This amazing statue is of Momofuku Ando the one and only inventor of instant noodles and Cup Noodle!
You can see this statue at the Cup Noodle Museums (there are two – one in Yokohama and one in Osaka), and you can also learn about the whole history of instant noodles and make your own Cup Noodle to take home. It’s good fun!
I was eating in an izakaya pub in Tokyo and I was surprised to find a pair of kitchen scissors with the pizza I ordered. For a moment I didn’t know what they were for but then I realised they were for cutting up the pizza because we were eating with chopsticks. As you can see Japanese prepare for everything!
This is wasabi in its natural form. Normally you only see wasabi in a tube or on a plate. But I was lucky and managed to get hold of a stick of wasabi. It’s actually the root of the plant that you eat with sashimi or sushi (although you can eat the leaves too). It’s easy to prepare – all you have to do it use a fine grater and gently grate the root. Chefs in Japan use a sharkskin grater (!) but I used a little ceramic grater. You don’t even need to peel the root, just wash it. After you have grated the wasabi apparently you should leave it for about 3-7 minutes because that brings out more taste when you eat it. I tried this and it’s true, if you leave the wasabi a little while it becomes much stronger than if you eat it right after you first grate it! Don’t leave it too long though as the taste fades again after 30 minutes or so.
Here in Japan they like their bread in thick slices, but today I saw this which is just going way too far! It’s called ‘Honey Toast’ and it is a special Shibuya area food in Tokyo. It is a dessert that’s pretty much made out of a whole loaf of bread, hollowed out a bit and filled with ice cream, cookies and sauces for toppings. You can even get birthday ones and ones with cute characters on top!
Normally Kit Kat bars are chocolate or vanilla flavour. But here in Japan there are so many other flavours too, and some of them are really unusual and weird! We’ve seen: wasabi flavour, strawberry flavour, strawberry cheesecake flavour, apple flavour, green tea flavour (and several other tea flavours too), maple flavour, saké flavour, red bean paste flavour and even ‘beni-imo’ purple sweet potato flavour (I think this one is especially weird!).
Which one is your favourite or would you like to try?
This is omu-rice – it’s quite a common Japanese meal at home and in restaurants. It’s an egg omelette stuffed with fried rice. The fried rice is cooked with small pieces of chicken and usually some peas too. On top there is always a dollop of ketchup. It actually tastes quite nice even if it does look like someone stabbed it and the ketchup is its blood flowing out!
This is a funny way to advertise a burger, but at least Mr. Skeleton looks hungry enough to eat the whole thing!
This is probably my favourite vending machine ever! It sells an ice cream brand called ‘Seventeen Ice’ (I think this is because it sells 17 different flavours). The flavours include normal ones like vanilla and chocolate, and more unusual ones like kiwi, blueberry cheesecake and soda float (which is blue and yellow!). My favourite flavour is definitely cookies & cream. The price is not expensive for such a tasty ice cream, mostly about 160 yen. These ice cream vending machines are a little rarer then the standard drink machines but they are still quite easy to find.
P.S. Note the bin at the side for the wrapping. That’s a really good feature!
Most people think that Japanese sushi is just raw fish, rice and seaweed but this is not actually true! OK there is a lot of raw fish but there is also quite a lot of none-fishy sushi and even a few cooked fish types (such as eel). This picture shows three really common types of sushi (I like all of these) and only one of these has fish in it and it’s not even raw! The brown one at the front is called inari. It is pockets of tofu with rice inside and it tastes really nice. The one at the top is called tamago (which means egg) and that’s exactly what it is – a slice of omelette-style egg with rice and a strip of seaweed holding them together. Then the last one is the only one which has fish in it – it’s called tsuna mayo (tuna mayonnaise) and it is tinned-style (cooked) tuna and mayonnaise (and sometime tiny pieces of vegetables) mixed together on top of rice with seaweed around the edges holding it all together. There are also lots more types of sushi without fish (like cucumber, pickles, natto beans, eggplant with miso etc.) so if you don’t like fish but come to Japan don’t be scared to go to a sushi shop!
Japan is full of interesting flavours – in drinks, snacks, ice cream and other foods. These crisps look a bit strangely green and mouldy but actually it’s because they are avocado and cheese flavour. They’re really tasty, in an exotic way!