Possibly our biggest post yet: Over 100 photos to enjoy!
Wow Wow Wow, Tokyo I love You!!! You will always hold a special place in my Stomach. I will never forget the delicious times we enjoyed together. The excellent hospitality from the unbelievably friendly and polite citizens of Japan. I will always dream my Country can adopt your no tipping rules, it makes dining so much more enjoyable.
More on the food coming in this Post! If you are a “Foodie” you need to get yourself to Tokyo, you will not be disappointed. At some point this blog has morphed from just talking about travel to food as well. We love food and this is just the way it is going to be from now on.
Ok, Safety first right? A trip to the Fire Hall
Honjo Bosaikan – Life Safety Learning Center (Tokyo Fire Department) Admission: Free
So you may ask why we visited the Fire Hall while in Japan- they have an Earthquake simulator. You cannot just experience the simulator, you have to do the entire presentation- which turned out to be a great experience.
We started off by admiring the Fire Trucks on the way inside. Aya just about got us kicked out before the show even began. She grabbed a Fire uniform and jumped into a Fire Truck!
Japanese Fire Trucks are much smaller than Western Fire Trucks
Big Bertha, although I am sure they call it something different in Japan
Are you done?
Lost in Translation
We started with a 30 minute video recalling the events of March 2011, when a 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake devastated Japan. As a self proclaimed News junkie, I thought I had seen every video / photo of the ensuing Tsunami. The Tokyo Fire Dept has videos that CNN should have used. Truly amazing the response from around the world to assist those injured or stuck. P.S – Tokyo is the biggest City Fire Dept in the World.
So this tour of sorts includes four sections: Rainstorm, Fire Fighting, Earthquake and Smoke. We started off in the Rainstorm simulator.
Not sure what to expect here, we were told to bring a towel.
So of course being in a wind tunnel with rain coming at you sideways, operating a camera is impossible, so you will have to imagine it. Or anyone in Vancouver, can just look out the window, and imagine much stronger wind.
All suited up
The wind comes at you from the left, and the water from every angle. It was actually pretty intense.
The Smoke section was a little lackluster, nothing to report.
It does not look like much, here is the Earthquake simulator. Note the people under the table
We re enacted the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which shook for 6 full minutes. We also re enacted the 1995 Tokyo Great Hanshin Earthquake, which was 7.2 on the Richter Scale, compared to 9 of the 2011 quake. The 1995 Earthquake only shook for 20 seconds, but it was much more violent.
This section turned out to just be a fire extinguisher, I was hoping for huge flames and fire hoses, but that was not the case.
Tokyo Skytree ( 634 Metres)
After leaving the Fire Hall, we walked outside unsure of our next stop, after noticing how close we were to the Tallest Tower in the World, we made our way over. The $30 admission left a real dent on our pocket book, but it did offer an amazing view.
Cheesy Japanese Photo
Valentines Day is a few weeks behind us, so not sure what is going on with the Hearts. This photo was free, don’t worry we didn’t have to pay for this, not sure who would.
See our Shadow?
Can you see Disneyland? left side across the river.
You can really appreciate how big Tokyo is from up here.
that is a long way down
It is freezing outside! Time to head home for homemade Sukiyaki!
Also called “hot pot”. This is what it sounds like, a pot of boiling broth, filled with veggies, noodles, tofu and of course amazing Japanese Beef!
Drumroll, The beef is coming!!!
Check out the marbling on this!!! You cook the meat in the hot pot.
Trust the Japanese to invent a game to keep you entertained while you pee. Hit the Target!
Lunchtime! a true Japanese restaurant
On the left is: Kaisen Chirashi Don. The flavours here are pure heaven. On the right are some tasty little things. I don’t know what they were, but they were a little chewy and delicious!
Tokyo would probably be the foreign city if I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo, and I think the majority of chefs you ask that question would answer the same way. -Anthony Bourdain
Look at this spread! Pinch me, Pinch me! I must be dreaming
Good food tastes so much better when enjoyed with Great Friends
Where did all the food go? So sad
Time to get our Fish on:
Fishing in Tokyo:
These ponds are loaded with Carp
You are never far from the train in Tokyo
Aya’s fish is bigger
But Tyler also caught a pigeon.
Shinjuku Night time
A night out with Aya’s University Friends:
Japanese Izakaya (Pub) whose name translated to English means Chicken.
The plate on the right is Raw Chicken, and it tasted good. The bowl on the left was filled with all the little parts of the chicken. Also called “Innards Stew”, and it too was delicious!
Beer is full, check. Plate is Empty, but I can see my lamb cooking so no problem.
Mary had a little lamb. Tyler would have had more if the restaurant didn’t run out.
