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Old 07-08-2018, 06:34 PM   #76
amoeba
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Hey El D, yeah it was really good value.

I think if you don't have huge appetites and schedule allows for it, lunch tends to be a lot better deal at many top restaurants. You usually get 2/3 the food you get at dinner for 1/3 the price.
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Old 07-08-2018, 11:59 PM   #77
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

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Amoeba,

That seems like a really great value.
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 07-09-2018, 12:20 AM   #78
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

It was probably the best value of the trip with the Tempura Endo meal being a close second and the Shoraian meal being a close third.

Notice they were all during lunch. Granted, Shoraian is only open for lunch.

I think for next trip to Japan, I will do most fine dining during lunch and stick to Izakayas for dinner.

Dinner fine dining in Japan tends to be fairly gutbusting in my amittedly limited experience.

Out of the dinners, Maeda was the best value and taste. Every dish was well balanced and had such depth of flavor. The only flaw was arguably the uni could have been a bit better. Every other ingredient was pristine.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:24 PM   #79
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

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Especially impressive was one man in his 40s dressed in a full suit who knew the dance to every song of all 3 groups. He outdanced all the 20 year old otakus.
damn, wish you grabbed a video of that

enjoying the blog, I'm bummed I didn't know about it in real time
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:14 AM   #80
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Do you have any advice for people visiting Japan who speak no Japanese?

We'll have the Google Translate Pack I'm sure, but I'm a bit worried about how we'll fare in more fine dining places if they don't speak much English.

Going to try to get a reservation at Harutaka tonight. I'm heading there in two months so fingers crossed they can get us in!
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #81
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Zimmer, i only know a few words like please, thank you, etc... I think in general you will do fine. Most fine dining places will be ok, you will have a bit more issue at non chain casual places.

I liked Harutaka but it wasn't my first choice. Out of thr places bookable by ordinary people, I really wanted to book Yoshi take but schedules didnt line up. I also hear lots of good things about Arai.

Anyways, the rice at Harutaka is noticably more salty and vinegared than elsewhere and whereas me and my wife like this, it might not be favored by everyone.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:20 AM   #82
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

So, thats kind of the end of the trip. I am not sure what you guys want to read about. I can reccount other past trips or I could turn this in to an actual real time blog.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:19 PM   #83
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

That was great tr. Im going to read regardless but whatever you are more excited about writing about is what you should write about.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:07 AM   #84
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

A post in the cook everything thread reminded me of something from my childhood.



I grew up in the Xuhui district of Shanghai in what was formerly the French Concession.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shan...nch_Concession

Me, my mom and dad, and grandparents on my mom's side all lived in a 500 sq foot apartment in an old shikumen alleyway.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikumen

My grandfather was a tall polyglot history teacher who had a fondness for greasy food and exotic meats such as horse, reptile, and dog. My slight of stature grandmother is and was a fine home cook who preferred the light and refined cuisine of her hometown of Hangzhou. She would occasionally indulge my grandfather by letting him pick the menu for what she would make that day.

This particular day would be one of these days.

Last edited by amoeba; 07-20-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:21 AM   #85
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

In Chinese cities in those days you didnt need alarm clocks as the songlike yells of the recycle man asking people to bring out their old used items for resale rang loud and clear through the illfitting single pane window.

My grandfather asked me to go to the outdoor market. Even though I had already developed a hearty appetite and love of food as a five year old, the market held no appeal. There was always a lot of trash and water on the ground and the smell was not helped by the swelteringly humid Shanghai summer. Nevertheless, I could hear from the tone in my grandpa's voice that it was half request and half command. "In any case, we would pass the toy store and I can check to see if that new constructor bot Transformers made it in to the window display" I reasoned to myself.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:32 AM   #86
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Before entering the market, grandpa bought each of us a youtiao fried bread crueller. I was not to speak of this to grandma.

We passed through the stalls selling veggies, pork, and fish. We passed through the stall selling eel. The eel man used what can only be described as a glass shiv to slice thin length wise juliennes of eel flesh off the eel bone. He worked blazingly fast, maybe 20 seconds per small eel. We walked by the frog stall where the basket of live frogs were near to the ground and were almost eye to eye with my 5 year old self.

Finally we arrived at the stall that carried what my grandpa hankered for. A scene unfolded much like the pyramid scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A mound of snakes coiled and hissed in a shallow pit, thankfully no cobras.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:58 AM   #87
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

While I later found out that I have a stronger fear of snakes than normal, as a child, I thought everyone was as deathly afraid of snakes as I was.

