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Palladion

Tales (and pictures!) of trips in Japan

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Yeah I totally meant Gifu-ken. *coughs*

The grilled meringue was awesome. Awesome. Crunchy and soft, simultaneously.

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Yeah, in retrospect they must be potatoes. They were surrounded by pears and apples, so at the time I thought they were some strange exotic fruit.

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Oh boy. Now I don't know. When I think back, they weren't dirty like potatoes tend to be , but I didn't pick them up. I rather thought the good graces of the market ladies were already being strained by the boatloads of foreign tourists making funny faces at the miso. I should have asked, really, but my Japanese was really put to the test here, and I was afraid of embarrassing myself. I often know just enough Japanese to fool people into thinking I know a lot more than I do.

They really looked like picture six from your line-up. What are akebi? How do you eat them? Are they sweet? Was I a fool not to have bought them?

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You don't know akebi or akebia in English?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akebia

It's slightly sweet. When it's ripe, it will crack open by itself. You have the whitish substance (which contains black seeds) inside the shell. I mean, you just put the substance in you mouth, enjoy the somewhat jelly-like substance, and then spit out the seeds.

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You don't know akebi or akebia in English?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akebia

It's slightly sweet.  When it's ripe, it will crack open by itself.  You have the whitish substance (which contains black seeds) inside the shell.  I mean, you just put the substance in you mouth, enjoy the somewhat jelly-like substance, and then spit out the seeds.

I think Hiroyuki is right. If you look at one of the akebi on the left side, it's split just like the akebi in one of the google search pics.

I don't think I've ever seen akebi in Canada, at least not at a regular supermarket.

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I don't know where to post this info, but I just wanted to tell you that the Tsukiji Fish Market is off limit to visitors from Dec. 15 to Jan. 17, and it may be so indefinitely.

News story

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That's a shame! I hadn't realized it had become such a popular tourist attraction. When I visited it with a Japanese friend about 18 years ago, I was one of only a handful of foreigners there.

This coming Saturday, my 12 year old daughter and I are off to Japan for a three-week vacation. (For those of you who might not know, my husband passed away in July and we don't want to spend the holidays at home, where there are too many memories.)

We'll be spending Christmas with an American friend who lives in Tokyo, then will travel to Kyoto for several days (including an overnight stay at a Zen temple), and spend the New Year's holidays at the home of a Japanese friend who lives near Mount Fuji. Along the way, we'll also stay overnight at a ryokan that has a rotenburo (outdoor bath), and meet Torakris in Yokahama!

Food, of course, will be a major highlight of our travels. I hope to have lots of photos to post when we return. :biggrin:


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Can't wait to hear about your trip!

It's only the tuna auction that's closed to tourists, as I understand it. They were really getting in the way of business, and they tuna auction is a business that doesn't need distractions (poking the fish? Where are these tourists from?). The rest of Tsukiji is still open, though, so if you're interested in seeing the rest of the market, you can still go.

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Rona is right. Only the tuna auction. I jumped to the conclusion that the entire jonai (inner) market would be off limits to visitors.

I've watched news programs on TV for a few days, and the behavior of some of the visitors is simply appaling. Drinking, smoking, jumping on the vehicle, and licking the tuna :angry:

SuzySushi: Like Rona, I'm looking forward to your stories!

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Rona is right.  Only the tuna auction.  I jumped to the conclusion that the entire jonai (inner) market would be off limits to visitors.

I've watched news programs on TV for a few days, and the behavior of some of the visitors is simply appaling.  Drinking, smoking, jumping on the vehicle, and licking the tuna :angry:

SuzySushi:  Like Rona, I'm looking forward to your stories!

Licking the tuna??? My God, where do these people get their manners??? :shock:


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Can't wait to hear about your trip!

It's only the tuna auction that's closed to tourists, as I understand it.  They were really getting in the way of business, and they tuna auction is a business that doesn't need distractions (poking the fish?  Where are these tourists from?).  The rest of Tsukiji is still open, though, so if you're interested in seeing the rest of the market, you can still go.

Actually, I think we'll skip Tsukiji this trip. Our friend lives in the western Tokyo suburbs, and we really don't want to get up in the wee hours of the morning to travel there. Plenty of other things to see!


