Monday, 19 March 2012
Tales of a Travelling Tummy: Shinjuku, Tokyo. Beer, Katsu and Roast Chicken's Bottoms
The eerily misty skyline proves its inspiration for Bladerunner as skyscrapers seem endless as they disppear into the clouds and fog. Walking down a side street my senses are assaulted by the door to a Pachinko parlour springing open to hurl its latest victims back out into the street (a kind of gambling version of pinball). Music blasts out and the open door allows a peep at the rows upon rows of weekending Japanese avidly glued to the flashing machines. Stumbling round and round the endless neon lanes near the hotel, we finally settle on a small izakaya near our starting point, ain't that always the way? My first lunch in Tokyo consists of some little gyoza, more powerful in flavour than their English counterparts, little pouches of pork and cabbage seasoned beautifully, crisp and browned on one side from the frying pan that I can see just through the curtain, spilling grease spots across the liquid surface of the soy dipping sauce that I douse them in. Chicken balls in a sweet teriyaki sauce hold just the slightest bite of chilli with a spring onion and ginger salad. A pork katsu and noodle ramen floats with sliced bamboo and a slightly odd flavour (might not have that one again....)
Fears about everything being super expensive in Japan are waylaid, although the Yen is incredibly strong, lunch comes to around six pounds each and dinner to around fifteen. Time to crash and burn as jet lag finally takes over. Tomorrow brings another day with a whole host of strange new opportunities.
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