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Showing posts from February, 2009

kagahoushiyou 日榮 加賀宝生 大吟醸

kagahoushiyou 日榮 加賀宝生 大吟醸 Originally uploaded by Tony AlexanderKagahoushiyouThis sake hails from Ishikawa Prefecture in Kanazawa Japan. It came highly recommended by a few locals I was drinking with at a sake tasting event a few months ago. Clean and refreshing is are good words for this. If you cut-n-past the kanji and google it, you'll find that purchasing this sake is very easy as many distributor sell it. They'll deliver it straight to your door, hand you an invoice and then you can pay at any convenience store in your area.


Sumiyoshi Sumiyoshi is the name of this not so impressive looking sake in a cup, but within this cup is a lot of history. Tokubetsu junmai-shu, sumiyoshi, cho-karakuchi super dry, plus 10, makes this one mighty fine nihonshu. Actually, the reason for purchasing it was because I know a very beautiful Japanese girl named Sumiyoshi who reminds of how beautiful Japan really is at every sip. This sake hails from higashi-okitama-gun; kawanishi-cho, which is a rural area situated somewhere in Yamagata.


Inatsuyu This is a Junmai Ginjo shiboritatte( freshly pressed) seasonal sake produced in Tendo city, Yamagata. The reason for blogging this nihonshu is because I wanted to introduce a new type of rice called "honnama-dewasanzan!" which I think will revolutionize a whole new series of newly produced sake this year. Rice and koji methods are a make or break her for most all nihonshu you drink, so for this blog entry I wanted to introduce a real winner. Firstly, on my previous blogs about Yonezawa beef I mentioned about how some sake pair well with a good steak. Well, at the restaurant we had eaten at, this bottle came highly recommended by the chef who prepared our food. The only think is, is that we couldn't order by the glass, we had to purchase the whole bottle. So, knowing me, I di…

Shooting Time

Pink Rotations Originally uploaded by Tony AlexanderTaken with my old Olympus IS-20Z with velvia 50 with a 30 second exposure.

Jukujo Class Woman

jukujo21 Originally uploaded by Tony Alexander
Jukuko Class Women

What you are looking at is a voluptuous Japanese woman.   Some prudes may consider this offensive, but it's not.   I think a lot of people miss the true essence of true beauty when fawning over asian women in general.   Leg girth and size are just as admirable as a female who is skinny and underfed - at least according to other poeple, not me.   I love a nice healthy well fed woman.

("Japan can be saved by its own women.   Do not suffer fools gladly when they drool over anorexic types").

Japanese men must reinvent the whole concept of beauty in 2012.  Kizuna!  We must unite.   All Japanese women must eat four meals a day, jog, drink delicious sake, eat rice, and yakitori.   They need to lift weights and have robust sex lives.    They must worship at the shrines, they must pay respects to their elders.   And then seek me out for ......   well.

Japanese women can save Japan.   This is a known fact.   Ja…

Newspaper Sake

Newspaper Sake Originally uploaded by Tony AlexanderNewspaper sake; not purefied ; honjozo ginshu ; muroka; funame genshu. This sake is also a bit rare but very tasty. Well...if you like a strong acidic taste that's freshly pressed and unfiltered then it doesn't get any better than Funame Genshu. Sour, a bit rough on the tongue. Best enjoyed as is and very cold.

Zao Onsen's Yukikoibana Nigori Sake

Yukikoibana Nigori Sake Originally uploaded by Tony AlexanderYukikoibana; happo sei-bubble;nigori zake: limited version; hatsumago series. This is not the first time drinking milky white colored sake. In fact I don't prefer it, neverthless this one is worthy of mention because it's actually good. One thing that really stands out as far as taste is its clean finish, which is uncommon for a sake of this class;.most nigori sake leave an after-taste in your mouth whereas this one doesn't. I was very pleased with Yukikoibana! I finished the whole bottle.

Juhyou of Yamagata

Juhyou of Yamagata Originally uploaded by Tony Alexander
When visiting Zao one of best attractions one can enjoy is to ride this cable car all the way to the top to enjoy the snow monsters. I think it's about 1300 meters to the top...? The view on a clear day is just fantastic.

Yonezawa Beef Steak!

