Monday, October 4, 2010

Wrapping Things Up in Tokyo

When it comes to eating in Tokyo I have 3 pieces of advice, 1) eat where the people are, 2) be a tourist and 3) try everything!
Eat where the people are means, if you are hungry and you are walking around trying to find a place to eat go in somewhere that is crowded. The reason I have not specifically named the places I have eaten (besides Vampire Cafe and other theme restaurants I will talk about soon) is because I don't know the names. If there is even a visible sign it is all in Japanese. If you see a place that looks hoppin, it is because the food is good! This has not failed me once. Around 6 pm here in Tokyo the locals begin to get off work and go straight for food and drinks. This will allow you a window between 6 and midnight (you don't want to miss your subway home) to mix it up with them and eat where they eat. Something I recommend for late drinks and "finger goods" are these small stand up bars. The idea is to stand at a small table, drink, eat, get a little loud, and hang loose . They are a lot of fun, the food is amazing, and they are always packed.

fried octopus balls at a standing bar in Tokyo 

Be a tourist means, go to places that are recommended in travel books, online or on TV. See what is popular in Tokyo and go check it out! This is where I discovered the 3 theme restaurants I visited, Vampire Cafe, Ninja Restaurant and Cat Cafe. The Ninja Restaurant was amazing! When you walk in you are greeted by a hostess who claps her hand and a ninja appears from the wall! You are led through a maze of narrow corridors where you come upon a small surprise, I wont give too much away. Once you are inside the dining area it is a wonderland of dark stone halls, ninjas, private dinning rooms, green smoke, and calming fountains. Our table was in a private room, closed off with beautiful thin wooden sliding doors. We took off our shoes in order to sit in the traditional room of bamboo floors and padded chairs on the floor, they even offered you arm rests! We had a beautiful view of green smokey tunnels under the walk ways above and a bamboo fountain. The food matched the ambiance, pricey and delicious! We had duck carpaccio, octopus, and beef cheek disguised as a fish.

The cat cafe was not really a "cafe" more of a place
to go play with cats and have a drink and maybe a snack. But they are very famouse here in Tokyo and if you are a cat person  I reccomend you checking it out. It is cheep and a good way to pass an hour in the afternoon.

And try everything means, try everything! I am not big on seafood and that did not hold me back in Japan. The people here live on seafood and me being such a food person, how could I say no? Well I was pleasantly surprised. I ate delicious shrimp at a restaurant from Okinawa (I really and truly recommend the food from Okinawa, esp their signature pork dish! It is by far the best thing I ate on my trip), spicy squid with onions at a restaurant on the street, octopus at least 3 different ways, sushi, and so much more. So even though you are sure you don't like something, try it anyway. One ingridient, such as shrimp, is prepared in comepletely different ways in different countries, you may end up likeing it. So say yes, take a bite, and if you don't like at least you tried it but, I'm sure you will like it.

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