October 31, 2012

Popular shaved ice shop in Yanaka

Near the Chocolatier INAMURA SHOZO in Yanaka, they have a very popular shaved ice shop named "Himitsudo(ひみつ堂)." In summer, there is always a long line in front of the shop even under the strong sunshine. I gave up tasting their ice due to the queue. Now, it's already in Autumn and I finally tried to enter. Luckily to me, I could wait only for ...30 minutes(still!).
Outside of "Himitsudo"
Young and old, men and women were just eating shaved ice!!
Shaved ice with fresh peach syrup and milk
The reason of their success is using pure and delicious ice of Nikko(日光) of Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県) and hand-made syrup of seasonal fruits. We ordered a shaved ice with fresh peach syrup and milk. It was...good indeed! Shaved ice was airy and melted immediately on mouth. Syrup made of ripe peach was also nice. As ice itself gets to melt soon, we quickly ate up. It was really nice...if it were only JPY500. One shaved ice costs around JPY900. A bit expensive. My rating is 2.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadshita!

Himitsudo(ひみつ堂) http://himitsudo.com/ 

October 30, 2012

Scam? Tut Ankh Amon Exhibition

Japanese people love culture and art. The tendency is accelerating in the season of Autumn as people believe "Autumn is best season for arts." If you visit any museums on weekend, you would be surprised to see too many visitors. It's like a very crowded train in rush hour...Recently, "Tut Ankh Amon Exhibition(ツタンカーメン展)" has been held in the Ueno Royal Museum(上野の森美術館). Although the entrance fee is JPY3,000 on  weekend(two times higher than usual ones), advanced tickets were sold out. I went there before the opening time of 9 am on Saturday, but there was already a very long queue...
Advertisement of Tut Ankh Amon Exhibition
Long queue....
We waited patiently....for one hour to see the golden mask of Tut Ankh Amon. A TV company, the sponsor of this Exhibition advertised as "Tut Ankh Amon came to Japan for the first time since 1965!",when the golden mask was presented for the first time here. 

The  exhibition itself was interesting with precious items and detailed explanation though we noticed exaggeration to some extent. But even though we went to the last exhibition room, there was no golden mask. Instead, we saw a very small canopic, a small case which contained organs of Tut Ankh Amon....
This was not....
But this!
Finally I noticed the advertisement picture was not the golden mask but the expansion of this small canopic...this is a scam, isn't it? So disappointing. Other people also seemed to have similar impressions. If you plan to visit the Museum to see the golden mask of Tut Ankh Amon, be careful!

Tut Ankh Amon Exhibition(ツタンカーメン展)  http://kingtut.jp/

October 29, 2012

Perfect chocolate shop in Yanaka

In Yanaka(谷中), an old downtown of Tokyo, we have a very nice chocolate shop named "Chocolatier INAMURA SHOZO(ショコラティエ イナムラ ショウゾウ)."  Mr. Inamura is one of the famous patissiers in Japan whose cake shop is located in Ueno-Sakuragi(上野桜木). Even though his fame is prevalent, he has never opened another branch. And finally he opened...a chocolate shop in Yanaka!
Show-case of chocolate cakes
Show-case of chocolate
Cake "teardrop"
Different flavored chocolates
Cake "black dandy" 
Whenever I visit, many customers make a queue inside (sometimes even outside). In spite of many customers, the shop always provides courteous service that we can be satisfied. This time, luckily to me, Mr. Inamura was there and he gently responded to my order. 

The taste of cakes and chocolates were wonderful! Very sophisticated. Not heavy at all. Delicate. We can feel several elements in one cake or chocolate. Milky, bitter, ginger, orange, earl gray, etc. I was touched how complex and profound chocolates could be. Though I gradually can't eat so heavy chocolate cakes with age, I can easily eat up Mr. Inamura's cakes. 

A piece of cake costs around JPY500 while a piece of chocolate costs JPY300. You can't get their items unless you go to Yanaka. Yanak is also a good sightseeing spot. Why don't you visit? My rating is 5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Chocolatier INAMURA SHOZO(ショコラティエ イナムラ ショウゾウ) http://www.inamura.jp/index.html

October 28, 2012

Modern art...Troisgros in Shinjyuku

Just next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office(都庁) in Shinjyuku(新宿), there is Hyatt Regency Tokyo (ハイアットリージェンシー東京). One of their features that attracts customers is "Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros(キュイジーヌ[s]ミシェル・トロワグロ)", a Tokyo branch of the famous Michelin three stars French restaurant. If I'm correct, the branch also won two stars of Michelin guide.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office 
Lobby of Hyatt Regency
Entrance of Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros
Table setting
Corn bread
Starter using  clam
Rye bread and butter 
Langoustine a la Manoa 
Foie gras and shitake
Scallop saltinbocca 
Wagyu beef steak with cep
Selection of cheese 
Dessert 1 (granite) 
Dessert 2 (lemon cream sand rice-flour crepe)
Coffee and mignardises 
The taste of dishes were much better than expectation! Certainly, their cuisine was a bit above than the ones of even high-quality French restaurants. Each dish was cooked in a careful manner with very fresh ingredients. They don't use much traditional French ingredients such as cream, butter, egg, etc. They may use specific technique of cooking. The flavor and smell of each ingredients were contained very strong that left us strong impressions.  

