Exploring Tokyo and Japanese Chef's Knives
Growing up, associating with anything Japanese was looked down upon by my Korean family.
A lot of the deep resentment and hatred stemmed from the brutal treatment of Korean women in the 1930's that were forced into sexual slavery, also known as "comfort women".
My grandmother was a pioneer and worked her whole live to try to heal the wounds between Korea and Japan through her missionary work in Japan. It was through her, I learned about Japanese culture, her travels to Hokkaido and love for Japanese food.
When I went to Japan, I found it to be magical. Everything had a place and was orderly and so safe, if you wanted to travel solo as a female. I only got to go to Tokyo and Kyoto but I look forward to being able to travel to more parts of Japan, post covid.
I bought one of my most treasured kitchen knives in Japan at the historical Kamata Knives in Kappabashi, the restaurant supply area of Tokyo. There were so many knife stores to explore but I landed on this one because I loved the natural wood handle.
The knife is light and the blade is thin and cuts clean. When I shop for knives, I like to see how it feels on my hands. I am also tiny lady so I can't easily wield heavy steel knives when I cook and this one is just perfect.
I could write a book about all the amazing things to eat in Japan but here are few of my favorite food moments in Japan:
First, make sure you stop at 7-11 or Lawson's for an egg sandwich. They are the seriously addicting. Also pick up a grapefruit beer to go. You can drink on the streets of Japan (not verified) but I did during my trip.
If you want to eat an epic sushi meal literally in the sushi chef's home, check out the 16 course sushi meal at Sushi Masa Bekkan. They have limited seating so you will need to make a reservation. They don't speak English well so we had our hotel make the reservations for us. The chef and his wife serve you in this tiny little restaurant. You might even hear their daughter coming in the doors from school. Above you'll see the silken tofu with roe and uni sushi pictured.
A must eat in Japan is Kobe beef. Check out Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511 which is in an upscale mall in Akasaka. We had a privet room with a grill chef who helped us choose our meat and cooked it as well. The meat will literally melt in your mouth and worth every penny.
I love spicy and Japanese food is actually not known for being spicy. This ramen at Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto is SPICY and so delicious. I added tonkatsu to mine and every sweaty hot bite was worth it.
No trip to Tokyo is complete without a night out in Shinjuku's Golden Gai. The area is made up of six alleyways tightly packed boasting over 200 bars. You can stumble into bars themed to every genre of music or even a specific band such as the Ramones. Each bartender boasts their own drink specialty and most bars can only seat anywhere from 4-8 people max. This photo was from one of my favorite, which was soul themed and we got the bartender to jam out on Stevie Wonder all night.
In case you take a trip on the speed train to Kyoto...
Make sure to try the oldest soba restaurant in Kyoto. Owariya which is 540 years old and a local favorite. The soba is handmade and out of this world delicious. The restaurant gets crowded so slurp your noodles and make room for the locals.