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Tasty Tempura at Tenya – Tokyo’s cheap restaurant chain

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Alongside sushi, tempura is Japan’s most known speciality dish. Softly battered and instantly deep fried veggies or seafood are served on rice in a rice bowl (tendon), with soba noodles, or simply as a side dish. Japan is known for keeping its food fresh despite the frying, tempura is truly Japanese when the taste of the vegetables is preserved and only lightly coated with a delicious layer of batter. Probably the best tempura deal in Tokyo can be devoured at Tempura Tendon Tenya 天丼てんや. Tenya is the Japanese specialist for tempura. A cheap restaurant chain with a very nice choice of tempura. Vegetarian friendly. And you will not spend more than 500 to 1000 yen for a good meal. We went to Tenya in Nippori. Location: 2-19-7 Nishinippori | Tochu Bldg, Arakawa, Tokyo. There is a list of all...

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Japanese food models and kitchen supplies at Kappabashi

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Every district in Tokyo has its unique charm. Kappabashi is known to be the playground for chefs, restaurant owners and hobby cooks, delivering various kitchen utensils, masses of tableware and cooking apparatus one can only imagine.  Here, you can find many shops with sampuru, the Japanese term for replica display food, actually derived from the English word sample. Some shops feel like a huge supermarket full of fake food. I always thought they were made of plastic but many are actually made of wax!   So many dishes, from tiny soy sauce bowls to huge platters.  A great place for souvenirs, to have a peek at Japanese home cooking gadgets and professional restaurant equipment.   The main Kappabashi street is full of shops with crockery, pots, pans, beautiful tableware, lacquerware, bamboo cooking items, chopsticks, knifes, trays, bowls, bento box...

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Making Japanese food models in Tokyo

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Japan is known for its amazingly real looking food models. Replicas of dishes and drinks are prominently displayed at Japanese restaurant windows. The mother of food models is Tokyo’s Kappabashi district. With endless kitchen utensils, professional restaurant gadgets and beautiful tableware, it brings about more than exquisite plastic formations. For us, the greatest Kappabashi kick was to make some of those fantastic food samples ourselves. To experience some food model magic, we booked a mini-workshop at Ganso, one of the model producers in Tokyo.   Making lettuce and tempura at Ganso Ganso is the shop in Kappabashi where food models are made by specially trained artisans and: – where you can create your personal piece of fake food and, – buy a DIY fake food model set to make at home or, – where you can simply look at...

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Meeting Hello Kitty at Sanrio Puroland

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 1 comment

The 6th of December is a special day. It is the day of Saint Nicholas, where the Santa-like figure leaves little presents in children’s shoes and stockings. This is what we found outside our door in Tokyo that morning. A chance to meet Hello Kitty.     Oh, joy ☆*・゜゚・*\(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆   。^‿^。 How we ended up at Sanrio Puroland 。^‿^。 On the 6th of December, St. Nicholas left us with Hello Kitty themed gifts, snacks, chocolate lollies, a hair bow and (self made) tickets to Tokyo’s Hello Kitty World, called Sanrio Puroland. I admit the presents were a bit one-sidedly girly but St. Nicholas drew our attention to the fact that on the 6th of December 2013 Puroland was opening its doors for free! It was a one time opportunity to visit and so we did. I might add...

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Japan does Christmas

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in All posts, Japan | 2 comments

Christmas in Japan is the day of couple romance and strawberry cakes. Bright, sweet and colourful. Tokyo hardly ever gets snow but streets are covered with white and blue LED lights, producing perfect winter landscapes. Winter is also strawberry season in Japan which is why on Christmas day couples and families share strawberry cake with a lot of whipped cream and soft sponge cake. Tokyo is fun and delicious during Christmas. Have a tasting with me! Couples have a romantic dinner on Christmas Eve. For people on a budget, conbinis (Japanese convenience stores) provide fantastic catering on Christmas. Your order will be brought to you to the door on the day. Apart from strawberry cake, chicken is part of the main meal. Apparently fast food chain KFC has popularized the tradition to eat chicken for Christmas.   But most...

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Kaiseki 懐石 – top end dining in Tokyo

Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Japanese cuisine has received UNESCO heritage status just a few days ago. Which means that Japan offers refined and stunning dining experiences beyond its awesome sushi. A week ago we went for the ultimate Japanese dining experience: kaiseki. We were prepared to pay a fortune and starve for the rest of the week. Kaiseki is Japan’s most exquisite culinary tradition. It is so exclusive it has not made it abroad – in contrast to many other Japanese dishes which are exportable, like ramen, tempura and temaki. Kaiseki is all-in-Japanese dining. It is a highly formalized dining ritual dedicated to the esthetics of the seasons. The meals are created to be one with nature. The term kaiseki includes the kanji for ‘pocket in a robe‘ and ‘stone‘ and comes from the habit of monks keeping hot stones wrapped close to...

