Tokyo

Funny Street Signs From Tokyo

My favourite:

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And a few others:

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Shibuya Tokyu Hotel – Tokyo

 

As I mentioned the other day we went to Tokyo. We had a lot of air miles to use and we loved Beijing so much we thought why not visit another major capital in Asia. As soon as I started looking for a hotel online it became apparent that Tokyo is much more expensive than Beijing – more expensive even than London! So I started scheming and researching to get a good deal on a hotel room.

 

A friend of mine recommended the Shibuya Tokyu hotel:

 

- It is a very simple hotel but it has a really good location. And let’s face it, you don’t go to Tokyo to spend time in a hotel – you will probably be in the room only to sleep at night.

 

Wise words. We stayed in a really nice hotel in Beijing and we did enjoy watching a lot of Kung Fu movies from the hotel’s DVD collection but to save a little bit of money we could forgo this indulgence in Tokyo. So I booked a room.

 

Unfortunately, we ended up spending a little more time than expected in that hotel room. You see, Bugi had snapped a nerve in his back a couple of days before we were set to take off and he was basically immobile after the long haul flight and sitting in one place for what felt like an eternity. We almost didn’t fly because he was in a lot of pain but in the end he decided to fly. So we packed our newly acquired heating pillow, about a thousand heating gels and a selection of painkillers and took off. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the Shibuya Tokyu hotel he was in so much pain that he could barely move. Poor guy!

 

Our “simple” room in which we were not supposed to spend much time at all was about 4 square meters. Literally, from the bed if I stretched my arm to the left I could touch the window, stretch to the left and I was already in the bathroom, reach right in front of me and I could turn on the TV (no remote control needed). The bathroom was the most bizarre part of the room – it was basically a plastic cubicle, made from a single piece of plastic – the ceiling, the toilet, the floor, the sink, the shower, the door. As if someone took a large piece of plastic and carved out a bathroom from it!

 

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Faced by the possibility of spending an entire week in our “simple” hotel room we turned on the TV to check whether they at least had any English speaking channels. A week without Kung Fu movies is a long one if you can’t go out and walk! Well, they didn’t have any English channels. But we did apparently have the option to go and buy a card from the vending machine which would give us access to the ENTIRE English selection. Hurray! It didn’t take me long to find the vending machines in the hotel:

 

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With the priceless vending card in hand we turned on the TV and saw the marvellous collection of English channels:

 

- a movie channel (the latest Harry Potter movie would be on later that night – score!)

 

- a scrambled Japanese porn channel (I ask you, why in the world would the porn channel be scrambled if you have already paid to see it!)

 

- an English speaking channel showing Dallas (welcome to the 70s!)

 

and that was it! A pretty poor selection but still, at least we had the Harry Potter movie to look forward to that night! And of course Dallas (oh Bobby, we will miss you forever…wait, what – he never died??? it was all a dream???)

 

Little did we know that the Harry Potter movie would be the only movie being shown on the “movie channel” for the entire week we stayed at the hotel! Luckily, both Bugi and I are huge Harry Potter fans:)

 

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Yes, we bought two copies of the book so we could both read it asap:) But still, watching the same Harry Potter movie over and over again for a week could drive even the biggest Harry Potter fan insane! I swear that when we came back to London all of my conversations would sound like this:

 

- So how was Tokyo?

 

- It was fantastic – !

 

-And what did you do there?

 

- We watched Harry Potter.

 

- And how was the food in Tokyo?

 

-Much better than the food served in Hogwarts although they didn’t have Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans!

 

Fortunately, Bugi’s back got better in a couple of days so we were able to walk around and explore.

 

To be continued….

Cookbook FAIL and Mikawa Tempura Restaurant in Tokyo

Hi friends,

 

Last time I wrote I was so excited about that tempura recipe….well, it was a complete and total bust! Basically we ended up with 1.5kg of deep fried vegetables. For the record, I know that tempura is technically deep frying stuff but trust me – this was different – beautiful broccoli florets looking like KFC chicken different!

 

Anywho…I was forced to promise Bugi to start with simpler, familiar recipes…my privileges in the kitchen have officially been withdrawn and my self esteem as a cook (and a food blogger:) is pretty low.

 

So, while I try to completely erase this “tempura” memory from my head I thought I’d show you some pictures from the Mikawa tempura restaurant in Tokyo we went to a couple of years ago!

 

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May I just say that I Love Love Love travelling! Looking through these pictures makes me itch for another long haul flight….

 

So Tokyo – the land of the best sushi, cherry blossoming trees (we went for Easter) and a land where they take my favourite appetisers served in Japanese restaurants in London to a whole different level. Like a whole restaurant devoted to serving only eel! This is a topic for another post though which shall be called “How We Overdosed On Eel”

 

We both love tempura so a tempura restaurant was a must. What a brilliant idea – why keep tempura as a tiny appetiser when you can organise an entire 15 course meal around it?

 

It all started innocently enough:

 

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The female protagonist was very excited:

 

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But not as excited as the male protagonist:

 

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(Note the mad chopstick skills)

 

And here is the basic set up:

 

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Different sauces for the tempura, some green tea and horseradish to cleanse the pallet.

 

And then the chef started chopping plants and fish in front of us and these started appearing:

 

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Some other type of fish taking a bath in the sauce:

 

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First serving of vegetable tempura (do they look like KFC chicken to you? I didn’t think so!)

 

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And of course the main meal:

 

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The fried thing (some sort of fish but exactly what?) was so fresh it was actually moving as the chef was cutting it into pieces! A little disturbing perhaps? Not in Japan…

 

And of course we got dessert:

 

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Yes – beans swimming in some sort of jello…needless to say we weren’t that keen on this combination. But this was not a patisserie after all – for a tempura restaurant it delivered exactly what we hoped for and more!

 

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Cheers!

Oh, and if someone has any idea or recipe for tempura – let me know. I might still be able to convince Bugi to allow me to deep fry something in the kitchen…maybe in a month or so. The memory is too raw right now:)

Mikawa Tempura Restaurant: Rappongi Hills Residence B, 6-12-2 Rappongi, Minato-ku

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