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Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:59 am
by EMG
Never really did post many photos from Japan so I thought I'd dump some here.

This was Japan December 2018. I flew into and out of Narita. Stayed overnight or took day trips to Nagano, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Kobe.

Day 1 in Tokyo. I stayed in Taito which is a bit out of the way, a quieter area of Tokyo, but the hotels were pretty affordable. I visited Roppongi Hills and a few other areas.

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Day 2 I went up to Kaurizawa, which is on the way to Nagano, for snowboarding. It wasn't snowing yet but this resort has snow machines that pump out artificial snow when it gets cold enough to stay frozen. It ended up snowing about 2 weeks later, I was just a bit early. The snowboarding was fun anyway and the small town had some good food, but not much to do there otherwise.

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Day 3 I headed to Nagoya, where I would be based for the next 3 days. From Nagoya I did day trips to Kyoto and Kobe.

Nagoya is very colorful. Big enough town to have some nightlife but not as massive as Tokyo.

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Kobe (where Kobe beef comes from)

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Kyoto is particularly charming and scenic.

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To end the week I headed back to Tokyo and visited Shibuya. I stayed in Ota which is also (like Taito) sort of out-of-the-way as far as Tokyo goes. Less touristy and more working class.

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Overall Japan is probably my favorite country to visit in Asia (of the dozen or so I've been to). The food was as amazing as I remembered it, everything works perfectly and the streets are clean and everything is so well organized, people are friendly though English is very limited making conversation difficult.

It's a fairly expensive country to travel in, but I'd go again and again.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:04 am
by erkat
Great photos

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:04 am
by mad hatter
Thanks mate, the family have Japan on the list to go to next, great to see some cool photos

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:20 am
by DCComic
Excellent.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:27 pm
by Moethebartender
Outstanding. Did you try the Kobe beef while you were there?

Almost 100% of the shit that they pass off as Kobe in the US is not really Kobe.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:56 pm
by EMG
Moethebartender wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:27 pm
Outstanding. Did you try the Kobe beef while you were there?

Almost 100% of the shit that they pass off as Kobe in the US is not really Kobe.
Yep, I did. That's the photo I posted with the wine glass in front of the chef. In fact I went to Kobe just to eat some Kobe beef, snapped a few photos around the city center, and then left.

It can get mind boggling expensive. I went into this restaurant and sat down, the chef handed me a menu and pointed to a few prime cut recommendations which were between $150-$250+ per steak. And not very big steaks either.

After I hesitated he pointed to some of the more affordable options, which were still far from cheap.

I enjoyed the experience though. It was just me and the chef there, each bite is served individually with recommendations on how to eat it (this one with wasabi, this one with a garlic chip, etc). And the steak is very good.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:01 pm
by cummy
EMG wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:59 am
Overall Japan is probably my favorite country to visit in Asia (of the dozen or so I've been to). The food was as amazing as I remembered it, everything works perfectly and the streets are clean and everything is so well organized, people are friendly though English is very limited making conversation difficult.

It's a fairly expensive country to travel in, but I'd go again and again.
what AMAZING photos. thanks for sharing.

i totally agree with you in that japan is my favourite country to visit in asia. actually, it is the only country i want to (and will ever want to) visit in asia. i am glad you got to experience the hustle and bustle of tokyo and other cities (with less stress and fewer people). and the food...! yes the food...! your food pics looked fab. tokyo is one of my fave cities in the world. i love japan for its organization, respectful people, orderly people that do not push and shove, safety, cleanliness, hygiene, good food, good transport, great airports (NRT, HND, KIX), etc. those are the things that i like.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:27 pm
by Moethebartender
That would have been very cool. I knew the shit was off the hook expensive, but I'd love to try it sometime. There's no regulation around that in the US, so a lot of restaurants are slapping a Kobe label on regular steak and charging big premiums for it without any justification. I even saw Kobe hot dogs on the menu at a Jeremy Remy's sports bar in Boston. I'm like, they don't even make shit like that out of Kobe. Anyone who thinks they've eaten it in the US almost certainly hasn't actually gotten what they paid for.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:28 pm
by EMG
Happy to share, Cummy.

