stadium for dinner/glorified snack. If you didn't know already, gyoza are Japanese dumplings. They're usually boiled then pan fried on one side. The fillings usually involve pork and chives - gyoza are another Chinese food Japanese people have basically stolen and called their own (Ehem..Ramen...) We ordered Gyoza from 4 different booths and were scared to find out that one of the kinds we ordered contained cheese. What we didn't realize is that the these were gyoza masters. Each booth featured a large picture of a serious looking Japanese dude crossing his arms. Picture Iron Chef and their Iron Chef Masters. The cheese gyoza were not bad at all...in fact, I kind of wish they were more common.
Next stop...ICE CREAM CITY!!! It's been a dream of mine to live in a place were every store is an ice cream store and I had my homecoming this weekend. In Ice Cream City, everyone smiles and is very nice. In Ice Cream City, you can have any flavor of ice cream, soft cream, shaved ice and gelato you fancy! In Ice Cream City, you are happy. I got a Strawberry Magic Ice with red beans, mochi and condensed milk. In Ice Cream City, you don't shave ice and then pour gross syrup on top...NO! In Ice Cream City, they puree Strawberries and freeze it THEN shave it. Genius. Roomie got a Banana Soft Cream in a crepe. I think he liked it.