It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I unveil my grand plan of world domination! Next month, April of 2012, Eating in Bed will be relocating to Japan for three weeks! I’ll be going with my best friend Drew and together we’ll eat, drink, and sleep our way through Japanese culture from Tokyo to Okinawa! Drew’s a person that’s grown up surrounded by the best in cuisine due to his parents being restaurateurs, somolliers, managers, cooks, chefs, and just about every other job that’s in any way oriented with restaurants. A couple friends and myself actually painted the original mural in his parents’ restaurant, Blue Cafe in Downingtown, PA. My brother Tim, can’t cook at all, but you know what, he’s been in Japan for almost two years now, and he knows where some of the great street food is and will be showing us around Osaka, Kyoto, and he might be able to join us for Kobe too. Most of the trip will focus on the Kansai region, but here’s how it’s going to happen:
Wwhat are we going to do there? What’s the plan?
- Land in Tokyo on April 26th, three days before Golden Week starts. Golden Week is when there are five national holidays that happen to be on sequential days, leading to a full week of vacation for most of the country.
- Spend those three days in Tokyo, exploring the shopping, capsule hotels, ryokans(traditional Japanese B&Bs), and maybe the zoo to check out a red panda. As far as food, we’ll be terrorizing everything the locals are eating, we’ll explore the Tsukiji Fish Market(The largest fish market in the world), trying the freshest sushi prepared for the fishermen that catch it and sell it. After eating the best sushi in the world, we’ll be hunting down the grimiest izakayas(Japanese bar food, sort of like tapas, just small dishes to accompany drinking, and are generally fried)
- On April 29th or 30th we’ll hop on the Japan Railway and head to Kyoto where we’ll meet up with my brother Tim. There we’ll destroy some of the countries best Okonomiyaki(savory pancakes), and Takoyaki(fried octopus balls), we’ll also check out the upscale haute cuisine of Kaiseki, which is a series of small dishes that are prepared so delicately that the food, plating, and ornamentation are equally important as the flavors.
- From Kyoto we’ll travel to Osaka and continue eating everything in sight. Tim will also introduce us to Shochu, which is a distilled rice spirit similar to the Korean Soju, or a more potent less flavorful sake. It’s been steadily increasing in popularity as Sake has been declining. We’ll also be sure to check out a sake brewery so we can experience the best the country has to offer! We’ll also have Kani Doraku, which is crab prepared in a variety of different methods.
- Then comes Kobe. Kobe beef. Kobe wine. Kobe cheese. This city is supposed to have some of the best simplistic food in the entire country, just easy dishes done well. Plan on reading a review of the best steak I’ve ever eaten! We’ll also hit some of the Onsen(natural hot springs) in the Kansai Region!
- After the week in that tri-city area, we’ll continue on to Hiroshima where we’ll explore the epicenter of the nuclear bomb that was dropped during World War II. We’ll also be terrorizing the oysters! Hiroshima produces over %70 of the oysters served throughout Japan!
- After that I’m not sure. My Guatemalan friend Diego will be traveling and we’ll probably meet up with him. From there we may continue south to the southern most tip of the main Japanese island at Kagoshima. Or we could return to Tokyo and continue it’s domination, or we could hop on a plane from Kobe to Okinawa and enjoy the much overlooked tropical getaway. Okinawa is also a food epicenter for traditionalism in the Japanese archipelago. There, food has hardly been influenced by the mainland, and is primarily pork based, with things like pickled ears.
That’s the long and short of it as of now, but as the travel date rapidly approaches I’ll keep you informed of changes and updates! I want to thank everyone that has already donated to the trip, and encourage everyone else to donate if they can. If you donate $50 or more, $5.00 will be donated to blood cancer research and you’ll get a free copy of the Eating in Bed eBook, and free cookies!