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Showing posts from January, 2009

My Neighborhood Chinese Restaurant

I rarely list the names of local places because most would either forget the name, or never visit them. The reason for this post is simple - I want people to understand the importance of Chinese cuisine in Japan! A lot of people living here have probably passed by a few dozen local Chinese restaurants one time or another, and have probably never taken the time to stop by one for one reason or another. I think this is a pity since many of them really are pretty good! This picture was taken across the street from Negishi station, and is a true local favorite of this area. Their lunch sets are very reasonably priced - 850yen for an entree, rice,soup, and salad. My two big favorites are tsubuta ( pork stir fried with vegetables), and ebi chili( fried shrimp with a sweet chili sauce).

Health and Beauty

She's a nice and well aged Jukujo.  I love the sepia tones, too.  The quads do it for me all the time. I love them plus the hams.    And she even has hips and good teeth.    A delicious beauty and healthy looking beauty.    True health has nothing to do with eating less, but more about toning up and shaping up.  

Japan is an aging society, but that doesn't mean doctors  should be promoting less fatty diets.   Old Japanese women must be thick, not sickly and skinny.   If that offends you then good.    The model is vivacious and creamy looking.   The way all Japanese women should be.   Do not skip a meal, do not fast, do not refrain from eating meats, do not stop drinking delicious sake!

The Horses of Cape Shiriya!

The Horses of Cape Shiriya !, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Cape Shiriya is at the most northeasterly point in Honshu, the main island of Japan. The "Kandachime" horses, which originated in Aomori Prefecture, graze here. The horse's name comes from the fact that they stand straight and still throughout the frigid winters of northern Japan, which at times can reach record low temperature of around minus 30 degrees Celsius. These are strong stout horses that become aggressive when they see stranger people walking around. I was chased away trying to get up close to these gorgeous creatures. The sight of the grazing horses set against the lighthouse in the cliffs is a particularly impressive scene, especially during winter.

Tokyo Station Select Bento

Tokyo Station Select Bento, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. This was the most expensive bento on display at Tokyo Station, so I purchased it. The key thing to remember about this bento is its theme: Food from all four directions of Japan; sea,mountains,rivers,valleys,. In this bento there's eel(river),mushrooms(mountain),octopus(sea),rice(valley), and so on. And then, the beer, which I take is from heaven. Delicious as hell! Cost me about 1300 yen.

Hippari Dago

Hippari Dago is the name of this "not Tako", originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. If ever in doubt about what bento to try then eat what the Romans in Japan eat; Hippari Dago! This bento lunch is the signature bento of Kobe city, and is recognized as one of Japan's greatest bento lunches. The contents are spinach, boiled octopus, bamboo, rice, and some mushrooms. These also sell out very quickly!

Kobe Beef Bento Box

Awhile back, I remember trying this delicious bento. I think it's one of the more popular choices, especially amongst train geeks like myself. There are a few others which I will post a bit later. This Kobe Beef bento box is hard to keep stock as they sell out very quickly. Kobe Beef is a kind of premium grade marbled fatty beef that's extremely expensive. However, there are other notable greats like Yonezawa Beef which is a bit less expensive, but tastes just as good, probably better in my opinion since I like fatty beef. What's interesting is that Kobe Beef is a 100% Japanese creation whereas Yonezawa Beef was brought over from the West by a certain Englishmen who then popularized it and gave it international recognition. It's important to remember that the Japanese have been making premium grade beef long before the West did, in fact Kobe Beef has its origins in Shikoku then it gradually became popularized in Kobe and then recognized all over the world. …

Samurai Tea House

Samurai tea houses are one of my favorite subjects to photograph.

Geso or Fried Squid Legs!

This and chicken karaage(Japanese fried chicken) are two of my main favorites. Either can be enjoyed with beer or Japanese rice wine. Preferable after a nice dip in a hot spring.


There are only two ways to enjoy garlic; deep fried or microwaved. After frying, a sprinkling of salt and miso paste and AWwwesome is the word.

Mejiro-Yousukou: 目白 揚子江

yosuko5, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander.

I would normally never blog about Chinese food because my blog is mainly about Japanese cuisines, onsen, and sake. The reason for choosing to post this is because of the historical relevance of this restaurant, which  has  long historical ties to some members of the Royal Family of Japan, plus my blog is a bit Tenno  centered.

 Prince Naruhito, to be exact, used to frequent this Chinese restaurant back when he was in junior high school, and his favorite dish of all time was and still is ebi-chili.   Not sure if he still comes here or not, but for a fact this restaurant has been a family favorite for many years, possibly decades.

