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FOOD

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate TOKYO!!!

*** Photos Credit to “jpninfo.com” and “Minimal Bean to Bar”

 

It’s been a while since I found anything to add to my list, but I did run into one that I discovered while watching Kanataro on Netflix.

Enter – MINIMAL – Bean to Bar –  Their website can be found Here.

From what I gathered on episode 11 of Kantaro, this place serves chocolate in its most purest form.  Starting with the pure bean and building up to the final product(s).  They order their beans through specific Cacao Farms across the globe and are very particular about getting only what they consider is the best.

From their iconic Chocolate bar (iconic in terms of the template they use), to the specialized desserts, this place appears to not disappoint.

First opened in Tokyo on February 2016, this new chocolate concept is sure to be quite an experience.  In the series, it appeared the main character had set an appointment for his visit.  This is a familiar concept with most of the high end eateries in Japan.  Choose your food category, find the best, and you’ll quickly realize that a reservation will be required.

スクリーンショット-2018-02-16-19.56.22

This appears to be the premier dish…..a Chocolate Fondant Tart.  All made in house and includes a sprinkle of a ground chili pepper.  I’ve heard that chocolate goes really well with a spicy chili and really hope to find myself here to try it.

YES, this is on my bucket list now.  2 weeks away from finding out our prospective chances of living in Japan once again.  Fingers crossed and wishful thinking cranked on MAX settings.

Below are locations from their webiste.  Apparently they do online ordering too, Click Here

LOCATIONS:

MINIMAL Bean to Bar – GINZA

 

MINIMAL Bean to Bar – MINATO-KU

 

MINIMAL Bean to Bar – IKEBUKURO B1F

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FOOD

Happy New Year! It’s now 2018!!!

Today I’d like to talk about a dessert place in Tokyo that uses the freshest fruits you will ever encounter in your life.  The place is called, “Kajitsuen Libre Shinjuku”, and it’s located in, well, Shinjuku, Tokyo!

Under normal circumstances, I would say I was exaggerating about the fruits being the freshest ever, but in the case of Japan, it wouldn’t be a lie.  Japan is a haven for all things fruits and vegetables.

Throughout the years of living there, I ate more vegetables and fruits than I did living anywhere else.  The vegetables themselves are sweet as well.  For example… when I entered my first Katsu restaurant, I swore up and down that I had shredded lettuce.  It was sweet and juicy, so there was no way it could be anything else.  To my surprise, I realized it was cabbage!  Imagine, cabbage that is not dry.  The carrots are sweet as well.  So you can imagine that the fruits in Japan are going to be amazing.  They even have premium fruits selling in the hundreds of dollars.

$140 Melon

$150 Grapes

 

I’ve had the opportunity to try them, but I always felt that the regular stuff was already higher in quality than anything I’ve had outside of Japan; not to mention I also felt the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Check out their website.  They consider themselves a Fruit Parlor.  I have not gone there yet, so it easily made it on my Bucket List.

If you’ve ever been there, I’d like to hear about your experience in the comments.

FOOD, Things I've done, and things I plan on doing in Japan

Christmas Dinner in Japan

Before I begin……Merry Christmas!!!!

So now that we’ve established that, I want to talk a little about Christmas Dinner in Japan.  If you didn’t already know, Christmas in Japan is usually accompanied by a KFC Dinner!  On our Second year of living in Japan, my family decided to do just that.  It consisted of us making a reservation for the dinner and paying for it a month in advance, just to be safe.  We were given a specific window of time to pick up the dinner and it worked out very well.  The Customer Service was amazingly accurate and the food was prepared very fresh; as if we had just ordered it.

WHY KFC???

There are a few theories as to why KFC became the official Christmas Dinner of Japan.  The first theory I heard of was that Turkey is rare and expensive in Japan, so chicken was the perfect alternative.  So KFC started a huge push and campaign to market the idea.

Another theory was that the Japanese assumed, probably again because of the KFC campaign, that it was the United State’s official Christmas Dinner as well and with the need to emulate the American Western Lifestyle, they carried on with the idea and it just stuck.

The third reason I heard was that there was an elementary school that decided to treat their students to a KFC Christmas Dinner and their local KFC even sent their own Colonel Sanders Santa to deliver the food.  As soon as other schools heard of this, they too joined the bandwagon and the idea exploded into what it is today.

Whatever the reason, our KFC dinner was delicious, and very appropriate to the season.  We definitely enjoyed it and now with us not being in Japan, it was definitely the one thing that was missing for our family this year.

Along with the regular menu, they included many other combos that consisted of additional seasonal items.  If you’re ever in Japan during the Holidays, I highly recommend trying the KFC dinner versus cooking a meal on your own at home.  You’ll both enjoy the food and the free time you gain by not being stuck in the kitchen all day.

You can bet that this is going to happen again the next time we’re there for Christmas.  Fingers crossed we can be there again to enjoy another KFC Christmas Dinner in Japan once again!

