Category Archives: FEATURED

Heaven on a Stick: The What and Where of Yakitori

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

Don’t know your gizzards from your tail? You’ve come to the right place.
Whether it’s a full-blown feast or an occasional snack between rounds of drinks, it’s hard to overstate the simple elegance of yakitori. Chicken. On a stick. Cooked over charcoal. The only real variation comes in the variety of cuts.
There’s usually some crossover between yakitori, and yakiton, a similar style of cooking made using pork, so the two are often used interchangeably in English. There’s normally also kushiage (battered and deep-fried meat or veg skewers) on offer too. Today though, we’re keeping things simple by stickin’ with chicken (that’s a rhyme and pun—you’re very welcome).
Types of yakitori
So, for your referencing pleas

The post Heaven on a Stick: The What and Where of Yakitori appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

…continue reading


3 Simple Ways to Discover Japan’s Unique Food Culture

Source: Gaijin Pot

From fine dining to mom-and-pop diners, Japan’s unique food culture represents an eater’s paradise renowned for its transcendental experiences. Its delicious terrain has been explored by culinary icons like Anthony Bourdain and mined by gourmet publications like the Michelin Guide.

Occasionally though, I’m frustrated by its big cities with eateries secreted away in 10-storey towers. I tire of wrestling with Google Maps. I’ve circled madly and emerged from mazes of subway lines, only to be greeted with a cryptic, curt: “Head north.” Thanks Google, I don’t have a natural sense of direction.

Luckily, Japan has welcoming, accessible food hubs aplenty, all conveniently embedded in its landscape. Glorious gateways into its complex cuisine, elevated into tourist attractions in their own right. When I wasn’t hunting down dives in winding alleys, these were invaluable for initiating me into the sometimes-scary but wondrous world of Japanese food.

Konbini: frontline for Japanese snacks

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Takayama, Japan.

Centuries ago, ruling warlords Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, colloquially known today as the Three Unifiers of Japan, extended their empires across the country. How would these ancient leaders view modern Japan, seemingly conquered by the “Three Kings of Convenience”: 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson — the chains that comprise approximately 80% of Japan’s over 56,400 convenience stores (according to a 2017 Statistica report).

… a cheap, low-risk entry to a sparkling universe of Japanese meals and snacks.

This country’s amazing number of konbini (convenience stores) — almost literally on every street corner — offer a cheap, low-risk entry to a sparkling universe of Japanese meals and snacks. Which konbini reigns supreme? Is it Lawson’s egg sandwich? Family Mart’s fried chicken? Is it 7-Eleven’s baked cheesecake that clinches …continue reading


Onsen/Sentō Manners: Japanese Bathing Etiquette

Japanese onsen (温泉: hot springs) or sentō (銭湯: public baths), are are enjoyed by anyone of all ages. Onsen use hot water taken from a natural hot spring, while sentō use tap water heated by boilers. Both onsen and sentō are very enjoyable to Japanese and foreigners alike, but there is a set of unspoken instructions you should know before you go. Here is your guide to have good manners in Japanese onsen or public baths!

Bathing Manners

1. Shower First

Be sure to wash off your body before entering the bath. Every onsen features a washing area that includes several chairs and shower heads – and usually even shampoo and body soap – for you to use to clean yourself before entering the public bath. This is important as it keeps the onsen water clean for everyone who is using it.

2. No Smartphones

No smartphones or cameras inside of the onsen. Yes, many onsen are incredibly beautiful and picturesque, but they are private areas to be enjoyed quietly by everyone. Therefore, smartphones and cameras are strictly forbidden. Please be sure to leave your phone with your other belongings in the locker room/changing area 🙂

2. Tie/Remove Long or Loose Items

If you have long hair, it is polite to tie it back to keep it out of the water. Also, if you have long necklaces, jewelry, or watches that will dangle or possibly come off in the water, it is courtesy to take them off. Some onsen/sento facility provide a shelf to put your small belongings and toiletries once you have entered the bath area, but not all of them.

3. Swimsuits

Do not wear your swimsuits in the onsen. If you are feeling shy, you can use the small towel provided to cover yourself until you get into the water. …continue reading


Nestlé Japan opens temporary Kit Kat sake pairing bar staffed by artificial intelligence

nestle japan kitkat gotouchi pairing sake bar tokyo roppongi robot artificial intelligence

Nestlé Japan have enjoyed immense success with its range of exclusive Japanese Kit Kat snacks. Many of these use unique regional ingredients, such as sake or matcha. Others feature innovative special tastes that are not necessarily Japanese but are tested exclusively in the local market first, like the recent Kit Kat Sublime Volcanic snack, made with ingredients from exotic locations around Asia, or the Everyday Nuts and Cranberry Ruby Chocolate healthier Kit Kat snack.

Nestlé Japan also has does direct retail for its products through a series of Kit Kat outlets called Chocolatory, most prominently at department stores like Takashimaya.

Now comes another example with a pop-up Kit Kat pairing bar in Roppongi.

Having already developed sake Kit Kat and umeshu Kit Kat, customers are encouraged to pair their choice of Kit Kat snacks with actually Japanese sake. The Gotochi no Kit Kat (Local Kit Kat) Pairing Bar is open at Roppongi Hills from April 19th to April 29th as part of Craft Sake Week.

If pairing regional Japanese Kit Kat snacks with sake already doesn’t sound cool enough, know that the bar is manned by robots. Well, kind of. Human staff should still be on hand but the pairing is supervised by artificial intelligence.

nestle japan kitkat gotouchi pairing sake bar tokyo roppongi robot artificial intelligence

nestle japan kitkat gotouchi pairing sake bar tokyo roppongi robot artificial intelligence

nestle japan kitkat gotouchi pairing sake bar tokyo roppongi robot artificial intelligence

The AI system at the bar asks you answer five questions to determine the right pairing for your choice of Kit Kat flavors.

The novelty of this doesn’t come cheap, though. A couple of sake pairings at the stand will set you back ¥3,500 (over $30). …continue reading


Return to Round Windows

For some reason, posts of round windows have always been popular, and as all of my old blog posts are now missing photos because I left a particular photo hosting site I thought I would post some recent photos.

The first one is from the former residence of Japans 26th prime Minister Tanaka Giichi, in Hagi Yamaguchi. The second is from Shoji-ji Temple in the Oharano district of Kyoto.

…continue reading