Tag Archives: Restaurant

Long Walk into the Unknown

Exploring Idea

After having the coffee in Harajuku, I decided to explore the area. After coming out from Starbucks, I saw in the opposite side few department stores. I decided not to go inside them, instead I decided to walk a little bit and look at that ‘hidden’ area of Tokyo.

After coming out from Starbucks, instead than going back from the same way that I came from, the left and turn the corner, I decided to go right and follow my instinct. I crossed the road ignoring the department stores and kept going right. At the first big traffic light I turned left and walked along a long road.

Ginza Number 2

I could see straight away that the road I took was going to be a long one, but not that long. At first there was nothing really interesting that is worth writing in this blog. After about 10 minutes walk, on the left side of the road (my side) started appearing high end shops, the same sort of shops that I found earlier in the day at Ginza: Luis Vuitton, Armani and so on. And because I am not really into those kinds of ‘posh’ shops, I ignored them, I didn’t even take a single photo to them because I was not interested, even though I should have taken a couple just to put on this post (or page, whichever you are reading right now).

I Love the Adventure

Around half way of that road (I didn’t know at that point that I was half way through that road) I found a sign mentioning that by following that road I was going to reach Shibuya. I didn’t know about Shibuya, and looking at my train map that I had in my pocket, Shibuya was marked in bold and in bigger characters compared to those of most stations, indicating that it was one of the major areas in Tokyo.

Nearby I found a station, I really cannot remember right now the name, but it was going towards a different direction from the line that link all the major areas of Tokyo like a circle, it is similar as the Circle Line in London. Anyway,

“I was by myself in the middle of Tokyo and I couldn’t care less where I was going, the most important thing is that in which way I was going I would still find my way round and probably find places where tourists don’t go. I love the adventure.”

2nd Stop

I kept walking into the same direction, that road was actually long. After I completed 100% of that road (it took me more than 30 minutes), another sign was directing Shibuya on the right. It was another long big road, probably bigger than the other one that I just completed.

I crossed the road and went to Shibuya direction. After few minutes I had a very short break, guess what? I stopped for another cappuccino at a nearby Starbucks that was on the same side of the road where I was walking. After grabbing the coffee and leaving the coffee shop, I carried on walking.

UN Uni

I could see a large selection of restaurants on both sides of the road, the most of them were Japanese and a handful were American large chains such as Pizza Hut and so on. By that time, the sky was already getting dark and after about 30 minutes walk on the other side of the road I saw a the ‘University of the United Nations’!!! I didn’t know that the UN had universities. I learnt something new that day that is nothing to do with Japanese culture, but about the world security or safety or whatever you want to call it.

Reaching the Destination

Not far from the University of the United Nations the road started to divide in 2. Following my sense of orientation I kept walking on my side of the road rather than crossing the road and following the other path. The road soon after crossed with another one that if I was going left the road was going up-hill, however, I decided to go down-hill and few minutes later I reached the final destination: Shibuya Station. Yeahhhh!!!!!!!

Long Walk into the Unknown

Exploring Idea

After having the coffee in Harajuku, I decided to explore the area. After coming out from Starbucks, I saw in the opposite side few department stores. I decided not to go inside them, instead I decided to walk a little bit and look at that ‘hidden’ area of Tokyo.

After coming out from Starbucks, instead than going back from the same way that I came from, the left and turn the corner, I decided to go right and follow my instinct. I crossed the road ignoring the department stores and kept going right. At the first big traffic light I turned left and walked along a long road.

Ginza Number 2

I could see straight away that the road I took was going to be a long one, but not that long. At first there was nothing really interesting that is worth writing in this blog. After about 10 minutes walk, on the left side of the road (my side) started appearing high end shops, the same sort of shops that I found earlier in the day at Ginza: Luis Vuitton, Armani and so on. And because I am not really into those kinds of ‘posh’ shops, I ignored them, I didn’t even take a single photo to them because I was not interested, even though I should have taken a couple just to put on this post (or page, whichever you are reading right now).

