My trip to Tokyo and Osaka was almost two months ago but I’m plodding along at a Sam pace with my Japan travel posts. This one is for Christmas!
Santa gave us all a surprise gift in the morning in the form of Amaou strawberries from Fukuoka. The strawberries cost about $9 each so we really savoured them throughout the next two days.. Taste-wise I don’t think this batch was overly sweet but it had a nice crunch and aesthetically, the most perfect looking strawberries I’ve ever seen.
For Christmas lunch we splurged again on Fukinuki which is a restaurant that specialises in unagi! Most people are probably familiar with unagi anyway, but it’s a freshwater eel usually cooked kabayaki-style, which refers to how it is cut and also the sweet soy sauce it’s dipped in before it is grilled. This is not to be confused with the Friends’ concept of a total state of awareness.
Itawasa is steamed fish paste which you eat with soy sauce and wasabi. I liked the springy feeling you get as you bite into this, it almost feels like a tiny bit of resistance. Not too much flavour but the soy sauce and wasabi combo really draws more out of it.
Honesembei means fried eel bones which are so, so yummy. There’s a lot of depth to the flavour despite only being well, bones. I also love the satisfying crunch with each bite. My parents who are usually really sweet to me and let me eat a lot of what I like, actually fought for the last few pieces of this.
Fukinuki differs from other unagi specialist restaurants because they are famous for hitsumabushi, a Nagoya-style unadon. Much like many other things that are Japanese, there are step-by-step procedures as to how to properly prepare your hitsumabushi for eating. In the background are the different seasonings you are meant to add to your unagi and rice, this can all come together in the little bowl provided.
Then it’s ala ochazuke, where you add some of the broth (I believe it’s dashi) to the mix. This is my mom’s absolute favourite way to have unagi as she has a huge penchant for that rice-with-soup texture that’s almost congee like. I actually got way too excited over my mom’s set that I forgot to take photos of my stepdad’s and mine but it was just your standard unadon anyway.
Food displays are so realistic and mouth-watering, even after eating such a full meal.
I forgot to mention earlier that we’re dining in a shopping mall. It’s quite common for the top floors of most shopping malls to be completely dominated by food outlets and they’re usually quite good. I can’t really remember at this point but I think we’re in Takashimaya in Shinjuku. Coming down via the escalator we pass by quite a lot of floors. This was the children’s floor I believe which also had Japanese school bags. As you can see, all the prices are in the five figure range in yen which comes up to about $1000 AUD (taking the 92,880 yen bag as an example)!
Found my favourite ぐでたま/Gudetama again! It’s honestly quite hard work trying to resist buying everything that’s cute in Japan. I suppose the easiest way is to really take a step back and ask yourself what you’re going to do with a Gudetama patterned handkerchief, cup, coin pouch, keychain..
We’re back for more window shopping at the supermarket/omiyage level. Even though we shop for wildly different things, different brands and at different price ranges, my parents and I will always happily look at food together. I definitely got my fascination with food from my parents. Above are treats from Fauchon which are always so photogenic but I don’t think I was meant to take photos! I got stopped by one of their attendants.
My other favourite mascot, which I have talked about so much to my mom that she can recognise Kumamon in Hong Kong and take a photo with it to make me jealous while I’m in Sydney. I know he’s a little on the creepy side but how can you not find his stupid face so funny?!
Dress – Black Milk Clothing
Tattoo tights – Asos
Boots – From Hong Kong
Jacket – Des Prés
Bag – Prada
Out on the streets. I don’t buy much Black Milk Clothing anymore but I can vouch for their fleece lined range which has done me such a service whilst in Sweden and also here in Japan. Granted I’m like a tropical bird in that I die very rapidly in winter so maybe for most people fleece wouldn’t have been necessary anyway. Tights I bought years ago on Asos which I never wear anymore but I figured they’d be quite cute in Japan because you can get away with wearing any odd clothing. Much to the dubious looks cast by my mom anyway haha. This jacket is a Christmas present from my mom from Tomorrowland Co.! It is also my current obsession, I am actually looking forward to some colder temperatures in Sydney so I can wear this again.
Saw some pineberries and had to get some just to try. I’d been calling them shiro ichigo all this time but they actually aren’t strawberries and apparently taste more like pineapple. Trying it, they are even less sweet that regular strawberries. Maybe I got a dud pair? These were also probably about $9 each.. so if you see them on Instagram, know that it’s purely for aesthetic purposes and you’re not really missing out on some revolutionary fruit!
We had dinner at our hotel. The food was quite good and probably better than most Japanese restaurants in Australia or Malaysia but definitely had nothing on the places we had been eating at outside. I think we decided to eat here because we were lazy and/or tired or because I was cold.
蟹コロッケ/ Crab croquette. It looks like something unremarkable and deep fried like food you’d get at a kid’s party. But it’s surprising how something so simple can be seriously elevated if you just use quality ingredients.
Tofu and tomato salad.
Mom has to have her beef. And considering stepdad doesn’t eat any beef, it’s up to me to help her. Do you want some beef with your fat?
Steamed rice with crab
My favourite part of the meal turned out to be this! I hardly ever eat melon but I definitely make exceptions when I’m in Japan because it is crazy, crazy sweet.
And I guess that’s what we did for Christmas! Eat a lot, shopped a fair bit and just kind of wandered around. Not exactly a conventional Christmas celebration but I’m glad I got to spend it with my family
and my melon dessert.