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One week trip to Japan - Page 3

post #31 of 302
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Originally Posted by indesertum View Post
damn

i just thought of pierre herme macarons.

fuuuu. i want some macarons.

saw some at daimaru today. was debating whether to cop.
post #32 of 302
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Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post
Can you read Japanese dude? You seem to have a grasp of some of the terms at least, so I was just wondering.
Here is a user-ranked list of Tokyo restaurants, on the left side, and then down on the right with the stars is a list of Michelin star restuarants, starting with modern French, then traditional French, and so on and so on. There's a few Chinese places on there and a Tempura restaurant with Michelin stars.

http://michelintokyo.blog84.fc2.com/

i actually do not know any japanese besides some basic basic things i learned while doing kendo. also some stuff my friend and my cousin taught me before i got here (like migi, hidari, etc.)

Japanese people are sooooo much more helpful than Korean people. They actually make a genuine effort to help you if you are lost even if they struggle with English. They were incredibly accommodating, which makes my stay a lot more enjoyable. No matter who I'd ask, they were all willing to help. I really respect that part of Japanese culture.

I woke up later than expected today, so I just decided to go to Kurori Ramen for lunch. I wasn't expecting a vending machine menu, so that was a bit flustering. Someone helped explain the choices and I ended up getting the small miso ramen. It was... pretty rich and strong. The broth was thick, garlicky, miso-y, very earthy. I was disappointed there was no egg in the small ramen! The egg that my neighbor had looked so good. The yolk was only slightly cooked and still translucent. Perfectly cooked egg. I think the guy puts a bit of shichimi or something in there, because I saw a few red chili flakes in there and could taste a very subdued heat. I saw a lot of people getting the tsukemen as well, but the miso ramen was more than enough. It was heavy enough to satisfy me the entire day. I decided to skip out on the fugu dinner at Tsukiji because I was still full at 8 PM. I definitely want to make sure I have the capacity to fully enjoy the fugu. That will have to wait until tomorrow :d~ I went to Tokyo Station to visit Edo Castle, but I didn't know it was closed on Fridays, so I wasted a few hours there just walking around Daimaru in Yaesu. I think the Lotte Department Store in Jamsil, Seoul was modeled after Daimaru, because I swear the layout was practically the same (basement is food, men's floor is closer to the top, etc.). I was debating whether to get a Corneliani suit since the 44EU fit pretty well OTR (yay for vanity sized suits?), but I opted not to since they didn't have charcoal I then had a beer at this beer cafe next to the Tourist Information Center in Marunouchi. I tried the BelluVue Kriek because they had it on tap and it was the only beer I didn't have before on their relatively limited menu (they still had some of the more known belgians, which is better than anything you can get in Korea, despite being exorbitantly expensive -_-). Wasn't really a fan. Tasted a bit sour and very fruity... cherries, I think? I then walked around Shinjuku and Harajuku. I was hoping to find a store that sold Robert Geller in hopes of trying on some of his frames (and hopefully buying!), but I had no luck. I did find the Opening Ceremony and BAPE stores. They said they had Common Projects on their sign, so I got excited because I thought I'd finally be able to find some smaller sized CPs, but they didn't have any CPs in the store. The store offerings were relatively limited despite being 7 floors high. They did have BoO and NdG, but the NdG offerings were kind of boring and BoO was ridiculously priced. I did see wooyoungmi, which I wasn't expecting, though I'm surprised I didn't see Junya Watanabe or Juun J. I had a crepe at Harajuku because my friend kept insisting that I had to try it if I went to Japan. I was kind of disappointed, but I think my friend totally overhyped it. Perhaps if the strawberries were a bit fresher it would have been better.
post #33 of 302
you dont want to buy non japanese clothing in japan. things are like 40% above retail
post #34 of 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post
Don't limit yourself to just Japanese food in Tokyo, since you're going out to Kyoto and Kansai anyway. You can get some French and Italian there that is spectacular, especially since you're visiting from America. Just be sure to eat it for lunch and not dinner unless you're ballin out of control. Hell, even the burgers and bread are mindblowingly good, the bread is better than anything available in the USA.

