Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

Awesome Japan Stuff

Japan is a mystifying country where everything seems completely FOREIGN and new to westerners. I think that’s part of why so many of us love Japan and its (to us) oddities!

Here’s my video of a few typical crazy Japanese experiences: conveyor belt running sushi, baseball’s 7th inning stretch, the washlet Japanese toilet, and the opening of an iSetan department store where everyone bows to you as you walk by.

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For travelers: what was the oddest (but obviously most AWESOME) experience you ever had in Japan?

Octopus advertising Takoyaki

Posted 9 years, 8 months ago at 7:59 pm.

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Omakase at Sushi-Dai

At Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, there are several sushi restaurants where tourists try out never-frozen fish at what is truly a bargain price for some of the world’s freshest sushi. I went to Sushi-Dai. After a mere 2h in line (starting at about 7:30am) I sat down in the tiny restaurant for my Omakase (chef’s choice) breakfast. This is the entire restaurant, which explains the long wait times:

Sushi Dai - Tsukiji, Tokyo

Here’s my delectable piece of Toro, or fatty tuna:

Sushi Dai Toro - fatty tuna

This one I don’t recall the name, if anyone knows just leave a comment. I am guessing red snapper?

Sushi Dai - red snapper?

The first piece is Uni, or sea urchin. The second, Aji or horse mackerel (I think).

Sushi Dai - Uni (sea urchin), Aji (horse mackerel)

Yet another “no idea” (I should have brought a pen and paper!).

Sushi Dai - nigiri

A few rolls, then Anago (Sea Eel) and another slightly-unsure.

Sushi Dai - Rolls, Anago (Sea Eel)

There were a few more, 10pcs in all plus 1 more of my choice (anything on the menu); then the rolls, layered egg nigiri, and miso soup. Well worth the 3900 yen (roundabout $40 depending on the exchange rate).

Let me be clear: this was the best sushi I’ve ever eaten anywhere, for any price. By far. Never frozen, well prepared by a good (and friendly) chef. Tsukiji is truly amazing!

Posted 11 years ago at 12:45 pm.

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Homemade Sushi

I love eating raw food. Usually it just tastes better to me, and has a great texture compared to most things cooked. And in today’s markets, it’s relatively safe for healthy adults to eat several kinds of meat & fish raw. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist, and I take no responsibility if eating raw food makes you sick).

Below is some of my homemade sushi from a few days ago. I always buy the fish in a high-end market, and ask the fishmonger what he recommends for sushi. Often they say “Nothing today, come back on xxxx” – and I definitely respect that. Usually they have tuna and salmon; on the right days sometimes another one or two. You can also find frozen sushi (such as pre-cooked Unagi, or eel) in some Asian shops.

Homemade tuna and salmon sushi - Maguro, Sake

Of course to get this nice blur, I used my 35mm f/2. ISO was cranked up to 800 to avoid using a flash, and I white-balanced on an empty plate before shooting.

Homemade sushi - Eel (Unagi) on the right

Despite that I once ate raw chicken in Kyoto, I don’t recommend that for everyone. Nor would I ever recommend eating raw pork, because the consequences are too dire. But I’ve never been sick from raw beef or fish. Of course I only consume these in countries where I trust the food processing chain.

So, if you live in a well-developed country, check out the best fish market you can find in town – maybe you, too, can make your own sushi for a fraction of the restaurant price!

Posted 11 years, 1 month ago at 4:28 pm.

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