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Archives for May 2013

Tokyo, Japan: On Land, Water and Air

You still need to make the most of it, even on a rainy and gloomy day in Tokyo. One of the stops was to the Tokyo Tower, a known landmark here and a 360 degree observation tower as well as a radio tower/transmitter. And here was our guide that brought us around the city. She’s the voice you hear in the tea ceremony explanation. To read up on that post, CLICK HERE

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Here are certain points of interest. This is the area of Shibuya, the area of which my dad and I were staying in Tokyo. Like any observation tower, there is a 360 degree view of the city. Further out in the distance, you would be able to see Mt. Fuji and Yokohama Bay.

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Hope you’re not afraid of heights, otherwise, avoid stepping on the glass floor that gives you a full view of everything beneath you… that’s quite a ways down!

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The next important landmark was the Tokyo Imperial Palace *cue fanfare*.

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*Sigh* A cloudy, dreary day indeed. Behind me is where they do the changing of the guard, which we were able to witness.

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Continuing the adventure via boat:

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We cruised up from the Odaiba Seaside Park and went north. Along the route, we passed under 14 different bridges and ended at our destination of Asakusa.

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What’s in Asakusa? Check out my post next week to find out! 😉 Happy travel friends!

Tokyo, Japan: Tea Time

It really is wonderful being able to get absorbed into the culture and to experience their traditions.

One of the stops on our tour was to take part in a tea ceremony here in this historic tea house, entitled Muan, that was built during the Edo Era by a wealthy silk merchant.

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Once everyone was seated in the tea house, we were greeted by the tea master and her assistant, who served us something that was comparable to a sugar cube. It was sweet and immediately dissolved in your mouth.

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Then the tea master went on with the ceremony in preparing and pouring the tea.

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For a further explanation on the tea ceremony, check out the video I took. It summarizes the skill of a tea master in determining the temperature of the water for the tea and the different types of tea they drink. You get to see how the tea master goes about the process of making the tea and you even hear a little bit about the purpose for sweet treat we eat (in the photo above) before drinking the tea.

Guess who the special guest was…. ME! They explained, there was a shrine in the room and where I was sitting was in direct correlation to it, which made me the special guest. I got to drink the tea that the tea master put together. Everyone else’s tea was just poured. I’d say that was pretty fantastic on my part =)

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Presenting the tea is pretty neat too. The teacup was served with the image facing the person.

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When you hold the cup, you twist the cup a tidbit to the right, so you’re not sipping on the image itself. When you’re done drinking the tea, you hold and admire (their words, not mine) the cup you’re holding.

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Something new to appreciate. I will say after this trip, I do find myself drinking more tea =) Happy travels friends.

Tokyo, Japan: Kaye Dreams of Sushi*

Of course the title of this article is a nod to the movie/documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. If you haven’t seen it, they had it on Netflix. It is about Jiro, well-known in the sushi world, and it’s about his passion for sushi and everyone’s role in his family and restaurant. It was quite inspirational and the theme can be applied for whatever passion you have. Just go for it!

If you haven’t guessed by now, this post is about food in Japan. One of our first meals was lunch at the Chinzanso restaurant, a “beautiful and historic former manor”. This was located in part of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so.

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The walk behind the hotel to get to the restaurant was really lush, regardless of the rainy weather.

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We had a BBQ lunch. It was amazing. I’ll let the photos do the talking here, and it is SO much better than those hibachi grill places.

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Lunch was accompanied by water and sake (left). Dessert was some tea (right) and some ice cream.

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Another meal that deserves mentioning is Japanese breakfast. I had no idea what that entailed, but according to my dad, it was a must-have. Thank goodness I consented (as if he really had to twist my arm).

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(Coming straight off the menu) Starter: special tofu (soy cake) poured soup stock soy sauce, shavings bonito, spring onion, wasabi. My thought? If this is how the meal begins, I’m excited for the rest!!

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Main Plate: (bottom-left plate) Fried fish cake, stew spinach, flavored of citron. (bottom-right plate) Stewed chicken, taro, carrot, burduck, shiitake mushroom, snow pea. (top plate) Grilled yellowtail with salt, grilled eggs, served with grated diakon radish with lotus soaked vinegar. Served with steamed taro, daikon radish, carrot, shiitake mushroom, snow peas.

All I really can say about this is my taste buds were thoroughly delighted!

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Choice of rice and drink: Steamed rice, miso soup, laver, Japanese pickles (as opposed to the other option of rice porridge of pine nut, boiled down of laver, plum meat mixed of bonito, Japanese pickles)

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Last, but of course not least, sushi time at a different restaurant! No words are needed here!

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May your salivating mouths be satisfied after reading this post =) Happy travels friends!