Good point. I think that is the beauty of Tokyo now. Other cities are nice too, but you can't get burgers that are better than most in the U.S., and practically any other cuisine as good (or sometimes better) as the real deal.
post #35 of 302
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, just keeping you posted on my trip throughout Japan. Today I went to Sushi Bun for an early lunch. Surprisingly, Sushi Dai had fewer people but I decided to go to Sushi Bun instead. The wait was about 45 minutes and they gave some cold tea to drink as you waited. The highlight of the Set C omakase wasn't the ohtoro but the uni. Oh my god, it was so delicious. Sweet, creamy, rich, with that slight taste of the sea, this uni is unlike any of the uni I've had before. Even the uni I had straight from the shell wasn't as good as this. Also great was the anago. Literally just broke apart in my mouth and melted. The guy told me to eat it with my hands because it was too soft to eat with chopsticks. A wise man indeed. There was also something else that came with the uni, but I don't know what it was. It was a lot of cut up pieces of something that had yellow and orange parts. Kind of looked like sea squirt but it tasted different, so I don't know what it was. Anyway, I was almost in tears during the middle of the meal. The sushi rice, the wasabi, everything was superb. One person there recognized that I was Korean based on how I paid my bill, which was kind of interesting. An amazing lunch and I regret that I won't be able to have this again for a while.

Then, I went to Ginza because my friend told me to check it out. As soon as I walked out of the Ginza station, I was in front of the Dior store. It's like I was destined to go there from the start, hahahaha. Anyway, as soon as I went in, I started looking through the jean collection. I saw they had the private colognes that Hedi designed during his tenure (Amber Nuit, Cologne Blanche, Bois d'Argent, and I think the last one was Eau Noire?), but they were like 240 dollars a bottle. I passed, but I really enjoyed Amber Nuit. Anyway, the first pair of jeans I decided to look at was my "grail" item of the MIJ line, which was a size 28 silver selvedge 19cm. I thought I could fit into the 27, but they were a bit too tight. The 28 was a PERFECT fit off the rack (albeit a bit long for my 5'6" stature). They were ridiculously expensive, but the ecstasy from the sushi I had just an hour ago was lingering, and I totally went on the impulse buy. Do I regret it? My wallet does, but I don't. Perhaps once I start starving to make up for the purchase I will start regretting it.

I then revisited the Imperial Palace since I wasn't able to go inside last time. It's more like.....a large walking course since most of the buildings are gone now. Kind of meh. It was around 5 PM at this point, so I decided to head back to Tsukiji to try fugu. Upon arriving, I saw that they were having a matsuri at some Buddhist temple. I walked around, but I didn't want to ruin my appetite, so I opted not to eat anything. Tentake was relatively easy to find compared to Sushi Bun. I recognized the character for heaven, so it made finding it a bit easier Also they had a giant blowfish, but that's besides the point. I originally ordered the Tsukiji set, which is all blowfish dishes, but in a split moment of wanting to eat other things besides fugu (possibly a moment of stupidity on my part) and because of all the foods I haven't been able to eat in Japan yet, I decided to switch my order to the slightly more expensive set, which also had more of the fugu sashimi. The highlight of the full course was definitely the sashimi, but I don't think it was worth paying an extra 1500 yen for it (they replaced some of the blowfish dishes with yakitori and shrimp tempura. I think specifically it was the vinegared fugu and the fugu kare-age, was it? fugu tempura). The sashimi was tora fugu and it has...very little taste. It's very subtle, kind of similar to fluke, but it's much chewier and has a smoother texture. It came with a slight sour sauce that seemed to have a soy sauce base, which tasted pretty good. I think it would have been better if I had it during winter, which I read was fugu season. The yakitori was all right, but the shrimp tempura was absolutely perfect. Generally, in the US, shrimp tempura is overcooked and cooked for too long at a low temperature, so it gets really greasy and kind of soggy. This was perfectly cooked. The shrimp was large, yet extremely soft and tender, and the tempura batter did not taste greasy at all. The fugu sushi was.... really bad. The sushi rice just fell apart on the plate and the guy used too much rice vinegar, so you couldn't really appreciate the rice or the sushi. Also, the fugu was cooked, which I found to be a bit disappointing for sushi. Raw fugu is much much better than cooked fugu. Next, they came out with some sushi nabe. This was when everything started to go downhill. They sent their novice waitress who just dumped all the fugu in at once before even starting to cook the vegetables. Granted, it's because the head waitress told her something about foreigners not liking something (i heard gaijin and kirai so...), so I assume she thought I wouldn't eat it if the meat were undercooked. Really bad service on their part, IMO. The fugu was then overcooked because I couldn't possibly eat everything fast enough, and I didn't have enough space to put it on the tiny bowl they give you. I would have preferred to just eat each piece of fugu as if I were eating shabu shabu. Like fugu itself, the broth was similarly very light and could have used a bit of salt or something. Very disappointed in how they automatically assumed I wouldn't know how to eat fugu. But what's worse is that after the nabe, they make you porridge with the remaining broth. Jesus christ, the girl did not even know how to make porridge. She left way too much soup and cooked it at way too high of a temperature. She didn't even season it enough so it tasted literally like nothing. When she started serving me the porridge, it was more like soup and rice instead of porridge. I got kind of annoyed after the whole nabe incident so I just asked her to leave the fire on and I just cooked the porridge on my own. I also ordered some fugu tail sake, which is basically just a smoked fugu tail that they add flaming sake to. It was quite nice. Very smooth, nice nutty taste, and a slight smokiness. Total cost came out to 9480 yen (a large bottle of sapporo, fugu full course, and the fugu tail sake). I was kind of disappointed in the service, as I paid more than any of the other patrons there, but I received far less attention than the other customers did. The other people just ordered a single serving of the fugu nabe or something. I think they kind of looked down on me because I was a foreigner. Lame

