Monday, April 23, 2012

Back from another successful trip to the land of the rising sun. Quick and dirty this one was (one week and a whirlwind tour of Tokyo for a friend who had never been to Japan), and fruitful: Trevor received his seventh degree black belt.

Other highlights:

It was sakura season, and our favorite park in Kichijoji was the place to be. I can never get enough.

Also took my friend to the most important Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji, in another favorite haunt of mine, Asakusa.

I love going to Asakusa because of its shitamachi spirit, and the tiny, less than pristine old-school nomiya that fan out from the temple grounds are the best part of that. Always plenty of beer, plus great, uninhibited conversation. I also love the cheap and delicious traditional foods that are served at different spots. This was some of the best nikujaga I've ever had.

When I go to Japan, the food is always the star. I try to go to new places as often as possible, but those old favorites seem to take precedence, like the torched saba with lemon at Shirube in Shimokitazawa.

While I hate having to leave the amazing food every time I come home from Japan, I did discover something wonderful to bring back with me: a new favorite drink! Shochu and salty plum -- a match made in heaven.

And though inexpensive and plentiful alcohol is a big plus, we also tried this for the first time. None of our friends seem to be able to tell us exactly what it is; in fact, the closest we can get to a proper English explanation is "beer waste." Even this doesn't explain exactly what is in it. It tastes kind of like iced tea and IPA mixed together -- anyone know what makes it tick?

Anyway, so much awesome -- too much to ever cram into a blog post. I'm already looking forward to next time.

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Blogger Trevor said...

Great post! Wanna go back next week? We can try the hoppy again...


April 25, 2012 at 10:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

I never knew about the difference between Yamanote and Shitamachi. Very interesting!

April 25, 2012 at 10:54:00 AM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

I'll take Hoppy any time over that horrid doku-taste microbrew we had.

I never knew the origins of shitamachi, and was happy to read that bit too. I was also excited to finally get the connection between the Yamanote line and 'yamanote.'

April 27, 2012 at 12:31:00 PM PDT  

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