Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tsukiji Fish Market...

Tsukiji Fish Market where fishmongers come to buy and sell... and you're invited.Visitors are welcome in many parts of the market, however, it is a very busy and very dangerous area. It's the world's largest fish market. There are a gazillion of those carts above zooming an and out and down aisles within the market not fit for carts and people. It was TERRIFYING!!! I'm very glad I went, but I would NOT take kids!
You need to have a special license to buy in this area, but there is a market area beyond here where you can shop for fish, meat, produce, and other goods. I didn't think the prices were all that great, but one of the people I was with swore they were better. I know it's fresher.

I took this photo before the tuna auction. The tuna auction takes place between 05:30 and 06:15. They go fast and they move a lot of fish for a lot of money! I didn't catch the price, but I heard someone say some of the bigger fish go for 2,000,000-yen. Like I said, I only overheard this, I didn't verify.
These are the fish they're buying.The potential buyers would come through with a pick and chop into the fish, then shine their flashlight into the open cavities. I saw more than a couple of guys take a small piece of the fish and rub it between their fingers.
Cutting one of the bigger fish was a three man job... with a sword!
I wasn't allowed to buy here, but I enjoyed the explanation of how to eat this.
I look at these tiny little fish and think pizza toppings. These are often offered as toppings in Japanese pizzerias.
Here is where you can buy the hooks to drag the big frozen tuna around. Are you writing this down?
Even the frogs are scared of the H1N1 flu!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shiso Pepsi and another new Kit Kat flavor!

It's here! Shiso Pepsi. The stories I've read about this new flavor in English claim this is basil flavor. I beg to differ. I know I like basil, I know I don't like Shiso.
Here is one of my bottles staring me down. In my opinion, it doesn't smell like basil.
Sports drink flavored Kit Kat. I think I'll try it the next time I go for a run and see if I run faster.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fun Obento boxes

Need an R2-D2 Soy Sauce bottle? How about a pepper mill?
Katie and I found these things in a store in Yokohama that may be an import store. These things all had a lot of English writing on them.

This Space Shuttle lunch tray isn't exactly a bento box, but it could function similarly.

I bought this one in Yokohama, but they're available online everywhere. The writing on the package is all in English.

I actually liked the round bento better, it looked just like a hamburger, but I felt this one was more practical for what I'll use it for.... packing lunch!

Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm convinced that you can't walk 50 meters in Japan without tripping over a Tanuki statue. They're everywhere! I took the first three photos within a block and a half of each other in Zushi.

The one above and below are outside karaoke places... hence the microphone. You'll often see him standing guard outside restaurants as well. By the way I can call them all "he" with confidence. Look closely because that is one distinctive thing about all of these statues.
There are real Tanuki around here as well. I have only seen one once. They look a lot like raccoons and are often referred to as Raccoon Dogs.

There is an extensive article about Tanuki here.
This guy in the photo above enjoys his sake out on the street in Kawasaki.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fried Octopus soda anyone? Anyone??? What about Wasabi?

I bought these Ramune (soda) in Kawasaki on Wednesday. From left to right: Wasabi, Takoyaki (octopus), Curry, Yogurt, and Caramel. They're still chilling. The little guy on the curry bottle is blowing fire. Wonder what that's all about!

The Squid Ink Ramune I tried back in May wasn't bad at all. I'll update once I taste these.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chigasaki Satoyama Koen

Chigasaki Satoyama Koen is a fun little park in the Chigasaki area.
Take the quick way down to the bouncy clouds via the rollerslide. I highly recommend a thick piece of cardboard between your bum and the slide. This one is a burner!
Almost there!
There was a tiny little bouncing cloud for tiny little people.
There is also a shorter rollerslide on the left side of the picture.
Take some time and peruse the sign before going to the park :)
There is a lot of open space and several trails to make for a nice afternoon.
To get there by by train and bus:
Take a train to Chigasaki Station. Catch Bus #50 bound for Bunkyo University. It will be parked at bus stop #1. Tell the driver that you would like to get off at Serizawa Iriguchi. Cross the street from where the bus drops you off and walk down that street. You will run right into the park.
Thank you Ritsuko san for helping me find this!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ramune Kit Kats

Nestle released the Ramune flavored Kit Kats this week. They smell like the Squid Ink Ramune.
They're blue!

Three weddings... no funerals.

I'm not sure if Spring weddings are as popular here in Japan as they are in other parts of the world, but I couldn't walk 25 meters at the Meiji Shrine without crossing paths with a beautiful wedding party at this popular Shinto Shrine.
When they were smiling, they were beautiful, but when it came time to take the picture, they looked kind of dour.
This wedding party is not the same one from above. This one is walking through the courtyard at Meiji Shrine.
This is the third wedding party I saw. They were outside the outer building of Meiji Shrine. The groom really was smiling before this picture. Maybe somebody pinched him.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bonsai and Ritual Cleansing at Meiji Jingu

Bonsai are on display at Meiji Jingu.
I think the one in the front of the picture above may be very old.... maybe over 100 years old. I don't know this for sure. I didn't pay attention to the tag in front of it and I don't have a clear photo of it. I'm just going by someone else's photograph that looks like this bonsai.... which looks like many other bonsai.

Now onto the ritual cleansing, which you should have done before looking at the photos above.
How to do the Ritual Cleansing of Hands and Mouth:

Please rinse your hands and mouth before praying. Please set your mind at ease. Shifting the dipper from one hand to the other, rinse first your left, then right hand. Rinse your mouth with water poured into the palm of your left hand. Hold the dipper upright in both hands to rinse the handle with the remaining water. Return the dipper to its original position.

*Please refrain from drinking directly from the dipper.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm not sure how to describe what this is, so I'll just describe my experience.
Last weekend, I had to go up to Harajuku for a little bit. Right outside the station, I stumbled upon this long line of young women. I asked a couple of them what the line was about. They told me it was for Japanese idol. I was thinking American Idol, but they didn't seem dressed for that. There was a man keeping the line in order and handing out yellow slips of paper.
It was about 9:45am when I was there. The guy keeping order asked me if I was there for this. I said yes and was given this. He told me to come back at 10:30. I left and came back at the appropriate time.
When I returned, I again asked some people what I was standing in line for. I was standing in line for Johnny. "Oh!" I thought to myself. "I'm in line to meet a Japanese rock star. Thank goodness I have my camera!" I asked how much it would cost. 150-yen for a picture. Ok. Kind of odd, but I can spare that to meet a real life pop star.
Sorry, but this is all they let me take a picture of.
They led my line back through an alley behind some buildings to the storefront in the picture above. There were people with headsets lining the way. I thought they were Johnny's security detail. He must be a big star!
They took us into a small room lined from ceiling to floor with pictures of Japanese boy bands and actors. Despite the small room, there were people with complicated headsets directing you as to where to go. I was directed to grab a clipboard with an order sheet and pen. I could then peruse the pictures and mark off the appropriate number of the picture I wanted to buy. I kept looking for a door where I could walk through to meet Johnny.
Turns out, Johnny isn't an idol. Johnny is an agency representing young talent here in Japan. HA!
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