Hello everyone! So that was a slight blogging fail. I’m back at home – here are some highlights from the rest of my trip, starting from the rest of Tokyo. Let’s see, what have I been up to…
On Tokyo day 2, we woke up bright and early (thanks, jet lag!) and went to the Tsukiji fish market for a sushi breakfast. The inner fish market, where they actually sell the fish, was closed to the public before 9 am, but the surrounding “outer market” with restaurants and shops and other fishy things was open earlier. Being the n00bs that we were, we just wandered around the place before we got politely kicked out by a policeman with a trilingual sign.
They’ve got these crazy cart drivers who will cut you.
For breakfast, I had originally researched up Sushi Dai (寿司大), but the line was insane as expected (we got there about an hour after the store opened). So, we popped over to a store one aisle over for sushi. Now, I am not a fan of sushi, but I don’t think I had ever really eaten it. But hey, we’re in Japan, so if any place could make me like sushi, this was it.
Verdict: Bottom row, good to great. Top row, not so much. Apparently I do not, in fact, like raw fish to take center stage. To my surprise, the two sketchiest pieces IMHO (the two gunkanmaki, front and center) were actually quite tasty.
Next, we headed to the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Due to an unfortunate oversight on my part, I did not book a tour of the palace early enough, so we couldn’t walk around inside. The gardens were pretty though. Very humid and green, probably since it was the middle of summer and not, say, mid-April. The sun was blazing, giving me the not-so-subtly suggesting that I should either put on sunscreen or open an umbrella like a good Asian girl. I chose the latter.
You know who really likes warm, humid greenery? Mosquitoes.
Somewhat incredibly, it was not yet noon at this point. Our next stop was Senso-ji (金龍山浅草寺), the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, over in the Asakusa (浅草) district.* There’s this market-ish area will stalls peddling anything from kitschy souvenirs to mochi to rice crackers (senbei – 煎餅) to fresh imagawayaki (今川焼き – in Taiwan they’re found in night markets as 車輪餅). We partook of two fish-shaped imagawayaki, one stuffed with red bean and the other with mango custard. The mango one was particularly creamy and awesome, and it had small cubes of mango in the custard.
We browsed through the temple and then ate a leisurely late lunch in the market area.
We also had a shaved ice, because why the heck not?
This was my first experience with black sugar as a flavor. (Or maybe it was black honey? My Japanese is virtually non-existent. Are they the same thing?) Verdict: black sugar is awesome and you should get it anywhere and at any time.
Lastly, we headed over to Ginza to finish the afternoon. Ginza is the fancy-pants highfalutin shopping district – at least, it is one such district. Shibuya/Omotesando and the Shinjuku region also have such stores. Tokyo is just terribly fashionable like that.
Uniqlo is everywhere in Japan. It’s like their H&M. The Ginza Uniqlo was almost too bright, but it was eye-catching and high-energy so it worked. From the outside, this 12-floor store had glass windows, with 12 mannequins lined up on display on each floor, slowly revolving in unison. It’s a little creepy if you stare at it too long, so maybe avoid doing that.
Dinner was udon, surprisingly (to me) without broth. First night, no egg. Second night, no broth. We are just killing it.
Not that it wasn’t delicious, because it was.
*Side note: 浅草寺 = Senso-ji, but 浅草 = Asakusa? I don’t understand.