Tag Archives: tokyo

Q & Kanaru

Q and his daughter Kanaru at the park on Sunday. There is an incredible park at the north end of Harajuku where everyone spreads out on blankets, drinks beer and wine, sits with friends and relax. Kanaru and I built the wooden fortress (foreground) and by the end it must have included over 100 sticks we gathered together. Q is a designer for Mens in Tokyo and has been an excellent curator of cool things in Tokyo.


Tokyo Harajuku Formal Gardens

These are sake barrels wrapped in decoration and donated as a gift. Beautiful.

Prayer cards that you fill out and hang around the tree at the temple.

A traditional Japanese wedding taking place at the temple. Did you know – 5 years ago on my first trip to Tokyo, I was recently engaged to Mauri and I came home and recommended that we get married at this temple. I thought it was such a cool setting!


Aaoyama Cemetary – Tokyo

There is a famous cemetery directly across the street from my apartment. In fact my window looks out on it. I was finally able to walk through it and spent nearly an hour wandering through. It was absolutely beautiful. What struck me was the mix of Japanese locals and also ex-patriots. Evidently this is where rich people were buried around the turn of the century with many graves marked for Christian missionaries around the year 1900 or earlier. There was also a lot of very nicely kept plots for Japanese locals, evidently most people are cremated in Japan so the proximity of each site to the next is very tight.

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Never Trust a Skinny Chef! Tokyo Eating Local

My co-worker Q took me to my new favorite secret spot in Tokyo – a traditional watering hole where Japanese men go after work for “dinner” which basically consists of anything and everything you can possibly imagine – lightly fried. And the beer is ice cold. This was the view from where I was standing – you see – everyone stands in this dinner spot – no sitting.

Once again, each wooden stick represents a different lightly fried item. Yummy yummy in my tummy. My favorite was the shrimp, although the green bell pepper was also interesting.

Exterior of my new favorite after work spot.

This was my lunch on the same day. A traditional Japanese lunch spot around the corner from work and my apartment. Soba lunch. Includes cold noodles, tempura vegetables, hot tea, and we added a Miso Soup. It was delicious. The way you eat it is pour a ‘special’ sauce into the empty small bowl and then add the onion and wasabi. Then dunk your cold noodles into the sauce and slurp them up as loud as possible. You can also dunk your tempura vegetables into the magic sauce as well. Then, once you get close to finished with your lunch, they bring out a teapot that is filled with steaming hot broth that they use to cook the noodles in. You drink this to warm your soul. Amazing!

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Tokyo: Eating Local

Interior of a little hole in the wall Japanese French spot in Ginza. Only seats 20 people with no venting so the entire place stinks of meat-smoke. But so, so good.

Same spot. Each one of these wooden sticks was served with 4 pieces of meat per stick. Do the math! Delicacies included steak, pork 4 different ways, foie gras, liver, and others. I literally woke up in the middle of the night with a meat hangover.

Name and Menu for the meat place in Ginza. It is in a semi-dark alley, behind the Gucci, across the street from the BEAMS store. Not a word of English is spoken in the place.

Menu at my lunch spot I ate at yesterday by myself.

My lunch yesterday. My favorite. Unagi over rice. Why can’t this become a standard meal in US? everyone loves Unagi sushi…

Menu for dinner last night. My co-workers Tomi and Takashi took me to their favorite local Japanese restaurant. Again, down a semi-dark alley, in the basement (there is a lot of basement restaurants in Tokyo). Food was fantastic, and the drinks were even better! Soju and cold green tea is my new favorite cocktail. I also tried a traditional Japanese hot cocktail which is a peeled Japanese plum in the bottom of the glass and then you add Soju and hot water. The plum flavors the cocktail as subtly or strongly as you desire (depending on how much you poke and prod the plum). My favorite food dish was at the end of the meal, they served a bowl of rice and seaweed over which you pour hot green tea. It was delicious. Oh, and did I mention that everyone smokes in Tokyo, including IN the restaurants.


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Tokyo: Office Worker

As you can see, I’m getting a chance to fulfill a certain fantasy of being a faceless, nameless office drone in the middle of a sea of cubes. The office in so incredibly quiet that I hear the humming of my neighbors computer the entire day.

We’re on the 19th floor. I walk to work everyday. It takes about 12 minutes. Along the way I pass at least 3 Starbucks.


Tokyo Day 2: Walkabout

These vending machines are EVERYWHERE around the city and they are amazing. All different flavors of Japanese teas and coffees but what is amazing is that they deliver the drinks in the bottles or cans HOT & COLD. Much to my surprise I bought a can of Ice Late assuming it must be cold since it is a vending machine carrying ice teas, but shock and awe when I pulled it out of the tray and it was piping hot to the touch.

Menu at an amazing little bakery I discovered. Obviously loved that there wasn’t a hint of English – or tourist – about the place. It was called Bread.Espresso and is definitely my new go-to spot for cafe dining in the neighborhood of Harajuku. This spot is about 10 minutes walk from my apartment.


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Tokyo Day 1: Grocery Shopping

Upon arriving to my ice cold service apartment on my first night, I was starving so I walked around the corner to my local corner store. Needless to say there was some culture shock when faced with my food options. Noodles, noodles, and more noodles.

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