So, we’re really behind on posts (surprise!), but during the second or so week of February, we got to see the fantastic Aunt Kim! We all hung out quite a fair amount, and we did our best to show her a good time, so I figured I’d do a post with many of the pictures from her week here. We didn’t photograph everything we did, since we showed her some of our haunts which we’ve already put up, but here are some new things which we might not have posted.
Akihabara! Great place. Known for electronics, geekdom, and moe (overly cute) culture, such as maid cafes. We’ve been there a bunch, but this time I spotted a stand selling a delectably dorky snack: Magikarp taiyaki! My Magikarp was filled with custard, but I also got a normal taiyaki filled with bacon and eggs! WHAT?! For those of you who don’t know, that is not a traditional stuffing for these pancake-y delights, but it’s become a fast favorite for us.
After my taiyakis, we went over to the Hitachi no Nest brewery and had some red rice ale and their Nipponia beer as well.
Personally, I find their red rice ale to be one of the best beers on the planet, so not much (even the nipponia) can stand up to it. It’s just amazing.
Anyway, after we had our beers, we went to have some Kanazawa style curry over at Curry Citizen Alba, still sticking around Akihabara. Kanazawa style curry is cooked for so long that the ingredients blend into a thick, dark sauce:
This stuff was fantastic, so if you’re in the area you should check it out. Also, they have a super high-tech toilet, which sensed you and lifts up it’s lid in anticipation. How often can you have that sort of treatment at a curry place?!
On the day we spent in Harajuku and the surrounding areas, we went to Shiawase Pankeki, which translates into “Happiness Pancake”. Between the three of us, we split three different types of dessert pancakes. Unfortunately, the wait was crazy long and we were literally five minutes late in ordering for savory pancakes… That was annoying to say the least. Anyway, here’s the pancakes:
One of the days Kim was here, we all went to Koreatown in Shinjuku, to walk about and try some Korean foods. I also picked up some sweet potato pies (more like sweet potato pockets, but that’s what a pie is in Japan) in the train station, so here’s some pics of those as well.
On the day before she left, Kim and I had a whale of a day together! We started at 8:00am, for some breakfast sushi at Okame, a standing sushi place in Tsukiji market. It’s just fantastic, but you have to get there early because every time I’m there, by the time I leave there’s a line. Also they only have enough space for three customers at any given time, so it can be a wait for that as well.
After that we went through Hamarikyu, a famous Tokyo park a short walk away from Tsukiji. While we were there, we parked in the tea house and enjoyed two bowls of matcha tea along with some delicious tea snacks. It’s been a while since I’ve done tea ceremony, so they thankfully had an English instruction sheet for their patrons.
After we finished at Hamarikyu, we moseyed over to Ginza, and stumbled upon a Uniqlo store which informed us, once inside, that it was the world’s best Uniqlo store since it was something like 14 stories tall and chalk-full of their products. Kim wandered around, but I was overwhelmed by the caffeine from the two bowls of matcha and found a couch to recover on.
When we finished there, we went over to a Me’s Cafe & Kitchen, where Kim treated me to a scrumptious meal,during which we partook of some fruit infused waters, a variety of sliders (including a soft-shell crab one! Yum!), a steak plate, and some pancakes:
We then headed over to the Imperial palace just in time for it to close.
We decided to walk around the perimeter and then finding out that it is over 4 km of perimeter. I was still getting over 5 weeks of having a bronchial infection, so that was an extreme workout which left me feeling like I’d pass out. When we had made it home safely, I decided to let Sam and Kim do their own thing for dinner.
For dinner they went to a classic soba/udon restaurant near our apartment. Kim got the duck udon soup:
and Sam got the zaru (dipping) soba with seasonal tempura:
The seasonal tempura was carrot, onion, shishito pepper, and three other vegetables we weren’t sure about. Possibly, dandelion, fiddler fern, and mitsuba:
Apparently, everything was quite good.
The final dinner was Rouben Gyoza House. They specialize in dumplings, with each shape containing a different filling. Clockwise, from the top-left, we have pork and chicken with leek, next is pork, leek and celery, and at the bottom is pork and Chinese cabbage.
We decided we wanted to try more kinds, so we ordered another round, this time with pork and “white gourd”
and pork and crab meat.
They were all very good, but the surprising standouts were the pork and cabbage, and the pork and crab.
Showing aunt Kim around was a lot of fun, and we got to have so great food, and see some cool things.