Chinese New Year means Japan

For the second year in a row I went to Japan to go snowboarding with my friend Evan. This time we went to Happo-one instead of Nozawa, but I had been to Happo many times before.

First off, Tokyo. Returned to my favorite ramen place in the entire world, So Kan To.

I don’t think I really need to talk again about the attention to detail to making a simple pork broth noodle soup – I mean there’s entire movies which state it more eloquently than I can in my simple blog. But the pork toru buta ramen is reason enough to move to Tokyo.

Of course, some katsu-don was eaten.

Cyndi Lauper is coming! (to Japan)

It was SNOWING in Tokyo

Then we headed up to Nagano – Hakuba where it was snowing even more!

Evan at lunch

The water was delicious.

The Japanese face mask – very useful when it was snowing.

Then we had some yakitori – which was amazing

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And then the second night, we had an amazing chanko-nabe meal. That’s right sumo wrestler food. This was so unbelievably tasty, and yet an under-represented portion of Japanese cuisine. I mean I had only heard of it via Tony Bourdain’s book – but I’ve never seen a chanko-nabe restaurant outside of Japan, but now I’ll be on the look-out. It’s basically Japanese hot-pot, with a heavy focus on vegetables, chicken and more vegetables. Then the post-cooking broth is used to make soba and the diner finishes off with a big bowl of soba noodles. During a sumo tournament, wrestlers only eat it with chicken, but since neither Evan nor I were in line to complete in a sumo tournament, there were also pork meatballs.

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More snow.

A return to Tokyo meant a return to Hina Sushi as well as Komen for more ramen.

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Not really a whole lot of conclusions to draw except how much I enjoy Japan!

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17 Responses to Chinese New Year means Japan

  1. uzbekcelia says:

    Where’s the photo of the boots?! 🙂

  2. terence says:

    Here!

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  3. Evan says:

    Where’s the Chanko?

  4. uzbekcelia says:

    Sweet! Domo-arigato!

  5. terence says:

    @Evan – Dude, I even wrote a paragraph about chanko-nabe!

  6. CAN’T WAIT, going there later this spring

  7. terence says:

    @Shopgirl – I’ve actually never been in the Spring – but it should be nice, especially if you catch the cherry blossoms. Just the summer, fall, and winter.

  8. WoAi says:

    @T – I think you need to collect the full set, so why not meet up with SG for Sakura. We can make it a blog meet!

  9. Terence says:

    Why should I trust you? You didn’t even make it to our steak dinner!

  10. WoAi says:

    I went to New York Steak and Burger today. The manager / owner tried her very best to convince me not to eat there. She said everything was going really slow and every table upstairs still hadn’t received any food. I got the hint and left. NOT impressed.

  11. Terence says:

    Well at least you didn’t sit down and wait to be unimpressed.

  12. WoAi says:

    I may try once more maybe on a weekday. It was disappointing because I had made a trip just for that and didn’t want to eat anywhere else in Tianzifang. There was a Thai place that was offering Thai green chicken curry for 98 rmb per portion. I just laughed and walked on.

    But for me the way the owner handled the situation doesn’t bode well. I would have just said “we are short staffed today and if you don’t mind waiting we’d be happy to seat you or welcome you back another time”. I wouldn’t have admitted there was an entire restaurant of hungry customers and no food coming out of the kitchen.

  13. Terence says:

    @WoAi – I know you’re from a family of restaurant owners so you’re probably right, but I would say better to be told up front instead of sitting around waiting for food.

  14. WoAi says:

    @T – Sorry I didn’t put that well, I didn’t mean she should try to convince the customer to wait it was more about putting it more delicately than admitting you had a restaurant full of unhappy customers not being fed. She was basically saying it was complete chaos and they were struggling to do what most restaurants do which is provide food to customers. It just made me question whether they were an amateur outfit.

  15. Terence says:

    I think, a lot of the restaurant owners in Shanghai ARE amatuer outfits.

  16. WoAi says:

    Especially in Tianzifang.

  17. Terence says:

    Yes, especially there. I think the only places worth going there are this Japanese place, Kaiba and maybe New York Steak.

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