Monday, February 11, 2013

Tsukiji; Sushiko; Tokyo

I had a chance to go out to Tsukiji this weekend.   By chance, the new landlord's office was located in Tsukiji and we needed to go there to sign the paperwork.   For those of you not familiar with Japan's rent system, you often need to pay around 3-4 months of rent just to move, and often this includes 1-3 months of money as "gift" money to the landlord.  You don't get back any of the gift money.  Luckily, ours didn't require any gift money, but there was a 2 month deposit plus half a month as a guarantee and one month to the real estate agency.  That is a lot of cash just to get the apartment.

Back to Tsukiji, Tsukiji is the most famous fish market in the world for sushi.  Freshly caught tuna is brought in and auctioned off in the wee hours of the morning.  Quite a few tourists go out there at 5 in the morning to see the auction, however, I've never done it.

The station area has become known as a place where you can get fresh fish and great sushi too.
You can see the homage to the tuna as seen by this giant tuna indicating the shotengai area.
Here is the remainder of our scaled friend Charlie (it's the one on the right).  The little one is a huge maguro (tuna) fan and we always end up donating our maguro sashimi and nigiri to her.
You can get crabs too at the Tsukiji shotengai.
And piping hot tamago (as shown below) too.
This one was quite yummy, the sweet tamago.  Never had it freshly cooked like this.
Sushi donburi can be bought there as well.  Really fresh.
Since we had two kids in tow and the shotengai area was too congested to bring a stroller around, we ended up eating at Sushiko, one of the sushi shops a bit away from the Tsukiji shotengai.  Yeah, I know that Sushiko is a chain, but this is where the shop originated in (I think).
They have quite a selection of sushi.
They have some pretty good lunch specials too.
Here are the sushi maestros in action.
Here's a kid's sushi set. 
Here is a Hokaidon donburi.  The ikura was the freshest I'd ever had.
Here is my sushi set, the "Sushiko."  It was awesome.  I'm used to eating cheap 100 yen sushi at those kaiten sushi places, so this was quite a treat.  The unagi was to die for, still warm.  The salmon melted in my mouth and the toro was awesome.  The set was well worth the 2,000 yen price tag (a bargain compared to the States).

Our lunch was not cheap, 5,000 yen (about 52 bucks at the current rate), but it was well worth it.  If we come back here without the kids, we'll definitely try one of the stands located in the shotengai.  But for now, Sushiko hits the spot.  I give it 5 nigiris out of 5 nigiris.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

160 dollar cherries!? WTF!!!; Precce Supermarket, Roppongi

Yep, I couldn't believe it either.  That's 40 cherries, cherry picked from the rest (I couldn't help it but, I had to use that one); roughly 3 dollars and 75 cents per cherry (15,000 yen is about 160 dollars at the current exchange rate).

Remember that dialogue between John Travolta (Vincent Vega) and Uma Thurman (Mia Wallace) about that 5 dollar milkshake in Pulp Fiction?  Well, if not, here it is:

Vincent: Did you just order a five-dollar shake?
Mia: Sure did.
Vincent: A shake? Milk and ice cream?
Mia: Uh-huh.
Vincent: It costs five dollars?
Mia: Yep.
Vincent: You don't put bourbon in it or anything?
Waiter: Nope.
Vincent: Just checking. 

If my wife would have bought the cherries, the conversation would have been like this:

Me: Did you just buy some 160 dollar cherries?
Her: Sure did.
Me: Cherries? The fruits that are picked from trees?
Her: Uh-huh.
Me: They cost 160 dollars?
Her: Yep.
Me: They don't come with a 150-dollar gift certificate or anything?
Grocery Store Clerk: Nope.
Vincent: Just checking.


Awwwww... Shit!!! Free Bruce Lee Figures; Aeon, Tokyo Area

While searching for a Sunday night dinner, I came along these treasures.  I wasn't able to "figure" out what they were from this view:

I picked up a can and thought maybe I was looking at some wrestling or soccer figures.  To my delight, they were of the man himself, Bruce Lee.  As a result, I snatched three cans, each costing me 89 yen or roughly a dollar.  This is where the marketing at Dydo coffee paid off.  There is no way I would have bought the can coffee w/o Bruce.  In this regard, Japan is still like how breakfast cereals used to be in the U.S.  Remember that sticky octopus that rolled down the walls, the baking soda submarine and the dinosaur that grows when you put it in the water?  Sure you do if you grew up in the U.S. in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  Those were the premiums that helped you select Frankenberry, Corn Pops or Fruity Pebbles from the rest of the bunch.  Well sure enough all those crybabies decided to pass legislation that limited premiums (so that kids actually picked healthier choices) and poof the promotions were either gone or not as good.

I actually never wasted my cereal.  Half of the time, I poured it out into a bowl and took the prize (putting the cereal back in the box afterwards of course) and half of the time I patiently finished my cereal to get my treasure.  

Well, this type of marketing transcends children here in Japan.  I've seen One Piece figures with shaving cream and razors, AKB48 mugs with ramen noodles and even some anime figures with condoms here as promotional goods aimed toward adults.  So, back to the figure, the actual cans look like this:

I drank the coffee and here is the figure in its packaging:

Here is the advert that comes with the figure:
And here is the figure after I built it, ready to collect dust and be given to another lawyer here or a secretary when I get tired of it:
Us Chinese Americans all know the importance Bruce has.  There have never been any Chinese heroes that have replaced Bruce in America, or even Asian heroes for that matter.   Jackie Chan and Jet Li are possibly a distant second and third as Asian heroes in America.  Does Keanu Reaves count?

Since my Dad and uncle grew up in the 60s and 70s, Bruce is even more important to their generation and as a result, the other 2 Bruce figures above will be packaged and shipped to them in Chicago.

The Bruce Lee figure with coffee is one more reason I like living here.