Travel & SF

Tokyo, Day 3

Our last day of Tokyo was pretty chill. We woke up late and went to Shinjuku Station for breakfast. As a friend had forewarned, we did get lost. Multiple times. (It’s one of the largest and busiest train stations in the world!) But it’s cool, we found what we were looking for, which was food. Train station food in Japan is awesome and, when we were there, quite affordable. It was rare to spend more than 20 USD on a meal for two, at least at the places we were eating.  (more…)

Tokyo, Day 1

Hello everyone!

So, I am in Tokyo for a short while. This is a picture of the bathroom in Narita Airport.

Check out this bad boy.

Check out this bad boy.

The panel of buttons is part of the famed Japanese toilet.



Of course I tried a few, turning down the water pressure like a wuss. It was quite tickly. In retrospect, the bidet option may have been more pleasant than the spray, but that’s just judging from the cartoons.

The subway system is slightly confusing on a high level but intuitive on a more detailed level. There are three subway/rail systems in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and since they’re run by different companies, you can’t transfer from one system to another for free. Somewhat annoyingly, the Tokyo metro map shows subway lines from two different companies with little differentiation, so you have to make sure beforehand that your route is all in one system. However, the routes and stations are all very intuitively colored, named and numbered.

Just remember on escalators: stand on the left, walk on the right. In Japan cars drive on the left side of the road, and unlike London, Tokyo does not remind you to look right when you cross the street. However, when walking up and down stairs, you sometimes should walk on the right and sometimes on the left. You know what, just follow the signs.

After checking in at the hotel, we went to dinner at Maruka in Chiyoda. I accidentally ordered udon for us, with nothing on it.



I was wondering why this photo was so dark, but then I realized my camera was on shutter priority from earlier today. Fail. I had seen from sources that the “kake” (かけ) udon included a raw/soft-boiled egg, but with my non-existent Japanese skills that piece of information did not make it over. The noodles and broth were lovely, though. The chicken tempura in the background was also quite good after I added sauce.

Anyways, I’m off to bed to get ready for another exciting day filled with miscommunication and awesome, randomly-ordered food!


SF eats: Outer Richmond

Since Amy detailed the shopping aspects of our San Francisco excursion, I suppose it is only fitting that I outline the eats! Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera on this trip, nor did I take phone pics. I suppose you will just have to imagine it 😦

I make it a point to try to eat at at least one new place every time I come to SF, preferably on my list of places to eat. This time around, we ventured out to Outer Richmond for some dumpling goodness. Outer Richmond is in the boonies where MUNI is scarce, so it was nice to stop by this area that we would never otherwise visit.

First stop was Shanghai Dumpling King. Their xiaolongbao (小籠包) had pretty big shoes to fill – Joe’s Shanghai in New York was pretty darn good and soupy. But it went fine, these were great. The green onion pancake (蔥油大餅) was pretty bomb too. It was flakier and slightly thicker than normal, which is possibly where the 大 comes in, in 蔥油大餅. We also got pork buns, whose name escapes me. They were incredibly hot, temperature-wise, but as the impatient folk we are, we ate them piping hot anyways. By the age of forty I expect to have burned off all my taste buds. The final dish was the glorious egg puff, which to be honest sounds difficult to mess up (but, what do I know?). It’s basically just fried eggy dough covered with sugar. Simple and awesome.

Then we headed over two blocks to Purple Kow, which specializes in particularly squat, wide cups of PMT. For those uninitiated, at least in the Bay Area we say PMT (pearl milk tea), but boba is an acceptable term if you must. Bubble tea, while cutesy, is stretching it. It’s been awhile since I got tapioca pearls, since I usually opt for rainbow jelly or some kind of pudding. The drink was pretty great (I got honey milk black tea), although the size was a bit overwhelming. The wait was long, but not as bad as Tpumps in San Mateo – 1 hour for a PMT is dedication.

Still full,