Anytime Fitness VS Joyfit 24 Gym

Before I get on with Anytime Fitness VS Joyfit 24 Gym, I would like to first apologize for the super long time it took to update the site. A lot of things happened and I just kind of got away from blogging.

I’ve actually moved away from Ikebukuro. I’m currently living in between Otsuka and Sugamo (although closer to Otsuka), which is just one stop away. Ikebukuro is a good place to live to have fun and go out and drink, but sleeping well at night is an entirely different issue. Although there’s not much to do in Otsuka, it is a much more quiet neighborhood. Since Anytime Fitness wasn’t convenient for me anymore, I decided to switch to a closer gym: Joyfit 24. Joyfit 24 is another fitness chain and is also opened 24 hours a day. I think only the ones with 24 in the name are opened 24 hours.

Anytime Fitness VS Joyfit 24 Gym

Anytime Fitness VS Joyfit 24 Gym

There wasn’t much difference between Joyfit 24 and Anytime Fitness, but I do feel that Anytime Fitness has better equipment. The price between the two gyms was around the same, roughly 8000 JPY (including tax). Both gyms are opened 24 hours, 7 days a week. Both gyms also have free lockers and private changing and shower rooms. Equipment for both gyms were fairly taken care of, if not new. The gyms don’t get too busy even during peak hours, but it may vary based on the locations. Obviously, the crowd for these gyms aren’t the hardcore gym rats. Not to be conceited, but I’m usually the most muscular (not strongest) person there. But then again, this is Japan and they’re not particular too concerned about muscles.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Joyfit 24 requires customers to bring separate shoes for the gym. So you’re supposed to bring shoes specifically for the gym and you change into them once you get there. This is very common in Japan, so I wasn’t surprised. Anytime Fitness, didn’t have this policy which was great. Another difference was that Joyfit 24 actually had a free water fountain! Anytime Fitness didn’t. I don’t know if this was just the one location that I went to though.

Hopefully my post about Anytime Fitness VS Joyfit 24 Gym was helpful to you. The differences between the two weren’t big enough to have an affect in the deciding factor of which gym I’d choose. In the end, I was just happy with the more convenient location. Again, I recommend these gyms for the beginner to mid-intermediate level gym goers. Immediately after my workout, I would take my protein shake. I was one of the very few who ever did that at Joyfit 24 and Anytime Fitness in Japan. My point is that I felt I was like a college student attending a middle school in terms of the gym.

Speaking of protein, I recommend buying your protein (other any other supplement) from the following site: I provided a referral code (DPJ857) in the link which will give you a discount of $5 (last time I checked it was).

TIP: What I usually do when ordering protein is I set the filter for price to $10 to $50 via the left menu. This narrows down the whey protein by price. Then I sort the results by “Heaviest” which can be found on the top left area of the results box. What this does is that is shows only whey protein priced from $10 to $50 with the heaviest ones first. The heavier ones are usually the 5LB proteins. When you buy more protein, it usually is cheaper. Then with the price filter I had set above, I know I won’t be spending all my salary on just protein. I also recommend buying more of the same product, rather than buying 4 different products. Some products will give you a discount if you buy a bulk amount starting from 4. Also from time to time, there will be sales where there are massive discounts so be on the lookout for those.

If you want to read more about buying protein powder and supplements in Japan, please check out this post.

How to Apply for a 10 Year Multiple Entry Chinese Visa in Tokyo, Japan

I’ll be heading to Shanghai, China in a month or two for a friend’s marriage, so I needed to get my visa done. I heard that there’s a 10 Year Multiple Entry Chinese Visa in Tokyo, Japan (with each entry having maximum amount of 60 days). With the visa being so for long, of course I wanted to get that even though I’m only going to China for about a week. I did some research online and found out about a travel agency called Weston. Although you can go to the embassy and do it there for probably a cheaper price (not sure exactly how much cheaper), but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle and wait. I learned my lesson the last time I went to the Chinese embassy, and although it was in Japan, the Chinese embassy worker was still incompetent and rude as if she was working in mainland China. You can read more about that incident at Middle Finger to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.

