Monday, June 28, 2010

Sushi Day in Tokyo


This is Kyubei, one of the most famous and arguably best sushi shops in Tokyo. I didn't take many photos of the omakase lunch that was had there, because the place is super classy and I didn't want to be all taking hella shots like a jerk. In the end though, it wasn't as high collar as I thought it would be, and I think I could have gotten away with taking a few.


The master sushi chef told me that each of these knives is about $1000, which might seem like a lot, but when you figure that dinners run upwards of $300 a person it's not too bad.

How I ended up at a sushi shop a few zeros above my budget is totally rad. Some nice folks found my website and asked if I'd be their personal sushi and museum guide for the day. We went to the super traditional Ginza shop for lunch, and for dinner...


This little mom and pop shop in Nakameguro.


A lot of regulars come in for the more "experimental" sushi that the chef creates. If you let him do his thing, you won't be upset.


The ingredients for the next hour or two.


Otoro drizzled with boiling olive oil.



Air sushi!


"Don't eat! It's my joke!" - Sushi dude


Salmon shabu shabu nigiri.





Burnt cheese and avocado.


Uni ochazuke (rice in green tea... it's hella good)


Breakfast sushi (bacon and eggs).


Ice cream sushi. You KNOW it was good.


The mad crazy expensive Ginza place was a bit of a let down, but the mom and pop was amazing. I left a few of the things we ate off, so you can surprise yourself! I'll give you a hint. A horse walks into a sushi bar. Why the long face? Then everyone eats him.

That's you hint.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sports Sports Sports




Ogawayama, the Yosemite of Japan


This spot is pretty countryside, near the borders of Yamanashi, Nagano, and Saitama, but when I saw on my motorcycle map that there was a mountain with the description "The Yosemite of Japan", I had to check it out.


Bonus, you might be able to see some Kamoshika, which is some kind of Japanese deer. I didn't see any.


This place is beautiful and empty. Honestly, I was in a line of traffic for 2 hours the day before... to go to Costco. About half the people at Costco were families. In just a little more time, you could bring the kin up here, and let the kids run around in something natural. I know that Costco has free samples and 3D televisions, but nature doesn't cost much... and it's in 3D!


How many families in Japan have been here, or any non-on-the-tourism-map mountains, vs. how many have been to Disneyland? I don't want an answer to that rhetorical question, because I think I already have it. Also, it's hard to make fractions with zeros.


I didn't have much time, but some older hiking ladies said it would take about 4 hours to get to the top of Ogawayama. Which means it would take me 2. I went up for an hour, then back.


This spot is well known (apparently) for rock climbing. Just like the real Yosemite!


The granite rocks were nice, but Yosemite?!? Is that supposed to be a mini Half Dome over there? Right across from the 3 meter tall El Capitan?


There's a nice campground. And a nicer ryokan, Mr. Moneybags.


Awesome, you can do a little rock climbing of your own, even if you forgot your gear. You know, those metal hooky things and harnesses and what not.




So, yeah, check it out if you have a chance. Although the internet spoke of rock climbers, I saw none. There was a 20% chance of rain, which means 99.99% of people won't go somewhere with trees. Maybe they are up at the peak.

Speaking of peaks.


I rode the CB1000 over 9km of dirt to get to the highest mountain pass in Japan. At 2360m.

Hooray, I guess.


The dozen dudes on dirt bikes, besides thinking I was fucking crazy for riding my 100% non-dirt bike on a 100% dirt road told me that this is the end of some well known Japanese road. They said to take a picture and tell my Japanese friends. Is there something to this?

Riding back, you'll pass through Kofu, which looked pretty rad. There are a ton of onsen, boasting selling points like views of Fuji, or hella grapes, but it started raining so I went home.

I'm serious about the grapes.

Oh, check out my video. It has no sound, so it's boring. But it's only a couple minutes. You can be bored for a couple minutes, yeah?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Haikyo! Sun Park Hotel, Kiyosato


I was riding in the mountains of Yamanashi, a couple hours from Tokyo, when I came across another rad random hotel haikyo. These are the ruins of the Sun Park Hotel. Let's check it out!


If you're feeling adventurous, go ahead and climb the fire escape ladder to the 2nd floor.


Or just walk in the back. Your choice. I chose the door.



There's a nice bar in back.


I need a drink. One part grenadine, 2 parts shochu. Preferably haunted shochu.



Old timey phone!


The rule is, when you see a lone shoe, whatever thought was on your mind will come true. Am I the only one who grew up thinking that superstition?


Even though access was extremely easy, this place didn't feel safe. The floor had a strange, spongy texture to it that seems like it could cave in at any moment. And this was on the 4th floor.


The spongy texture could be due to the fact that it was actually alive.


Surely, even when the hotel was in full working order, this stairwell was still terrifying.


Poor kids, this room was full of bunks, probably meant for groups of school kids bent on visiting the Kiyosato countryside. It's famous for milk and ice cream.


How many people sat here in the dining room with a dairy treat?


Maybe Mr. Hashida himself (or herself?) sat here doing just that.


Or maybe he (she?) retired to one of the rooms. Nice touch... a pay TV and a roll of toilet paper.


There were toothbrushes EVERYWHERE.


The cafe terrace must have seemed like a nice idea at the time. It probably got hit with one winter and then rotted away.


Every haikyo seems to have something dated. This time was a bus schedule from 1989. I wonder if they heard the bubble burst all the way out here.



If you're one of the many haikyo enthusiast out there, this one is really easy to find. On route 141, just north of Kiyosato station. Or was it south. Anyways it's there. It looked like there were other haikyo in the area. Have at it people. The Kiyosato area is totally touristy too, if you are into that sort of thing.





I'm out, my next stop is an hour up the road, described as 日本のヨセミテ, the Japanese Yosemite. Rad!