Tokyo food: Junkadelic Mexican Naka-Meguro

Let's go to Mexikyo! Ok, all jokes aside, although I now live in the Northern hemisphere, I very much enjoyed my little trip south of the border to Junkadelic in Naka-Meguro. Exploring Naka-Meguro you find various gems, and Junkadelic is no exception.

The Mexican restaurant, with it's neon-lit Corona sign and decoratively strewn South-American paraphernalia, is crowded with locals. Our waiter, also a part-time hairdresser, welcomes us with frozen margarita's and we take no time ordering some salsa, guacamole, enchilada's and chicken fajitas.

Not only are the staff lovely, the menu is also in English, and the food cheesy and delicious.

For more details on Junkadelic visit: http://www.bento.com/rev/2419.html


YouTube rewind. Japan's top 10

Last week YouTube released "YouTube Rewind" - taking people back through the year in most watched videos. Many of the global faves are not surprising, but I think Japan's top 10 gives an interesting insight in to one of the world's most unique cultures. Featuring J-Pop, cute animals, and dancing robots (this one is kind of creepy), what's not to love!

Click here to see Japan's top 10 (if it does not come up directly, switch the worldwide tab to Japan)

My personal favourite (I don't think these models expected to go viral - and I'm not talking about the kind that can be cured with antibiotics!).



Tokyo food: Sarasota Sushi Shinjuku

As you are probably starting to realise, I love sushi. I love the way it tastes, the way it looks and the way it makes me feel. Westerner's coming to Japan however are often suprised to see their favourite California roll, or chicken schnitzel sushi replaced with sea urchin and raw octopus.

If sea urchin doesn't sound up your alley, fear not, as a new sushi restaurant in West Shinjuku has just opened it's doors called Sarasota Sushi. After struggling to find somewhere to eat in Shinjuku with a group of 5 on a busy Saturday night, we were welcomed in to the hole-in-the-wall sushi bar by the friendly host Kenji. After a brief second of cultural cringe looking at the pictures of deep fried sushi, and "Tampa" rolls, the minute I took a bite there was no turning back. The simple Salmon and avocado was fresh and delicious. And the "Red Dragon", "Mexican" and "Tokyo" rolls to die for!

For those worried at the prospect of entering a Japanese style sushi bar or sushi train in Tokyo, I highly reccommend Sarasota.

Take your pick - hot and cold sake

No don't shot it, sip it

For Sarasota's website click here.

Christmas Wishlist

1) Uber-cool multi-coloured camera's by Pentax. I got sidetracked today in Bic Camera when shopping for a fridge.

2) Photography lessons.

I hope Santa knows my new address!


Google Maps and Tokyo

As a quick double celebration of Google updating street view Tokyo with high-quality imagery, and me officially getting my apartment; please have a look around my new neighbourhood!

Make sure you zoom right in and move around the streets. It really is quite amazing.

Click here to see Yoyogi-Koen on Google Maps

Some quick snap-shots.

Sweet supermarket with proper cheese
Lots of cafe's on the walk to Shibuya


Tokyo food: Amataro Izakaya

Rather than visiting a bar for after work drinks, people in Tokyo often visit what is called an Izakaya. I like to describe it as Japanese Tapas (Japas), which is accompanied by copious amounts of beer. One work friend told me the reason Japanese attend Izakaya's is because they like to sit down. And it's true. No one likes standing around a bar for hours. An Izakaya is the perfect place to drink, eat and talk and the night away.

The particular one I attended on the weekend is called Amataro, but there are many chains all over Tokyo. Some popular ones being; Doma-Doma, Nijuu-maru and Watami. If visiting Tokyo and wanting to give an Izakaya a go, I reccommend you look upwards. You might trip over a few people, but they are often situated on the 5th or 6th floor of buildings.

Order food at the touch of a button

Finding the one: The Tokyo apartment hunt continues

After 4 long days days, and about 18 apartments later, I think I have finally found 'the one'. Like a penguin that finds it's mate for life, I walked in to this apartment and sensed that we were meant to be.

Situated in Yoyogi-Koen my new place is surrounded by quaint cafe's and restaurants, 5 minutes walk from one of Tokyo's largest parks, Yoyogi Park, and a short 10 minute stroll from the youth and fashion center of Tokyo, Shibuya.

Yes I do need a heated toilet seat with bum washer!

Much needed room for my shopping


Sushi Sushi Sushizanmai!

I have seen this Tokyo sushi chain a few times before, but had not tried it until there happened to be one next to my hotel, and now I can't stop returning to Sushizanmai.

The brightly lit sushi bar is filled with foreign reveller's and Tokyoites alike, all yelling 'sumimasen', and ordering the sushi of their choice from one of the friendly chefs in front of them. Although initially put off by the brightness of the place (I look better in dimly lit rooms), the sushi is delicious! The salmon and tuna sashimi melts in your mouth, and I couldn't help myself raising my hand when the head waiter rang the bell and offered up freshly cooked omelet to the first six lucky people. A giant bowel of miso to finish off the meal was the icing on the cake.

