tokyo

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Time is passing crazy quick. It’s true what they say – that times passes faster as you grow older. I can’t believe it’s been a year since Japan and we’ll be here again, soon enough. Perhaps time is passing faster because I’m busier. There’s the writing (I’m currently writing my dream article- so excited!), whipping out the camera whenever I can, eating at all the new places in Perth (there are so, so many), trying to improve my wheel pottery, procrastinating on renovations, wedding planning (!!), obviously holiday planning, And there’s working full time and of course, this blog. It’s been crazy busy and a long time between posts, but I’m back, baby! So before we fly away, here’s our last trip, boiled down to one, truly unworthy post.

If temples always came with snacks, I would be religious. At Sensoji temple there is a basically a laneway of snacks! Edible temples with adzuki paste (ning yo yaki) came straight from bronze, patina aged moulds, a bit like a stuffed waffle. Aje manju – a deep fried, stuffed mochi – with seasonal fillings like sakura custard wrapped in a shiso leaf or pumpkin. But the best bites were the eki jango from the rabbit dotted stall. Five sticks and 300 yen later we joined the crowds eating tiny, soft balls of rice dough dipped in dry soy dust.

Conveyor belt sushi was a revelation. The sakura was gorgeous, a supernatural shade of pink impossible to capture on camera. That night, we wandered the streets of Shinjuku and had ethereally light tempura at Tsunahachi, a tiny, two storey restaurant. Squeezed between businessmen and local families, we ate rounds of anago eel and plump, translucent scallops, hot and crunchy from a vat of sesame oil.

Talking about fried food, we are gleefully planning a return trip to Maisen, the source of the fattiest Kurobuta tonkatsu known to mankind. And perhaps for dessert, to Harajuku for a girly, mock creamed and fruity crepe.

As for ramen, we only managed to do two places (the shame!), both of which were polar opposites in styles. Menya Musashi’s bowls of buttery pork belly and shoyu broth had clarity, umami and elegance. Ramen Jiro’s tonkatsu ramen, on the other hand was ballsy with flakes of pork fat and  the sheer quantity was not for the faint hearted.

In the wee hours of the morning, I found my favourite place in the entire world: Tsukiji markets. Don’t even bother with the tuna auction, come for the food. The uni was fresh, silky and tasted like the ocean. So good, it almost made us forget it was the ungodly time of 5am.

Sensoji Temple | Taito, Asakusa, 2-3-1
The Asakusa Kannon Temple with the Nakamise shopping arcade linking the two main gates. Snack heaven.

Maguro Bito | 2-18-12 Kaminarimon, Taito
Best of both worlds – grab plates off the conveyor belt or order from the chefs.

Tsunahachi | Shinjuku, 3 Chome 31-8
Amazing, seasonal tempura at good prices. The courses are small so go for as many courses in a set meal as you can.

Maisen | Suginami, Kamiogi, 1-7-1
Hard-to-beat tonkatsu, served in a former bathhouse. Don’t forget to ask for cabbage (kabitsu!) refills.

Menya Musashi | 7-2-6 Nishishinjuku | K1 Bldg. 1F, Shinjuku
Delicious shoyu ramen. If in doubt, press the middle button on the vending machine and hope for the best.

Ramen Jiro Kabukicho | 1-19-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku
Gluttonous, gloriously fatty ramen. Come here with an empty stomach.

Nakaya | 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Tsukiji Ichiba Jonai 8, Chuo,
A good option for an early morning breakfast at Tsukiji Markets. Specialises in uni over rice.

Roppongi Art Night | Various locations in Roppongi
Annual dusk till dawn festival of roving art exhibitions. A good excuse to see Roppongi and see something different.

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