Monthly Archives: April 2013

We Have Cherry Blossom Fever!

The tallest building in Tokyo was our first stop our next day. Standing below the tower and looking up you can’t help but feel just a teensy-tiny bit minuscule and insignificant.  The Sky Tree stands at 634 meters tall and was opened in 2012 to visitors. It held the record for tallest building in the world only for a brief period of time until the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai finished construction.  We were pretty excited to see it…however, unfortunately for us, we arrived at 9:00am, which apparently in Tokyo wasn’t early enough!  There was a 4 hour line up….minimum. We would have had to wait 2 hours just to buy tickets and wait another 2-3 hours AFTER THAT to go up the tower. Insanity!

On a beautiful sunny spring day in Tokyo, the last thing we wanted to do was wait around in line all day, not when there were a million other amazing things to do in Tokyo.  So we took a few cool photos and then waved “sayonara” to the Sky Tree with a promise to come back next year.

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Since we knew that the cherry blossoms blooming 2 weeks early was nothing short of a small miracle we decided to hit up as many parks as possible.  We figured we would save the indoor stuff for another trip when Tokyo wasn’t so beautiful in spring, chances are my parents might come back next year when I will leave Japan to return home.  We made up our minds and headed to the Imperial Palace Gardens to enjoy relaxing, walking around and taking a few great photos with the beautiful cherry trees.

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It was at this point we officially began to feel the onset of cherry blossom fever.  Symptoms include:

  • Taking far too many pictures of yourself, your loved ones and the blossoms themselves
  • A feeling of giddiness
  • Desire to skip through the park like a small child
  • Inability to suppress frequent sighs and exclamations over how pretty the trees are
  • A bittersweet sensation in the pit of your stomach because you know the beauty of the blossoms will last no more than one week.

Something I loved about the Imperial Palace Gardens were all the police officers riding around the park on bicycles!
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After some hanami-ing we were feeling a bit peckish so it was off to Shinjuku Crossing for my absolute favourite place to eat in Tokyo: Tsurutontan! It’s a very famous udon restaurant where the only thing bigger than your appetite after looking at the very delicious-looking menu is the bowl of food served! Interested? You can check out their Japanese website here!Tsurutontan bowl

Ok, non-foodie people I beg you to bear with me while I rave about my favourite Tokyo restaurant.  Let me start with the fact the food is to die for or, at the very least, drool over! The specialty of this restaurant is udon noodle dishes served in GIGANTIC bowls that are bigger than your head, and I have yet to eat a single thing on their menu that wasn’t the king of noodle dishes.  For those of you reading this blog who have never heard of udon, heavens knows I hadn’t until I came to Japan, Udon is a type of thick Japanese wheat-flour noodle that is often served in a noodle soup or covered in a delicious sauce.

My personal recommendation at Tsurutontan is the sukiyaki bowl.  It’s a classic Japanese dish that this restaurant has nailed the recipe for! The noodles are tender, the assortment of veggies generous, the thinly sliced beef absolutely mouthwatering and it’s all covered in a sukiyaki broth which is salty, flavourful and a little bit on the sweet side. My mother agreed to try my recommendation and loved it!

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My father ordered the katsu-curry udon (a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet on udon noodles and served with a super-thick and viscous Japanese curry broth)  and enjoyed it immensely. IMG_6968

Aaaaand brave soul that I am I deviated from my favourite sukiyaki udon bowl in favor of a seasonal speciality that was new to the menu and only there for a limited time.  I chose the Genovese Seared Chicken Udon (地鶏のたたき ジェノベーゼのおうどん – 新宿店) which was a really tasty combination of basil-flavoured udon covered in a creamy tomato sauce. While it was really yummy, and I loved it, I wouldn’t recommend this dish to a tourist visiting Tokyo because it’s more like spagetti than traditional Japanese udon.

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While the best part of visiting Tsurutontan is undeniably the food, the atmosphere of the Shinjuku location is super cool and hip too, which adds immensely to the experience.

Screen shot 2013-04-27 at 2.22.10 PMIt has a  gangster-goth sort of feel. You enter the restaurant using a dark staircase which leads into a dimly lit room decorated in black with accents of red. The staff uniform’s are of the same color scheme, all black with hints of red here and there.