Sorry for the lack of decent pictures, I got excited and ate the sushi too quickly before realising I should be capturing the moment!

Some quick research on their website, http://www.kiyomura.co.jp/sushi-e/index.html, tells me that Sushizanmai is not only 24 hours, but is also run by the King of Tuna! Who knew it could get even better...


Shiny around work

Japan is well known as a forerunner in mechanics and electronics. One of their most overlooked talents however, is lighting things up. Referred to as 'Illuminations', leading up to the new year various places around Tokyo are set ablaze with thousands of coloured lights! A quick example from around my office in Roppongi Hills.

Can you see me working on the 26th floor?

Tokyo Tower lit up pink


A lonely Saturday night in Roppongi

For those unfamiliar with Tokyo, Roppongi is where the majority of non-Japanese (gaijin's) live, work and play. This is both where I will be working, and where I am currently staying. Being a Saturday night, I thought I would go explore the area and get something to eat. As I walked around two things became increasingly clear to me. One, there was many more gaijin males than females. Two, most of these males were accompanied by their girlfriends (Japanese or otherwise).

After wandering past numerous sushi, teppanyaki, gyuudon and raamen eateries, I was drawn to a flashy Italian restaurant playing Justin Bieber. I blame it on home-sickness. To keep me busy whilst having dinner for one, I picked up a free magazine for foreigners living in Tokyo. As I ate my undercooked spaghetti, I tried not to dwell on the fact that I am in the extreme minority being a single white female (SWF) in Japan.

Then something in the magazine catches my eye. Classifieds for special friends in Tokyo! As I read through the various ads I am amused at the colourful ads from people looking for partners.

This one has potential (type of female not specified)..

And atleast this one is honest!

I swear this isn't me!

To complete my night wander around Roppongi I stop in at Donkey Hote (I think this is a Japanese translation of Don Quixote). Veuve and Moet for less than $50! I am tempted to go spend my lonely Saturday night drunk in my hotel room. But settled instead for a green tea and a movie..

Finding an apartment in Tokyo

For the last 2 days I have been apartment hunting in Tokyo. Tokyo is renowned as one of the world's most expensive cities, and infamous for the lengths it takes to find and apply for an apartment. Despite this. I have high hopes. The real estate agency that is assisting me is (foreigner targeted) Hikari Homes. My agent Kaz Harada-San speaks perfect English and so far has been very helpful. Except, after 2 long days I can still not find my perfect apartment! Kaz kindly reminded me late yesterday that there is no such thing as the 'perfect apartment' in Tokyo and I would have to comprimise somewhere. So far these are my options - feel free to comment on which you think is the best comprimise...

1) Great apartment near Yoyogi station. Close to Harajuku, and beautiful Yoyogi park. Comprimise - construction site next door (apparently will not work on weekends, but if I know Japan, weekend work is always done!)
2) Another nice studio this time in Yoyogi Park. Great view and on the third floor. Comprimise - right next to a freeway
3) Brand new apartment in Naka-meguro. Beautiful area and convenient to get to work. Comprimise - on the 1st floor so looks out on to a concrete wall.

Some quick examples.

The Crajiness Begins

The craziness began boarding the plane yesterday. First the plane was 90% full of Japanese school girls, who screamed in unison as the plane took off. The other 10% consisted of about 10 cameramen, 2 cowboys, 2 Harlem Globetrotters and some other very familiar looking couples. At first, stuck in my own world of worry, I casually asked the man next to me if he was a filming a documentary. His response was that 'he was travelling around filming people'. Things started to get stranger when the pilot announced out of the blue that we would be the first plane to arrive in Tokyo, and the cowboys etc all cheered and whooped. After chatting with my neighbour about his film career over a glass of cheap wine I overheard one of the cabin crew mention the Amazing Race, and things suddenly started to fall in to place. I knew I'd seen those Harlem Globetrotters somewhere before, and I've never been to Harlem!

From there, and 3 mini bottles of wine later, my cameraman neighbour opened up about the show, and how they were next heading to Tokyo. I was so excited with my brush with reality TV fame, I blabbed a million and one questions including if he saw the girl get hit in the face by the watermelon. And he had. For those that haven't seen this. Witness the fitness here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OZjHjJToVo

I know these are terrible photos - but I was in an airport so trying out my stealth photography.

Spot the cowboy hats

Racing off the plane


The Night Before the Flight

This time tomorrow I will be embarking on my journey to live in Tokyo. I am only slightly nervous for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I am flying Qantas. Secondly, I am meeting my real estate agent about 3 hours after arriving in Tokyo, have no mobile phone, and very little idea of how to find an apartment, let alone set up a bank or phone account.

None the less, having a one way ticket is very exciting! I am excited to see what my job will be like, and my (hopefully soon to rent) apartment, and the type of people I will meet.

To finish off the blog post I would like to note that I have once again worked wonders in fitting all my things in to two neat little suitcases. I am known amongst my travelling circles as an adept packer, and would like to prove so with my first blog photo!

My next post will follow me renting an apartment, so come back and enjoy the madness of living in Tokyo!