As for the final leg of my night, I decided to head to Asakusa to see the Sennoji Temple, even though it was closed. I was also hoping there would be another matsuri around the area. Sennoji was nice, but I think it would have been much better if I had visited during the day. I think traditional Asian buildings were made to look nice in the sunlight, unlike most modern buildings. Regardless, it was a nice walk. There was indeed a matsuri going around here too, but it was much smaller than the one at Tsukiji. It was kind of getting late so I decided to head to Roppongi Hill to see what it was all about. Roppongi... is boring unless you have friends here. I didn't want to drink by myself so I just back to my hotel room.

I'm debating whether I should check out Tokyo Tower before I head to Hakone tomorrow. Is it worth it, or is it only nice at night? I was originally just planning on going to Hakone after I checked out from my hotel. I was thinking of checking out Mt. Fuji from around there and maybe chilling for a bit at an onsen. I don't really know much about Hakone or how to even get to Mt. Fuji from the Hakone station, so I should probably look that up before I head out tomorrow.
post #36 of 302
If you want to cop the grail, you gotta go to the Hotel New Otani's patisserie called 'Satsuki' - there's a cake there called the Super Melon/Peach Shortcake, it's limited to 40 slices from 11am each day and it's $15-30 a slice depending on if you get melon or peach. I imagine you will be in line with 50 other Japanese women so it could be fun. The cake of course, will be insane. There's a Pierre Herme next door if the cake isn't enough.
post #37 of 302
+1 on the Sushibun uni. That is what good, Japanese uni tastes like, and it doesn't have to come right out of the shell. Was the other sushi you couldn't identify sort of white/creamy? If so, that is another one of their specialties, called "shirako." Congratulations! You just ate sperm filled testicles of the anglerfish Actually, if you did eat that, you were lucky, because this one has be very fresh and high quality to get that excellent taste. It's difficult to get uni and shirako any better than one you had in Japan, and probably impossible in other countries.

post #38 of 302
I still highly recommend you try "oyakodon" in the Tsukiji outer market. It's a great chance to try Japanese food other than seafood. Like Sushibun uni and shirako, this oyakodon is the best you can have, with very high quality chicken and eggs. The technique of the chef is also the best of the best. This is highly recommended for a quick lunch under 1000JPY. The place is called 南ばら亭 (Nanbaratei?) enter this addres in Google: 東京都中央区築地4-14-14 It's just a little counter with 3 seats and 2 extremely small tables, so you have keep your eyes open to find it. If you still have time or looking for quick lunch, check it out.
post #39 of 302
Try going to Mt. Fuji at around 7-10pm. It takes about 7-9 hours to reach the top. And it's really cold at the top, so dress warmly. But you should be able to reach the top when the sun is starting to rise. It's an amazing view. You're going to be wiped out, but it's worth it. Haha, and good luck with 3-5 hrs getting down the damn thing. You might be in bed after that for a while.
post #40 of 302
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Originally Posted by ryoneo View Post
Try going to Mt. Fuji at around 7-10pm. It takes about 7-9 hours to reach the top. And it's really cold at the top, so dress warmly. But you should be able to reach the top when the sun is starting to rise. It's an amazing view. You're going to be wiped out, but it's worth it. Haha, and good luck with 3-5 hrs getting down the damn thing. You might be in bed after that for a while.