The balance of set meal is very adequate. Even if we ate all, our body was still light(but we were perfectly full). Both appearance and taste were like a modern art. We were impressed by their light but distinctive taste. The problem might be price. The set meal is available from JPY14,700 and service charge. Service was not bad, but they had no matured staff who could have a witty conversation with customers. That was a bit regrettable. My rating is 4.5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros(キュイジーヌ[s]ミシェル・トロワグロ) http://www.troisgros.jp/   

October 24, 2012

Lovely taiyaki near Tokyo National Museum

Just near the Tokyo National Museum(東京国立博物館) in the Ueno Park(上野公園), there is a very popular Japanese confectionery shop named "Torindou(桃林堂)." Their head shop is located in Osaka(大阪) and Ueno shop is one of their branch. Their Japanese sweets are very delicate and sophisticated. Many customers visit Torindou without a break.
Outside of Torindo
One of their popular sweets is "taiyaki", porgy-shaped pancake filled with bean jam. Porgy is pronounced as "tai" in Japanese and this sound is same as the latter part of "medetai", whose meaning is "celebration". That's why the porgy is seen as good fortune and a food for celebration. In a same manner, taiyaki is seen as happy sweets. 

Torindou's taiyaki is very small but the taste is good. The pancake is soft and moist. Bean jam is moderately sweet. Even small, much happiness is brought. Maybe thanks to the shape of porgy. My rating is 3.2 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Torindou(桃林堂) http://www.tourindou100.jp/  

October 22, 2012

Edomae sushi in Ginza

It is said that if you are gastronome, you would not eat sushi on the weekend. Fish markets are opened only in weekdays and stocks are served on the weekend. Saturday might be ok, but Sunday...Actually many sushi restaurants are closed on Sunday. Even so, I sometimes want to taste sushi on Sunday. In such occasion, "Ginza Seamon(銀座 鰤門)" can be a good option. Seamon is opened for 7 days.
Entrance of Seamon
Red-lacquer counter of Seamon 

Seamon is located on the 6th floor of a building in the center of Ginza(in this building, there are also other famous tempura and French restaurants). Their long red-lacquer counter is spectacular. All sushi chefs are skin head putting kimono! The atmosphere is like a stylish zen-temple. But don't worry, they are friendly and talkative if we ask.

Also, you don't have to worry at all having sushi on Sunday here. All ingredients are very well managed and kept fresh. Some of the fishes are aging whose taste is changed much better. Their sushi rice is unique because of a bit strong vinegar. The balance with fishes was very adequate. Sharp sushis. The portion is not so big that we can continue eating. 

Set meal is available from JPY3,500 at lunch and JPY8,000 at night. My rating is 4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

Ginza Seamon(銀座 鰤門http://www.seamon.jp/  

Wonderful musical "Jane Eyre"

When I was around junior-high or high school student, I got on the masterpieces of world  literature and one of those was "Jane Eyre(ジェーン・エア)" of Charlotte Bronte(シャーロット・ブロンテ)The heroine faces up to any difficulties with her strong and independent spirits and sticks to her conviction. At the same time, it is a true love story that we can believe the power of love.

So, I went to a musical of "Jane Eyre", Japanese version of Broadway on this weekend. It was just amazing. The actress who acted Jane Eyre is Matsu Takako(松たか子). She is an actress representing Japan and her act has been highly appreciated in drama, movie and theater.

I did't know she is also a talented musical actress. Her noble presence and beautiful voice were magnificent. I could't stop tears. Other actors were also definitely excellent. The script itself was good. High level.I strongly recommend you to see. For Tokyo performance, one more week is still left. If you have time, rush!   

Jane Eyre(ジェーン・エア) http://www.jane-musical.com/

October 21, 2012

Italian in Kyobashi

In Kyobashi (京橋), near Hotel Seiyo Ginza (ホテル西洋銀座), there is an Italian restaurant named "Ristorante Fiorenza(リストランテ フィオレンツァ)."  In spite of the location and its elegant atmosphere, we can enjoy Italian dishes at reasonable price here. Set meal is available from JPY3,500 even at night and a la cart is from JPY500.  
Entrance of "Ristorante Fiorenza"
Inside 1
Inside 2 
Beef and beans stew 
Bottles of white wine 
Two types of pasta 
Pie of conger 
Fried venison
Dessert (for a friend's wedding celebration)
Dishes were delicious. But I had much better impression before. They had served authentic dishes with more volume and novelty. Maybe chef or management was changed? Due to that, I noticed we had fewer customers comparing to before. 

Even so, it is a cozy restaurant indeed. Still reasonable. Young staff's service is friendly. If you face difficulty to find a restaurant around Ginza and Kyobashi, Fiorenza is one option. My rating is 3 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Ristorante Fiorenza(リストランテ フィオレンツァ) http://www.carpediem1995.com/fiorenza/