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Koreatown in Tokyo

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in All posts, Japan, South Korea | 0 comments

Today we biked down to Koreatown located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, curious to see if it compares to anything Korean we have seen while living in Seoul. It sure does! We were amazed how big it is and how much of it it reminded us of Korea’s capital. Think past the beautiful imperial palaces in Seoul, focus on Korea’s pop culture, fiery food, barbecues, bright cosmetic emporiums and you get a picture of Koreatown in Japan. How to get there: take the Yamanote Line to Shin-Okubo Station, there is only one exit (an amazing thing at Tokyo’s huge stations) which leads onto Okubo Dori. Koreatown runs both east and west along Okubo Dori from the station.   Let’s go and feel some Korean vibe in Tokyo! You can expect to be spoiled with many restaurants, grocery stores, and products from...

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How to do Kawaii in Tokyo

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in All posts, Beauty and Fashion, Japan | 2 comments

Thank you Japan for washi tape, origami, sushi and Geisha girls. But most of all, thank you for kawaii. You are the mother of cuteness with a long history of lovely things, (ka meaning acceptable and ai meaning love in Kanji), dating back to the Edo period, which we will omit and dive straight into all the adorable kawaii things in new-ageTokyo that will make any girl say aww and go all mushy. Guys, if you get over yourself and be the male companion in kawaii day, you will be batting at a high on the awesome scale. So, here we go. How TO do KAWAII in TOKYO in 10 STEPS Number 1 ♛♠♣♥♦ SeT a KaWaii miNd FrAmE ♛♠♣♥♦ Make up something dreamy along the lines of… Dasza returns to the magic childhood world of Alice in Wonderland...

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Okonomiyaki = do it yourself cooking in Harajuku

Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Harajuku is fashion centre and plastered with boutiques and accessory stores. But there is more than fashion fun to be found. A cool restaurant where all the young hipsters cook themselves a meal. It is a bit difficult to find, despite being right in the middle of Harajuku’s best shopping spots. Which is probably why I have never seen any tourists up there. But a Japanese Lolita styled girl cooking for her poodle. No joke. And the food is not just good for dogs. It is delicious and the greatest fun because… you get play around with your food after you get the ingredients.   Restaurant name: Sakura Tei. Location: 3-20-1 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, next to Design Festa Art Gallery.   The place has an arty feel with paintings all over the walls and an open eating area extending...

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100 Headpieces in LaForet Harajuku

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in All posts, Beauty and Fashion | 0 comments

Humanity has come a long way in the mastery of hatmaking, after that first animal skin was pulled over the head. I could tell by the queue to 100 Headpieces, stretching for as long as the staircase in Tokyo’s fashion bastion LaForet, located in trend setter district Harajuku. People came up to the last minute, to see the 100 Headpieces exhibition. Haute couture head coverings, created by Japanese fashion designer and stylist Katsuya Kamo for the biggies in the haute couture industry, like Chanel, Fendi, Kenzo, Junya Watanabe Comme de Garçons. Amazing how many people visited the exhibition, especially on that last day, a few hours before it ended. Just like us. Location: LaForet Museum (6F), 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.  Tickets: 500 yen.   The exhibition consisted of one cosy room with one hundred headpieces (I didn’t actually check...

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Whiz by Setagaya by bike

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

It was so sunny on Saturday that we took the bikes out for another tour, with no set goal in mind than to take in more of Tokyo. A metropolis that never feels too vast too be biked. Tokyo’s traditional beauty, sense for detailed aesthetics and compact infrastructure make it a pleasure to explore on our two wheelers. You are welcome to share the ride through Setagaya, a more residential part of Tokyo and whiz through some Japanese environments. Here come the bikes. Let’s go!   Whiz by the Japanese Shinto temple. Take in tranquillity.   Whiz by Wai Wai. Take in systematic chaos.   Whiz by new age Japanese hobbies. Take in a dog trim.   Whiz by Japanese architecture. Take in flowery accents.   Whiz by Kinuta Park. Because the best part of the park is closed...

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Tokyo’s electric town Akihabara

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

After an adventurous archery session, we went to explore another world which simply means another district in Tokyo. Akihabara (秋葉原). Bright like a Christmas tree, the nerdy area showed its festive side with seasonal illuminations these days. If I had to go by the districts probable electricity bill, I would say it is always Christmas at Akihabara. Let me show you the area and some of the main electronics and anime shops, also some tips on overseas shopping. Welcome to Akihabara Station.   Akihabara is computer geek wonderland.   Akihabara is fun to walk.   Akihabara is called Akiba after a former temple. The Kanda Shrine in Akihabara, a 10 min walk from the station, is a pleasant oasis to escape the buzz.   Anime, vending machines, toy coin machines is what Akihabara provides.   Electronics stores, manga figures,...