I Love the Adventure

Around half way of that road (I didn’t know at that point that I was half way through that road) I found a sign mentioning that by following that road I was going to reach Shibuya. I didn’t know about Shibuya, and looking at my train map that I had in my pocket, Shibuya was marked in bold and in bigger characters compared to those of most stations, indicating that it was one of the major areas in Tokyo.

Nearby I found a station, I really cannot remember right now the name, but it was going towards a different direction from the line that link all the major areas of Tokyo like a circle, it is similar as the Circle Line in London. Anyway,

“I was by myself in the middle of Tokyo and I couldn’t care less where I was going, the most important thing is that in which way I was going I would still find my way round and probably find places where tourists don’t go. I love the adventure.”

2nd Stop

I kept walking into the same direction, that road was actually long. After I completed 100% of that road (it took me more than 30 minutes), another sign was directing Shibuya on the right. It was another long big road, probably bigger than the other one that I just completed.

I crossed the road and went to Shibuya direction. After few minutes I had a very short break, guess what? I stopped for another cappuccino at a nearby Starbucks that was on the same side of the road where I was walking. After grabbing the coffee and leaving the coffee shop, I carried on walking.

UN Uni

I could see a large selection of restaurants on both sides of the road, the most of them were Japanese and a handful were American large chains such as Pizza Hut and so on. By that time, the sky was already getting dark and after about 30 minutes walk on the other side of the road I saw a the ‘University of the United Nations’!!! I didn’t know that the UN had universities. I learnt something new that day that is nothing to do with Japanese culture, but about the world security or safety or whatever you want to call it.

Reaching the Destination

Not far from the University of the United Nations the road started to divide in 2. Following my sense of orientation I kept walking on my side of the road rather than crossing the road and following the other path. The road soon after crossed with another one that if I was going left the road was going up-hill, however, I decided to go down-hill and few minutes later I reached the final destination: Shibuya Station. Yeahhhh!!!!!!!

Japanese Style British Pub

I miss England

While leaving the Ninja Restaurant, Mari told me how she missed England. At that moment I told her that near the Ryokan in Yotsuya I saw a British pub and if she wanted we could go there to have a pint of beer before going back home. She liked the idea and we headed to Yotsuya. Yotsuya was just 1 train stop away from Akasaka, so we headed to the train station and few minutes later we were there. Once we were in Yotsuya we walked on the pavement on a busy road that leads Yotsuya to Shinjuku.

British or Japanese?

We arrived at the pub few minutes later. Inside, the pub was very clean, it had tall tables and high seats where people can enjoy their beer. Inside there were only few Japanese people drinking plus the 2 male bartenders. Thinking about British pubs, the first thing that came into my mind was to go at the bar, order the drinks and pay there. Instead, we headed to one of the high tables, sat there and one of the bar tender came to our table to take our order. I found it a bit unusual but I got used straight away. The athmosphere was quiet with some music on the background (I cannot recall what music they were playing). Then the bartender came with the two pints, one for me and one for Mari, and we had a chat. We stayed at the pub for about half an hour, paid at the end then left the pub and went our separate ways.

Pubs in Japan

The athmosphere in the Japanese pubs is different from their British counterpart. That pub was very relaxing and people don’t have to go to the bar leaving their friends sitting alone lonley while ordering and therefore making the experience more intimate. Also the pub itself was much cleaner and not as noisy than those found in UK. The whole experience was different, even going alone, there are more opportunities to befriend to people never met before, especially if you are a foreigner in Japan. It is an experience that is worth trying.

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Food)

Menu Please (?)

Usually, when going to the restaurant, the food is chosen from a menu, or in case of a canteen, the food is chosen by pointing or naming the food that people want to eat. That restaurant was different. The only option that we were given was if the food we wanted was either vegetarian or meat!!! What? Yes, just that!!!!! We were not given any opportunity to choose the food. This is one of the reasons that the restaurant is special, because the food that we were going to get had to be a surprise. In fact, if we knew what food we wanted, the food that was going to come to our table was not going to be surprising.