I had to share this with Aya as supplies were so depleted.
The Crew. A great night with a good group.
If I could understand Japanese, I would know what they are scheming right now
Yes the Japanese are a strong bunch.
We caught the second to last train home, phew
Tokyo is short on space, they make excellent use of what they have, this is an automatic parking machine at an apartment building.
We are leaving Tokyo, headed for Yokosuka, home to the HIJMS Mikasa, a retired Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship.
Yokosuka is also home to a very large U.S Navy base
Yokosuka Navy base was occupied by the Japanese Navy until their surrender in 1945, at that time the U.S Navy took over and they have remained there permanently. To put the size into perspective, the base covers 568 acres, at present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 60 to 70 ships, 300 aircraft and 40,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
Admiral Togo and the HIJMS Mikasa in the background
Buying our Battleship ticket from a vending machine.
This battle ship was active 1902- 1926
The ship was decommissioned on 23 September 1923 following the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and scheduled for destruction. However, at the request of the Japanese government, each of the signatory countries to the treaty agreed that Mikasa could be preserved as a memorial ship. On 12 November 1926, Mikasa was opened for display in Yokosuka in the presence of the Crown Prince, Prince Hirohito and Admiral Tōgō. Following the Surrender of Japan in 1945, the ship deteriorated, but was restored after another campaign led by the Japan Times and U.S Fleet Admiral Nimitz that allowed the ship to reopen in 1961. On 5 August 2009, the Mikasa was repainted by sailors from the USS Nimitz.
Sunny day, but windy
These guns and turret are made of Tin. In order to keep the Ship in 1926, they had to remove all Weapons and Armour. Below deck, you can see where cutting torches were used to remove the turret. They are painting the ship, hence the scaffolding.
After walking below deck for 20+ minutes, I was surprised to learn the Mikasa sank at one point and was under water for eleven months.
Large guns on each side of Captain`s lounge. I am sure this is where every sailor wanted to be during combat, so fancy inside.
Flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Bow shot. The bow is pointed directly towards the Imperial Palace
Another piece of Japanese technology. This is a pay parking stall, a large piece of metal raises to prevent you from driving away without paying.
We just got of this train. It was shoulder to shoulder, no room to take a photo inside.
Everything is smaller in Japan, including the food trucks
Pickled Octopus for sale in Ueno.
Ueno market place. Do you notice anything unique about this market?
Answer: It’s built under the train tracks
Wow Chicken in the fridge. Take note Thailand
Ding Ding, Round 3. Ikebukuro Kaiten Sushi. We love this restaurant
Most expensive Toro Tuna on the Menu… Delish
Japan is serious about Tuna. In 2013 a near 500 lbs Bluefin Tuna sold for 1.7 Million Dollars. That is amazing!
This was a weird one, but we gave it a whirl. Corn and Bacon Gunkan Maki.
I Pad at every seat
Sometimes, you get a good laugh at some attempts at translation. But you do have to give them credit for trying. Usually you can understand what they are trying to say, in this case, I have no idea.
The sign of a great Restaurant: a huge line .
Question: What does Sushi mean?
Answer: Su means Vinegar and Shi means Rice. To make sushi rice, after cooking you need to mix in Vinegar, salt and Sugar.
Tsukiji Fish Market:
Fresh, never frozen Bluefin Tuna. Exquisite! This is the Tenderloin of Tuna. Tyler is the new proud owner of this piece he is cutting! This baby is coming back to Canada!
Massive Scallops on the Half Shell
Live Crabs, and a live squid in the bag.
Do you think she enjoyed it?
Aya’s comments about the flavour / taste: “It’s very fresh, and amazing”
Dashi Maki Tamago. essentially cooked eggs. This stall had a long lineup.
A walk thru a back alley, this old bird did not look friendly.
Some will say. “What about the auction, show us pictures of the Auction”. To partake in the Auction you need to rise from your bed at 4:00am and arrive no later than 5:00am to get a ticket. Simply put- these times do not work for us.
Lunch time!! at Tsukiji Guess what’s on the menu
This is shouting “eat me”. It is delicious, delectable, mouthwatering, tasty, delightful, gorgeous, lip smacking and yummy.
This guy is not so happy being served up on a plate, but he tastes good.
My last piece of Sushi in Japan. Saved the best for last, Top quality Toro Tuna.
Help me! it’s all gone
The last Dinner: Wagyu Beef at home
Tyler departed for Vancouver on March 5th, Aya is returning March 12th.
Narita airport has an amazing rooftop viewing platform. Great views of planes landing and taking off. Great to kill an hour or two before your flight.
Goodbye Tokyo, I will truly miss you. I promise I will return as soon as possible.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. -Dr. Seuss