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All-in-all it just adds an air of secrecy to the place that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled on the cave of food wonders!

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***As much as I would love to recommend Tsurutontan to everyone visiting Tokyo I have 2 warnings:

  1. Don’t go if you don’t speak Japanese. There isn’t an English menu, everything is in kanji, katakana and hiragana, and the staff doesn’t speak English. 
  2. It’s a busy place, so I really recommend making a reservation unless you want to wait in a long line-up (ex: 1-2 hours during peak times!)  

RESTAURANT DETAILS:

  • Name: TSURUTONTAN SHINJUKU
  • Phone #: 03-5287-2626
  • Address: 〒 160-0021,  Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 2-26-3, Amimoto building B1F 
  • Website: www.tsurutontan.co.jp

After eating to the point we all had to loosen our belts a few notches we headed over to Shinjuku Park to walk off our udon-food-babies.

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The shoppers in Shinjuku wear some pretty cool outfits! So keep your eyes peeled when walking around this area.

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You would think that after seeing cherry blossoms yesterday, and even again that morning, maybe we’d be a little sick of them by this point. NOPE!  Somehow, our trip to the dark and mysterious Tsurutontan made us super excited to see sunshine again and the 1500 cherry trees of Shinjuku Park were absolutely splendid in full bloom.

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Just as a random little side note, I was super happy looking back on these photos because  I was so pleased with how the alterations I did on this new dress worked out.  I bought a really cute tapestry dress from ASOS and then altered it a little at home, making the skirt a bit more A-line than tulip. All-in-all I think it turned out rather nice don’t you?  I wore this dress for the first time that day and I felt super feminine wearing it; it was nice to feel pretty when you are taking lots of pictures with cherry blossoms!

When we first arrived at the park it was absolutely packed, yet somehow we stayed so long walking and talking in the park that we were the last ones there! You can even see the security guard in this picture herding us out of the garden (ooops we got a little lost and accidentally tried to go out the wrong gate!).  That’s the secret to enjoying the parks of Tokyo though, not to rush through them. Take your time!

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Another fantastic day full of quality family time, cherry blossoms, delicious food and delightful conversations!

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Citrus Cranberry Ginger Muffins

I’m pretty sure lemon + orange + cranberry + ginger = ambrosia muffins! Talk about a killer flavour combination!

When I was a little girl my mom used to make this absolutely wicked orange-cranberry loaf.  It was so delicious I don’t think it ever survived in our house for more than a day before being completely devoured. The cranberries were an explosion of flavour nestled like hidden gems in a fluffy citrus batter.  It was pretty addicting to eat to say the least and accompanied by a seductively-sweet aroma that would bring my brother and I scurrying to the kitchen in record time.

After my mom and my dad left Japan and returned home to Canada I found myself thinking about them often, and feeling more than just a little homesick.  This loaf was a taste of home that I missed, and so to welcome in spring I decided to celebrate by making muffins and modified my mom’s recipe. I had to modify it because, of course, I could never make the original recipe taste as good as hers, so I decided that I wasn’t even going to try…

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

What You’ll Need To Do:

1) Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) . Place muffin liners inside a muffin tin (or grease muffin tin using butter lightly and then add a little flour to coat like this)
2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3) Zest your orange, lemon and ginger.  Add to dry mixture. Set aside.
4) In a large bowl, cream butter.  When butter looks light and fluffy add sugar and mix together.
5) Add egg to the butter&sugar mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in orange juice and fresh lemon juice.
6) Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients. Mix together until just moistened.

IMG_91297) Add in whole cranberries. Fold batter over them gently.
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8) Pour into prepared muffin tray until about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick can be removed cleanly.
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I personally prefer mine a little crunchy on the outside so I tend to let them brown up quite a bit before taking them out. 
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9) Let the muffins stand for at least 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.
I ended up giving the majority of this batch (I think it made about 18 generous-sized muffins) away to two very good friends of mine celebrating their birthdays this weekend.  I have of course have finished the left-overs far too quickly and I think these muffins were so delicious they might have to be made again soon…very soon…possibly as early as this upcoming long weekend!
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The Simplest Salmon Recipe Ever

This very well may be the simplest recipe for cooking salmon I have ever tried.  It’s pretty much fool-proof and was incredibly tasty for how little work it required to prepare. Therefore, it’s a recipe star in my opinion. I live a pretty busy life so simple+quick+healthy recipes are always appreciated.  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did when I made it for my little romantic dinner for one!

