Tofu

Full of protein, healthy, tofu is a paste made out of soja. In Europe, it is usually considered as a boring item, diet oriented or special for vegan.

Here, it is part of the cuisine, and you can find all sorts of different tofus at the supermarket as well as hundreds of ways to prepare it. There are tofu restaurants, usually quite expensive.

My friend Francoise and I found one that we really enjoyed, in the Shimbashi/Ginza area, on the Ginza corridor. that was very accidentally that we spot it as it has a tiny entrance in between 2 large steakhouses and is on a 2nd floor. however, it is traditional, you are accomodated in small individual rooms separated by sliding rice paper doors and has a great menu.

With our little knowledge, we went to try out a bit of everything and it turned out to be a great dinner, we were full but not heavy. I recommended it

 

The only thing is that I am not even able to read the name of the restaurant!! it is located in Ginza corridor 7-2 on 2F – tel 03 6274 6933 – it is called Ohashi Ginza – post code is 104-0061 – you can book online!!

Obon

Obon is the celebration of the deads in the family. Depending on the regions, it is celebrated in july or August but mostly on 14th and 15th August.

This is not a bank holiday but many companies give days off to the employees. This is a time when Tokyo becomes very quiet, this is very enjoyable.

People go back to their families and celebrate the memories of the dead family members. They go to the temple and dance Bon-Odori. I was lucky, I have a temple close to my place where local people gathered.

In the center of the square, was set up a Yagura, a quiet high wooden stage, where the drummers would stand up successively. Dancers in the middle would show the way and public would copy around.

Then, there is a variety of shops for street food around that you can enjoy, yakitori, beer, etc.

 

bathtub

No tap in this one!! Japan has moved to panels years ago (I remember those already in 2002). You set from your panel the temperature you wish and how much you want it to fill up. Then, you may reheat it and keep it at temperature, you may also cover the bath for the next day and reheat! Remember that the bath in Japan is daily and is to relax, you wash in the shower, and then enjoy the bath.

 

I spent 2 weeks carrying all the notices of the appliances around as it was so sophisticated. I am getting better at it (maybe I do everything wrong but just have not realised) but the fridge still is daunting and I have purchase small stickers where I have written the translation into English for all the buttons! Et voila!!

 

A bit more on Sendai

here are few more photos of what I saw in Sendai. I recommend to use the loople bus, this is an old fashion type of hop-on hop-off version, very cute and with that you get an overview of the city.

 

 

Here are some views of the tour

 

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We were there at the end of July just before the week end of Tanabata Festival on 5th and 6th August, this is very special apparently. While Japan celebrates and have their Matsure in May, Sendai celebrates in early August and that brings over 2M visitors in one week end!

Everywhere, where displayed the Tanabata and the hotel do their own with the employees every year.

 

 

Supermarket

This very basic chore never stops to impress me, every time I go for groceries, I discover new items, try out new food, here are some differences

Beer – Coming from Belgium, I thought we had a huge choice of items in a long shelf, well, here, all beers are stored in fridge sections, in a long shelf, but 90% comes in cans and you get god knows how many different type of strength, color, flavour, mostly from a couple of brands!! I only recognise one so far (Asahi grey can) and only this one comes in 4 different formats, S, M, L and XL

Fish – as you would guess, there is plenty of choice, one thing to remember, in Japan, sushi are displayed in the ready-meal section while sashimi come in the fish area, it sounds logical but good to know. Fish is almost always great value for money and much cheaper than in Belgium or Europe in general. To give you an idea, I can get a large sashimi plate with 12 to 15 pieces for 400 Yens (3.50 euros), 2 portions of salmon fillet would come around 300 Yens (2.50 euros)

 

One thing that I enjoy a lot here are the pickles, they are healthy, tasty, not to vinegared and there are so many different choices. for a guilty pleasure and more quality and taste, I pay trips to Isetan monthly to buy the best of all

Rice is still very difficult to choose and it comes better from a rice cooker, which I have not got yet. So, I buy a different one each time and make notes to be able to discern (maybe one day). During my trip to Niigata, where rice is at its best, I could really taste the difference, it is excellent up there, trust me!! try it!

choix de riz

 

so, all in all, nothing to do with what we are used to, here is how a typical shopping day looks like

Two quakes jolt eastern Japan – Japan Today

Two earthquakes jolted eastern Japan on Wednesday morning but there were no reports ofinjuries and no tsunami alerts issued, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 shook the Kanto region at 7:16 a.m. It originated at a depth of 50 kilometers in southern Ibaraki…

Source : Two quakes jolt eastern Japan – Japan Today