Edited by SuzySushi (log)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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That's a shame! I hadn't realized it had become such a popular tourist attraction. When I visited it with a Japanese friend about 18 years ago, I was one of only a handful of foreigners there.

This coming Saturday, my 12 year old daughter and I are off to Japan for a three-week vacation. (For those of you who might not know, my husband passed away in July and we don't want to spend the holidays at home, where there are too many memories.)

We'll be spending Christmas with an American friend who lives in Tokyo, then will travel to Kyoto for several days (including an overnight stay at a Zen temple), and spend the New Year's holidays at the home of a Japanese friend who lives near Mount Fuji. Along the way, we'll also stay overnight at a ryokan that has a rotenburo (outdoor bath), and meet Torakris in Yokahama!

Food, of course, will be a major highlight of our travels. I hope to have lots of photos to post when we return.  :biggrin:

Oh Suzy, I am so sorry to hear about your loss :sad:

Looking forward to your photos though! I was at Tsukiji around this time last year (on my birthday, no less!) and I had the best birthday breakfast ever!

I wish I were back in Japan! I wish I'd spent more time wandering around Kiyomizu-dera & in Arashiyama - so much to see & buy!

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That's a shame! I hadn't realized it had

Oh Suzy, I am so sorry to hear about your loss  :sad:

Looking forward to your photos though!  I was at Tsukiji around this time last year (on my birthday, no less!) and I had the best birthday breakfast ever!

I wish I were back in Japan!  I wish I'd spent more time wandering around Kiyomizu-dera & in Arashiyama - so much to see & buy!

Thank you, Chocomoo.

I don't recall if I've been to Arashiyama. On previous trips to Kyoto, friends drove me/dragged me around so my mental map of the city is confused! I love Kiyomizu-dera and the little street of pottery shops leading to it. Both are places we'd like to visit this trip. :smile:


Edited by SuzySushi (log)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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If you do go to Arashiyama, there's a branch of a shop that sells little figurines that are made from silkworm cocoons :blink: They're actually quite cute - I bought a figure of couple of koi for my uncle (who has a pond in his backyard) but now I regret not buying one for myself!! There's also a branch of a store that sells figurines made from Japanese cloth (I don't remember the name of the kind of cloth) - my friend & I bought a whole bunch of cute veggies (bamboo shoot, a bunch of asparagus, eggplant, lettuce, radish, and something else I'm forgetting) and a basket to put them in.

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Tuna auctions at the Tsukiji Fish Market are now open to visitors.

For more information, click here.

The famed Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo will allow tourists to resume watching its early-morning tuna auctions from Jan. 19 after a monthlong ban instituted in mid-December ends on Jan. 17, Tokyo government officials said Saturday.

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Just a brief note since some of you may have spotted me around browsing eGullet:

I'm back from a fabulous 3-week trip to Japan. We (my 12 y.o. daughter and I) were there over Christmas and New Year's, staying at the homes of (and traveling with) friends. We visited Tokyo, Chichibu, Kyoto, and Yokohama -- the latter where we met and stayed with Kristin Yamaguchi (aka Torakris) -- always eating well.

I've lots to tell, but not enough time to post and link to my photos on ImageGullet. (I'm on deadline till mid-February.) All my food photos (about 40 of them) are on ImageGullet but about half are in the wrong folder (they were all meant to be in my Japan folder).

For any of you who are impatient, you can view them under my name on ImageGullet -- or you can see all 435 of my Japan photos with titles and captions at my Flickr account (same user name).


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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SuzySushi--I tried to find you on flickr but you don't seem to exist (except I found your picture from and old eG get-together in Hawaii!). Same user name?

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SuzySushi--I tried to find you on flickr but you don't seem to exist (except I found your picture from and old eG get-together in Hawaii!).  Same user name?

Same user name. Here's a direct link to my Japan set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzysushi/set...57612431673408/


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Same user name. Here's a direct link to my Japan set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzysushi/set...57612431673408/

Thanks! If you search for it, it's actually not under suzysushi anymore, but under what I assume is your real name. I think that's why I had such a hard time finding it.

