Wednesday, November 29, 2017

First post since March

AAAAHHH new post new post. Japan! Smiller and I were there from Oct 20th-Nov 4th.
 We got a bullet train pass for two weeks. That's 400 bucks each, it was hard to decide on the two week vs. one week, but I just hoped I didn't end up spending more in the end. Not having to deal with buying tickets for any JR (Japan Railroad) train is pretty sweet. You just flash the pass. The train stations all have sick bento box shops. The bento range from maybe 5 bucks to less than 15 max, for special seasonal ones. Above is the packaging for one. Japan must be heaven for train nerds. More after the jump

 Here's the bento - unwrapped! Everything is so healthy and tasty. This ride was from Tokyo to Fukuoka. That takes most of the day.
 Ramen in Fukuoka. This was our first Kyushu-style bowl. The pork smells FONKY. It was kind of the smell of Kyushu. I guess the style is known for the cloudy, pork bone broth. And thin noodles. It was BOMBBBB
 Here's the cute spot, with logs to sit on at the bar. There was a short line waiting for it to open and our ramen came out in about 2 minutes. That is one problem with being tourists in Japan. Not much of a chilling culture, especially during the day, so sometimes things like a meal, which often takes up a lot of a tourist's day, would be over in 10 minutes.
 This was so funny, we were like, "why the hell are these drinks 7 bucks??" and then we saw it was a dashi vending machine!
 Each bottle has a whole fish in it!
 Fukuoka had an unusual kind of skewered food (I don't want to say yakitori, since that's just chicken, right? Is it kushiyaki? IDK) in that it is all wrapped in thin slices of bacon. These were quail eggs.
 This place's specialty was, I shit you not, charcoal-grilled lettuce wrapped in bacon and it was phenomenal. The lettuce got so juicy as it warmed. I crave this.
 More random Fukuoko ramen. Every bowl we had in Japan was good except one.
 Nagasaki (I think?) cat. Not many friendly cats in Japan. Smiller found 2 or 3.
 Peace Park in Nagasaki. It felt very solemn and sad here and I felt very angry at our president for not respecting nuclear power. School kids come on field trips and make thousands of paper cranes to leave behind.

 Peace park sculpture.
 This was at a touristy place we ate in the Nagasaki harbor, but it was still good. This was some kind of silver, seasonal sashimi.
 More sashimi over rice.
 After Nagasaki, we went to Kumamoto. Above is the character of the Kumamoto castle, which was badly damaged in the earthquake and will not reopen for quite a while.
 Ramen machines are the best! But again, it makes the ramen even quicker.
 Already jumping to Osaka, home of.....takoyaki!! Here's a platter covered in bonito, scallion and mayo.
 This was the weekend before Halloween. These girls were dressed as McDonald's workers.
 And some Teletubbies.
 We also went to the best, weirdest bar, Ganga Acid. This pretty much captures how dark and weird it is.

 Fave ramen spot in Osaka, just a little outdoor hut thingy on the crazy pedestrian mall. It was raining this day. Two typhoons hit while we are Japan, which was a little bit of a bummer, but it only affected a couple of days.
 I like this ramen place because they have a bowl of kimchee you can add to your ramen. The chashu is so good. Sigh, want to eat ramen all the time.
 Exploded hot dog buns.
 Lot of pictures from my Cat Cafe visit. This was the best one I've been too as far as quality and friendliness of the cats.
 I love the concept of a cat sitting on you being like "knee riding" or "shin riding"

 Who's watching the till?

More takoyaki. Only ate it twice, though, because I don't really like it all that much. It is really gooey inside. There is no food with so short a window between burn-your-mouth hot and cold-and-gross
It is fun to watch people prepare it, though.
I love Japanese crepes. I like the savory ones. Tuna curry is my jam!
I think this was our daytrip to Kobe. Ha all I take pictures of is food. This was a little stall. Chicken katsu kurry with a big ol' potato.

Osaka tower. I went to the giant bathhouse that is out near this again.
AR took us to some late-night barhopping in one building. Each bar is tiny and has a different theme. We never actually got a seat in Failure's Kitchen because it was too popular. Rad sign, though. Instead we drank in a bar called Manticore, and one that was vaguely tiki-themed. So fun.
Above is some train station chicken tempura in broth with udon and it was so freaking good.
Dogs dressed for Halloween causing a sensation.
Our trip ended in Tokyo, we went to get omurice for breakfast at a 50s-style diner. This one had a British spin to it.
Hokkaido-style ramen in Rokyo. That's butter on top, and it has corn.

This was in Tokyo, in Shibuya. A place a friend recommended. Very simple and tasty.
Cheese-flavored ice cream with an aged cheddar cone!
This is a Freshness Burger. It's fast food but they take so much care assembling it that each burger looks like a picture from an ad.
This was an izakaya in Shimokitazawa (hipster central). It was SO CHEAP. Each skewer was 100 yen, so less than a buck. It was packed with young people getting drunk.
Charcoal and flame can impart so much flavor to a simple mushroom or pepper (in the right hands)
Chicken thigh and green onion and some pork thing
Chicken skin and tsukune (meatball) on the right
You know what that is
Just a simple grilled rice ball is magically transformed by...
this grillmaster who is so thrilled that I am taking his picture, Seriously what this guy can do with this tiny little grill is insane. I wish other local places were this good.
One day Scott wanted to get Tempura, in Shinjuku, so we found a venerated spot. I forgot that tempura is kinda fancy in Japan, and restaurants tend to specialize in it. In this case, fancy meant 20-40 bucks for lunch. Tempura seems to be garbage in most places outside of Japan, why????
Halloween in Harajuku. The street was mobbed.
This is late on Halloween and we are toasted at this point. We ducked into a greasy-spoon fryery type place that had no seats, you stood at a counter or table.
Drunk eyes
Here's everyone standing
I think maybe this was our train station ramen on the way to the airport? I can't remember. If so, just a really humble place with a ticket machine but still delicious. Look at that broth. And this has been the boring ramen diaries.

1 comment:

Scott Miller said...

I just saw this! I love having these documentaries of our trip since I've already forgotten half of this.