This was my second trip to Japan. The first time around, about 3 or 4 years ago, I spent almost a week in Tokyo, staying in a hotel in Shinjuku and exploring the city by train.

I enjoyed getting out of Tokyo this time around and seeing the smaller cities. The bullet trains are incredibly efficient and clean, like everything else, and with a 1 week JR Pass which cost me just over $200, I saved hundreds of dollars on taking bullet trains every day.
(Especially nice when I fell asleep TWICE on one trip and missed my stop in two directions).

There are plenty of Asian destinations I love, but Japan is so different from the others in how everything functions and seems to be designed so intuitively that you're almost never even mildly inconvenienced.

Only exception may be catching city trains on a busy rush hour evening. Prepare for some (respectful) forceful crushing on the train.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:32 pm
by EMG
Moethebartender wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:27 pm
That would have been very cool. I knew the shit was off the hook expensive, but I'd love to try it sometime. There's no regulation around that in the US, so a lot of restaurants are slapping a Kobe label on regular steak and charging big premiums for it without any justification. I even saw Kobe hot dogs on the menu at a Jeremy Remy's sports bar in Boston. I'm like, they don't even make shit like that out of Kobe. Anyone who thinks they've eaten it in the US almost certainly hasn't actually gotten what they paid for.
They do it here in the Philippines as well. People will call any old chunk of beef wagyu because no tells them they're wrong. Some guy at a night market selling 'wagyu brisket sandwiches' for $2 or $3 made of tough local beef.

There is one very upscale restaurant near my place that sells real wagyu which is flown in from Japan. You choose the steak by the region it was raised in Japan and the restaurant is run by the Japanese importer.

But lunch for two will easily set you back $200. And that's if you take it easy.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:42 pm
by Moethebartender
There's no place anywhere close to me that has the real thing:
Today only nine businesses in the U.S. serve the real thing, according to the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association. They include restaurants in the Wynn Las Vegas, Nick and Sam's Steakhouse in Dallas, the MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, Bazaar Meat by José Andrés in Las Vegas, the three-location Alexander's Steakhouse, 212 Steakhouse in New York City, and Teppanyaki Ginza Onodera in Honolulu. (The first Canadian restaurant to receive Kobe certification, Park in Montreal, did so earlier this year.)
Link

I guess Vegas is my best bet domestically, at least for the near future.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:03 pm
by EMG
Now that you mention it, I had to check the one near me. They don't serve the Kobe brand of wagyu. They serve Omi, Saga and Kagoshima. It runs between $30-$50 per 100 grams. So a couple of 200 or 300 gram steaks will set you well back.

Add a bottle of wine and an appetizer and you get the idea.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:47 pm
by Lincoln
Excellent photos EMG...you clearly have an eye for a good picture.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:31 am
by EMG
Thanks Lincoln. All shot with my cell phone camera.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:11 pm
by ceylon_tea
Japan is my favourite country in the world. looks lovely as ever.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:07 pm
by EMG
Definitely in my top 5. Maybe top 3.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:08 pm
by Cyllarus
Great pictures. Brings back lots of memories of my year working for Japanese govt. have only been back once and that was in 2008. High on the list for return visit.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:19 pm
by Homerj
My problem with Japan is it was just a cleaner version of Taiwan.
Lots of concrete buildings, really crowded, big mountains and very good food.
I really like it there but it just wasn't different enough to inspire repeat visits.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:47 am
by EMG
I prefer the food in Japan vs. Taiwan. Not that Taiwan is bad at all, it ranks high on my list, but I'd give Japan the edge.

I would like to get back to Taiwan though and see more of it than just Taipei, which is all I did last time.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:51 am
by Lost Soul
Beautiful fall photos. Thanks. I'll do it someday.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:56 am
by RandomThoughts
Great photos!

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:21 pm
by EMG
Thanks!

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:37 pm
by Mike Hunt
Lovely photos, EMG. Thanks for sharing.

I always liked those cold soba noodles, but could never replicate the sauce.

Re: Japan 2018

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:24 am
by EMG
Yes I love the cold soba as well, eat it frequently.

I think the sauce is just light soy, wasabi, and green onion isn't it?