Apparently Jack Ma is residing in Hakone, Japan and enjoying lots of uni and toro? And planning to learn about advanced agricultural technology and bring back to China? Or so the media says.
Now that I’ve captured your attention, going to Hakone for my second time was a delight. Hakone is most notable for its ryokans, and there is no feeling that feels more authentically Japanese than staying at a ryokan and being served a Japanese breakfast and dinner, and sleeping on a tatami.
Hakone really isn’t a place for sightseeing and activities. I think the most interesting would probably be the museums, especially the glass museum we visited, but the rest weren’t that impressive. You go to Hakone to enjoy the ryokans mainly. If you haven’t done so already, you can read about my last trip to Hakone at Let’s Drive: Izu Peninsula, Hakone, Gotemba Continue reading Hakone Is Where Jack Ma Lives? And the Amazing Ryokans
Each time I go to Tokyo, I admire it more and more. There’s always something new to be discovered, the cleanliness of the city and the politeness of the locals are impeccable, the Christmas decorations suggest it to be more than just a capitalist city but a cultural landmark and one that embraces liveliness and atmosphere, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I dream about living here.
When I talk to my friends who have lived or are living in Japan though, they see things that we tourists don’t get to see. The rigid office hierarchy, the formality that you have to adopt when talking to others (and you are not exempt from it even if you are an expat as long as you are Asian looking), the difficulty of making new friends, and of course the challenge of learning Japanese. Then there is lack of public transportation during the night, and taxis are expensive not only during the day, but more so during the night. I’ve seen videos from Youtube talking about how it’s different living in Japan than going there to visit. Usually there’s a few months of honeymoon phase, then a few years of depression and detest towards the culture of actually living in Japan, then after the acceptance phase.
If you’re looking for my recommendations on places to eat, you can read my blog post Recommended Places to Eat in Tokyo.
Shibuya Continue reading teamLab Tokyo and Why Is Tokyo So Beautiful
Prior to my Tokyo / Hakone / Fujikawaguchiko trip, I did a lot of research finding a variety of different Japanese foods to eat – sushi, ramen, unagi, BBQ beef, soba, udon, Kaiseki, pancakes, seafood donburi, and tempura. And trust me, even after 9 days, we felt that we were not able to eat all the Japanese meals we wanted, because there just simply wasn’t enough time to do and eat everything! We ended up not eating one of the soba noodles I researched, missed a udon shop we wanted to try because they ran out of udon noodles, and sometimes just didn’t feel hungry enough.
For booking restaurants in Japan, you will probably need to use the websites https://tabelog.com/en/ and https://omakase.in/. With the huge influx of tourists going in to Japan these days, along with locals just dining outside in general, it is highly recommended that you book at least a month, preferably 3 months, prior to ensure you have a table booking, otherwise it can be difficult to book. Also it is recommended to have someone who knows Japanese to help you book because with the websites, you will have to rely on Google translate sometimes and sometimes the translation may not be understandable, so you might end up booking a set menu when you actually could have just booked a table with a la carte instead (what happened to us with Yoroniku Ebisu).
This post will focus on restaurants we ate only in Tokyo, as I will do separate posts for Hakone and Fujikawaguchiko and talk about the trip itinerary including the restaurants for those. It will talk about which ones were yummy and worth the price, and which ones that weren’t. Continue reading Recommended Places to Eat in Tokyo
You read that right, Tokyo is like a bento box. A perfect metaphor as I sat watching my friend struggle to think of a way to eat his bento box… without a spoon. You’d expect a bento box bought in Family Mart to come with a spoon somewhere in the packaging, but actually you would need to get the spoon individually. I guess he didn’t double check as we were rushing to take the train to Shinjuku from the airport… trains in Japan are never early, never late, always punctual, and so we wanted to be at least 2 minutes early to the platform. Continue reading Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box
Out of the four posts in this series of posts of Japan, this title is probably the most misleading as I didn’t drive around Tokyo. After Nagoya, I returned the car near Shibuya and took public transportation for the rest of my stay here. As you may know, Tokyo boasts some of the most expensive parking and finding places to park isn’t easy. Even just driving here from Nagoya was a headache for the last two hours as I spent most of my time stuck in traffic.
Read part one: Izu Peninsula, Hakone and Gotemba
Read part two: Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes
Read part three: Nagoya Continue reading Let’s Drive: Tokyo (Japan Part Four)