So I went to Weston today, without an appointment, to do the 10 Year Multiple Entry 60 Day Chinese Visa for an American living in Tokyo, Japan. This visa is for 10 years and I can enter and exit as much times as I want during the 10 years. Each time I go, I have a maximum amount of 60 days per stay. So if I want to restart the 60 day limit, I just need to exit and reenter the country. The entire process went super smooth and took about 20 minutes. It’ll probably have only take 10-15 minutes, but the Chinese workers for chit chatting with me about non-visa related matters. They were trying to figure out why an American Chinese living in Tokyo had bad Japanese and Chinese. They don’t speak English, so I was chatting with them with my bad Chinese (Mandarin to be specific). Other than those two Chinese workers, there was also a Japanese worker. Also, I’d like to point out that while the one Chinese worker was working on my visa, she was also talking with the other Chinese worker at the same time. What I’m trying to say is, if she was actually focusing on doing my visa, the whole process would have probably only taken 5-10 minutes. Anyway, the cost of the 10 Year Multiple Entry 60 Day Chinese Visa costs 25,000 yen.

Below are the files I prepared beforehand. You can download the application, as well as a document explaining the visa details, on their website.

  • passport
  • copy of passport
  • resident card
  • copy of resident card
  • visa application form
  • passport photo attached to the application
  • copy of flight confirmation
  • (optional) copy of hotel confirmation

You may have noticed that I don’t have copy of hotel confirmation listed as optional. Why? Well, I booked a place to stay via Airbnb and that doesn’t quality as a hotel confirmation. Luckily, Weston provides a service where they’ll take care of it for you, but it costs an extra 1,000 yen.

I was then asked if I was going to come pick up the visa when it was done, but I asked to have it delivered to my address instead because it only costs 600 yen. From where I live, if I took the train to and from Weston, it’ll cost about the same price so yeah. I was told that I’ll receive my visa in about 4 days. There is an express option, but obviously it’ll cost more.

So in total, I paid 26,600 yen for a 10 Year Multiple Entry 60 Day Chinese Visa that’ll take approximately 4 working days.

Weston Ltd
3-1-18 Nishi-Azabu
Roppongi Newborn Building 4F
Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031

Things to do in Ikebukuro

Are you planning to come to Japan? Are you planning to stay in Tokyo? Are you planning to check out Ikebukuro? Then this is the post for you! I’ve been living in Ikebukuro for about a year now and decided to come up with this list to help people who are thinking about traveling to Ikebukuro. Below are my suggestions for things to do in Ikebukuro.

Getting Around

Before we get started, I strongly urge you to get the app Google Maps. Simply type in a location or address you want to go to and Google Maps will tell you how to get there and how long it’ll take. However, the details are not always 100% correct. I’ve been using Google Maps in Japan for about 2 years now and it’s been correct about 90% of the time. Also, you can bookmark locations so that you can easily find it for future reference. If you need help getting or using the app, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Nearby Eats

  • Mutekiya – Probably one of the most popular ramen restaurants in Ikebukuro. There’s almost always a line. Click here to read my post on Mutekiya.
  • Ichiran – Despite being a ramen chain, this ramen shop is a must. You can even customize your own ramen! Click here to view my post on Ichiran.
  • Hayashiya – An izakaya that specializes in pork, this place is more for the adventurous. They serve pork meat, including the insides, cooked and raw. Expect to wait because this place is always busy. Click here to check out my post on Hayashiya.

Nearby Bars

  • Beer Saurus – Come here if you love beer, especially during Happy Hour where beers are 50% off. This place also has one of the best bar food in Tokyo. Check out my post on Beer Saurus by clicking here.
  • HUB – HUB is a British Pub chain in Japan. Due to its inexpensive prices, a lot of young people come here to drink, especially during Happy Hour.
  • Penguin Bar – Ever thought about drinking with penguins? Now you can! Well, not literally but within view at least. If you don’t mind the fishy smell, then check out the Penguin Bar.

