Shiitake Yakitori

When people who are traveling for the first time in Japan ask me for food recommendations I always tell them to explore and try anything they find. It is very difficult to find a bad place in Japan, on average, restaurants will prepare you amazing food.

I was with two friends and we just entered the nearest yakitori place. We ordered and the yakitori in general was just ok, but the shiitake that you can see in the picture being prepared by the woman was the best one I have ever tried! The texture and the flavor was just perfect. My friends agreed and we ended up having tons of shiitake for dinner :)

Food recommendations in Japan: explore and try many things, even after ten years I’m still discovering new places and dishes!

yakitori

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River Fish 川魚 ー Kawasakana

The Japanese love fish, not only from the sea, but also fish (Sakana 魚) from rivers (Kawa, 川). Depending on the area and the season, the types of fish available vary a lot. The most common ones are ayu 鮎 and iwana 岩魚, which you can find almost throughout the country. They are easy to spot in a menu or in street food stalls because they are almost always barbecued and served with skewers.

barbecued river fish

barbecued river fish

barbecued river fish

barbecued river fish

barbecued river fish

barbecued river fish

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Curry And Dragon Ball Z

The restaurant chain Coco Curry Ichibanya 壱番屋 which specializes in Japanese curry has been running a Dragon Ball Z marketing campaign for the last few weeks. It is part of the promotion of the new Dragon Ball Z movie and it will last until May 31st. If you are in Japan and you like curry for each 1,000 yen that you spend in the restaurant you will participate in a contest to get a plate or an original trading card.

coco curry Dragon Ball Z

coco curry Dragon Ball Z

coco curry Dragon Ball Z

coco curry Dragon Ball Z

coco curry Dragon Ball Z

coco curry Dragon Ball Z
This is how a Coco Curry Ichibanya 壱番屋 restaurant looks. In Tokyo you can spot many of them near subway stations.

coco curry Dragon Ball ZKatsu curry is the highlight dish

Official Website: Ichibanya.

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Restaurant On Top Of A Gajumaru

This strange restaurant built on top of a tree can be found in Okinawa not far from Naha airport along highway 58.

Gajumaru tree restaurant

Gajumaru tree restaurant

The tree is a Gajumaru (also known in India as Banyan), which is a species of the genus Ficus. The Gajumaru/Banyan is a tree that you can typically find in Asian tropical areas, and they can also be seen in Hawaii. If you watched Lost you surely saw them many times as they are used by the characters in the series to hide from the smoke monster. Gajumarus are also known because Robinson Crusoe built his house in one.

Gajumaru tree restaurant

Gajumaru tree restaurant
My ass trying to climb a Gajumaru.

According to the mythology of Okinawa, the Kijimuna (small elf-like creatures) live in Gajumarus. Legend has it that the Kijimuna can only be seen by kids that have a pure heart. If you go to Okinawa you will see signs with Kijimuna images in many places, mostly in forest areas where there are gajumarus. However they are not so abundant as the Shisa.

Gajumaru tree restaurant

Gajumaru tree restaurant


A video (not mine) in which you can appreciate the size of the trunk of a gajumaru tree.

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Iceland Whale Meat In My Supermarket

The other day I went to the supermarket to buy some salmon and I found some whale meat from Iceland. I have been reading about it online and it seems that the Japanese can’t catch enough whales for the demand that exists in Japan. To solve the problem the government agreed to import whale meat from Iceland and Norway in 2009.

iceland whale meat in japan

iceland whale meat in japan

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Nagashi Soumen

Nagashi Soumen 流し素麺 is a Japanese Summer tradition which consists on putting noodles (Soumen, 素麺) on a bamboo cane and leaving them fall along together with water. If you participate you will have to catch the noodles with your chopsticks as they pass in front of you. The more you catch the more you eat!

Last week in Osaka a 30 meters Nagashi Soumen was organized.

nagashi soumen

nagashi soumen

nagashi soumen

nagashisoumen4

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Obama Dines Sushi at Jiro

Here in Tokyo during the last few days we have felt a larger police presence, mostly in train stations, due to Barack Obama’s visit. The first that Obama has done in Tokyo just after landing has been to eat the best sushi in the world with Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan.

“I was born in Hawaii and ate a lot of sushi, but this was the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life.”

Obama eating sushi in Japan

Obama in Japan

Source: New York Times

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Kit Kat Shop

The first shop in the world that is specialized in Kit Kat has recently opened its doors in the Seibu shopping mall (B1 floor) in Ikebukuro.

In addition to the most popular weird varieties that you can usually find in Japan, the shop has exclusive flavours that can only be found in it. This is the logo of the shop, its name is Chocolatory:

Kit kat shop

These are two of the special flavours available in the shop:

Kit kat shop

Kit kat shop

KitKa Shop

Source: Kotaku

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Toshikoshi Soba

One of the traditions of the Oomisoka (大晦日: last day of the year) is to eat toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦: year-passing soba). It is believed that eating soba noodles, which are very long, is good to have a long life. Morevover eating toshikoshi soba brings good luck and good health for the year that is beginning.

Happy New Year 2014! Shinnen Akemashite Omedetou! 新年あけましておめでとう!

Toshikoshi Soba

Toshikoshi Soba

New Year Soba

Other Japanese year-end and new year traditions:

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