Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tokyo and Kyoto, November 2007 : Food, beautiful food.

Tokyo & Kyoto, November 2007 : What We Ate, Part 1

Ordering food was an adventure in Japan; thank goodness for picture menus.

This was taken during our first meal in Tokyo.

I ordered fried rice and Mr K-E ordered a pork cutlet dish. When I say "ordered", what I mean is that we pointed at the menu and nodded a lot.

We also ordered some gyoza (the dumplings). The meal came with bowls of miso soup, which is pretty much standard for meal "sets".

You get iced water as soon as you sit down; one less thing for our jet-lagged brains to deal with.

The next day we ate here. This place was really cheap and fun.

While we were in Tokyo we stayed in Shinjuku. It is the red-light district (more about that later) but is full of places to eat.

First choose what you want from the plastic food display.

Yes! Yes! Plastic food, I love it!

Then pay for it at the ticket machine. It spits out a ticket which you take inside.

We had to remember the characters from the plastic food display because there were no English characters on the vending machine.

You sit at the counter and give your ticket to the cooks. You can see our tickets in the photo.

They then cook your food and serve it up in a few minutes.

Fast food, Japanese stylie. Classic katsu don i.e. pork cutlets on rice with egg on top. Yummilicious.

We were a bit perplexed when we had to order from this menu.


The friendly waitress helped us out so we didn't end up too badly...

I had eel on rice, which was one of the things I wanted to try in Japan. Mr K-E had teriyaki chicken.

You can also see miso soup, pickles and salad; which was part of the meal sets. All beautifully served.

We didn't have any of this.

Or this.

We also tried okonomiyaki; to compare it to the okonomiyaki we had in London.

It was good.

We had yakisoba (fried noodles) on the side.

And of course we had to try eating a meal Japanese style i.e. sitting on the floor. I was OK but Mr K-E said "I feel uncomfortable already" within 1 minute of sitting down, hahaha.

We cooked our food at the table in a light soup. Just like "steamboat" at home.

There was chicken, prawns, tofu, noodles, mushrooms, fishcakes etc. We were stuffed at the end of the meal.

Isn't it artistic the way the food has been arranged? That's my over-riding impression of Japanese food : even the humblest meals are beautifully served.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is this a dagger which I see before me?

On Thursday night, Mr K-E and I went to see Macbeth at the Gielgud Theatre. Patrick Stewart aka Jean-Luc Pickard of Star Trek Next Generation fame played Macbeth, which was one of the reasons Mr K-E was keen to watch it.

We thought it was good, but unfortunately I was tired (still slightly jetlagged?) and yawned my way through the second part. It was set in a Stalinist environment with the witches dressed as nurses and the characters wearing Eastern Bloc type uniforms. Lady Macbeth was evil and power-crazed, as she should be.

It was completely sold out with a very limited run. Mr K-E says it's moving to Broadway, so it must be good, huh? Some people have complained because Patrick Stewart got laryngitis a few weeks ago, so his understudy took over. That would have pissed me off - the tickets were expensive (£50!) and people don't pay that to watch an unknown.

I just have one slight niggle : I have always imagined Macbeth, Banquo, Macduff etc as battle-hardened soldiers - think dirty, bloody, sweaty, toughened killers fresh off the battle field. Definitely rough and ready men. What we got was a group of theatre luvvies. Patrick Stewart may appeal to some women, but I'll pass, thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Watching England

Sigh. We are watching England lose to Croatia 2-0. Oh dear, no European championships for England next year unless there is some kind of miracle.

On another note, we got an e-mail from an old friend a few days ago....a baby boy for him and his wife. It's great news from them but it feels scary that all our University friends are having kids like it's going out of fashion. Some are even on Baby No 2. *shivers down spine*

Friday, November 16, 2007

Home Again

Hey, we're back from Japan. It was fun but I am completely knackered now from the 12 hour plane ride plus 2 hours in a taxi in Friday night London traffic.

I need to sort out the photos before I can post them here. As there is nothing on earth more tedious than looking through someone else's holiday photos; I will probably post them in chunks over the next few weeks.

  1. Japan is not expensive compared to London. But as London is astronomically expensive, that's not a very useful comparison. Eg London tube ticket Zone 1 = £4 , Tokyo Metro ticket = about £1. Japanese lunch for two in a cheap and cheerful Tokyo cafe = £12....probably the same in London.
  2. I know it's a cliche but Japanese people are really really polite and the service in shops is excellent. The sales assistants/waiters go out of their way to help you and Mr K-E basically survived using sign language.
  3. Things work in Japan. Trains, toilets, ticket machines....all fantastic.
  4. Japanese society is not as bizarre as depicted on UK TV. Mr K-E trawled through the channels in our hotel TV to find those crazy gameshows that are always shown on UK TV. Despite his efforts, he couldn't find a single naked obstacle course race or cockroach eating competition.
  5. Sumo wrestling can be exciting.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Off to Japan

I will be away for 2 weeks and won't be posting. We are off to Tokyo and Kyoto tomorrow. Woo hoo!

Not Winning.

Last night I was at another Black Tie awards dinner. My company had two "products" up for the same award, which was very good PR etc etc.

Alas, my product didn't win. I'm not sure if this makes me feel better or worse, but the other team won. Grrrr. I hate losing. We joked earlier about me putting on my "Oscar Face"; you know when the camera focuses on the losers at the Oscars and they have to look pleased - not bitter and pissed off.

Last Weekend

Last weekend, some of Mr K-E's Australian relatives were in town so we spent Saturday afternoon tramping around the Tower of London.

Mr K-E was excited when he saw Tower Bridge opening. He took this picture from inside the Tower of London.

Here is another night-time shot. Mr K-E took this while I shivered on the riverbank.

We had dinner in Browns in Butler's Wharf. I had a rib-eye steak which was lovely - perfectly cooked.

Sister-in-law C had sea bass with roasted vegetables. I thought it was very well presented. C said it was delicious too. You can also see what Mr K-E's Aunt had i.e. steak and guinness pie.