What You’ll Need:

  • Salmon fillet
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Aluminum foil

What You’ll Need To Do:

  • Place a piece of aluminum foil on a baking tray
  • Slice lemon into quarter-inch thick slices.  Place enough lemon wedges on top of the foil to support the bottom of your salmon fillet (I needed 3).
  • Place salmon fillet on top of lemon slices.
  • Cut a bit of butter and place on top of the salmon (how much is up to you! I was wanting a extra-healthy meal so I only put about half a tbsp)
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap the aluminum foil very tightly up around the salmon.
  • Bake in your oven at 175°C (350°F) for about 15-20 minutes. Open aluminum foil after 15 minutes to check how salmon is doing.  It’s really important not to over-cook the salmon, the salmon is finished when it flakes when you stick a fork into it, and it should not be squishy or look like “jelly” anymore. It should be a light pink color, and feel firm when you press the back of the fork into it.

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Categories: Savoury Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Miso-Sexy Salad

“Winter is coming…” Any avid Game of Thrones will recognize this famous line. Yet, for a winter-lover like me when the days start to get a little warmer and I am forced to swap my beloved snowboard for my-nemesis-in-a-bottle, sunscreen, there is only one thought that echoes ominously in my mind: Summer is coming… 

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No seriously, I’m not kidding. Summer in Japan is something that sends shivers down my spine. I dread summer the same way Ned Stark dreads winter, when the night is dark and full of terrors. Canada never made a summer lover out of this Calgarian. I much rather prefer a snowy white mountain to a white sand beach. This slightly crazy attitude has simply been amplified after experiencing two unbearably hot and humid Japanese summers. It’s so crazy-hot here that people carry around a sweat towel with them everywhere they go, not just to the gym!

So, while I’ll be the first to admit, my summer enemies are slightly less terrifying than nightwalkers they are enemies nevertheless: sunscreen which I loathe, sunburns which plague me despite faithfully lathering myself with the sunscreen I loathe, and the biggest arch-enemy of all women, bikini season. BLEH!

This weekend was spent in a state of denial in my kitchen so at least something good might be produced along with wallowing in self pity. With summer on the way, I knew hot foods would soon be the last thing I’d want to be eating so I wanted to get funky and creative with my salads. I spent a blissful time in my kitchen experimenting and I am pleased to present my newest perfected experiment recipe: Miso-sexy Salad!

What You’ll Need For The Salad:

  • 1 large skinless chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large lemon wedge
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 head of brocoli
  • 1 cucumber
  • Romaine lettuce

What You’ll Need For The Dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons miso paste
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon warm water (add enough for the dressing consistency you desire)

What You’ll Need To Do:

  1. Chop chicken breast into small bite-size cubes.
  2. In a large fry pan over a medium heat pour in sesame oil and add chicken pieces.  Brown the chicken.
  3. Turn heat down to low. Add miso paste, lemon juice and water to fry pan. Stir until chicken is covered.  Place a cover on the frypan. Let it simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent chicken from sticking.
  4. Once sauce has simmered down to a thick paste that coats the chicken nicely, remove from heat. Set aside to let cool.IMG_9072
  5. In a sauce pan put a small amount of water on to boil.  Cut brocoli into small bite-size pieces.  Place brocoli in a steamer pot over the hot boiling water.  Allow brocoli to steam for about 5 minutes, until tender but still a little bit crunchy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  6. Cut up cucumber into bite-size pieces. Rip romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  7. To make the dressing mix together miso paste, lemon juice, sesame oil and warm water with a fork.IMG_9082
  8. Add chicken and brocoli to salad. Drizzle with dressing!IMG_9119

Yes, you may whistle in appreciation at this sexy looking salad. If it had a voice I imagine it would reply something like this, “Thanks, miso-sexy I don’t blame you for whistling!”

