Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Ramen Jiro Defeat

Many of those seeking ramen experiences in Tokyo know of Ramen Jiro. Its sort of an institution here in Tokyo so of course we needed to go check it out. We went to the Ikebukuro Ramen Jiro, which according to the internet (which of course never lies), is one of the first Jiros to open and also one of the most renowned.

 We got there at 1:30ish and the line was already there. Paul and Rob are at the end of the line.

Without the line and knowledge that Ramen Jiro is here, most people would not give this shop a second look.

 People that come here leave their train tickets and company cards behind.

 While standing in line, we placed our orders and paid the ramen machine. If you look at the picture of this ramen machine carefully, you will see that the menu is super limited. You basically have the choice two of sizes of the same ramen: regular and big. Each of those can come with one round of extra pork, two rounds of extra pork, and/or an egg. That's all folks!

I ordered the regular size ramen with double pork and an egg.

 Ramen Jiro is tiny like most ramen shops, with a long counter full of customers slupring diligently on either side. After a ~20 minute wait, we were seated. We were so excited and hungry!

Then we got our ramen. To say that you get a big plate is an UNDERSTATEMENT. In fact, let me break the anatomy of a bowl of Ramen Jiro for you:

Andrea's Breakdown of Ramen Jiro
Ramen Jiro is a caloric bomb, I don't think that a breaded, deep fried "turducken" can have more calories than this ramen. Neither Paul, Rob or myself managed to finished the bowls of ramen. I did not have high hopes for myself, but I know Paul and Rob can eat their fare share. I think the most embarrassing thing was that all the Japanese guys around us finished their bowls to the last drop, in about half the time.

Despite our defeat, I still left a little piece of me in that shop. Can you see my NYU Stern card?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The House of Blue Leaves

A couple of nights ago we went to Gonpachi, the Japanese restaurant where the last fight takes place in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (known in the movie as The House of Blue Leaves). The restaurant has a very good atmosphere and the food is good, they serve yakitori, noodle and rice dishes. It was a fun experience!

I got vegetable skewers, hot soba noodles and oshiko (pickles). I love pickles. The restaurant was very dark, so the food pictures are not very good.

And for Kill Bill fans, you can get your yellow Onitsuka Tiger shoes here.

My lunch today

One of the awesome things about Japan is the incredible food sections in the basement of major department stores. Know in Japan as "depachika", the joint words "depato" (department store) and "chika" (basement).

 I love trying the different bento boxes at the depachika, and today I tried the bento in this food stand.

How awesome is my 525 yen (~$5.25) lunch?!?! (^-^)/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday in Setagaya - Part II: Manekineko

After the market, he headed to Gotokuji temeple in Setagaya. This temple is very special because the manekineko, know as "beckonig cat" or "lucky cat" has its origins in this temple.

The manekineko is meant to bring good fortune or luck. So there are many manekineko at Gotokuji that people have returned to the temple once they where no longer needed.

Yocchan explained that for the Japanese, when calling for people you do with your hand raised upward and bringing your fingers forward and under. So the manekineko is not really waving to say hi as most westerners think, it is actually calling for luck or fortune.

 The plum trees are starting to bloom. I can't wait for to see them next week.

 Lastly, one more picture of Junchan because he is so sweet and I love his cheeks!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday in Setagaya - Part I: The Yakitori Machine

Today I met Yocchan, her husband, brother and Junchan to go to the antique/vintage market in Setagaya. It was an incredibly fun experience filled with good shopping and even better food!!!

First, we had warm, sweet sake to warm up in the cold day.

The market was full of vintage cups, plates, kimono, obi and little toys made of kimono silk cloth.

We ate all sorts of delicious street food!!! Check out the video of the yakitori machine (^o^)/!!!

I learned that those big wooden vats and huge mallets are used to make mochi. Turned out that this seller was as curious about me as I was about him. After Jin explained him that I was a visitor from Ecuador, he was all smiles and was happy when I took his picture.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Yocchan and I met today for lunch and I got to finally meet Junchan!!! Jun is as cute and can be and incredibly curious. He is going to be a smart little kid!

 Lunch was delicious. It included soba, inari sushi and all sorts of other yummies.

It is the year of the rabbit, therefore all the rabbits...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Green is for cardio

I went out for a walk in the new neighborhood. Crows in Japan are very common, big and scary.

I also found a supermarket where I can get "free pickle" tastings, and figured out the gym schedule. Classes in green are cardio, classes in red are weight training.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Coming of Age Day

Today is "Coming of Age Day" in Japan. So there where a lot of twenty-year olds wearing beautiful kimono around town. I was to shy to ask them to pose but still managed to get some pictures.

This was my lunch: "30 item balance lunch". I can't identify 10 items properly, but they where all very tasty!