Tag Archives: Tower

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>>>

 

 

To the top of Tokyo Tower and buying Tokyo Banana

Before I went to Japan, the only thing that I knew about Tokyo was the existence of Tokyo tower, which I did a brief research few days before my departure on Google photos just for few seconds, so I knew more o less how it looked like. It was already getting dark and me and Mari went from Akihabara to Kamiyacho Station and from there we walked for about 10 minutes to get to the most beautiful tower I have ever seen: Tokyo Tower!!! At first I thought that the tower was on a flat ground, instead was on a tiny hill that made the look of the tower even more impressing. It was so beautiful to see the illuminating red color of the tower in the evening, where everywhere was dark, the tower gave the area surrounding something special.

Tokyo Tower

After finishing to admire the beauty of the tower, we decided to enter and inquire about the prices to get on top. They had two prices option, the first one was to pay to get to the white box half way of the tower, the other option was to pay to go to the top to the round part to have a better view and to do that we had to pay first to get to the middle part. We decided to do both!!! (I can’t remember how much we paid in total but was around 1,600-2000 Yen. Once we were in the middle part we could see that we had an amazing night view and started taking some photos. We could see the most part of Tokyo, Tokyo by night is just amazing with its tall building illuminated made the whole scenery even more amazing.

Tokyo Tower View 1

  Tokyo Tower View 2

I have already been amazed by Tokyo during the day but during the night was also amazing if not better. Unfortunately, the battery of my phone went flat while we were in the middle part of the tower and I couldn’t take any more photos. ;(…… When we went to the top the view was even better because we could see more and also we could see better what the tall buildings were hiding behind. I realised recently that if we were going during day time on a nice day (as it has always been through my travelling experience before getting to Beppu) we could have seen mount Fuji. I reckon that going to Tokyo Tower during day time I could have seed a different aspect of Tokyo. I suggest everyone to try to go to Tokyo Tower both during the day and during the night.
While we were leaving, we saw a shop on the bottom of the tower that was selling souvenirs (omiyage – おみやげ in Japanese). We entered the shops and Mari asked me if I have ever eaten Tokyo Banana. – Tokyo Banana? What’s that? – I said and then she answered – Have you ever heard about Tokyo Banana? – No, as I told you I don’t know anything about Tokyo, because I want the whole experience to surprise me -. By the way, Tokyo Banana is a small sponge cake with the shape of a banana with inside a delicious banana flavoured cream. Mari then was surprised because they were selling the caramel version of Tokyo Banana, she didn’t know that was existing, she is from Tokyo but she was aware only about the banana version of the banana. Also the caramel version has the same shape. So we decided to buy both versions, each version for me and for herself. The photo below is the bag they gave us when we bought the Tokyo Bananas and the two different versions of the bananas (original on top and caramel below).
SAMSUNG
After leaving Tokyo Tower, we decided to go to a restaurant. I cannot remember which area did we go and what we ate, the only thing I can remember is that we went to a traditional Japanese restaurant, we spent around 3,000 Yen each and I drunk Sake or Shochu (traditional Japanese style drink that has around 20% alcohol). At the restaurant we sat on the floor, as this is custom in Japan. I always wanted to eat in the traditional Japanese style, I ate on the floor few times at a Korean restaurant back in London, but never in a Japanese restaurant. The food was great and the restaurant was amazing. It’s a pity that I couldn’t take any photos because of the phone’s battery, otherwise I would have done.
After leaving the restaurant Mari and I decided what to do the day after (Sunday, 9th September 2012) and she told me that she was going to take me to Tokyo fish market in the morning, but that comes to the next chapter of the blog. Then she went back home and I went back to the Ryokan and I arrived just before midnight. After having a quick shower I plugged my phone to charge and I layed on the futon mattress on the tatami floor, I turned on the TV to see what they were showing. At the ryokan they had just terrestrial TV and it wasn’t very clear. I started watching a channel where they were showing anime, even though I couldn’t see it properly due to the quality, and it wasn’t long until I fell asleep (of course after switching off the TV).

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>>>

 

 

Finally My First Day in Japan – Arriving at the Ryokan

Loved the Japanese style straight away

I left UK on 7 September 2012 from Heathrow airport in London with British Airways and I arrived in Tokyo at Haneda Airport in the early morning of the 8 September. Few days before I left for Japan I booked a room for three nights at a Ryokan (Japanese traditional hotel) in Tokyo, near  Yotsuya train station in the centre of Tokyo near Shinjuku. When I arrived at Haneda airport, I got the train straight to the Ryokan. From outside, the Ryokan looked like a normal building, the Ryokan’s reception was also nothing particular but as soon as I put my foot on the stairs to head to my room (I think my room was on the 2nd floor, 3rd floor for Japanese people, in Japan I later found out that the ground floor in 1st floor in Japan), the lady owner of the Ryokan stopped me and told me that I had to remove my shoes and wear the slippers in order to go up the stairs. This is the first part of Japanese culture. As soon as I opened the door for entering my room I said ‘wow!!! That’s really a traditional Japanese room!!! I love it!!!’

Traditional Japanese table with traditional Japanese chair in the room – Photo taken on 8 September 2012
As you can see, this is a traditional Japanese room from this Ryokan with a traditional Futon bed and traditional Tatami floor
Traditional Japanese room from the Ryokan with a traditional Futon bed and traditional Tatami floor – Photo taken on 8 September 2012

No time to waste

As you can see from the pictures it had a traditional ‘tatami’ floor (traditional Japanese floor) and ‘futon’ (traditional Japanese mattress-bed). I was so excited at the idea in sleeping in a traditional style Ryokan room, this is what I was waiting for many years, it was awesome, I slept on the floor before when I went backpacking in South Korea almost 10 years earlier, but never on a tatami floor and futon, However, even after a 12 hours flight and carrying heavy suitcases, I did not have the chance to sleep in that room at the Ryokan until later in the day, because I was still full of energies and I was in Japan and I wanted to enjoy my stay as much as I could, so I went out and check out what Tokyo was offering. I was so excited in being in Japan and I almost CRIED of joy!!!!!!!!!

I WAS FINALLY IN JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next Post: Walking to and Around Shinjuku

First Day in Japan