I love how your daughter already has the "peace sign" down pat! And she looks so happy. I'm glad to see that she had a great time, despite the underlying reason for your visit. And I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to meet you like torakris did! I'm always missing out on everything! :sad:

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Maybe next trip (don't know when, but there's bound to be a "next"...) we'll get more toward your neck of the woods! Japan isn't that large a country, but we had a lot of places and people to cram into only a few weeks (and over the holidays, yet)! :cool:


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Hi all – just back from a whirlwind 4 days’ eating and drinking in Tokyo. I’ve been to Tokyo many times before, but my boyfriend had never been, so this was a sort of spontaneous surprise for him I booked only about two weeks ago and have planned feverishly since.

A few disclaimers re what’s to follow. There’s nothing innovative or original in the way of food choices – BF is not exactly unadventurous but he's not EXCITED by food like I am. He's quite utilitarian about it. I joke that food to him is just "face input, bum output" - to be fair, he's not fussy at all and doesn't dislike trying new things, and will happily eat whatever’s put in front of him; it just has to be put in front of him, and quickly, or it wouldn't occur to him that there are more exciting things to eat in Tokyo than chicken sandwiches or spaghetti bolognese. :smile:

The tendency to want to eat at the first place he sees is heightened when he's hungry, so I wanted to plan to go to places I knew I could find easily and that were used to tourists enough to be sympathetic to any Potential International Incidents.

There are also a couple of days here where I must have been channelling prasantrin, as we seem to have had some identical eats, down to the photos. I swear it wasn’t intentional, it’s only struck me since! :hmmm: Unlike prasantrin however, I’m an absolutely terrible photographer..that will become painfully evident, so apologies in advance

Onto the food! My two missions for this trip were to eat French pastries that are so direly scarce in Sydney, and scarf as much sushi as possible, with a couple of fried things thrown in to mollify the BF.

Day 1

After arriving bleary-eyed and starvacious at our hotel, we dumped our bags and made straight for East Shinjuku for lunch.

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Tsunahachi

After taking one look at our dishevelled, crazy-eyed selves, the hostess wisely chose to put us in an out-of-harms-way corner of the front counter:

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We ordered the Y2730 set each; first course was prawn, squid and a deliciously soft small white fish fillet

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This was followed by a vegetable course of sweet potato, green beans, and bell pepper that in my dazed and confused state I forgot to take a photo of.

Recovered sufficiently quickly for course 3, a giant clam of some kind that was filled with chopped mushrooms, scallops and presumably, clam meat.

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Next up, anago.

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Lastly, kakiage of chopped prawns and scallops

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From here, we trundled over to Isetan depachika, as the BF had never seen one before. This served the dual purpose of Blowing His Freaking Mind and putting me in striking distance of pastry heaven; dragging the spoils back to our lair, we feasted on:

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Caramel Beurre Sale Tart

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Pierre Hermes macarons

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Vanille

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Rose

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Pistache

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Citron

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Cafe

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Plaisir Sucre - sorry for the blurry shot, think I was in a sugar coma by this point

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Pierre Herme Mille Feuille

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Ispahan

And some, ahem, after-dessert dessert for moi, also from Isetan depachika:

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After passing out comatose for a few hours, we roused ourselves sufficiently to get over to Asakusa, where I made good on a promise to myself to get to Maguro Bito kaitenzushi. I’d seen this place on my last day in Tokyo of a previous trip and determined to eat there as soon as practicable, particularly after discovering it was both well-known and well-regarded. There’s actually a pretty cool YouTube video

of a camera a genius tourist put on the conveyor belt; I love the faces and the different reactions to seeing the camera.

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Negitoro

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Uni

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Grilled salmon belly and mentaiko

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Different cut of grilled salmon belly

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Chu toro

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O-toro

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My crack dealer

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After some obligatory wanders around an empty Nakamise Dori, I dragged a 1L can of Asahi back to the hotel from a vending machine (hey, I’m a classy chick), and went to bed a very happy girl..and I mean 'bed' as a noun, not a verb! :raz:

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Tomorrow: cherry blossoms, ramen, and more crab than you can poke a crab stick at.


Edited by rarerollingobject (log)

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Day 2

A sensible, wholesome breakfast of BUTTER AND SUGAR AND CARBS GALORE!! Sorry, just very exciting as compared to my usual boring but healthful yoghurt and bircher muesli at home...

