07 December 2019 Saturday
Our last full day in Japan.
We made a brief stop at Les Initiés once more, where Florian picked up another Chaussons aux Pommes and a Financier.
The financier had beautiful caramel notes from the burnt butter, and its edges had a lovely crust that held a moist, tender interior. As for the Chaussons aux Pommes, it was still a great delight second time round for Florian.
After our quick stop-and-go, we set off for Tsukiji Outer Market. Even though it was raining, it was still teeming with people.
We wandered around the food stalls and openly salivated at the wide array of grilled, raw, steamed, and fried seafood. Some of which I’ve never seen before!
There were casual eateries and kiosks everywhere selling sushi rice bowls, sashimi, sushi sets… Anything relating to seafood, they had. To be honest, I don’t know how much of it was catered to tourists. I assume a lot of it because, why not?
While we gawped at all the food around us, we chose to leave it at that. We inhaled the appetising smells of grilled food but lapped it all up with our eyes.
Steamed buns!! And suimai!!
Instead, we picked out Tsukiji Itadori as our lunch venue of choice to have an early-ish lunch. Just as well because we only had to wait about 10min to get a table in the warmth. The queue built up right after we arrived. We could have taken the counter seats without waiting but it was a bit more exposed to the cold.
Chefs at work.
Here, every person had to order a bowl for themselves. Ie. No sharing.
I ordered an Aburi Zeitaku Kaisendon. I was happy to settle for the basic kaisen don but dear hubsy argued that I should treat myself and go big, especially with it being our last day in Japan. So, I obliged.
My bowl came with Otoro, chu toro, salmon, white fish (hamachi?), shrimp, octopus, squid, scallop, anago and uni. The anago was my favourite! It was soft, tender, not too sweet, and so luxuriant on my tongue. I let Florian try some and he couldn’t help but agree. The scallops too, were extremely fresh with the hint of smoky char enhancing its sweet delicate flavour. Uni is still not my favourite. The otoro was seriously melt-in-the-mouth. In fact, it melted on my tongue. While I found that exceptionally impressive, it was a touch too oily for me. My preference was for the chu toro which struck the right balance of fat and lean for me. The ebi too, was delicious.
Florian’s bowl consisted of negitoro, ikura, crab flakes, uni, shrimp, hamachi, salmon, chu toro, otoro, scallops and squid.
He enjoyed the tuna especially, him being a tuna-man.
After lunch, we walked a little towards Ginza where Starbucks had me running up and down their stairs 4-5 times because they served me chamomile latte instead of chamomile tea. I brought it down, they asked for a receipt. I went up, got the receipt, went back down and they asked for the card we used to pay. I returned back up, for the card, and went back down. Then they asked for the same signature used to sign for the card. Florian had signed for it so I had to run back up and chase Florian down to settle everything. It was only then, that I finally got my tea bad in water.
From Starbucks, we moved on to visit Meiji Shrine. I half expected it to be overly touristy and thus, overhyped.
However, while there were people around, there was a calm and peace that enveloped the area.
There was a dignified air around the temple and its compounds – quietly magnificent with gorgeous, tall trees flanking the wide pathways.
Cleansing ritual before entering the temple.
Just as we were leaving the temple, we saw a marriage procession taking place.
At first, with all the black clothing, I was unsure if it was really a wedding. It was only until we saw the bride and groom under the red umbrella that we could feel certain. It felt a privilege to be able to bear witness to something so sacred and intimate.
We understood nothing, but it was beautiful.
From Meiji Shrine, we made our way to Harajuku. It’s really a place for the young ones and those keen to shop. Florian and I were neither. We only sought out a cafe to keep us warm while we figured out what we wanted to do for dinner.
As per our initial plan, we returned to Shinjuku in hopes of scoring some yakitori. Location #1 was closed for a private event. Or maybe because they saw Florian and didn’t want foreigners in. But this photo I took of Florian walking to their entrance was too cool not to post.
Location #2 was permanently closed.
So we wound up going to Mo-Mo Paradise for Shabu-Shabu/Sukiyaki.
With a name like that, I honestly wasn’t expecting much at all. It turned out to be a kind of ala-carte buffet and quite upmarket.
The quality of meats and vegetables were undeniably fresh and of top quality.
Service was also quite commendable.
We mostly stuck to the Beef Chuck which was leaner and very tender.
And I happily helped myself to copious amounts of vegetables from their veggie trolley.
Free-flow ice-cream to end. Florian favoured the Yuzu, and I, the Matcha.
It was a great last meal for our Japan trip. No regrets!
Overall, we were spoilt by the food in Japan. We never had a single bad meal! I’m not sure when we’ll be back next but I’m sure it is only a matter of time before we return.
08 December 2019 Sunday
A very early morning, a train ride, a Skyliner train ride, and two plane journeys later, we were home. And how fitting it was that on our flight from Tokyo to Bangkok, we caught sight of Mt Fuji bidding us farewell.