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It’s a Dolly-Dog World

Oh Japan, how do I love thee? Let’s not even begin to count the ways. The list is far too long!  The pet habits of some people in Japan however, may take the cake. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being mad-hatter level crazy) these new trends are an 8.  They are  ridiculous, they are hilarious, they are border-line insanity!

Recently while traveling with my parents I couldn’t help but stare at the latest pet fads that are definitely all the rage at the moment.  Get ready to laugh everyone! I present to you…

TREND #1: Doggie-strollers (aka: dog strollers, dog prams, pooch pushers, or whatever you’d like to call these hilarious contraptions!)

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Excuse me!?! I think I must be dreaming! I thought the whole point of taking your dog for a walk was so man’s best friend (aka: your own personal little bundle of joy) got some exercise. If you happen to get some too, well now, that’s just an added perk! These doggie-strollers seems to be missing the point of “taking your dog for a walk”…

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And yet, SOMEHOW, during my trip to Tokyo I saw them everywhere! Every single one of them containing a ridiculously cute little dog, dressed to the nines, riding proudly in their doggie-stroller like a little princess in a carriage.

If that was my dog, things would be very, VERY different.  It would be a never-ending series of attempts to escape, every unfruitful bid for freedom followed by long suffering sighs, occasional whimpers and pitiful puppy-eyes that would melt my heart before we got around the block.

I will admit, I may have laughed out-loud at the first one I saw. I cursed myself for missing a perfectly good picture opportunity while clinging to my dad’s arm because we were both laughing so hard. Honestly though, the dog was begging to be laughed at, it was dressed in a bumblebee costume and riding in a lacy pink stroller!

Dogs seem to have become a living, breathing barbie or a very fluffy doll for some people. They have their own closets full to the brim with an assortment of adorable dog-clothes just waiting to be forced onto the poor dog every morning.

It’s okay though, I needn’t have worried about missing a golden picture opportunity. There was no shortage of dolly strollers, wait sorry, I mean doggie-strollers, that day while walking in the Tokyo parks. I had plenty of pictures before the day was over!

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And for those people who didn’t own a fancy-pants doggie-stroller, trust me, they were equally creative with their transportation innovations.

IMG_6883I seriously loved how hella-fluffy that little brown dog was! So cute!

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It wasn’t until Ueno Park during cherry blossom season that I could understand why some people would rather push their pooches.  The parks in Japan can be a little crazy at times (understatement of the century *cough cough*) so it’s natural for pet-owners to want to protect their littlest members of the family from being stepped on by accident.  This family came up with a incredibly cute, simple, yet effective, means of helping their dogs survive the crowds.
green dog basket 2Rub-a-dub-dub 3 dogs in a tub!

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How cute is THIS!
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TREND #2: Doggie Sunglasses 

I thought the dog strollers were the crème de la crème of crazy dog trends. That was until we saw these lovely dogs waiting with their owner outside a train station however.

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This little fella knew he was looking mighty fine and didn’t hesitate for one second to show off his new shades and flash me a little blue steel!IMG_7578

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Now, as ridiculous as I thought the dog strollers were, I could somehow rationalize them at some level for the little dogs living in a bustling city. Try as I may, I just can’t seem to justify dog sunglasses…poor dogs probably hate them! I guess that’s the thing about fashion trends, most of them never really make sense.

Categories: Life in Japan | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Musketeers Reunited In Tokyo

It’s hard to believe my last post was 3 weeks ago! Whoops! What can I say time flies when you’re having fun.  I have no doubts I’ll be posting many entries in the weeks to come however…

This Spring Break before the new school term started I was the luckiest girl in the world because my mother and father flew to Japan to visit me! I know everyone claims that money can’t buy happiness but I will dispute that by saying that when they purchased their tickets I was over the moon.  The thing I miss the most living in Japan is my family, sounds cheesy I know, but it’s true. Needless to say, I waited with baited breath for our holiday together and may have gone a teensy-bit bit overboard and OCD about planning “The Perfect Japan Holiday”. In my humble opinion they are two lucky ducks, because I transformed into Jessie The-Japan-Tour-Guide-Extraordinaire. All they needed to do was sit back and relax.

