Archive for May 2009

Ryokan by Mt. Fuji

May 22, 2009

I wanted to make sure Boyfriend had a true Japanese experience so I booked one night at a ryokan (Japanese Inn) in Kawaguchiko.  Although it was expensive, it was definitely worth it.  We were treated like a King and Queen the night we were there and ate great meals!  Dinner and breakfast were both included.

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Our dinner consisted of seven or eight courses.  Many included the freshest seafood from the area.

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We received a menu of the night’s dishes but since it was all in Japanese, I couldn’t read all the kanji and we didn’t know what we were eating half of the time!  This was fresh sashimi of some sort.

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The teapot had soup in it and we poured it into the teacup to drink. 

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We both went with the beef course and had our own little grill to cook the meat and veggies on.  Later on, they brought out onigiri for us so put on the grill so we could have yaki onigiri!  We also had the option of turning our yaki onigiri into ochazuke.

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This was our view from our balcony.  We had our own rotenburo on the balcony with onsen water flowing in continuously.  As we sat in the bath, we could enjoy the amazing view of Mt. Fuji.

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This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Mt. Fuji.  It was absolutely beautiful waking up to this picturesque view!

Fushimi Inari

May 21, 2009

One place I had wanted to visit for awhile is Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto.  I’ve been to Kyoto numerous times and have seen other temples but never all the famous red torii at Fushimi Inari.

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It was so serene and once we were there, I felt like we were officially in Japan.

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The shrine is at the bottom of a mountain named Inari and there are many trails leading up to smaller shrines.  Inari is the god of business so each torii is donated by a business and their names are carved into the back of each one.

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After walking through the torii and viewing the temples there, we stopped in a random restaurant on the main road.  Boyfriend went with the curry soba and liked it a lot.  He tends to like anything curry flavored though!  I’m actually not a fan of curry udon so I probably would not have liked his dish had I tried it.

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I was intent on eating inari sushi since we were at Fushimi Inari.  I went with zaru udon (cold udon that you dip in sauce) and inari sushi on the side.  The inari were quite sweet

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My cousin ordered soba with grilled fish in it.  This particular kind of fish is very popular in Kyoto, I believe it is Sabo Ajitei.

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My cousin’s wife went with a yuba udon for her meal.  It looked really good but I was too shy to ask if I could try a bite.  If I ever go back, I’d love to try it.

Eki ben

May 20, 2009

We spent a lot of our time on the train getting from one place to another so we ended up eating a few meals in transit.

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The bento (Japanese boxed lunch) are very convenient and can be found almost anywhere in Japan.  They are sold at convenience stores such as 7-11, in the Depa Chika (see previous post) and at train and bus stations.  Most “eki ben”, or station bento for short, taste great and are reasonably priced.

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The Shinkansen (Bullet Train) is very spacious and clean.  There are people who walk through each car and sell bento and snacks to the passengers and even come by with a trash bag after!  When travelling long distances on the Shink, you will notice the bento choices will change because they sell the food of the region you are travelling through.

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This is a kashiwa bento I bought in Akama (Fukuoka) when we were leaving my Aunt’s house heading to the Mt. Fuji area.  They are known for having great kashiwa bento and we were not disappointed!

Depa Chika

May 19, 2009

There are many great stores attached to the train and bus stations in Japan so you never need to go outside if the weather is undesirable.  It tends to be extremely humid during the summer and it snows during the winter so there are many days that you would rather not fight the elements.

The basement of department stores are known to have wonderful food courts and stations to buy food.  Many people grab lunch in these basements or dinner on the way home.  They are called “depa chika” for short.  (department basement)

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I love looking at the displays because everything is about presentation in Japan.  My aunt had told me that she was making maki sushi for dinner that night otherwise, I definitely would’ve loved to try one of these.

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You can also buy various kinds of rice according to weight.

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They have almost every kind of Japanese food imaginable!  Tempura, tonkatsu, sushi, etc.

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After you are done eating your meal, they always have some wonderful dessert waiting for you too!

Green tea and chocolate!

May 12, 2009

This will be my last post about matcha green tea stuff, I promise!  (for now, at least)

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I ate this tonight.  It was scrumptious.  I wish they were sold in the U.S.   The end.

Maid Cafe

May 3, 2009
Maid Cafes are a big part of otaku culture (Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and video games) in Japan.  Apparently, Maid Cafes are pretty popular right now, specifically in the Akihabara area of Tokyo.  Someone suggested we check one out while in Akihabara and I was intrigued so we decided to go.
 
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As soon as you step out from the train station, you see girls dressed in French maid costumes trying to get you to go to their Maid Cafe.
 
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We chose this Maid Cafe for no particular reason.  As soon as you walk inside, the maids come up to you and say stuff like, “Welcome home Master!  You must’ve had a long day.”
 
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The menu is very simple and standard.  I went with a shrimp rice pilaf and Boyfriend got a dry curry.  All entrees were 1200 yen (!!) and all soft drinks were 600 yen.
 
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 Pictures aren’t allowed inside the restaurant but we snuck a few.  You can PAY to take a picture with a maid and/or have a video made of a conversation you have with them.

I wouldn’t go back to a Maid Cafe although it was interesting to see.  I thought the clientele would be young, lonely, dorky males but there were a lot of females dining there as well.  The married couple sitting next to us even asked for a frequent diner’s card so they can collect points!  I’m glad we saw what a Maid Cafe is like since it’s definitely something unique to the Japanese culture.

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After we ate, while walking around, we saw these cars about a block away.  Otaku culture at it’s finest!


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