 

Japan Meteorology

Japan and their Earthquakes – a daily reality

Today I’d like to talk about Earthquakes in Japan.  Every day I left the house, I always had a heavy pack on.  It consisted of cutting tools, fire-starting tools, First Aid Kit, several flashlights, power banks, spare batteries and some form of snacks, along with other things that don’t come to mind at the moment.  This was my GHB (Get Home Bag) which I toted around everywhere I went.  The fact is, earthquakes are a reality in Japan and should not be ignored.  Along side earthquakes is the strong possibility of tsunamis as well.  I’ve had conversations with friends about this topic and I’ve had input ranging from, “That’s too much stuff” to, “That’s a smart idea.”  At any rate, I’ve watched several videos from the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami and this acts as a reminder for me to always keep my GHB with me at all times.  Here’s an example of some of the things people experienced during that day.  I constantly analyze videos of this topic and take mental notes of what I would need if I was in that situation.

What is cool though is the early warning system they have in place which is connected to every cellphone in the country.  I was at Enoshima Island one time and started to hear noise coming from several cellphones from a group of teenagers nearby.  Initially I assumed they were playing an online role-playing game with each other until my cellphone joined the party.  The message was in kanji, which I have no skillset for, but I recognized the warning sound from previous earthquakes.  Sure enough, 1 minute later, the Island began to shake and we were at the top of the highest point of the island and really felt it.  Here’s a sample of the warning you get on a Japanese cellphone:

With that said, I will never let the naysayers discourage me from being prepared.  Heavy, large pack on my back as I travel Japan, totally worth it.  If I’m ever there during a huge earthquake, I plan on giving myself and my family the best chance of survival.

Earthquakes, like the one in Sendai, are very rare.  We might experience 2-3 tremors a week, but nothing alarming.  But if that big one ever hits, I’ll definitely be prepared for it.

FOOD

Close to Home – Past Fail but Future for sure!

Special shout out to TabiEats!  I’ve enjoyed their vlogs for months now.  Lots of videos to bring me closer to home.  From Japanese meals, to snacks, and even home cooking demos, there is lots to enjoy on their youtube channel.

Today I ran into a video of them in the Miura province of Kanagawa, just a few miles south of Yokosuka which is home to me.

This location is a fail on my part.  I’ve always wanted to check out the Jogashima Island just off the coast of Miura.  I hear the views from the Lighthouse as well as the food is on point.  Sinichi goes in depth to what foods to look out for in the Miura region, with some of the foods being available no where else but there.

This is on my bucket list for a few reasons, but mainly because I missed my chance to visit during my 4 year stay.  Next chance I get, I’m hitting that area up and gobbling down some deliciousness that can’t be found anywhere else.

As a side note, I have been researching different glass for my new camera set up.  The goal is to make videos blogs and post them for you to enjoy.  A quick warning, I am camera shy, so I’ll be doing a lot of foodie videos with me nowhere to be found, but you will get my voice-over explaining the vlogs.

Enjoy the wonders of Miura, Kanagawa, Japan!

FOOD

Authentic Japanese Desserts – Future

So today the Mrs. tells me about a new drama on Netflix.  Of course, it’s a Japanese Drama.  It’s called, “Kantaro: The sweet toothed salary man.”  In the first episode he speaks about a place in Ninyocho, Tokyo, Japan.  The description is full of history and it basically boils down to traditional desserts/sweets that have not been influenced by time and culture shifts.  The place is called, “Kanmidokoro Hatsune”.

The dessert in this episode called Anmitsu.  I don’t believe I’ve had it yet, but after watching this episode, it has made it to the bucket list.  Surprisingly, the place he visits is a real dessert shop.  The drama can seem over-the-top at times, but overall, a great way learn about traditions.  He goes in depth into the ingredients used and what to look out for.  He even goes as far as customizing the dessert to the point where the shop’s owner starts asking more advanced questions to his surprise.

The specialized flavors of Japan is very much missed in this household and we look forward to visiting, recording video, and enjoying some Japanese sweets in Tokyo once again.  Kanmidokoro Hatsune…..we will see you one day, oh yes, we will see you one day!

https://centraltokyo-tourism.com/en/spot/detail/100402037

anmitsu

 

 

Videography / Photography

Lots of Photography and Videography today.

Been learning a lot about my equipment through different video reviews and blogs today.  Been shooting with my Canon 60D almost my entire stay in Japan.  Recently, with my return to Videography, I’ve learned more about High Dynamic Range which applies to both media.  I also started studying about Color Grading and frame-rates in relation to video quality.  Again, most of this can also apply to Photography as well, not all, but a lot.

My quest to document my next visit to Japan was inspired by a single video by a team of videographers from the youtube channel called, TokyoStreetView.  I was amazed at the stability and, more importantly, the clarity of the footage they film.  Through their website, I was able to research their equipment and find out what they used and started to research the heck out of it.  Their night time, low light, videos were super clear and coming from a very amateur video background, this was absolutely mind boggling to me.

Their fireworks video really solidified it for me:

 

So here I am, fast forward a few months and I’ve upgraded my camera gear and finally fine tuned my settings.  My footage has gotten a huge boost and I think I’m ready to roll.

 

 

I am trying to find inspiration to practice out here in Rota, Spain, but it’s been an uphill battle trying to enjoy a place that is quite the opposite of Japan.  Hopefully I can find the motivation to force myself out there to practice so that when I do get back to japan, I will be ready, experienced, and more skilled to document my stay.  My new gear is definitely fun to work with, but sometimes I wonder if Spain is worthy of being filmed.  Yes, I feel that strongly about it.  (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