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    Santa Clara, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Japan is hardly starving and butter is not that popular in Japan. Rice may come under pressure but since it's a protected industry it's highly unlikely.
  2. This is a little late since I was there a month ago but I went, I tried, I enjoyed, I'm happy. It's a small place, extremely friendly and best of all, Ivan is behind the counter and very willing to speak to anyone who wants to make English conversation. Basically, you sit, order, pay and then wait. He collects the money before you're served to avoid holding you up when you're done. This place has a very high turnover of people with people usually waiting so he said he does it for efficiency's sake. You're not more than 2-3 meters away from the woks so you get a good view of how everything is prepared. The noodles are hand made everyday by Ivan and are truly delicious. Apparently Mr. Orkin, an American expat living in Japan with his Japanese wife, was inspired by Momofuku in New York: Has anybody been to Ivan Ramen? ← ←
  3. Do you know who does the rating? How are they chosen and are they experts in Japanese cuisine?
  4. Sounds like it's worth a try. I will be in Kami-Kitazawa in December so I'll definitely make an effort to try it out. http://www.ivanramen.com/aboutus.html Apparently Mr. Orkin, an American expat living in Japan with his Japanese wife, was inspired by Momofuku in New York: Has anybody been to Ivan Ramen? ←
  5. Is this 5-hours net of transportation to and from the airport, check-in time, passport control, immigration, etc.? Figure about 2 hours on each end so that would mean at a minimum of 9 hours layover?
  6. It's difficult if you have a child who is a picky eater in my experience. With our son, we don't even try to go to places that have unfamiliar things. Unfortunately, the picky eater in the group, child or adult, is going to be the gating factor in your opportunity to enjoy new things. I know about the sauce thing, my nephew used to be that way when he was younger but he outgrew it. I was a picky eater when I was a child but I usually got around it by eating snacks or something that my parents could bring along to tide me over while everyone else enjoyed their meals. Your best bet is going to probably be department store basements where she can choose something she likes or perhaps a family style restaurant like Skylark where there is significant variety of choices.
  7. "Ebi katsu naka maki set" might mean: Ebi, Katsu naka maki, Set (including kappa and tekka maki, etc.) Just a gaijin perspective. I don't understand the Japanese on the label, even though I'm a native Japanese... Ebi katsu naka maki set Ebi katsu = Shrimp cutlet? Naka maki = Roll with something in it? ←
  8. Fugu is definitely in the winter. I think o-toro is fine all year round. The others, I'm not sure about. In general, I prefer the fishes that seem to be in season during the coldest part of winter for some reason.
  9. Hiroyuki-san, Thank you for discussing this. Even my wife (from Yamanashi) did not know about the softer water. She knew about the salt and stronger taste, though.
  10. I live in Northern California and we have a few "authentic" restaurants, frequented by Japanese expats and a handful of non-Japanese. The problem for these restaurants is survival. Do you Americanize to broaden your customer base? If you decide to do that, can you still preserve your expat customer base? These are difficult questions. For the most part, Japanese food in the US (I've sampled it in at least 50 US cities) varies from pretty authentic to outright fraud, the worst being the large mall food courts which serve something that I wouldn't even feed to a dog or cat. Many "Japanese" restaurants are owned by non-Japanese and they always share one characteristic, that being cutting corners in terms of quality and freshness. (I'm not even including service and cleanliness into this discussion.) Let me say that there are exceptions to this rule that come to mind and one of them is the Furaibo franchises in Southern California owned by an American musician who enjoyed it so much while touring Japan he setup franchises in the US. The Americanized places are easy to spot. The first clue is the lack of a Japanese name. But, sometimes, they fake it and use one, anyway. I don't fault the Ministry for going after these places. I hope they succeed.
  11. For me, drinking as much water as I can before going to sleep, getting as much of the poisons out of my system as possible using this method and avoiding dehydration from the alcohol always seems to work well. In fact, I've been almost dead drunk before and just force myself to drink water and stay up until I can sober up a little and that seems to be the best treatment. For me, the dehydration effect of alcohol seems to cause the most headache and stomach upsets. If I don't do this, by the next morning, it's too late.
  12. Read this book: Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother's Tokyo Kitchen by Naomi Moriyama. She defines exactly what you are looking for.
  13. I have some pictures from a trip a few years ago here: http://sotobori.com/tsukiji/index.htm where you can see extensive shots of the auction halls and auctions (now closed to the public).
  14. I will be in Japan in December, perhaps in Niigata. I want to bring home (to California) 10kg of rice for my wife. It seems like there are many varieties of koshihikari. What's good and what's not so good? Is there something specific I should target or just get Niigata koshihikari and that should be good enough?
  15. There's a ramen shop, more like a stand, at the Tsukiji outer market, I think on Shin Ohashi Dori near the National Cancer Center that I always go to when I'm at the market. It's around the corner from Tsukiji Shijo subway station. I found it almost by accident many years ago. I was leaving the market after a sushi breakfast and I was still pretty hungry. This little stand has maybe 3-4 seats with more standup area near the street. What struck me was how crowded it was. This is in an area where there are many booths lined up serving everything from oden to yakisoba to unagi. This ramen shop was by far the most crowded. Here I was, pretty hungry (first morning in Japan after a flight from California) so I tried it and understood why it was so popular. The soup (shoyu ramen only) was just plain good. The couple that runs the stand seems so perfectly in sync with each other, churning out bowls of shoyu ramen as fast as people could order them. Nothing is better on a cold winter morning than a hot bowl of ramen, outside in a little booth. I'm sure there are hundreds of little stands like this that are all over Japan. Charming little shops that serve a competent product and they really focus on what they're doing. I'm wondering how much this place makes, how many long hours this couple puts in. Oh yeah, one other nice feature of this place is the ceramic bowls, no plastic bowls here like the portable ramen stands.
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