One month after the Tokyo trip and I am still day dreaming about it actively. It presented some of the most gratifying experiences that make for such sweet memories in the year of 2012. As I begin to wind it down and I look back at my favorite moments in waking life, I have to admit that those magical two weeks are pretty high up on the list. It was a special way to spend my birthday, and I want to share it with my readers.

I woke up dazed to my birthday, with my hair all over my face and a slow smile growing. As the daystarted, we drank juice at the lobby and then we went to check our e-mail. I walked Mom through one of my favorite routes in Shiodome and we ended up at the Maruetsu Petit, scavenging for plum wine and sparkling apple cider. Instead, we ended up with a bunch of Pocky boxes and some delicious red wine that I would love to get my hands on again. On the way back we stopped by the park and took some photos, then we went on my favorite train ride. The staple of Japan for me is the signature walk to Shimbashi and 20 minute train ride on the JR Yamanote subway line. I know all the stops by heart... along with every other working man and girl taking the line to work.

We got off at Harajuku station and met with Kelly, who showed us a side of Harajuku we had not seen before. The shops were so cute that we stalled 15 minutes more than we probably should have. We met up with Mat and went to eat at a very common family restaurant in Japan — whose name eludes me — that is basically the Japanese Denny's. After that we went for some shopping at Laforet, which promptly tore my wallet in two at Alice and the Pirates. It was a worthy investment in a one-of-a-kind outfit, but it sure gave me an adrenaline rush! Afterwards, we went to take some purikura. It helped soothe the shock from the spending! Purikura is so much fun — can you believe I had not tried it before?

Then is when the magic really started. After we found the building that the Alice Café in Shinjuku is housed at, we started to descend the steps in excitement. When we finally saw it, we noticed the entrance is like a secret book passage. When you are close enough, the door slides to the side to reveal the front desk and a quick view of the maze. On the outside there are displays of plastic food — I love those! — and ephemera for you to take home or to show your friends. It was like magic!

Going into the maze is fun as you make your way to the tables. The booths are little private rooms inside the maze with card symbols everywhere. On the right side, there is a private room with cards hovering above the table in a lovely installation. It would be any cartomancer's dream to have a tarot or Lenormand party in that room! A day of cards, tea and Alice... yes, please!

At the very back there were some lovely alternatives to sit at. The majority of the space is taken up by a heart-shaped table with a chandelier of hearts looming overhead. The booths beside it had colorful murals of Alice and lovely cushioned chairs. We got the tables that had frosted mirrors, chess pieces and wall stickers over glass. The menu was a large storybook presented by Alice herself. Everything was themed and made to look presentable, which is normal for Japanese culture but rare in America. It is my first time trying an egg along with my pasta. At first I was reluctant to sample it, but I warmed up to the idea of it. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!

Overall the food was enjoyable and fairly reasonably priced for the elaborate presentation. We found that the best is always saved for last with the desserts. Unfortunately we didn't get to try any of the themed drinks, but we did get to try some really nice sparkling wine. After my cheeks were flushed from a lively birthday song, we delighted in sweets and in tarot readings. To wind down the night, we took a walk back to Golden Gai and bid good-bye to the Shinjuku nightlife splendor. It was a dream!

This review is tainted by my love for Japan. Can you tell?


  1. I love how they use the bento food art style in the preparation of the food, looks so tasty!

  2. This is such a beautiful post ...

    I read each bit with excitement. What a wonderful and creative place. It suits you well!

    This is one birthday you shall never forget.

    One thinks you now need an Alice in Wonderland deck of cards! I have often seen the antique-looking playing card packs with little sentences from the book on them. They would make a lovely oracle.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Hello Prince Le Normand,

      I wish I could go back to that place to explore! It's such a great place for the imagination, most definitely.

      I think Baba Studio is working on an Alice Tarot, but they are having some major inconceniences. It's sad really, their work is really lovely and I have been excited for the Alice deck for some time now. With Victorian Romantic there were some pretty big losses. Their company dealt them a bad hand : poorly cut tarot decks. They are currently taking it to court.

      I think there is an Alice in Wonderland Tarot in RWS style, but have not yet found a copy for myself.

      Take care!