On my red-eye arrival in Tokyo June 19th, I was pretty beat. But I was too early to check in. Fortunately a few people in the hostel were ready to head out for the day just as I arrived. So I had a great time wandering around the city with them. We went to a park, then to a “running sushi” / conveyor sushi (known here as Kaiten Sushi, I believe). Kaitenzushi, doku des-ka?
The etiquette for these restaurants is simple. Sit down, and pour yourself some soy sauce. Spoon some powdered green tea into a cup and add hot water from the nearby tap. Then just pick a few plates and chow down. A word to the wise: don’t put the powdered green tea into your soy, as I did (thinking it was wasabi). To get the spicy stuff, ask the chef. Also, in case your dish of choice doesn’t come by, the chef will make it on request – no problem.
For those who say Japan is expensive, think again. Sure, you can find ridiculously expensive restaurants, but that’s the same in any major international city. I had 8 plates of 2 nigiri each (including one toro: fatty tuna!) for about $14 USD. And the meal was damn good, equal to better sushi restaurants I’ve been to in the States (where I paid ~$40 for this much zush).
Next we went to the Tokyo Aquarium. It was not as large or impressive as the Sydney aquarium (and had a similar $$$ price tag), but had a few interesting twists. A diver feeds the fish in one of the tanks about once an hour, sometimes with interesting results:
Besides fish (including a tank of “Nemo” clownfish), there are some other animals, like penguins, birds, and this sleepy Southern Tamandua:
Outside the aquarium, a street performer was getting 110% out of his monkey. Seriously, I felt bad for the little guy, and had no qualms about leaving without giving any coins. I’d feel bad supporting this kind of literal jumping-through-hoops. But it is impressive what an intelligent animal can accomplish.
To round out an awesome first day in Tokyo, I went to karaoke with some of my new friends from the Anne Hostel Asakusabashi. The way karaoke works: you rent a private room. The fee is per person who is in the room (either per hour, or as a full night package price), like bowling. Drinks and snacks are available (but expensive). You program the songs on a touchpad; there are literally hundreds of thousands available. Nick and I even sang “Pull Me Under” by Dream Theater! My voice regretted that for a day or so. But it was fun!
So, Hi Joao, Nick (hidden), Bart, Dan, Michaelle, and Nathan! Expect more photos (and perhaps some video, mu-hahaha) later on.
For those who are regular readers, just wait for tomorrow. That’s when things really start to get crazy!
How’s about a question for you today: what’s your favorite kind of sushi? Drop by the blog website and leave a comment I’ll tell you what my best piece of sushi was, after I finish the Japan leg of my trip.