Ninja Starter

Nobody probably knows what Ninjas used to eat during their periods, however, the Ninja food found in that restaurant is as fascinating as the whole experience in the Ninja Restaurant and in my experience in Japan so far. The starter was absolutely unique, and really gives the impression of being inside the Ninja soul because of the look and taste of the food and because it has been served by Ninja waiters.

I was surprised when the starter came. Actually, instead than having the feel of being inside a Ninja restaurant, when the starter came it felt to be inside a ‘Ninja garden’!!!

<Ninja garden?> you might think. Yes, Ninja garden.

<What’s so special about that starter?> Oh well!!! The starter looked like a plant with its special fruit.

<What are you talking about?> As I said, the starter looks like a plant. The fruit is the ‘Shuriken’, you know? The star weapon used by the Ninja. I mean, they were not real Shuriken, they were edible black shuriken that taste like crackers.

Now let’s talk about the taste. I have already said that the taste is like crackers and the food has been colored probably by using the ink from the squid and because the environment was dark and the shuriken were black, it was actually difficult to see them. Their taste was actually nice and crispy and I have to say that the experience so far was just unique and I was pleased to be there to feel that surreal experience.

Smoking Hot Main Course

After having eating the lunch, the ‘Ninja Waiter’ brought us the main course, and what a main course!!!!!!! This restaurant was never running out of surprises!!!!! When the Ninja waiter brought the lunch, he came into the room with a wooden pot with a stew inside. The waiter said that it was a chicken stew and the stew was cold. Along with the stew the waiter brought a stone. Yes, a stone.

What’s that stone for? I asked the waiter. He said that the stone was extremely hot and its temperature was 300 degrees!!!!!!!!

Wow!!!!!!!! I said.

Then he put the stone inside the chicken stew and said to wait for few minutes.

Yes!!!!! The stone was cooking the chicken stew!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!

As soon as he put the stone inside, a smoke started coming out from the pot. Usually, when people cook something, the heat come from outside of the pot, of course, the only exception is when steaming the milk for making coffees where the steamer is placed inside the milk in order for the steam to heat up the milk. But even in this case, the heat come from the machine which is outside of the jug for steaming milk. But this time it was the stone that without any energy from the outside was cooking the stew from the inside (even though the stone, in order to reach the right temperature, has to be heated first).

When the stew was ready, we poured it inside our wooden bowl. The temperature of the stew when eating was high. The stone did a great job in heating up the stew. This is a great invention that few people in the world came up with, simple and effective idea. The taste of the stew was amazing and had a creamy taste. I will never forget that experience.

Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone
Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone

The side dish was made with Black Shiitake mushrooms and some vegetables above them (asparagus, broccoli and something else). This side dish looked absolutely gorgeous and was really tasting amazing.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms

Ninja Sweet

The sweet was probably the most Ninja food I had in the restaurant. This is not because of the taste, but because how the sweet looked like. Actually, more than a Ninja sweet, it was a ‘mini-Ninja’ sweet. The sweet had a sword!!!!!! A mini Ninja sword. The top was white and was made in two spheric parts, the top and the bottom part and it was probably made with the white part of the egg. It had eyes, arms and at the back it had a sword made with chocolate. The mini Ninja was standing on two pieces of peach and a blueberry in front of it. Everything was on lifted by a stand made with sponge bread. I really didn’t want to eat it because it looked so cute and pretty!!! However, I decided to eat it and it was tasting very nice.

My beautiful Ninja Sweet
My beautiful Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari's Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari’s Ninja Sweet

Final Show (Hide and Seek Card Game)

After eating, another Ninja came into our dark room. This time was not to surprise us with exceptional food, but to surprise us with something that will stay in our memory forever.

This Ninja was holding some playing cards. He mixed them and asked me to choose one. I picked the card and with a black marker he asked me to write something and then fold it. After doing all that, I put the card back in the middle of the bunch of cards that he was holding. Then he started mixing the cards again. Finished to mix them, he removes a closed envelope from his pocket. He told me to open it and inside I found the card marked and folded that I chose for the game. I was surprised. It was the first time that I witness something like that in real life. I saw different times magicians/illusionists on TV, but this was the first time that I witnessed something like that in real life. It was impressive. To tell the truth, the whole experience was impressive.

