Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Japan, Tokyo



komugi to Guluten ga irete aru mono o tebetara byoki ni naru.
If I eat things with wheat and gluten in it, I will become sick.

komugi to Guluten ga irete aru mono o teberarenai.
I can not eat things with wheat and gluten in it.

Down town Ginza, Tokyo

Unlike anywhere we had visited before, Tokyo is like visiting another planet. The language, the sights, the people are so far removed from having any European resemblance, and we loved every eye boggling moment of our trip to Tokyo.

Even with my basic Japanese language skills, we were able to point out what we wanted to eat, shop and get around on the maze of subway lines. Mostly we smiled a lot. Our yearly compulsory Christmas games of charades came in handy for this trip.

We certainly didn't feel embarrassed having our Tokyo guide with us and open at every opportunity. We had endless locals stopping to see if we needed a hand. My friend arrange a translation for me to use when ordering my food. I used this everywhere and it worked a treat.

Watch this space for the translation - coming soon.

Where we stayed...
This time around we were in Tokyo for two days. We wanted to squeeze as much into our two days as humanly possible, and this included our style of accommodation. We stayed in a traditional Japanese ryokan where the rooms are floored with tatami mats onto which futons are laid out by staff before you retire to sleep.

We chose to stay in the antique area of Tokyo called Asakusa with amazing markets that open from 9am until 7pm during the week.

Shigestu Ryokan is located across 6 floors and has western style rooms as well as traditional rooms. On the 6th floor is a traditional Furu (bath) which is shared by men and women. As soon as you enter your room, look at the little guide which will tell you everything about your room, where everything is in your room, and how to put on your Yukata (traditional robe).

The staff are very friendly and welcoming and will help you with directions, places to eat and things to do in the immediate area. My food translation worked a treat. As soon as we checked in I handed them my food translation and they conversed with the kitchen. We had a very traditional Japanese breakfast and the breakfast staff remembered that I would not be able to have any gluten or dairy.

The markets are vibrant and full of every trinket and souvenir imaginable. I bought myself a pair of geisha style toe socks.

Around Tokyo Without...

Gofu Ginza
6-4-18 Ginza, Maxi de Pia Building, 1F, B1 Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, 104-0061

Keen to have Yakitori, we found Gofu Ginza which is a charming little place tucked away in what is known as food alley - if you plan a visit, it is located in a shopping centre about a two minute walk from Subway Ginza Station - Exit 2.

Make sure you have your translation card with you as some of the meats are cooked in soy sauce. They do a really good menu which I could have easily worked my way through - try the rice balls.

Yakatori is different parts of the chicken grilled on skewers.

The staff are wonderful and friendly and being the only English couple in the restaurant, there was a slight novelty about us - not to mention a few laughs at my attempted pronunciation of the menu items.