The three musketeers reunited in Tokyo and, after many hugs, kisses, and a few ecstatic jumps of joy on my part, we headed off exploring. I simply couldn’t wait to show them around my new stomping grounds, the hotel room wasn’t ready for us to check in so early and there were a lot of exciting things to be seen in Japan. The first stop was the famous Tsukiji fish market.

IMG_6736Tsukiji Market is a very large market in central Tokyo which sells vegetables, fruit, cooking supplies and of course….FISH!  The market handles approximately 2,000-3,000 tons of marine products per day! It’s super famous for the fish auctions that take place in the morning.

IMG_6738You will probably never eat fresher fish than at Tsukiji because you know that the fish the guys in the stores and restaurants are chopping up was caught that very same day and will be completely eaten or sold by noon.  It’s my recommendation to get to Tsukiji early in the morning, when the fish is freshest and the action the most lively.  After about 11:00am the market’s energy dies down and most stores are closed by 2:00pm. Which is understandable when you know that the stores open before 5am on most days. Eeek!

IMG_6739A selection of delicious crabs, that big bad boy in center of the back row would cost you well over $250. My dad’s eyes bugged out a bit when I told him that little tidbit of information and I chuckled. I chatted with the guy a bit to ask if he ever carried Echizen crab (the famous crab of Fukui!) but he said unfortunately he was sold out already but might get some more the following week.

IMG_6743Looking at all this yummy seafood had my dad’s mouth salivating at this point.  He was about ready to attempt smuggling one of these sexy looking crabs with its long gorgeous legs out under his coat when the coast was clear.  I promised him the best was yet to come, and his stomach could relax, it was time for a sensational sushi brunch.

IMG_6747Eating sushi before noon was something very strange to both my parents.  I promised them however, that they would never eat fresher or more delicious sushi than at Tsukiji. So, with that in mind, they both willingly joined me for brunch.

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Starting at the top right corner and moving clockwise, I ordered 2 pieces of fatty salmon (shake – 鮭), 2 pieces of medium-fatty tuna (Chutoro – 中とろ), 2 slightly seared scallops (Hotate –  ホタテ), crazy salmon, and the pièce de résistance rice wrapped with salmon and then piled with salmon roe (ikura-イクラ).  Taking this picture was positively painful because I was dying to eat my sushi.

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I now know where I get my sliiiiightly alcoholic tendencies from: my dear ol’ dad. He said, “If I’m having sushi for breakfast I’m going to do it justice!” and ordered a glass of sake (Japanese liquor) to accompany his fishy feast.IMG_6746We were both pretty excited because none of us had ever seen sake served this way. The guy who served us arrived carrying a small lacquerware box, a single shot glass and an ENORMOUS bottle of sake. He then placed the box in front of my father, placed the shot glass inside, and then began to pour the sake into the shot glass. Soon the shot glass was full and yet the man continued to pour until the sake began to waterfall into the lacquerware box, he continued pouring until the box too was full.  He was pretty friendly and laughed at the shock on our faces, we were all pretty clearly delighted yet also confused as to how my father should drink this mysterious serving of sake. He then explained that my father should pick up the shot glass and drink the sake from that first.  Then once he had finished that sake, he should place the shot glass on the table and pour the sake remaining in the box back into the shot glass. WOW!

After the most delicious, freshest sushi in the whole world we headed off for adventure of the day #2: Ueno Park!

A favorite quote of my family is “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.” I had spent weeks plotting the perfect itinerary for our vacation together, so that nothing could go wrong. I had Plan A‘s, back-up Plan B‘s and even back-up-back-up Plan C‘s!  All that work was worthless because never in my wildest imaginings had I anticipated the one thing that would force me to throw all those carefully made plans out the window: sakura.

IMG_6785As you can see from this picture the sakura trees of Tokyo were in full bloom. I can vividly remember stepping off the night bus at 6:30am – after traveling from Fukui to Tokyo Station – and thinking to myself “I must be dreaming!“. Taking the night bus is an exhausting, sleep-eluding form of travel so it was natural I would doubt my eyes. I rubbed my eyes, added a few eyedrops, and then looked around again and proceeded to stare in shock at the sakura trees with their pink blossoms swaying in the breeze. Flabbergasted is the word that best describes how I was feeling. It shouldn’t have been possible! Yet somehow, the tokyo sakura were in full bloom, 2-3 whole bloody weeks early! I’m not sure who was more shocked (a) me because this was a dream come true and I was delighted or (b) the Japanese people of Tokyo for whom this should have been impossible.