Tokyo is Impressive

Going to the Ninja restaurant was one of those adventures that has to be experience once in a lifetime that stays with your memory forever. I will never forget about that. I just loved the whole experience. Tokyo is great. I love Tokyo because it is a unique city with unique style with endless things to do, see and witness. It is probably the most amazing city in the entire world. Who’s never been there, I suggest to visit it, no cities in the world come close to what Tokyo has to offer. You will love it.

 

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Restaurant)

What I am going to describe now is one of the most amazing experiences that my life offered up to date. This is not only regarding the food that I ate, but because of the overall experience in a restaurant that is nothing like anything else I have seen in all my life. Anyway, …..

Looking for the Restaurant

After taking Purikura at Ueno, we headed to Akasaka. When Mari came to London the week before I move to Japan, she told me something about the Ninja Restaurant, and I told her not to tell me anything because I wanted to be a surprise. I don’t like to be told information about places before going there because I love surprises and I love to find out by myself because it makes my experience more surprising.

Entering the Restaurant

When we arrived at Akasaka, we went to look for the Ninja restaurant. The building from outside was all black, and because of that, it was difficult to see the entrance. Once inside, everything was black and dark and there was a girl with a ninja uniform waiting for her customers and she told us to wait for few seconds to wait for ‘another’ ninja. After few seconds the other ninja came and took us through a dark short dark corridor from a hidden door. After few yards the corridor was blocked by a pond and no other way to go in front of us. The ninja at that point said that we had to say the magic word ‘ninja’ all together in order to go through. The ninja said: one, two, three….. and then all together we said ‘NINJA’!!! and a door came down working as a bridge for the pond for us to enter the……ninja village!!! and then we entered another dark room.

Ninja Village

Inside the new room was lying a small ninja village set in the ninja period. For me it was an exciting and unique experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Also the village was all dark. It was made by small dark stone houses and a pathway that goes in between of the houses. Each small dark house was a small private room for customers to eat. The village seemed real and gave a real impression of a ninja village. Our room was at the end of the village on a small staircase.

Dining Room

After walking up the small staircase, we entered a tiny dark room with a dark stone wall which was lit carefully in order to present the room as from the ninja period. The room had only one table that can accomodate only few customers, probably up to 4 people could sit into that room. Considering that Mari and I have been surprised along the way to our private room, the dark atmosphere of the room gave us the impression that the surprises were not over and we had more surprises to come. Apart from the room being dark, everything esle inside the room was traditionally Japanese with a short leg’s table, thin cushions where people sit on and room under the table for people to put their feet and legs inside in order for the people to sit rather than crossing their legs.

The food is on the next page>>>

 

 

Second Day in Japan

Japanese Style British Pub

I miss England

While leaving the Ninja Restaurant, Mari told me how she missed England. At that moment I told her that near the Ryokan in Yotsuya I saw a British pub and if she wanted we could go there to have a pint of beer before going back home. She liked the idea and we headed to Yotsuya. Yotsuya was just 1 train stop away from Akasaka, so we headed to the train station and few minutes later we were there. Once we were in Yotsuya we walked on the pavement on a busy road that leads Yotsuya to Shinjuku.

British or Japanese?

We arrived at the pub few minutes later. Inside, the pub was very clean, it had tall tables and high seats where people can enjoy their beer. Inside there were only few Japanese people drinking plus the 2 male bartenders. Thinking about British pubs, the first thing that came into my mind was to go at the bar, order the drinks and pay there. Instead, we headed to one of the high tables, sat there and one of the bar tender came to our table to take our order. I found it a bit unusual but I got used straight away. The athmosphere was quiet with some music on the background (I cannot recall what music they were playing). Then the bartender came with the two pints, one for me and one for Mari, and we had a chat. We stayed at the pub for about half an hour, paid at the end then left the pub and went our separate ways.

