In Japan, as I have probably mentioned before, there is a week called Golden Week where three holidays fall in a row (making it a 5-day weekend including the holidays). I often take off the other days and travel somewhere for a week or so. This year I went to visit Makoto in Tokyo.
Makoto started going to school at Tokyo Sushi Academy in April. He will attend for one year where he will learn how to prepare various types of sushi, cut different fish, learn about business abroad, and have english classes among others.
I have been to Tokyo many times, but this was the first time I spent an extended time there for play. I visited Makoto for ten days and did many fun things in Tokyo.
Sushi: The first day I was there Makoto had his last class of the week. I walked him to school in Shinjuku and picked him up. (During the day I went shopping, as well as met up with a friend living in Tokyo for lunch). When I picked him up I got to enter the school and talk to his teachers and classmates (while he sharpened and cleaned his knives). Many of the students there plan to go abroad and were happy to practice their English with me. Some of the teachers have worked many years abroad as well, so the students enjoyed watching their teacher speak fluent English. The students range from 18- in their 50s. As well as eating Makoto’s sushi at home, I also got to spend a day with him and his classmates who wanted to practice during vacation. They rented out a community center kitchen, brought the ingredients and practiced making Horse Mackerel (aji) nigiri and maki (rolled sushi). It was interesting, I didn’t know that the rice portion of a nigiri (rice with sashimi style sushi) is supposed to be 16 grams.
Places: As you may know, Tokyo is a huge, bustling, and crazy city. Although I dont know NYC too well, I feel Tokyo is like 10 New Yorks put together. There are areas of Tokyo known for their different character. For example, Akihabara has all the nerdy things and technology, Harajuku has the crazy dress up people and young bright fashion, Shinjuku and Shibuya are known for shopping and lots of people, Ginza is known for high scale shopping, Roppongi businesses and many foreigners, Asakusa for the big famous temple, etc. Makoto lives within walking distance from Shinjuku and Harajuku so we spent much time around there. But we also got other places like the Ueno Zoo, Shinjuku Gardens, and Yokohama. Yokohama is located about an hour outside of Tokyo. It is another big city known for its night skyline and china town. Tokyo also has a famous theater that often puts on Broadway Musicals. I wanted to see the Lion King, we were lucky and were able to get tickets, I was very happy and enjoyed it greatly!
Friends: While in Tokyo I was able to meet many old and new friends! While there I met a friend who used to be an ALT (like me) here in Aomori who now works at a university translating. I met a friend from Wake Forest who has lived in Tokyo for the past five years in banking. And then some of my Aomori friends were visiting Tokyo and some with their family so met up with them too. I was also able to meet many of Makoto’s sushi school friends and one of his friends from high school.
Food: As the Michelin star food ratings report, Tokyo has come out as the food capital of the world (in terms of stars). So while in Tokyo I took full advantage of what it has to offer. Here in Aomori, although we do have a variety of restaurants there are some I wish I had more of! While in Tokyo, along with sushi, I got to enjoy a German Restaurant, Two Turkish Restaurants, Two Thai Restaurants, an Indian Restaurant, a Mexican restaurant and probably more I am forgetting!
It was a great time, I hope to go back soon.
Soon I will post pictures of Makoto’s sushi, as he is creating delicious and cute sushi. Cute? yes, cute. Recently he made sushi in the shape of a frog’s face!