Japan is awesome. This was my very first trip to the land of the rising sun, the land of super considerate and polite beings, the land of contrasts and the land of mouthwatering amazingness. I mean, Japan is simply wow. Let me start by telling you how impressed I was with Japanese hospitality, customer service and general behaviour. People were so polite and considerate, I heard all of two car honks the entire time I was there. There were continuous thank you’s and welcome’s, there were lots of bowing and smiles. What a pleasant society.
The next thing you’d notice would be the contrasts – traditional temples sit amidst modern skyscrapers, kimono-clad ladies walk the streets next to sleek fashionistas, age-old businesses run alongside the most up-to-date technologically advanced machines.
Then comes the food. Everyone speaks of how expensive Japan is. But let me tell you – for about 600 – 800 yen which is roughly about $6 – 8 Aussie dollars, you can get a delicious meal. Steaming bowls of ramen, fresh sushi and sashimi boxes, teriyaki chicken bentos. Yum. There are obviously more expensive meals such as an omakase which is like a degustation meal. Those can range from 3500 – 250000 yen. In general, a decent meal complete with sake (Japanese rice wine) costs about $15 to $22. Not shabby, definitely not pricey but a whole lot of delicious.
There’s just so much to share with you, so let me just start off with a glimpse of the famous fish market in Tokyo – Tsukiji Market. This fish market is known to be one of the largest wholesale fish markets in the world. There are two parts to the market – the inner section that houses the famous tuna auction (we didn’t make it to that unfortunately), and the outer section chock full of fresh seafood, kitchenware and cooked food. The sights, smells and sounds were extraordinary.
Of course there’s food involved. We had the most succulent grilled oyster, sweet tamago (egg) roll, smoky yakitori and no one goes to Tsukiji market and not have sushi made from the freshest ingredients from next door right? My favourite was the uni gunkanmaki – a nigiri sushi (hand formed sushi) with a strip of nori (seaweed) around it and topped with loose ingredients such as uni (sea urchin). The creamy sea urchin was subtle, slightly savoury and you could taste the sea…wow and wow.
I did mention that the people were friendly and polite right? Look at our adorable sushi chef who smiled for the camera while preparing our lunch. So sweet.
Coming up next, a visit to Asakusa.