Nihon

I’ve been doing a lot of travelling this year. I intend to cut back (or attend more virtual conferences like Aral’s). I’m worried that my carbon footprint will require a few forests to offset. I mean, I’ve got the velocity of a squirrel, for crying out loud.

That said, there are certain opportunities that are just too good to pass up. Like, for example, when John asked me if I would speak at Web Directions East in Tokyo next weekend. Yes; Tokyo. A place I’ve always dreamt of visiting.

Tomorrow I’ll fly from Heathrow to Narita and I still can hardly believe it’s really happening. While I’m extremely nervous about my presentation and workshop, I’m also unbelievably excited about visiting the land of sushi and manga. Even better, Jessica is coming with me and, if anything, she’s even more excited.

We’ll be in Tokyo for the best part of a week before heading on for a couple of days in Kyoto and a couple of days in Osaka. We don’t have much of an agenda apart from soaking up the atmosphere and—being the foodies that we are—eating everything in sight.

If you have any hints or tips on what do in Japan, please share them. For my part, I can only promise lots of photographic documentation and maybe even a bit of blogging.

Have you published a response to this? :

Responses

Tom Hume

Bar Gaspanic in Roppongi, for the drinking regulations.

I hear good things about the Ninja Restaurant.

And the shrines at Kamakura.

# Posted by Tom Hume on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 at 2:13am

Pete

Shonben Yokocho in Shinjuku - you have to go there Jeremy. Apparently, it was the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s food scenes in Bladerunner and you can see why. I think Jessica will love it :)

I have some images on Flickr of it (flickr.com/pete - look for the Tokyo 08 set) There are some further descriptions in there too.

# Posted by Pete on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 at 8:30am

Tom Coady

Apart from the obvious pescine delights don’t overlook the plethora of humbler dishes such as ramen and shabu-shabu. Look out for the noodle stalls under the stairs at rail stations that serve incredible broths made, I think, from flaked bonito and seaweed.

# Posted by Tom Coady on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 at 9:53am

Chris Platts

Just got back from 3 weeks in Japan - Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara, then back to Tokyo.

1/ If you have the time to travel and use the Shinkansen more than two or three times, get a JR Lines rail pass from the Japan Centre in London - and if you can stretch get an upgrade to travel in the Green Car (1st class). Also get a Pasmo card for the Tokyo subway - similar to an Oyster card. Travel in Japan in the big cities is easy - everything is signposted in English and most subway and railway trains give out English info about the next station. Some of the stations are huge underground cities in themselves - especially Shinjuku.

2/ Also if you have time take a day trip to Hiroshima and visit the A-bomb memorial park - a beautiful, modern, tranquil and moving place - especially the children’s memorial.

3/ In Tokyo, get up really early and visit the fish market just south of Ginza, then have an early breakfast of the best sashimi and sushi you’ll ever taste in one of the many restaurants.

4/ At the other end of the gastronomic scale, in Osaka or Hiroshima, have the best Japanese junk food - okonomiyaki. Omelette or pancake filled with cabbage, noodles and/or spring onions and covered with brown sauce and mayonnaise.

5/ Visit Harajuku on a weekend evening for some of the most bizarre fashions imaginable - makes Camden market look conservative.

6/ If you like window shopping try Midtown Tokyo in the Roppongi district, then check out the designers flea market in the gardens for some neat ideas. Otherwise, Ginza is like a Knightsbridge the size of Oxford+Regents+Bond Street combined.

7/In Kyoto, walk the Philosopher’s Path and visit the many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Also the trees should be in their autumnal glory right now - they were just turning last week.

8/ Drink potato shochu - distilled spirit from potato sake.

Hope you have a great time - I can’t wait to go back.

# Posted by Chris Platts on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 1:33pm

Matt Jacobs

You’ve likely already planned a trip to the fish market but I highly recommend it. Having transcendent sushi at 6 in the morning is an unforgettable experience.

I think every sushi meal I had in Tokyo (including in the train station) was better than every sushi meal I’ve had in the States.

Finally, if you’re in a silly mood check out Ninja[1]. There’s one in New York now, but it’s got nothing on its Tokyo counterpart. The food is not authentic, but it’s tasty. And who doesn’t like eating in a ninja lair?

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000088&sid=amKi9JEU5.4M

# Posted by Matt Jacobs on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 at 3:14pm