Entries Tagged as 'Japan'

January 11th 2013

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Last month I went on a major Quora kick, which I highly recommend (unless it’s 2:46am and you should actually be sleeping because you haven’t for more than four hours any night this week…#guilty)

Tonight (er, earlyy this morning) I stumbled on What real places or buildings look as if they could have been taken out of fairytales? There’s 71 amazing answers and countless pictures, including Japan’s Kawachi Fuji Garden (above) and Poland’s crooked house:

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November 14th 2012

I was recently interviewed for travel blog AandB<C>theWorld about one of my favorite spots, Tokyo! Questions included: If you only had 24 hours here, what would you do?

My answer?

I know it’s crazy, but starting your day at 4am is *so* worth it to be one of the few tourists granted entry to the Tsukiji Fish Market’s tuna auction; watch the frenzy over monstrous frozen tunas, then head down the street to enjoy the world-famous omakase at Sushi Dai; Next hightail it to Harajuku to shop and catch a glimpse of the eponymous girls in costume congregating on Takeashite street. Make time for a bowl of ramen, a relaxing onsen and a stroll through the impeccably manicured Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Finish with a delicious dinner at Gonpachi, famous for its food and Kill Bill cameo.

For more tips and pics, click.

April 14th 2012

Enough about me for a bit…it’s time for a long overdue Japan post that has been sitting in my draft box for almost a month. So here goes…

Delicious, exciting, exclusive, free…the Tsujiki Fish Market’s tuna auction has all the important qualities I look for in an activity. So I set out at 3:45am one dark Tokyo morning to get involved. Yup 3:45 ay. em. Because only 120 tourists are allowed in each day, it’s crucial to set your alarm that early…or pull an all nighter, whatever floats your boat, but seriously, I watched people get turned away at 4:30.

Once you become part of the exclusive 120 you get issued an “authorized personnel” vest and are made to watch what can only be described as a fish market 411 video, which instructs you to turn off your flash, stay in the confined area and under NO circumstances to distract the bidders. This auction is HARDcore and I’m into it.

You’re then single file led through the maze of the market…dodging tractors, stepping on fish guts and just generally being in the way, which none of the merchants seemed to appreciate but whatever it was awesome.

And then, you get, to the tuna room:

Good thing I had my sexy VIP vest on.

Shuffling in, the first thing you notice is how big tunas actually are. They’re HUGE, like 400 pounds huge. Did you know that!? They have to use tractors to transport them!! And there’s about 500 of them all frozen and lined up in a big warehouse like this:

The bidders sniff them and stroke them and stick flashlights into their mouths and do all sorts of weird, pornographic things in order to ascertain the quality. Then the bidding starts and it’s SO fun and cool and cute because everything Japanese people do is cute. 

When someone wins an auction their name gets painted on the tuna.

I want my name on a tuna.

Then it’s hauled off. The whole things last for about an hour and all you want to do is eat sushi afterwards so it’s a good thing the market’s perimeter is lined with several restaurants.

I left the auction, ate three pounds of sushi at 6:30am and then went back to bed. Best morning ever.

TO-DO LIST (Tokyo, Japan):

April 1st 2012

[Note: I’m catching up on my to-do’s, writing about Japan from Australia, missing it A LOT. I’ll eventually back-date this so it’s with the rest of the Japan posts]

STARE: Tsukiji fish market. Specifically the tuna auction. Quite possibly the best morning of my life.

DINE: Shabu-Zen. As its name suggests, this restaurant is the holy grail of shabu-shabu, aka melt-in-your-mouth thinly sliced beef and veggies, cooked table side via hot pot. 

PEEP: Harajuku. It’s crowded with tourists but worth it to catch a glimpse of the eponymous neighborhood girls. They gather at the Jingu bridge and Takeashite street.   

STAY: Prince Park Tower Tokyo. A great hotel, conveniently located to both the JR and subway lines and overlooking the famous Park Tower. 

PEEP: The Park Tower. Whether or not you stay at the above hotel, the eiffel’s twin sis is worth a visit, especially at night.

EAT: Rakushokushu Maru. Recommended by the wonderful Corrie of thecorriestory, this was by farr my fave meal in Japan. The beef entree and cabbage & pork appetizer, do it.

BATHE: Any onsen. Strip down and soak at one of the many hot spring bathhouses that line the city’s side streets. Weird and wonderful and I will do an entire post on the experience soon that’s how much I love and miss it.

RIDE: Shinkansen aka the bullet train. It’s very fast, very cool and you glimpse Mount Fuji en route to Kyoto. Hi.

EAT: Maisen. Japanese business folk line up at lunchtime for the eatery’s famous tonkatsu, a deep fried pork cutlet served with cabbage and miso soup.

STROLL: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. If you’re lucky enough to go in season, it’s an amazing spot for cherry blossoms. If not, there’s plenty of other gorgeous floral and fauna in the park’s traditional Japanese, English Landscape and French Formal gardens.

DINE: Gonpachi. Kill Bill was filmed here. And the food is delicious. And the waiters speak english. What more could you ask for? The takana meshi rice and toro.

PEEP: The Ghibli Museum. Devastatingly enough, I didn’t get to see this famous anime museum. It sells out months in advance and is supposedly amazing though. Next time.

March 29th 2012

Kinkaku-ji, temple of the golden pavilion. (Kyoto, Japan)

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