I don't have the physical strength to climb Mt. Fuji I'm dying from walking around Tokyo every day for like 11 hours as is. Also, I have to get to Kyoto tonight or else my hotel reservation will be canceled. I'll probably just stay at an onsen in Hakone and go to Kyoto from there.
post #41 of 302
I'm very sorry for the bum recommendation on Tentake. Next time, if here during the season for wild fugu (Oct -April), would probably recommend a place like Hamato, gourmet livedoor review - Jpn , map ... I would hate to think they did so, but I am wondering when you heard the words "gaijin" (foreigner; informal or can be slightly derogatory depending on the context) and "kirai" (hate) in one sentence whether she was indicating that she "hated foreigners". It's something I've unfortunately witnessed or had happen to me a few times albeit rarely in Japan. The sauce you had with the fugu was probably ponzu OBon holidays will start from the 13th but the rush will probably start a bit earlier so don't be surprised if you suddenly encounter jam-packed Shinkansen (bullet train) rides as people first try to visit their hometowns or head for overseas vacations. Hyperdia and Jorudan can be useful for figuring out trips throughout Japan, however they aren't perfect. Usually at most large JR (Japan Rail) stations like Tokyo and Shinjuku, there are also affiliated travel agencies who can help you figure out trip logistics to places like Hakone. If just going to Tokyo to Kyoto however, it's a lot simpler ... just go by Shinkansen.
post #42 of 302
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon View Post
+1 on the Sushibun uni. That is what good, Japanese uni tastes like, and it doesn't have to come right out of the shell. Was the other sushi you couldn't identify sort of white/creamy? If so, that is another one of their specialties, called "shirako." Congratulations! You just ate sperm filled testicles of the anglerfish Actually, if you did eat that, you were lucky, because this one has be very fresh and high quality to get that excellent taste. It's difficult to get uni and shirako any better than one you had in Japan, and probably impossible in other countries.


Ah, yeah that was what I had! Thanks
post #43 of 302
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Originally Posted by blackjack View Post
I'm very sorry for the bum recommendation on Tentake. Next time, if here during the season for wild fugu (Oct -April), would probably recommend a place like Hamato, gourmet livedoor review - Jpn , map ...

I would hate to think they did so, but I am wondering when you heard the words "gaijin" (foreigner; informal or can be slightly derogatory depending on the context) and "kirai" (hate) in one sentence whether she was indicating that she "hated foreigners". It's something I've unfortunately witnessed or had happen to me a few times albeit rarely in Japan.

The sauce you had with the fugu was probably ponzu

OBon holidays will start from the 13th but the rush will probably start a bit earlier so don't be surprised if you suddenly encounter jam-packed Shinkansen (bullet train) rides as people first try to visit their hometowns or head for overseas vacations.

Hyperdia and Jorudan can be useful for figuring out trips throughout Japan, however they aren't perfect. Usually at most large JR (Japan Rail) stations like Tokyo and Shinjuku, there are also affiliated travel agencies who can help you figure out trip logistics to places like Hakone. If just going to Tokyo to Kyoto however, it's a lot simpler ... just go by Shinkansen.

No worries! It was still a really fun experience. I had a lot of fun at Tsukiji regardless

I just arrived at Kyoto about two hours ago after stopping by Hakone around noon. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to Mt. Fuji directly since I didn't have enough time I was originally planning on going to Lake Ashi to see it, since it's only 40 minutes from the Hakone-Yumoto station, but it was too cloudy today. I did stay at an onsen for a little bit. It was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep in the outdoor bath. Much cleaner than the saunas/spas in Korea. Since I couldn't go to Mt. Fuji, I decided to walk around and ended up at Senso-ji. It was nice walking around there, but I think I could have spent my time a bit better if I had gone to Hakone Shrine instead. If only I didn't spend so much time walking around and eating manju .