Needless to say, no one was expecting the record-setting early blooming of the cherry blossoms this year, the devious little blossoms wrecked havoc on everyone’s carefully made plans. Realizing I had to seize this precious opportunity I threw my painstakingly researched itinerary out the window, whipped out my iPhone and googled the top cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.  With more than 1000 cherry trees lining its central path, Ueno Park is one of the most popular places to hanami (have cherry blossom parties).  IMG_6821

My research merely stated that it was a “popular place to view cherry blossoms” but I don’t think that “popular” does this massive camera-trigger-happy mob of people justice! My parents were astounded to see this many people out enjoying the cherry blossoms. I had told them stories last year about what I like to refer to as “cherry-blossom fever”, but they thought I was exaggerating.  Every year when the cherry blossoms bloom, Japanese people descend in mass upon the best sakura viewing parks; cherry blossom viewing is a nation-wide obsession. IMG_6828I couldn’t get enough family photos this day.  I was SO happy to be together with my mom and dad at long last. The first day was just a blur of joy for me. It was the first time I had seen my parents (skype not included) in many, many months and I could not hug them enough or long enough.  Every time I looked over my shoulder and saw them smiling amongst the crowds of people at Ueno Park it felt like a crazy, surreal dream. They were here, they were actually here, here….in Japan…with me!

IMG_6773Luckily for me there was no shortage of camera-saavy people willing to take a family picture. SCORE!

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After we had spent an hour walking around the park enjoying the blossoms, we decided that sitting down to people watch was essential for the well-being of our feet and good entertainment.  There was only one slight problem, where to sit? Most people had woken up at 5am to lay their tarps down thereby reserving their spot.  As foreigners we were really afraid of committing any sakura-viewing taboo or faux-pas. Hearts beating we tentatively hopped over the yellow cord and decided to sit on the wall under this beautiful cherry blossom tree, praying all the while that no one was going to start yelling at us.

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I thought these guys had great style, they had apparently rolled multiple kegs into the park to consume as they hanami-ed it up all day long.  Their laid-back attitude made me think maybe they wouldn’t mind 3 people encroaching on their territory, turns out I was right, soon enough they were chatting away with me and even offered my dad a beer! They were so excited to discover I was from Fukui and it was my parents’ first trip to Japan.

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We eventually began to migrate our way out of the park.  By this point we were all starting to feel quite tired and a little cherry-blossom-ed out. We paused for one short rest by the pond to enjoy a last glimpse of the blossoms before heading back to the hotel room.

After a nice long rest and a bite to eat we headed out to my absolute favorite tourist spot in Tokyo city.

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Tokyo Tower is an 333 metre tall Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower that has one of the nicest views of Tokyo city.  It’s not as new as the Sky Tree, but hey, it also doesn’t have a 4 hour line-up to get in.

My recommendation to anyone visiting Tokyo is on your first night head here.  There is nothing like seeing Tokyo at night to get a sense of just how BIG this city truly is. At night the lights will help you see further than your eyes can during the daylight hours. My dad said that this was his favorite sightseeing memory from the entire 2 week vacation because it put into perspective for him how dense Japan’s population really is.

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I’m from Calgary, Canada.  Here are some facts.

  • Calgary City’s Population: 1.1 million 
  • Tokyo City’s Population: 13.3 million
  • Canada’s Population: 35 million
  • Japan’s Population: 127 million
  • Canada’s Size: 9.985 million km² (the second biggest country in the world after Russia)
  • Japan’s Size: 377,944 km²

HOLY….. yes, that’s correct I come from a city with 1.1 million people and Tokyo has a population 13 times bigger! It definitely is something to ponder in awe as I walked around the observation deck of Tokyo Tower with city lights extending 360 degrees as far as my eyes could see.

tokyo tower 4They even have a romantic lit second floor for those looking for a lovely date-atmosphere. How cute!

After this we were exhausted headed right back to the hotel.  I made to sure to hug both of them before crashing into my lovely bed and slept like the dead.

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