 NHK aired a special on this restaurant two years ago highlighting some of the many delicious cuisines offered.  Luckily for me, I was able to research and save the information from the original program and now, two years later I embarked on a long train ride from Yokohama just last wee…

Sougen of Ishikawa Prefecture

The way it's pronounced is SO-U-GEN. I chose this sake for tonights blog post because it's an established local favorite of Ishikawa prefecture. It is served cold and it's a daigenjyo, premium grade sake. Another solid point is that, and one that should be considered when trying nihonshu, is the rice being used to make it. Rice lends subtle textures and certain unique regional characteristics to nihonshu that should never go unnoticed. The rice used to make this sake hails from Hyogo prefecture and it's called Yamadanishiki. Actually, yamadanishiki is not exclusively grown in this area, but in many different prefectures. The reason why a brewer may have chosen to grow is own yamadanishiki in this part of Japan probably has more to do with the climate than anything, and because temperature does have an effect on the final product, thus the climate in the southern parts of Hyogo are moderate with little rain, while the cloudy and rainy north receives seasonal wi…

Local Commuter Train Ride in Tohoku

An early misty morning train ride through some of Tohoku's vast and seemingly endless network of rail lines can be a nostalgic experience.  Looking from my train window I can see remnants of the past; houses, farm lands, and rusty sign boards. The train line I was using is called a 'commuter express,' which is frequented by many commuters from Niigata to Aizu Wakamatsu city in Fukushima Prefecture every morning starting at around 8a.m. The nice thing about this commute is that there're very few people who commute to work by train at this distance, as most people drive their own cars to major cities such as Fukushima in order to work. As a result of fewer people, lots of empty seats are made available so that one may lay down and sleep the whole way during the very comfortable three and a half hour train ride bound for Fukushima. I chose to walk the entire length of the train as it wound itself around miles and miles of railroad while taking pictures. This…

Back In Minato Mirai, Yokohama, Japan

minato mirai2, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. After returning to this city after a short vacation I am reminded of the little things I do like most about this city, like 24-hour convenience stores and ATMs. Minato Mirai is located in a city called Yokohama, which was the first major port opened by the West, in Japan and is considered one of the most modern cities in the world. It is also the birthplace of tennis in Japan as well, along with having the Landmark Tower which boasts having the fastest elevators in the world. Minato Mirai city was made for couples and people who just want to take nice long night walks along the promenade while taking in the surrounding beautiful night views. You see, it's a safe city. You never have to worry about getting mugged or held up, or anything like that. Women can walk home safely without fear of being accosted by some stranger. Even the homeless are nice and well mannered as they never beg nor ask for money! It's l…

Ishikawa Prefecture: Crab Legs!

After finally leaving Gifu the highway condition improved. I was finally able to remove my snowchains and drive my normal 120 k/m an hour. Once we arrived in Ishikawa the first order of business was Ishikawa crab, which a lot of the locals tout as the 'holy grail' of crab in Hokoriku. After trying several of the leg portions I wasn't sold on the 'holy grail' part, but I was finally convinced that Hokkaido offers the best crab for the best price, albiet a little pricey, but neverthless the best in overall terms of taste and size.

Winter Vacation Conti.

Lunch on the first was a nice pork cutlet over at the Alpine Center, which is a major transportation hub for people taking the night bus to and from Nagano and Takayama City. We needed to fuel up for our drive to Kanazawa.

Winter Vacation Part4

On the morning of the first,2009, New Year's morning, just before breakfast, I headed down again the creaky stair case to the annex building. There I found some fantastic ice sickles dangling from the roofs and gutters of the hotel building. Front Entrance Fron inside the building

Winter Vacation Part 3

At dinner, I was thinking about what would be a good time to enter the open air bath. Normally, on a weekend, when it’s the most crowded, I wait until after midnight. That’s of course if the open air bath is available for 24 hours, in which case it was for this hotel, so with that in mind I was able to take my time and enjoy the delicious spread that was in front of me. First, there was the Hide Beef sashimi in picture one, which had a very interesting texture to it; smooth, beefy and wonderfully fatty. In the second picture in the green bowl is the raw nose flesh of a salmon which is regarded as rare and full of collagen. As for taste, well, to each his/her own. It was a bit crunchy and tasty. The third picture we have a classic winter dish neatly garnished with seasonal delights like salmon, lotus root, and a young potatoe in the shape of a mushroom. The entire course menu which consisted of six dishes was delicious as was the jizake which is called "Tenriyo," and…

Winter Vacations Diary

I'd like to continue from the 31. So, after check out we headed up to Takayama City to enjoy some fantastic Gifu beef, then headed back to Hirayu onsen for check-in.. The drive back through Gifu's icy roads on summer tires was a heart pounding experience for me, you see, I'm from Southern California, so this is not my kind of weather.

At any rate, things worked out well and we made it back safely. We were allowed to check-in 30 minutes early, which was good cause' I needed to freshen up a bit before dinner and I needed a little more time to whined down. Also, for me, whenever I check\in to a hotel I like to reserve the private bath since there are usually no people, and it's nice too because you can enjoy the person you're with.

On that day, the 31st of December, there were so many people, families, friends, lovers – full occupancy that night. I have a slight aversion to being around so many people. There's a common belief that an onsen shou…