Nearby Cafes

  • Ikefukurou Owl Cafe – I personally have not been here, but do check this place out if you’re into owls. This place is located on the 6th floor in the same building as Mutekiya.
  • Nekorobi Cat Cafe – I haven’t been here as well, but give this place a try if you’re into cats.
  • Swallowtail Butler Cafe – Forget about the maid cafes. Check out the butler cafe!
  • Ikebukuro Danshi BL Gakuen – For those that are interested, this is a BL or Boys’ Love cafe. I haven’t been to it before nor will I ever go, but you can watch this video for more info:
  • Animate Cafe – Watch anime or read manga? Then check out the Animate Cafe. Keep in mind that this place is super busy on the weekend because flocks of female anime lovers visit here. People say Ikebukuro is like the girls’ version of Akihabara. This location has an entire building and almost an entire street worth of anime related establishments.

Nearby Things To Do

  • K-Books Cosplay Store – Even if you have no intention of buying a cosplay outfit, do check this place out because it has almost every anime outfit you can imagine. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up leaving with an outfit on.
  • J-World – An indoor theme park with fun and unique One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball attractions.
  • Sunshine City Aquarium – An aquarium located on the 10th floor of Sunshine City.
  • Pasela Resorts – A resort of cafes, restaurants, karaoke, bars, ballrooms, and more. However, I recommend coming here for karaoke and their honey toasts. Pasela Resorts probably has one of the nicest karaoke rooms in Japan. Click here to view my post on Pasela Resorts in Shinjuku.
  • Round1 – Round1 is like an all-in-one for entertainment. It offers bowling, arcade games, karaoke, billiards, darts, ping pong, and so much more.

Nearby Places To Shop At

  • Sunshine City – A commercial complex that features a variety of facilities including an office building, aquarium, observatory, and shopping center. There are lots of places to shop and eat at here.
  • Parco – One of the most famous shopping centers in Japan, Ikebukuro Parco has about 200 shops and restaurants.
  • Tokyu HandsThe one stop shop for hobby and crafts products unique to Japan.
  • Don Quijote – A discount chain store that’s opened 24 hours and has about everything. This is a good place to buy gifts, such as green tea flavored Kit Kat, for yourself or friends and family back home.
  • Okashi no Machioka – A discount snack and candy shop. Definitely check this place out if you love your sweets and snacks.
  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi – A drugstore chain that sells a variety of beauty and health products.
  • Daiso – A famous franchise store that sells a wide range of products for only 100 yen.
  • Cando – Another 100 yen store that sells a wide range of products, but not as famous as Daiso.
  • Seiyu – A decent sized 24 hour supermarket.
  • Bic Camera – One of the two largest electronic retailers in Japan. The other is Yamada Denki.
  • Yamada Denki – One of the two largest electronic retailers in Japan. The other is Bic Camera.

If you want more information about a specific place, let me know in the comments area and I’ll try and reply as soon as possible.

Here’s a map of all the locations for your reference. Click on a point to view the location name. You can then get directions to that location from where you’re located or a specific address. Furthermore, you can also zoom in on the point or view it from street view to get a better idea of where it is.

Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro

Tired of sitting around? Then why not head over to the standing steak chain Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro! Okay, that was kinda lame but let’s move on! I’ve started seeing this Ikinari Steak chain show up all over Tokyo. When I want to eat steak, I usually think of the Pepper Lunch chain restaurant because there’s one right down the street of where I live. The prices and quality of steak at Pepper Lunch is not bad. Also, they have seats at Pepper Lunch, not that it matters. However, if you want premium steak then check out Ikinari Steak. Apparently, Pepper Lunch and Ikinari Steak are both under the same company.

Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro

Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro

When entering Ikinari Steak, you’re first directed to a steak weighing counter. You tell them what you want to order and how much grams you want. The steak weighing person will then slice a piece of your chosen steak and weigh it right in front of you. He or she will ask you if the weight and price is okay with you. Then, you choose how you want your steak: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done. Next, you can order a combo set (rice and salad) or drink with steak. I wanted to be fancy so I ordered a glass of wine for 500 yen with my steak. After my order, I was led to my standing counter and was given a number and the receipt (you pay afterwards).

Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro

Ikinari Steak in Ikebukuro

The steak came out smoking on a heated iron platter. I recommend putting on a paper bib beforehand. I poured sauce over the sizzling steak and was glad that I had already put on my paper bib because the sauce splattered all over from the sizzling. I also add some grated garlic.

The quality of the steak was nice. The taste of the steak was alright. To be honest, I actually like the steak at Pepper Lunch better. But probably only because the sauce is sweet at Pepper’s. Yeah, I have a sweet tooth.

Below is the lunch and dinner menu for Ikinari Steak as of July 2nd, 2015. For an updated version, as well as other languages of the menu such as Chinese and Korean, please click here.

There are many Ikinari Steak locations all over Tokyo, but since my visit was to the Ikebukuro East Exit location, I’ll list the address for that one.

Ikinari Steak, Ikebukuro East Exit
Hishiyama Building 1F, 1-15-1 Higashiikebukuro

The Manhattan Fish Market in Ikebukuro

If you want something other than Japanese food in Japan, then check out The Manhattan Fish Market in Ikebukuro. Specializing in American-style seafood, this restaurant has one of the best fish and chips in Japan. Apparently, although the name of the restaurant contains “Manhattan” in it, there isn’t even 1 location in the United States. Turns out that this franchise actually originated somewhere in Malaysia or Singapore.

The Manhattan Fish Market in Ikebukuro

The Manhattan Fish Market in Ikebukuro

I went when the restaurant recently opened. There was a dish the “Grand Opening Special”. When I stepped inside, I did notice that there were a lot of foreigners (I’m assuming they were Singaporeans) which was a little surprising since well, we’re in Japan. Anyway, the atmosphere, lighting, and interior was pretty nice. I sat and was brought the menu. Of course, I opened the drinks menu first. Apparently, there are no alcoholic drinks. This is on purpose though. Because of the Halal connection to the restaurant, no alcohol is served in the restaurant. I thought it was pretty interesting because almost every food establishment in Japan serves alcohol. Anyway, no alcohol wasn’t a big deal for me so on we go. There were many types of fish and chips to choose from and also pasta.

I ended up choosing the Grand Opening Special because it was a steal! It contained 2 Gummy Bear drinks, 1 salad, and 1 Manhattan Platter (don’t remember the full name), which came out to only about 3,000 yen. If you got the platter alone, it would have been 3,000 yen. So you do the math. The food was tasted amazing. Furthermore, the was even a small show when the Manhattan Platter was brought out. A worker would light the platter on fire with a lighter in front of your eyes. It was a little dangerous in my opinion because the worker had to work the lighter with one hand and hold onto the platter with the other hand. And the platter’s pretty big. But hey, it wouldn’t be exciting without some danger right? lol. Props to the worker. The sauce they gave wasn’t your average tartar sauce. I think it was probably their own recipe. However, you can get ketchup, regular tartar sauce, and honey mustard upon request. I recommend the honey mustard if you have a sweet tooth. The salad was above average and the Gummy Bear drinks were delicious. The service was great as well.

I really wanted to try the dessert, but we couldn’t finish the food. However, I did get coupons for free dessert next time. If you’re craving for some awesome fish and chips, then I definitely recommend The Manhattan Fish Market in Ikebukuro.

The Manhattan Fish Market, Ikebukuro
Sankei 33 Building B1F, 1 Chome-4-2 Higashiikebukuro