cherryfume 2014

10

Toshiharu, our ryokan in Kyoto, is a cosy and beautiful home built in the Meiji era. The family that run the ryokan were the nicest hosts we could ask for, always taking care of our every needs and there to greet us with a smile whenever we made our way back after a long day out. We were checked in with a cup of hot matcha and warm sakuramochi (sweet pink rice cake wrapped in sakura leaf). Had the best time lounging around on our futons wearing cute sleeping robes after soaking in the hot Japanese cedarwood bath. I want to go back. T_T

7

Ginkaku-ji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion) & Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). It took an hour by bus to reach Kinkaku-ji from central Kyoto, but I felt I couldn’t go to Kyoto and not make the pilgrimage. The garden at Ginkaku-ji is spectacular!

10

Tokyo food diary!

  • Shellfish jackpot (lobster, clam, scallop, mussels, sea urchin) + tuna and salmon chirashi @ Tsukiji fish market
  • Pierre Herme macarons (satine, envie, rose, caramel), coeur de mandarines from Yoroizuka Farm, Valencia cake (candied kumquat, citrus mousse, milk chocolate, caramel-hazelnut praline) + macarons from Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki @ Hikarie’s dessert floor in Shibuya
  • Tonkatsu ramen with pork, kikurage mushrooms, and the infamous half-boiled egg @ Ichiran in Shinjuku
  • Shrimp tempura and kisu fish tendon @ Tempura Daikokuya in Asakusa
  • Earl grey, genmaicha, and black sesame maracons (nice flavor, though no Pierre Herme) from Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki
  • Pork and kimchi monjayaki + cod roe okonomiyaki @ Kura in Tsukishima, where I finally met Erin after 10! years!

Predictably ate a lot of fresh seafood, though what I might miss the most from Tokyo is the sushi rice (and I typically never crave rice!). Will also miss Japan’s dedication to quality bakeries; what do you mean I can’t get a matcha éclair in Chicago? :(

3

There’s something about Tokyo. A constant crush of people and endless concrete stretching far out to the horizon. A part of me will always fall in love with that frantic oppressive overwhelming tidal wave of the city crowd and neon lights, pristine minimalism and bone-deep exhaustion warring against each other every step of the way.

9

Final Kyoto food roundup! (Thought I’d never get to type those words…)

  • Shaved ice with shiratama + matcha parfait @ Gion Tsujiri
  • Grilled chicken skewer + anko/matcha taiyaki outside Fushimi Inari
  • Matcha soft-serve cone @ Arashiyama
  • Couldn’t leave Japan without hitting up a McDonald’s; their fried chicken sandwiches come with avocado!
  • Sanuki udon with fish flakes & konnyaku (yam cake) @ KIX Int'l airport

See a common flavor theme? Totally going through matcha withdrawal now. :( We spent only one more day in Kyoto than Tokyo, but why does it feel like I had so many more food posts. (@︿@) Quick summary list of Kyoto eats: 10-course kaiseki | ryokan breakfast | yakiniku dinner | Nishiki market | specialty tofu lunch | wagashi desserts. Whew!

4

ORD —> LAX —> NRT. People always express disbelief at 30 hours of total travel time for a week-long trip, but long haul flights aren’t too bad if you plan them right. Got lucky this time and was seated in an exit row with nobody next to me so I had plenty of room to stretch out. Kind of surprised that no one (not even my parents!) asked about who’s traveling with me in Japan, but I’ll chalk that up as another lucky break because I’m not sure how I’d explain @teafume anyway (´・﹏・`)

6

The reception of the hostel we were staying at in Tokyo was a cafe by day, extremely popular bar for young Tokyo hipsters by night with occasional live music. The bar doubles as a breakfast counter in the morning. It made for a charming base, and the young staff were super cute. Thanks for the memories, qt hipster hostel.

4

What’s a trip to Tokyo without an X/1999 tour stop at the Metropolitan Government Building? (Still holding out hope that the final chapters will get released… before I die… ㅜㅜ) Supposedly you can see Mt. Fuji in the distance on a clear day, but the overcast had other plans. Made for a dreamy atmosphere at least.

8

A vscocam set of Tokyo to cap off my Japan travel log. Apart from the Metropolitan Gov’t Building, Meiji Temple, and Asakusa, we didn’t do a lot of traditional sightseeing in Tokyo (though we did spend a surprising amount of time in bakeries and cafes). Mostly we occupied ourselves walking around Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. First picture is the front of our hostel NUI! Wish we could’ve stayed longer~

6

Meiji Shrine, nestled peacefully in a forest in otherwise chaotic Shibuya. By luck we arrived in the middle of a traditional wedding procession; the bride had no less than four handmaidens circling nearby to adjust her kimono whenever she had to move. And, of course, we couldn’t leave without adding our own ema to the wall of hanging wishes.