News from Mariah

Hello all, this is Mariah I haven`t left you for good. I am “researching” Japan for a little bit. I will try to keep you all up to date on my travels. Right now I am in Tokyo with my mom. She will be with me until the 23 and then she returns to Seattle while I venture on to Osaka. Wish me luck, so far no major problems. There have been some very helpful people assisting me with directions. I am taking many pictures to share with you all. See you soon.
:) Mariah
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13 responses to “News from Mariah

  1. mariah

    It’s me again. Just a little update on some food stuff. So far I have found two really good places to eat. Well that’s not entirely true, many good places, but two great experiences. One in Asakusa, the name is Sometaro it serves okonomiyaki. The place is very rustic, not sure how old it is, but it has a very warm and cozy atmosphere. The highlight of the meal had to be the mochi, cheese and corn okonomiyaki, oishi des yo! Good luck finding the place since it has no english name in front, I had to ask several people just to make sure I didn’t embarrass myself by entering the wrong place ( http://www.sometaro.com/ ). Next was a yaki niku restaurant in Ameoko ( http://www.akiyodhi.co.jp ). The best part ( besides the food ) was our very cute server Que from China. She has been living in Tokyo for three years studying foreign communications. Que was very excited to find out where we were from and to practice her english. I gave her a sushiwhore.com sticker and explained that is a website for a restaurant I work at in Seattle. When she asked me what sushiwhore meant I was stumped. How do you explain that to someone from China living in Japan speaking english. Well I hope someone will be able to enlighten her. I did tell her it was supposed to be taken lightly.
    Until next time,
    Mariah:)

  2. mariah

    Marinated, steamed, fried, simmered and shocked.

    You might think I am talking about food, no. I went to a Japanese bath house today in Osaka with Yuko`s mom as my guide. After a long day of traveling from Tokyo to Osaka a nice bath sounded relaxing. Well all in all it was. Two things I was always warned against was water and electricity. Not so in Japan. They have a bath with an electric current in the water. At first I wanted to jump out, knowing that I don`t have a pace maker I thought I should give it a chance. It never was very relaxing but now a greater sadness has grown for those poor sawagani`s we used to throw into the fryer alive. The total bath experience took about two hours after which I left feeling cleaner than ever thought possible. By the way Yuko`s mom who is 70 or so is way tougher than I am when it comes to heat. Maybe someday my bathing tolerance will match hers, probably not. The food by the way is everything I wanted and more. I do love sushi however there is more to Japan than raw fish, shocking I know. Until next time, Usagi chan.

  3. mariah

    Only two things today. If in Osaka just so you know, Umeda is Osaka and stand on the right, not on the left. :)Mariah

  4. Melanie & Cathy

    We miss you Mariah!! Hope you’re getting up close and personal with those rice paddies!!

  5. mariah

    Well I made it to my friends place (Avi and Gen) who lives in Osaka as well. So far we have gone on a bike ride to the best takoyaki stand in Osaka. I am enjoying their very nice and very modern apartment. From their kitchen you can push a button which instantly draws a bath, or lock the door. The toilet remote is a little intimidating but I’m sure I will survive. It was sad to sat goodbye to Yuko’s mom, she was a very gracious host. Thursday night we found a very good izakaya in Kyoto. I finally found some amazing sake and surprisingly very good umeshu as well (not to sweet). The food was outstanding and even though I wasn’t that hungry I managed to eat several dishes. The owner chef seemed to like us and he gave us both a ceramic sake cup that his friend made. It was truly an amazing experience. I think I will stay here for a little while, then maybe Kyusu and or ? Usagi chan

  6. mariah

    I have posted some photos of some of my travels so far if anyone is interested here is the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/35791813@N07/
    Usagi chan

  7. mariah

    Hello all, just a little update from Fukuoka. Fukuoka is in Kyushu, Japan`s most southern main island. I arrived here late last night and went out to explore and taste their famous Hakata ramen. It is generally made with pork bones called tonkotsu ramen. I ended up at ramen stadium which is situated in Canal city. Canal city isn`t that exciting. it`s a very fancy mall with a fake canal running through it, but it does have ramen stadium. There were about six different shops to choose from, making a decision was very hard, in the end the sweet Japanese girl lured me in. Delicious to say the least. This afternoon I wandered around Fukuoka and found the Yanagibashi market which has a dozen or so little markets selling mostly Kyushu fish, snails and produce. I have never seen aji and saba so big and delicious looking, it made me very hungry. I quickly found some food to eat. Lets just say the aji and saba tasted as good as they looked. Tomorrow I start heading north to Hokkaido. I am very excited to finally try some famous Hokkaido scallops, ikura, uni and ….? I am having a great time exploring Japan but weird as it may sound I do miss working (slightly). Seeing all this outstanding seafood makes me want to serve it to all you sushi lovers. Twisted I know. Just a random side note I have found a very delicious fish named tachiuo (looks like belt fish?). Maybe you all can bug Hajime-san to try and get it for you. But who knows if that`s possible (Hajime don`t be mad). Usagi chan