Pubs in Japan

The athmosphere in the Japanese pubs is different from their British counterpart. That pub was very relaxing and people don’t have to go to the bar leaving their friends sitting alone lonley while ordering and therefore making the experience more intimate. Also the pub itself was much cleaner and not as noisy than those found in UK. The whole experience was different, even going alone, there are more opportunities to befriend to people never met before, especially if you are a foreigner in Japan. It is an experience that is worth trying.

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Food)

Menu Please (?)

Usually, when going to the restaurant, the food is chosen from a menu, or in case of a canteen, the food is chosen by pointing or naming the food that people want to eat. That restaurant was different. The only option that we were given was if the food we wanted was either vegetarian or meat!!! What? Yes, just that!!!!! We were not given any opportunity to choose the food. This is one of the reasons that the restaurant is special, because the food that we were going to get had to be a surprise. In fact, if we knew what food we wanted, the food that was going to come to our table was not going to be surprising.

Ninja Starter

Nobody probably knows what Ninjas used to eat during their periods, however, the Ninja food found in that restaurant is as fascinating as the whole experience in the Ninja Restaurant and in my experience in Japan so far. The starter was absolutely unique, and really gives the impression of being inside the Ninja soul because of the look and taste of the food and because it has been served by Ninja waiters.

I was surprised when the starter came. Actually, instead than having the feel of being inside a Ninja restaurant, when the starter came it felt to be inside a ‘Ninja garden’!!!

<Ninja garden?> you might think. Yes, Ninja garden.

<What’s so special about that starter?> Oh well!!! The starter looked like a plant with its special fruit.

<What are you talking about?> As I said, the starter looks like a plant. The fruit is the ‘Shuriken’, you know? The star weapon used by the Ninja. I mean, they were not real Shuriken, they were edible black shuriken that taste like crackers.

Now let’s talk about the taste. I have already said that the taste is like crackers and the food has been colored probably by using the ink from the squid and because the environment was dark and the shuriken were black, it was actually difficult to see them. Their taste was actually nice and crispy and I have to say that the experience so far was just unique and I was pleased to be there to feel that surreal experience.

Smoking Hot Main Course

After having eating the lunch, the ‘Ninja Waiter’ brought us the main course, and what a main course!!!!!!! This restaurant was never running out of surprises!!!!! When the Ninja waiter brought the lunch, he came into the room with a wooden pot with a stew inside. The waiter said that it was a chicken stew and the stew was cold. Along with the stew the waiter brought a stone. Yes, a stone.

What’s that stone for? I asked the waiter. He said that the stone was extremely hot and its temperature was 300 degrees!!!!!!!!

Wow!!!!!!!! I said.

Then he put the stone inside the chicken stew and said to wait for few minutes.

Yes!!!!! The stone was cooking the chicken stew!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!

As soon as he put the stone inside, a smoke started coming out from the pot. Usually, when people cook something, the heat come from outside of the pot, of course, the only exception is when steaming the milk for making coffees where the steamer is placed inside the milk in order for the steam to heat up the milk. But even in this case, the heat come from the machine which is outside of the jug for steaming milk. But this time it was the stone that without any energy from the outside was cooking the stew from the inside (even though the stone, in order to reach the right temperature, has to be heated first).

When the stew was ready, we poured it inside our wooden bowl. The temperature of the stew when eating was high. The stone did a great job in heating up the stew. This is a great invention that few people in the world came up with, simple and effective idea. The taste of the stew was amazing and had a creamy taste. I will never forget that experience.

Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone
Smoking Stew heated with the 300 degrees stone

The side dish was made with Black Shiitake mushrooms and some vegetables above them (asparagus, broccoli and something else). This side dish looked absolutely gorgeous and was really tasting amazing.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms

Ninja Sweet

The sweet was probably the most Ninja food I had in the restaurant. This is not because of the taste, but because how the sweet looked like. Actually, more than a Ninja sweet, it was a ‘mini-Ninja’ sweet. The sweet had a sword!!!!!! A mini Ninja sword. The top was white and was made in two spheric parts, the top and the bottom part and it was probably made with the white part of the egg. It had eyes, arms and at the back it had a sword made with chocolate. The mini Ninja was standing on two pieces of peach and a blueberry in front of it. Everything was on lifted by a stand made with sponge bread. I really didn’t want to eat it because it looked so cute and pretty!!! However, I decided to eat it and it was tasting very nice.

