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IMG: Lining up for ramen (lamen) in Paris.

There's an article in Food and Wine called 7 Reasons Why Tokyo Is the New Paris, and a post that follows up on that on the Wall Street Journal's Japan RealTime blog titled Paris vs. Tokyo: Which Has Better Food and Drink?. As a Tokyo native who currently lives in France (although not in Paris), I thought I have some qualifications for adding my 2 cents on the subject. While the focus of both articles is on which city is "better" for an American tourist who is interested in food to visit, I'll like to expand on that a bit.

Filed under:  food travel france japan travel
IMG: sushi counter

I never ran a restaurant myself, so most of my knowledge on this matter is second hand. My mother ran a very successful restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Tsukiji Sushisay. In addition my stepfather was the accountant for several Japanese restaurants in NYC. I did however work the front desk for a few months, and helped out over the years with things like translating legal documents, making brochures, or creating their website. I translated the menu to English, and even taught basic 'sushi-counter customer-service English' to many of the chefs. "I'm sorry, we don't have spicy tuna." is one phrase I remember teaching them.

I also want to note, that I feel OK writing this because the restaurant closed its doors in 2002, and various statutes of limitations or whatever have run out. ^^;

Filed under:  essays restaurants sushi new york personal
IMG: Masataka Takateru

Whiskey first became widely available in Japan (least amongst the wealthy) in the 19th century, mostly in and after the 1870s, although it seems to have been introduced in the 1850s. Whiskey distilling in Japan did not get going until the 20th century though. The establishment of distilleries in Japan was spearheaded by a small group of men who fell in love with whiskey, and wanted to establish distilleries in Japan.

Filed under:  drink japan cool stuff from japan food history history

The Mystery of Japanese "Sauce"

Bulldog sauce bottles

Miso, soy sauce, bonito flakes...these are the kinds of ingredients you'd expect to be used in Japanese recipes. But there's another ingredient that appears very often, and it's usually just called "sauce" or so-su (ソース). What is this "sauce" anyway?

Type:  feature Filed under:  japanese ingredients yohshoku
IMG: Nerikiri wagashi

Kyoto, the former imperial capital, is the top tourist destination in Japan for many good reasons. A lot has been written about this city already, and it's impossible to describe in a few sentences - so I'm not going to try to. Instead, I'll share some of my favorite destinations in a series of pictures and short descriptions -- as postcards if you will. Here's my first postcard from Kyoto.

Kyoto is a city that hits the sweet spot for me in more ways than one. It is dripping with history, has fantastic shops, great art and craft galleries, and so many places to have a wonderful meal. It also has a lot of literal sweet spots. Perhaps because of its history as the seat of the imperial court, where ladies influenced much of the culture, there are many amami dokoro, or places to enjoy a bite of something sweet, both traditional and modern.

Filed under:  food travel shopping japan kyoto
A bento box

The long neglected sister site of Just Hungry is finally back!

Filed under:  just bento just bento cookbook writing elsewhere
Pocky display at a Japanese supermarket

A new article about the business side of Pocky, the chocolate covered cookie stick loved by many, is up on my new site Just My Japan. I thought about putting it on this site sinc it's about a food product, but it's more about the marketing and production of the product than the taste or anything, so I put it over there. I hope you take a look!

Pocky and the Japanese Snack Industry

Filed under:  just my japan writing elsewhere pocky
A kamishibai performer

My mother's sleepy hometown was only about an hour away by train from the bustling Tokyo suburb where we lived when I was young, but a world away in many ways. There was no supermarket within walking distance from my grandparents' house, and the local butcher sold no beef since people there only ate pork and chicken unless it was for a special occasion. The huge bath tub was made of rough cast iron - it was filled with water and heated from below with a wood fire, and to get in it one had to stop on the wooden lid and slowly sink it down, to avoid burning ones feet.

Keep reading The Kamishibai Man →
A plate of sushi with fresh shirasu

A post about basic sushi restaurant etiquette, plus additional thoughts about 'good sushi'.

Filed under:  sushi etiquette japan thoughts mayonnaise washoku
The Just Bento Cookbook 2 cover

Believe it or not, a sequel to The Just Bento Cookbook will be here soon.

Filed under:  site news just bento

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