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.