What is Yonezawa Beef ? It’s beef that was introduced to Japan over a hundred years ago by a portly Englishman named Charles Henry Dallas....hahaha....Actually, Mr. Dallas didn’t introduce high quality beef to Japan, he was an English teacher after all, he introduced cow breeding techniques from Europe to the Japanese living in Yonezawa. After the Yamagatans perfected their own style of breeding, which enabled them to create their own brand of beef, they put their own label on it, thus “Yonezawa Beef". It was the female(heifer) virgin cow that eventually became the cow of choice instead of the male cow(steer) for reasons I won't list up right here, maybe another time. Not all beeffrom Yonezawa city is considered "Yonezawa beef," but rather wagyu or Japanese beef from black male and deflowered female cows raised and bred in Yonezawa. Only 18 month old female virgin cows raised and bred in Yonezawa city is considered true authentic Yonezawa beef! Never let anybody tel…

Juyho Monsters of Yamagata

Juyho Yamagata Originally uploaded by Tony Alexander
blog is loaded with pictures, and for this I apologize. I am in the process of redesigning my blog, so please bare with me. This is the first of a long serious of photos on Yamagata . Since it's spring I want to get all of the winter pictures out now. Hopefully I can do this while redesigining my blog.

Yamagata Bento Domannaka

I think I enjoyed this the most. Tons of ground Yonezawa beef and rice. Very nice!

Yonezawa Gyu Bento3

This one is also very nice too. The one difference I noticed were the little spaghetti like jelly things next to the shredded Yonezawa beef on top. Not bad. Again nice victuals at the top. Nice stuff. Very small, and easy to pack and eat while on the go.

Yamagata Beef Dojo Bento

This is the second bento I enjoyed the other day. In many travel magazines written up on Yamagata, this bento has one of the highest rankings. Trust me, the original photos are very clear, but for some reason when I load photos up directly they come out sort of blurred. At any rate, I enjoyed the bento. The red thing in the middle is a type of ginger root. The ground beef portions were sumptuous and tender. The small little victuals at the top were very nice, too. I would definitely try it again.

Aged Sake: Koshu 古酒

aged sake, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander.

Sake name: Asahikawa; hizoukoshu/limited version; junmai-koshu/aged sake; high alc. Percentage. I like aged sake, especially a local jizake like this in the picture which was made in Yamagata. I also love imbibing on this kind of sake at night in an onsen in the middle of winter. The aged wood and sake; the starry night sky all mix well for a wonderful and relaxing night. i always make it a point to do a midnight soak with a cold bottle of aged sake.

Ryusendo Takamiya Outdoor Bath

The water temperature was perfect. Most times the water either comes out too hot or lukewarm. This onsen at Ryusendo gets top marks in this area. What I consider perfect temperature is about 42 degrees centigrade, which for some people may be too hot. I beg to differ, in fact it's the ideal temperature even for many Japanese. Hot water helps reduce germs and other bacteria in the water, so the hotter the better. The milky color water in the water comes from yunohana and alot of heavy mineral deposits from the earth - all natural. Of course, everything in moderation is key. If you stay too long it can be unhealthy for you because of sulfur gas. But not enough would have zero health benefits. I like to sit for five minutes at a time and I like to not only soak in the water but the surrounding atmosphere. I love snowy onsen and sulfure and the smell of winter green pine trees and hinoki all mixed in together. What a beautiful day.

Ryusendo Takamiya

ryusendo takamiya, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Rusento Takamiya is very nice. The onsen and the room get full marks. Dinner I rate a C plus! They could've done better. The food had no balance and was too simple. The obasaan kept coming up to our table asking if the food was “oishii” again and again, which really isn't good customer service, actually. The food is good if all of it is eaten. Of all the hotels I've been to this was a first where someone kept asking if the food was good. The staff were mostly from China and Korea, so in this case they were only doing what they were told when dealing mainly with Japanese customers. Hanamaki Onsen in Iwate prefecture is the most famous when it comes to legendary customer service! So if ever you needed a guage to measure good customer service then Hanamaki Onsen would be it, in my opinion. I speak mainly from first hand experience and not from hearsey. At any rate, what I want to highlight are the new anne…

Yonezawa Beef Shabu Shabu

Yonezawa Beef Shabu Shabu, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Another fantastic serving of beef was the shabu shabu, which is thinly sliced portions of beef that's lightly boiled then eaten. Usually it's dipped in sauce depending on what flavor you prefer. I love sesame or "goma" because it's creamy and goes well with this type of beef. Firstly, I've eaten shabu shabu before, and at just about every restaurant chain that offers it. I have never found anything as delicious as this restaurant's shabu shabu, which is called "gudo" or good in English, which is located in Yonezawa city. They serve premium Yonezawa beef which is from female virgin cow. There is clearly a difference in taste. Really! Never let any so called expert tell you any differently. This beef is the best of the best in terms of taste. The maitre d' even served us our first samples. The beef was dipped and moved around in boiling water for about 2 or …

Yonezawa Beef Sashimi

Yonezawa Beef Sashimi, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Eating raw beef was unthinkable for me before I came to Japan, but like I learned years ago from a friend,  taste is acquired. You have to acquire a taste for new and exotic things, but raw beef?