Kouign Amann bought from Isetan the the night before:

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Orenji keeki of some kind:

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A post-breakfast chaser of pressed salmon onigiri from the conbini across from our hotel. There is a name for this kind of pressed salmon sushi that I’ve had as an ekiben specialty around Kanazawa in the past..anyone? Anyone?

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As we were in Tokyo at the peak of the cherry blossoms (which had started late due to a cold snap), felt it would be entirely remiss not to go and see them. Thought about Shinjuku Goen but as I’ve always had a thing for cemeteries, decided to go to Aoyama Reien instead. This cemetery is renowned for its avenues of cherry trees however I will resist the urge to blind you with the thousands of photos we took of them (as we are total sakura noobs) and restrain myself to just one:

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From here, we walked down through Aoyama and passed a ramen shop so small it had to hang its cooking pans outside:

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After the peace of Aoyama, subjected the the BF to a bit of binary shock and dragged him to Roppongi in search of Ippudo tonkotsu ramen.

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Loved the accoutrements, including:

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Sesame seed grinder, whole garlic cloves and crusher, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, mustard greens, furikake, salt, pepper, shoyu and vinegar.

The ramen stock was rich but not as milky and fatty as the really lip-smacking collagen heavy stuff I’d had on a previous trip to Fukuoka. The gyoza were small but excellently porky.

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A matcha frappe from Starbucks at Shibuya crossing, and some Sebastien Bouillet macarons (l - r: grenadine, fraise, framboise and caramel beurre sale)

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A little more token sightseeing and a hearty nap later, we had dinner at Kani Doraku in Shinjuku (pic taken the next day, lest it appears we had dinner at 3pm :raz: ):

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For Y8300 per person, a most delicious crab fest ensued, being:

Kani miso (crab brain paste?) and steamed crab with the lightest, sweetest vinegar dipping sauce:

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Crab sashimi, unexpectedly sweet and the pure taste of ocean:

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Crab grilled over coals:

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Tempura crab and vegetables:

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Crab nigiri sushi:

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Crab broth:

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Crab accessories:

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Crab detritus:

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I was sort of hoping (in a horrified, squeamish but gleeful kind of way) that they'd incorporate crab into the dessert course a la the crab flavoured ice cream I once had in Hiroshima, but nay - ice cream with matcha sauce and green tea:

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Interior of the restaurant, which was actually fairly crowded. The lady at the front was playing the shamisen, including, remarkably, "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Felice Navidad"!!

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Tomorrow: a sushi overdose, a tempura meal in dead silence, and pork fat with panko.

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Great minds think alike! How did you like Tsunahachi? I thought it was good for its price point, but I've definitely had better tempura.

Your Kani Doraku meal reminded me of a crab fiesta I went to in Northern Kyoto. I couldn't eat crab again for more than a year after that!

Where is Sebastien Bouillet? I've got a trip to Tokyo coming up in a few weeks, and I need to try his salted caramel macaron!

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Thanks for the photos and your interesting descriptions!

As for the ekiben, are you talking about masu zushi (or masu no sushi), where masu means trout.

Images of masu zushi

Even some Japanese think that crab miso is crab brain! It's not. It's crab innards, midgut gland, to be exact.

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Great minds think alike!  How did you like Tsunahachi?  I thought it was good for its price point, but I've definitely had better tempura.

Your Kani Doraku meal reminded me of a crab fiesta I went to in Northern Kyoto.  I couldn't eat crab again for more than a year after that!

Where is Sebastien Bouillet?  I've got a trip to Tokyo coming up in a few weeks, and I need to try his salted caramel macaron!

I was sort of disappointed with Tsunahachi as was expecting the batter to be lighter and crispier, whereas theirs was quite soft and a little bit thick. Of course, I know that's the style of that particular place whereas somewhere like Daikokuya is even thicker and softer again but I really missed that shattering shard sensation you get with truly crispy tempura.

I'm dreeeeeeeeaming about crab, craving crab..I was in the middle of a Very Serious strategy planning session at work today and all I could think about was that meal and slurping that sweet raw crab flesh from the shells after briefly dipping them in the real wasabi provided..I have issues.

Those macarons were from Sebastien Bouillet in Shibuya Tokyu's Food Show depachika, though I'm pretty positive I saw them also at Isetan Shinjuku and Mitsukoshi Nihombashi.

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