While people, especially here in the United Arab Emirates but also in many other countries in the world like to show off their fancy cars and big villas, the Japanese status symbol No. 1 is food. No, not only their food – food in general! Maybe it’s because everything else in the life of a Japanese is rather reduced to or concentrated on practical and functional aspects:
Apartments – as many of you might already know – are small in Japan. Very small. That doesn’t mean that they’re not comfortable. But I’ll come to this in another post. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important way to be a perfect host and to impress guests simply is: serving delicious food.
A couple of years ago, after my grandfather had passed away, my grandma and grand uncle sold their house in Takanawa/Tokyo and moved to Ofuna, which is approx. 30 minutes by train away from Tokyo. My sister and I stayed there for two nights.
On the first night with my father, sister and Fabian (Michiko’s boyfriend) in Tokyo, we went to an Izakaya, a typical Japanese bar/pub where you can always – guess what: eat!
We also had countless Yakitori sticks (grilled chicken, meat and vegetables), sushi and fresh oysters – and loads of beer and whisky. And surprisingly we paid around 100 EUR altogether for four people. I thought that was a really good price. For tourists (I mean when you don’t have to pay a rent), Japan has become affordable.
Lunch time in Tokyo. Hungry, but where to go. There are way too many options. Michiko, Fabi and I went to a little cafe close to Omotesando Road and Harajuku.
And again I was surprised: approx. 8,50 EUR for a big plate of fresh homemade pasta with all kinds of vegetables, a small soup, pickles, bread and a soft drink. Not bad for a lunch set, isn’t it?
Next lunch: Italian pasta! 🙂
Can you tell, I’m really a big fan of Japanese Italian pasta! 🙂
What I love about Japanese food (no matter the cuisine) is the way they present it. No matter whether you go around the corner to the self service coffee shop (don’t go to Starbucks in Japan – even though the multi-storey Starbucks shops in Tokyo really impressed me simply because of their size and perfect! service) or to one of the Paris inspired expensive cafeterias – food and beverages are prepared and served with love.
Oh, but don’t you think it’s easy to get a table or seat in any of the restaurants, bars or cafes. Japanese truly enjoy eating out, so when you go at peak times you have to stand in line.
Luckily, my father, Michiko, Fabian and I were invited to stay with one of my father’s friends. He’s got a couple of apartments in Tokyo (yeah, this guy truly is “Big in Japan”) and let us stay in one of them, which was big enough for four people. How do you say “Thank You” in Japanese other than “domo arigato gozeimasu”? Riiight – you serve food!
One night Michiko, Fabi and I went to Shibuya (the place with the famous huge crossing). After shopping at the eight-storey (!) Opening Ceremony (Fabian said, it was an experience almost like fighting in a Nintendo Super Mario game – from level to level up to the super boss) we went to a Japanese/Italian food chain called “Pronto” (yep, don’t say anything, I know). This was such a cool restaurant/bar. Not really visible from the street, you squeeze yourself into a tiny elevator to go to the restaurant; up on the restaurant’s level, the door opens and you stand right in a super busy place full of stylish young people. We didn’t get a table so we had to eat at the bar, which was ok. Our young bar tender, who studies German at his university in order to visit Heidelberg (Germany) once in his life was happy to meet us. (He heard us speaking German.)
By the way – at “Pronto” we met a young tourist who was actually on his way from Australia to Thailand and only had a stopover in Tokyo. He was so excited about Tokyo that he extended his stay for three weeks!
I’m sorry if this was too much food for someone who is more into fashion. But can you feel the love? Seriously, if you ever have the chance go, go, go to Tokyo! It’s fast and furious, but I bet you would love it – if not for the food then definitely for style and fashion that I’m going to write about in the coming days!