Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There, we feasted

We came, we saw, we were conquered--by Tokyo.

There was the gorgeous bento box I picked up for lunch in the bottom of a department store one day, full of flavor and texture.

There was the traditional Japanese breakfast served at the last ryokan (Japanese style hotel) we stayed at, brought in on a tray by an adorable woman who hummed under her breath while setting things up just so, oblivious to Jimmy still sleeping on his tatami mat in the corner.

I should also tell you about the sushi meal to end all sushi meals. We dined at Kyubei, a place famous even to Tokyo residents, including the staff at our first ryokan who kindly helped us set up a reservation.

There, we feasted. For the first hour and a half, it was just Jimmy, me and our sushi chef. He made us feel at home by telling us to eat with our hands, naming each fish, and working so quickly, deftly and gently with each piece of fish that I could do nothing but sit mesmerized. After each piece of sushi, I involuntarily emitted a (quiet) groan of pleasure, shook my head, then sighed "oishii" once more to the sushi chef.

And, of course, there was the delicious sushi breakfast at the Tokyo fish market, incredibly fresh and tasty.

Our tour around the market itself was something to be remembered. We were dodging in and our of alleys, jumping out of the way of carts and fish salesman, fascinated by the sheer number of fish and the dizzying array of shapes and sizes.

We even managed to take a quick trip up north of the city to the mountains of Nikko.

An unforgettable whirlwind tour, to be sure.

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