We are back. Back on the blog and back in Japan! Our summer trip of traveling through 5 Asian countries is over and we are going to rent and stay in Fukuoka and Tokyo for three months – to relax from traveling (haha!) and to get some work done (internet is finally reliable again).
So I thought what better start to get in touch with my dear readers than to share a meal with you. After all, culinary delights are what stands out the most in Japan.
We are in Fukuoka, which is a lot more in harmony with nature than Tokyo with many green areas and trees. Let me show you a bit of the town first. And then let’s go out for some fantastic Japanese food.
Here we are at the remains of the biggest castle on Kyushu island from the 17th century. Today, Fukuoka’s Castle Ruins are part of an expansive area in Maizuru Park with the old wall, moat and the new observation deck.
It looks a bit like New York’s central park (or more like how I image it to be – NY is still on our to do list).
Here’s my shaky video of the fantastic view.
Many people come to Maizuru Park to enjoy the blooming cherry trees in April and May. Any time, it is the perfect place to contemplate life.
Old and young Japanese loners.
Fall is coming! Time for warm tights and hot tea.
Sunset in Fukuoka with a mesmerizing sky. This park is in walking distance. We really live right in the centre of the city.
Oh, yes and the airport is very close, indeed. Six metro stations from our apartment in Akasaka.
Look hard to find the tiny flying objects which we spotted adjacent to Maizuru Park. These bushes at Ohori Park are hummingbird-hawk-moths (macroglossum stellatarum) drinking from the white flowers! I have never seen such birdy looking insects before.
Did we miss Japanese vending machines? Big time!
A very Japanese thing. The dogs have their trolleys, doggy buts are being wiped by their owners and four legged creatures are very very much taken care of. What a contrast to the poor stray dogs we saw in Laos.
Fukuoka has its own Manneken Pis.
The price tags do not disappoint in Japan. You get what you pay for. Two peaches for 580 Yen (about 4.5 Euros). Pricey but soft and juicy – worth every Yen!
Japan enjoys the best of Europe.
The strangest sight, clashing well with the modern centre of Fukuoka, are these hawker-style food stalls (called yatai) fitting about a handful of hungry customers, who came for beer, yakitori (skewered meat) and ramen (noodle soup).
Let’s go for some food. Inside!
Our breakfast usually consists of tofu with soy sauce, or we go out for lunch. This was at an udon (thick white noodle) soup place.
Dinner is more pricey but always a gustatory event. We try to eat at not very posh restaurants to keep our budget but even at the most average izakaya (casual Japanese restaurant) the food and service will be top notch.
The plates and pots are always matching all of the restaurant’s interior design. The shape of the plates also differs for each dish. A feast for the eyes as well.
A typical table setting. The wet towel and a (wireless) bell to call for the waiter whenever you are ready to order in an unobtrusive way.
Going out is an experience and a treat! The restaurants are tastefully arranged and decorated to the last detail. Nothing is random. Today we got a whole dining room for ourselves! You can close the compartment with wooden sliding doors for even more privacy.
Underneath the table is room for legs, so you don’t actually have to sit crossed leg (not so great to have a meal with your stomach squeezed in). Comfy legroom!
I do not usually like beer but in Japan I do. It looks just like in the ads and tastes fresh and prickly with a soft white show-off head.
Our complementary starters unfortunately had meat in them.
The salad we ordered was prepared on the spot by our super friendly waitress.
Cheese, nacho, tomato salad. Tada!
Spicy pickled cucumbers and kimchi (seriously so much better tasting than the vast kimchi variety we got served in kimchi country – South Korea).
Green baked asparagus with fish roe.
Salmon sashimi. Tender and so tasty!
The menu is always at the table and will not be taken away even after you have made your order. Neat! I learned how to order the bill in Japanese today. We paid 4,600 Yen (around 35 Euro) for two.
After dinner we thought to grab a snack at one of numerous conbini stores which we passed on the way to our apartment. This one is right around the corner.
This one is right around the other corner. And there is a third one in between those two!
Conbinis are such a convenient invention. Open 24h a day, they sell anything from whole meals, to snacks, desserts, drinks, toiletries, stationary, newspapers and magazines, as well as print-scan services. Ultra friendly staff make it a pleasant experience (we do take advantage of these stores at least once a day). Conbinis are fun!
I went for desert. Cutsey creatures for decoration are a must in Japan. We have started to collect popular Rilakkuma (the Japanese relaxed bear wearing bear suit!), which we can exchange for a mug, if we manage to amass 30 stickers.
Marie Antoinette style strawberry cake with a lush portion of cream. Fresh and soft. Expires in one day, then it is disposed of. Food quality is amazing here.
The perfectly sweet ending of our day!