  8. mariah

    Well right now I am resting in a hotel just south of Hokkaido, Hachinohe to be exact. I spent all day yesterday traveling from Fukuoka, Kyushu to the very tip of northern Honshu. It took about 9 1/2 hours and i traveled about 954 miles and transfered twice with about a dozen stops. For those of you who like word problems you can do the math. For those who don’t lets say I was traveling over 110 miles per hour. I love Japan. My last night in Fukuoka was very memorable. After getting lost trying to find a restaurant listed in my guide book I wandered into the funky restaurant Sentakubune. The menu was a hand written scribble mainly in kanji so the very nice waitress helped me figure out what to eat. I apparently can pronounce japanese food items very well and knew to many odd items so she questioned how this was so. Bashfully I informed her that I work at a japanese restaurant (I really should be able to speak more japanese (I’m going to work harder on that)) in Seattle. After trying their organic, local, naturally killed chicken (this was the descpition) and a sashimi assortment she informed me that the chef wanted to give me a present and to please just take it. Well I thought what and how bad could this be. Much to my surprise one of Kyushu’s other famous items is “translucent” squid. This restaurant likes to serve it REALLY fresh, I mean LIVE. I felt a little sad for this poor cephalopod with his head neatly sliced up and his very large eye staring at me while I ate it. It was “interesting”. Very fresh, almost devoid of flavor with a very firm texture (I think it was still fighting being eaten). I had to see how live it was so I poked the tentacles with my chopsticks (I know it’s sick) and I thought the squid was going to grab them from me and stab me in the eye. I have never seen a squid slowly die before and well maybe never will again. The chef was very kind to bring out another live squid and instruct me how to quickly prepare it for sashimi. Not that I will ever get the chance to practice, but you never know. 🙂 Usagi-chan
    p.s. please don’t ask me to prepare any live squid for you.

  9. mariah

    Well last time I checked in I was in Kyushu headed to Sapporo. Now I’m in Iwate. Sapporo was lots of fun. The change of climate in one day was a great example of how diverse Japan’s climate is. The snow in Sapporo made me wish I had packed my snowboarding gear. Maybe next time. I was recommended to try Hokkaido miso ramen at Sieme from a helpful local who also gave me directions to my hotel. She told me fairly simple directions so I went on the hunt. Unfortunately I have inherited no built in GPS so of course I got lost. After aimlessly wandering around I decided to take a stab and try a random Izakaya. There weren’t to many customers at the late hour, but needless to say the few customers they had were very persistent that I stay and eat. Two gentlemen next to me were very accommodating in explaining what to eat and drink. Everything I had was outstanding. If I had to pick one food item it would have to be the freshly made soba noodle salad. The chef seemed very excited that I was so open minded and he gave me one of his favorite drinks, a green tea and plum wine shochu, dangerously good. The conversation, food and drink made it a very memorable night in Sapporo. I spent the next day sightseeing around Sapporo, the Nijo fish market and Sapporo beer factory were all great fun. I had a quick overnight in Koriyama before heading to Shirakawa to meet my sake tasting companion Caroline Stunzman. There isn’t much to do in Koriyama, but the Denny’s was surprisingly good (not that I would make an effort to return). So here I am in Iwate. Caroline and I went to Hakuyou Brewery in Shirakawa followed by Tsukinawa Brewery in Iwate. The head toji at both breweries are fifth generation. We were shown great hospitality by all the staff, I felt very welcomed. I also found it very interesting to learn more about the sake brewing process first hand. The toji at Tsukinowa was very inspiring because she is only 34 (that’s right a female). Apparently there aren’t too many advertised female tojis in Japan. After learning and trying several varieties of sake at Tsukinowa we went out for three dinners in Iwate. I was pleasantly full after the first meal. Maybe they were trying to see if they could make the American girls explode. It almost worked. Tomorrow I wrap up my trip from where I came from, Tokyo.
    I will miss the Shinkansen, washoku, all the sake we can’t get in Seattle, the people, and everything else. However I do look forward to returning to West Seattle and serving great food. (oh I also really!! miss our coffee, that’s one thing we have over Japan) Usagi chan.

  10. mariah

    All right West Seattle I am on my way. I had a lot of fun running around Japan, but it’s back to work for me. I already can’t wait for my next visit and I haven’t even left. The regional cuisine and seafood is immense. Maybe someday I will have tried it all. If I live that long. Usagi chan
    P.S. If you all think the sushi chefs in Seattle have an attitude, you should come to Japan.

  11. mariah

    Hello all. I have made it back safe and sound. I survived my first day back without cutting of any fingers, yea! I hope to see you all soon. The best advise that I can pass on to you about food from Japan is try something new, and don’t expect to like it, just enjoy that it’s different and then try it again. Usagi chan.

  12. Peter

    nice to have you back! How was your trip?

  13. Constance

    Welcome back! Can you post your photos to the blog?

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