My beautiful Ninja Sweet
My beautiful Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari's Ninja Sweet
Mine and Mari’s Ninja Sweet

Final Show (Hide and Seek Card Game)

After eating, another Ninja came into our dark room. This time was not to surprise us with exceptional food, but to surprise us with something that will stay in our memory forever.

This Ninja was holding some playing cards. He mixed them and asked me to choose one. I picked the card and with a black marker he asked me to write something and then fold it. After doing all that, I put the card back in the middle of the bunch of cards that he was holding. Then he started mixing the cards again. Finished to mix them, he removes a closed envelope from his pocket. He told me to open it and inside I found the card marked and folded that I chose for the game. I was surprised. It was the first time that I witness something like that in real life. I saw different times magicians/illusionists on TV, but this was the first time that I witnessed something like that in real life. It was impressive. To tell the truth, the whole experience was impressive.

Tokyo is Impressive

Going to the Ninja restaurant was one of those adventures that has to be experience once in a lifetime that stays with your memory forever. I will never forget about that. I just loved the whole experience. Tokyo is great. I love Tokyo because it is a unique city with unique style with endless things to do, see and witness. It is probably the most amazing city in the entire world. Who’s never been there, I suggest to visit it, no cities in the world come close to what Tokyo has to offer. You will love it.

 

Dinner at Ninja Restaurant (The Restaurant)

What I am going to describe now is one of the most amazing experiences that my life offered up to date. This is not only regarding the food that I ate, but because of the overall experience in a restaurant that is nothing like anything else I have seen in all my life. Anyway, …..

Looking for the Restaurant

After taking Purikura at Ueno, we headed to Akasaka. When Mari came to London the week before I move to Japan, she told me something about the Ninja Restaurant, and I told her not to tell me anything because I wanted to be a surprise. I don’t like to be told information about places before going there because I love surprises and I love to find out by myself because it makes my experience more surprising.

Entering the Restaurant

When we arrived at Akasaka, we went to look for the Ninja restaurant. The building from outside was all black, and because of that, it was difficult to see the entrance. Once inside, everything was black and dark and there was a girl with a ninja uniform waiting for her customers and she told us to wait for few seconds to wait for ‘another’ ninja. After few seconds the other ninja came and took us through a dark short dark corridor from a hidden door. After few yards the corridor was blocked by a pond and no other way to go in front of us. The ninja at that point said that we had to say the magic word ‘ninja’ all together in order to go through. The ninja said: one, two, three….. and then all together we said ‘NINJA’!!! and a door came down working as a bridge for the pond for us to enter the……ninja village!!! and then we entered another dark room.

Ninja Village

Inside the new room was lying a small ninja village set in the ninja period. For me it was an exciting and unique experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Also the village was all dark. It was made by small dark stone houses and a pathway that goes in between of the houses. Each small dark house was a small private room for customers to eat. The village seemed real and gave a real impression of a ninja village. Our room was at the end of the village on a small staircase.

Dining Room

After walking up the small staircase, we entered a tiny dark room with a dark stone wall which was lit carefully in order to present the room as from the ninja period. The room had only one table that can accomodate only few customers, probably up to 4 people could sit into that room. Considering that Mari and I have been surprised along the way to our private room, the dark atmosphere of the room gave us the impression that the surprises were not over and we had more surprises to come. Apart from the room being dark, everything esle inside the room was traditionally Japanese with a short leg’s table, thin cushions where people sit on and room under the table for people to put their feet and legs inside in order for the people to sit rather than crossing their legs.

The food is on the next page>>>

 

 

Second Day in Japan