Two more days before we leave Tokyo and we're back in the states in Portland OR, eating with boring old forks from food carts but I have to take a moment, again, to truly savor this place and it's culture, and it's people. We have it good in America. Oh yes, we do. However, I've never seen customer service taken to such a degree like they do here. A hierarchy and job status doesn't seem to exist here. Instead, everyone here contributes and works hard and keeps everything clean and seems to have equal pride for what they do. It's beautiful to witness. It doesn't scream tourism and it may not be at the top of your list but come to Japan and see for yourself! And with that...our weekly favorites.
Tokyo kara oyasumi! (Goodnight from Tokyo)
1. MEIJI SHRINE
The Meiji Shrine is a lush forest oasis in the middle of bustling Tokyo, just off the treelined shops of Harajuku. A great example of the peace and serenity side to Japan! There is something so set back and mystical about the whole 170 acres of the park where the shrine sits. We had an hour to kill and quickly we found ourselves taking shot after shot of the sun setting and the hazy fog creeping through the canopies of trees. On a visit to Tokyo this is a must and if you're in a rush like us you can knock it out in less than 30 minutes.
2. ITTENBARI RAMEN
Our friend Priscilla Lopez in our show knew we liked ramen and she quickly suggested we go here after she tested it out thanks to her husband's recommendation. A stones throw from our hotel is the Ittenbari Ramen House. We grabbed the last 2 seats at the small wooden block bar and watched the chefs tending to bubbling pots of rich brown pork stock (tonkotsu) and steaming dumplings and we knew we were in for a treat. It's the best ramen I've ever eaten. If you have room, get a side of kimchi (pickled cabbage) and fried rice and mix them together. Wash it down with a cold Kirin, you won't be sorry.
3. TAPIOCA COCONUT MILK
Here's another go-to from our lineup at the Family Mart (equivalent to America's 7-Eleven). If you like anything coconut, and you aren't bothered by the faint aromas of coconut tanning lotions (in a really good way though) chances are you will be as into it as we are. It's smooth, creamy, dreamy, and oh so delicious!
4. AVEDA BRILLIANT HAIRSPRAY
To fight the Tokyo humidity, Alicia recommended this hairspray to try which she uses on the wigs and hair at Pippin. It works like a champ against the typhoon-weather we've been facing here and is loaded with stuff like black tea, chamomile, calendula, and aloe. The pleasing herbal scent isn't too bad either.
5. 'IN A WEEK' BY HOZIER
A song can have the unique ability to transport me to a time and a feeling and this song does that for me. I first heard it last winter and immediately thought of my dad playing his guitar and my Irish roots. Part of the beauty of this song is that it's talking about mortality amidst these gorgeous harmonies and a simple repeating melody. It's just lovely.