Since the Shinkansen to Kyoto was connected to Odawara, I decided to go to Odawara Castle. I only had about an hour to walk around, so I just looked at the castle from outside and walked around the temple near there. It was very annoying because all the coin lockers were full, so I had to carry around my luggage for the hour I walked around.

The Shinkansen was very nice, but I wish they had an electric outlet like they do on the NEX. They were out of reserved seats, so I got a seat on the green car because I thought you had to stand if you got a non-reserved pass. I definitely did not want to stand for the entire two hour+ ride. I got one of those bento boxes at a store in the terminal to eat on the Shinkansen. As expected, it wasn't that great, but it was enough to satisfy my empty stomach.

My hotel in Kyoto was very easy to find, so I'm just relaxing tonight. Probably going to catch up on the sleep I missed earlier tonight. I don't really know what to do in Kyoto besides visiting the Ginkaku and Kinkaku Shrines. I don't think I have the time or the money to enjoy kaiseki-ryori in Kyoto, so what are some other options that would be worth indulging in during my last few days in Japan? Thanks for all the suggestions
post #44 of 302
If your budget, won't allow a $200+ kaiseki dinner at a place like Hyotei (review), there are plenty of alternatives. For example, Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen is a 400 year-old summer mansion of some former samurai daimyo and offers very reasonably priced kaiseki fare. When I went with a few friends, they guided us through a very nice Japanese garden - complete with waterfall - out to a riverside terrace. (Something tells me one needs to specifically request the riverside deck although the other dining rooms are also nice and overlook the garden). I think if the weather was nice, it would also have be an awesome place to enjoy lunch. All the restaurants in that area back out onto the Kamo river and have similar riverside decks from May to September - they are referred to as "yuka".

Another type of regional cuisine you might want to check out is "yuba" This restaurant chain (owned by a yuba maker) offers full course tasting menus from $30 to $70 depending on the restaurant. This reviewer went to the Komame-ya Nijyo branch and chose a $30 course.

The bento.com Kyoto guide is worth skimming for ideas. For example, while it won't have near the impact and appeal of Tsukiji, walking through Nishiki Market to look at the various delicacies like pickles, sweets, tea, crackers, spices etc might still be worth it. More here.

Also, I'd definitely recommend the tour at the Geikkikan Sake Museum (they will close for OBon so best to call and make sure they're open). It's a working sake brewery that is over 400 years old.

Another option might be to tour Kyoto on a bicycle.

Check out any festivals that appeal to you on these English-language schedules: here and here.


Finally, if for some silly pathetic reason, you cave in and visit the British pub Pig & Whistle, you might run into a fat old obnoxious Canadian dressed in yukata perving on 16 year old Japanese girls.

His name is Peter Macintosh. A search on the Internet yields some choice comments:

Quote:
I ran into him in a bar in Kyoto once. He wouldn't shut up about geisha. I tried to politely tell him that I had no interest in that sort of thing, but he deemed it important to tell me all about how respected he is in the geisha community, and how special it is for foreigners, etc. He just struck me as entirely indifferent to social cues, so I went to another bar instead. That website really does a good job of showing exactly how he was in person -- self-important and not so interesting.

Of all the places I've been in Japan, I seem to run into more foreign weirdos in Kyoto than anywhere else. Is it something in the water?



Quote:
Out here in Kyoto we've got an ugly middle aged white guy who waddles around downtown in a yukata and clompy shoes. Apparently he's someone who does something, traditional tours or somesuch. One day some of my Asian American friends are drinking outside a club when he clomps up and begins hitting on the in awkward way that waddly white guys will. When they being to laugh at him in English he starts screaming that he knew they weren't Japanese anyway. Because they're fat. Fat bitches! And clomped off sniffling.

I've run across him half a dozen times. Hate his face.
post #45 of 302
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion on the kaiseki-ryori! It was a really nice place.

Also just wanted to say that I saw like three people wearing that ugly leopard print shirt that Uncontrol wore in Tokyo. I can't believe people wear that shit.
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