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(How we make) Temaki in Tokyo

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Today we stayed at home to have dinner. As unexceptional as that might be, the real stunner is that we prepared an authentic Japanese dinner for ourselves. With the guidance of our host Asami, who lives in the house next door. She had the pleasant idea to show us how to make what she calls an ‘easy and quick Japanese family dinner‘. Well, with her help it was because Asami had generously also bought all ingredients. The rice, the seafood, the greens and all the extras we needed to enjoy a fun evening and traditional Japanese meal. Temaki. I hereby share Asami’s recipe – How to make Japanese Temaki First, rinse the rice. Three cups of rice for three people is plenty – we had a scale inside the metal bowl from the rice cooker for measurement.   I...

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Under the moonlight – delicious Japanese rabbit story

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

Despite what the title might suggest, I am not eating hare. Instead, I am expanding my culinary horizons and view of the universe. Since yesterday night for example, I see a rabbit on the moon. Or in other words, I am becoming more Japanese. With the help of our dear friend and culinary expert for Japanese restaurants, Saori. She took us to a most elegant, elaborate and expensive traditional Japanese diner in Ginza.   Ginza is the poshest of the posh in Tokyo, where people buy Louis Vuitton bags to match their Swarovski-adorned smart phones and where the shiny streets smell of Chanel no5. The architecture spells design and the stores define exquisite.   One impressive store described its display: “Twelve-layered kimono dyed with Sappanwood. The kimono is called suou-no-kasane and adorned the beautiful women appearing in the Tale...

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Shimokitazawa – hip area in Tokyo

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

The bike trip to Suginami animation museum in Tokyo did fill our eyes with wonder, but our stomachs were still empty and had been rumbling. To go for dinner, we cycled down to Shimokitazawa, a popular district for a young and alternative Japanese crowd. Shimokitazawa features a lot of second hand fashion, unique vintage stores, music shops and cafés lining small streets. A trendy and fashion conscious area, but more of a laid back place than Harajuku, located close to where we live, in Setagaya. The stores are super hip and have crazy displays. Vintage anime mini-toy-shop.   A to-die-for music store.   The hairdresser had Spiderman guarding the entrance.   And as all of Tokyo, Shimokitazawa was getting ready for Christmas these days.   Pet shops. The strangest Japanese need, to pet animals in a café like setting....

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Tokyo’s Suginami Animation Museum

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

We are in Japan, the mother of manga and anime, consequently a visit to Suginami Animation Museum in Tokyo is a must do. And a lot of fun for adult kids like us.   Location: 3-29-5 Kamiogi Siginami-ku, Tokyo / Admission: free!   A classy building. Marble and Manga.   The museum also features a theatre screening anime classics and the anime library with a large collection of visual and printed material.   Greeted by new releases in the anime world.   The Suginami souvenir stamp was our first stop. Stamps are a such a neat memento. Most major sights have a stamp station in Japan.   Right at the entrance, probably the most popular giant robot – Gundam. He is definitely the hugest action figure I have ever seen, standing tall on Tokyo’s reclaimed island and jaw dropping...

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Flowery izakaya

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

After all the excitement of archery in Tokyo, the sports team rewarded itself with a Japanese meal. A restaurant recommended by Takaki, not only a great amateur archer but most of all a great sport, a pleasant and laid back Japanese soul, we had just met that day. At the Japanese izakaya, we started to scan the enormous drinks selection. This girly berry cocktail was sweet and didn’t disappoint. More so, the drink surprised with its name. It was called Amazon. Whatever the name givers had in mind, it very much fit the day of archery and us girls pretending to be superhuman females. Obviously excelling at the bow’n’arrow sport.   Mai, aiming single eyed (nothing else) with her drink for brave Amazons.   More fluids were consumed and more delicious meals appeared on the table, as Mai and...

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The Art of Archery in Tokyo

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in All posts, Japan | 0 comments

When our friend Alex said “Hey you wanna go to archery?”, beautiful pictures of emancipated women gracefully manipulating bows and arrows came to my mind. Maybe Tomek had the same images in his head as we both said “Yes, we wanna go to archery!” and off we went coming Sunday. Remember that cute girl from the Hunger Games, gorgeous Merida from the Brave movie? All those characters surely had my undivided attention when engaged in the art of archery. One of the most fascinating ancient Greek heroines are Amazons, the female warriors who would cut off their right breast in order to facilitate muscle growth to the right shoulder and arm, as a way to improve their hunting and fighting skills with bows and arrows. Who is the better dressed anyway?   I read that archery is the sport...

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