Food and more Food – this country is about food

Japan has so much to offer when it comes to food. I have 2 friends visiting currently for 2 weeks and both of them never eat raw food nor seafood. I thought this might be a challenge but we are reaching the end of the 2 weeks and we have not finished yet our wishlist. this is endless and always so delicious, oisshiii!!

I took them for lunch on a couple of occasions, restaurants are a commodity here and you can get a set lunch for JPY750 to JPY900 easily and that will always include a bowl of rice, pickles, a bowl of miso soup and the main dish, sometimes a fruit portion, it is excellent value, almost always good and healthy at all times

 

Takao San #1

50mn train away from Shinjuku Station is Takao San, a mountain in Tokyo’s doorsteps. it is an easy hike, about 2 hours up, a lot of nature and peaceful moment. so it can end up being crowded but it remains a nice place.

Spring is nice, you avoid the heat in town, if you go in the morning, it is not that packed and the square close to the cable car has shops and cafes for a break

Taking the cable car also take you to a panorama, there is a cafe with terrace there that has barbecue in the late spring as well as beer garden

in the autumn, it is a scenic place to admire the autumn leaves so get ready for long queues, lots of people, packed trains. this is 95% Japanese tourism and not very known by foreigners (yet), I hope it stays like that

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Ueno

Tourists have Ueno Park on their list because of the many museums set in the park, this is located in the northern part of Tokyo.

What I like about it is that it has a vibe, local families wander there, it is noisy and lively, the station has a shinkansen stop for trains to the north, there is a massive shopping gallery in the station with boutiques and not only big department stores, it does not feel as posh as Ginza but is so Japan

 

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By the station, is a hard rock cafe, nothing special, nothing fancy, but for some reason, Japanese people like to queue and stand there for ever,

At the back of Ueno, is a great part with a shrine and a cemetery, not sure how it is called but it is truly beautiful, follow towards the pagoda at the back and you will find it to your left

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Ueno also has a modern metro station, very bright and polished, one of those nice ones

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Office time

Small individual space but enough to work, I am lucky I work paperless but my colleagues in that office were not, I was impressed how they manage in such a small space. That was my one-week office work there in Osaka, now back to Tokyo!

 

You can see that my neighbor colleague has arranged her office space with carpet, leather on the desk, all sorts of gadgets to feel comfy, so kawai, dessho??

One more tip at lifts, you have a button to press to avoid electricity when calling the lift, how cool is that

Tea Ceremony

This will remain as one of the highlights of my 2018 stay in Japan. A friend invited to join a tea ceremony class in April.

I was blown away by the level of quality, precision and meditation in there. We spent a couple of hours and every minute was inspiring, full of information. I was told this is one of the Zen pillars and I wish I would have time to continue the journey and take this class on a regular basis.

 

from the way you present the matcha in its box, to the  type of bowl you will use depending on the season, the way you open the door, close it, listen to the sound of water, respect the kakemono, walk across the room, everything is thought. loved it, absolutely loved it

Happo-en Tokyo

On a Saturday lunch time, I went out to picnic in the Shirokanedai area, in the Tokyo University park. Across the road, I discovered the wonderful Happo-en.

This is a place that gives you serenity, calm, peace in the heart of the city, suddenly, you forget about the noise, the cars, and the daily life.

The park has a collection of bonsai, a banqueting space and a tea ceremony house that you may book although I have heard they dont always reply

 

Strike in Japan

One thing that I truly appreciate in Japan compared to Europe is the lack of strikes and demonstrations, this is such a relief.

Of course, there are but different!! Typically, demonstrations happen on Saturdays from 10h00 to 11h00 where cars ride around the government buildings shouting their queries from loud speakers. One lane on the road is allocated to the demonstrators so that public is not disturbed.

Here is a strike that happened yesterday in Okayama