 I remember when I first tried sushi, I gagged and had to run to the bathroom. A few years later, after that embarrassing incident , I tried sushi again, and again and again. I finally grew to love sushi and even crave it!   I even remember the first time I tried beer.   I had the same gag response. I must've threw up for what seemed  hours just trying to gurgle down one bottle of Corona.   I absolutely couldn't stand the taste of beer, or any alcohol for that matter.   But after a few more tries and I was drinking beer like a fish, so I really believe that one has to acquire a taste on his/her own. It took me forever, but am I glad I never gave up. I never thought I'd be blogging about such food years later.

Yonezawa Beef Bento

Yonezawa Beef Bento, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. I tried five of these very delicious bento boxes. This box lunch set was one of the best I had ever eaten. The beef was so tender and juicy. I almost couldn't believe it was out of a box! Yonezawa Beef is prized through-out Japan as one of the most fattiest and premium beefs you can eat. If you love beef that's so tender you can eat it with a fork then Yonezawa Beef is worth a try.

At the Height of Physical Beauty

, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. It's important. Healthy physical proportions and size are not only important for a woman's health, but for her well being as well. As a woman begins to age she needs to increase her physical activity by either going to a gym or weight training. A good healthy appetite, good exercise, a good mental attitude are also important. I've always been against diets and I think it is wrong for a woman to diet! I believe that eating a lot of good sushi and sashimi, as well as drinking expensive nihonshu in moderation can have really positive benefits, both emotionally and physically. I chose this photo because I like the flesh tones against black bikini. She's not skinny and underfed. She's a very natural and earthy look that's not unnatural and most of all well proportioned.


Konyaku! , originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Konnyaku is a traditional Japanese jelly-like food made from a kind of potato. This food has been eaten in Japan for over a thousand years! Many Japanese recognize that the best konnyaku is made in Yamagata! Of course there are other places like Gunma, but this style of konnyaku is unique to Yamagata. If I ever have a daughter I will name her konnyaku.

Shiki No Hotel

Onsen is the beauty of Japan. It is one, if not the most quintessential aspect of Japan's natural landscape. A timeless beauty. Here at the Shiki, on the border of Gunma and Niigata, I took in the snowscape and wonder to my heart's content.

Umenishi of Ehime Prefecture

Umenishi of Ehime Prefecture, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. This is truly a wonderful junmai-shu. A lot of people, myself included, agree that this particular brand has a taste that you never get tired of. It can be enjoyed at any temperature and at any occasion. Another point for this choice is that Ehime is located on the island of Shikoku which is not famous for nihonshu, but rather udon, actually. Every now and then, though, a gem is born and this is one of them. Again, a choice that you can almost never go wrong on.

Fading Countryside of Niigata

Fading Countryside of Niigata, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. Years ago this train would've been packed full of people hurrying off to work. Now it's empty. Even lonely, she still moves effortlessly across cold snow clad train tracks in search of hope. The empty traditional Japanese style houses still manage to wave to her as she speeds off to nowhere. I love her.


Sushi-Ro, originally uploaded by Tony Alexander. If I had to recommend a good kaiten sushi, one that's located in just about every suburb and residential area, then Sushi-Ro would be it. Clean, friendly, timely, and delicious.

Random Delights of Tsukiji

On Wednesday, when Tsukiji's market is actually closed, and there are fewer people, you can find quite a few 'mom&pop' shops still open. This particular one was just a random stall selling scallops, so there wasn't anything really special about it except for the old lady who was working tirelessly to feed hungry gaijin like myself tasty scallops - she wasn't all that nice either. This old lady was very fiesty. She was snapping and shouting at customers and pointing her finger. I thought she was cute, actually. She especially hated it when people were taking her picture. I told she was sexy and that her scallops were worth it all. In the end though, it was all worth it, for this delicious sea scallop. I had to wait 30 minutes! That's Tsukiji!

Kaiten Donburi in Tsukiji at 虎杖 南店 (いたどり)Itadori

I often tell people that the best thing about visiting Tsukiji are the donburi shops. Often times, though, many people spend time eating kaiten sushi(revolving sushi) instead. Of course it's good, but think about where you are at? In every corner of Japan you can find a good kaiten sushi shop - anywhere. But when it comes to fresh kaiten donburi - seafood bowl with maguro, sea urchin, salmon eggs, and rice - then Tsukiji Market is simply the best! You can't just go anywhere in Japan and find a good kaiten donburi. It simply isn't just going to happen! Anywhere in Tsukiji, and at any donburi shop in Tsukuji, you can find one of these bowls which range in price from anywhere from 1000 yen to 3000 yen. No kaiten sushi bowl is ever complete without a nice ice cold glass of nihonshu, even at 10am in the morning just before work. The nihonshu I was drinking is called "retsu," which is a junmai type that had a little carbonation in it. Thi…