Grampa picked out a particular 2 foot long specimen that the snake man promptly picked out from the pit. He moved it over to the chopping block where a sizable cleaver fell guillotine like behind the snake's head, where the heart resides. While the snake is technically dead, the body still goes through muscle contractions. He coils and stuffs the still writhing body in to a plastic bag, ties a knot around the bag handles, and hands it to grandpa, who then hands it to me. Apparently, I was to be the warden of snake on the way back home.

The serpentine body still writhed occasionally in the bag below where I held it by the handle. I reasoned to myself "the snake is headless, it can't bite you. Its going to stop moving soon," but it didnt really help. A deathly thousand mile stare came over me the whole way back. I didnt remember to look for the new Transformers as we passed the display window.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:17 AM   #88
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

We reach home and I hand the bag, now no longer moving, to grandma. I then went off to play whatever five year olds played.

I am not sure if my childhood mind was resilliently forgetful but before long I had forgotten the trauma of the morning. After about 3 hours, grandma called down from the 3rd floor to the alleyway where I played that it was time for lunch.

An array of dishes was put out. Jinhua ham steamed with dried mussels, winter melon soup with dried shrimp, sauteed spinach with garlic, and what looked to be braised beef.

I picked up a piece of beef and bit in. "This beef is really tough and chewy, grandma" "thats not beef....."

The horrors of the morning come rushing back in 4K clarity. I drop my chopsticks and refuse to eat another bite of anything. After getting the whole story, grandma softly but sternly admonished my grandpa who meekly protested with "I thought it would be good for him".

Now that I think of it, perhaps my fear of snakes developed from this episode. Not quite as traumatic as River Fenix in the circus train.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:31 AM   #89
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

I enjoyed the way you told (or are maybe still telling) that story, broken down Into easily digestible post-chapters that I was following along with in real time as it unfolded, rather than having it all together in a single post.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:05 AM   #90
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

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I enjoyed the way you told (or are maybe still telling) that story, broken down Into easily digestible post-chapters that I was following along with in real time as it unfolded, rather than having it all together in a single post.
I agree with this. Also snakes are most definitely to be feared! Zero wrong with that.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:36 AM   #91
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

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Do you have any advice for people visiting Japan who speak no Japanese?
Zimmer - if you've got two months until you'll be there, may I suggest spending 7-10 minutes a day from now until then learning some basic Japanese? If you learn as little as 2-3 new words each day, by the time you arrive you'll be able to hold very basic conversations and it will go a long way toward showing respect. You'll find that your effort is much appreciated and I guarantee things will go far better for you than if you hadn't bothered.

Being able to have short conversations such as:

Hello, how are you?
I'm fine, how are you?
Good, thank you.
My name is (name). What is your name?
My name is (name). Where are you from?
I am from (place). Where are you from?
I am from (place).
It was nice to meet you.
It was nice to meet you as well. Goodbye.
Goodbye.

and similar will reap enormous dividends. The same with being able to politely ask for directions or recommendations.

The above may seem daunting right now with no knowledge of the language, but I promise you that you can master it in just a few days with a little effort, and in a couple of weeks with almost zero effort.



Quote:
Originally Posted by amoeba View Post
So, thats kind of the end of the trip. I am not sure what you guys want to read about. I can reccount other past trips or I could turn this in to an actual real time blog.
I'm happy reading anything you feel like writing about due to the quality of your writing. Stories like going with your grandfather to the market are wonderful.


Haven't been able to view the more recent images until today. That wagyu katsu sandwich looked unreal. Same for the beet mousse. Also wouldn't blame you for making your wife order another Monet's Garden while you ate hers.
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:08 AM   #92
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Thanks for the ideas Amoeba.

Was looking at doing the beef restaurant in Tokyo that you went to, but ultimately it's prob a bit too expensive and we will get Waygu both nights at our Ryokan in Hakone.

Made a lunch reservation for Sushi Arai, will have a full trip report back.

Currently looking at doing one French Restaurant while we're there. Chez Olivier looks like the current leader in that category. That's probably it for fancy meals in Tokyo, eat Ramen/Yakitori/other delicious stuff the rest of the time there.
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:36 PM   #93
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Re: Trip blog and perhaps more

Awesome! I think you will have a fantastic trip. Its really hard to go wrong in Japan and everything always tastes better on vacation.
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