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On Horse Meat Sashimi Extraordinary Eats 

On Horse Meat Sashimi

It finally happened. We ordered the horse sashimi. “You want what?” said the waiter, unsure. “Horse meat,” I slurred in Chinese, that last bottle of sake harming my already-poor pronunciation. “Raw horse meat.” The waiter looked at WooLand, who wasn’t listening, and then at me, and he finally shrugged and wrote it down. Clearly this wasn’t a dish foreigners often ordered. 马肉刺身 (Mǎròu cìshēn) is apparently a delicacy in Japan, and I’d long been dreaming of ordering it here. It’s served up sliced thin like carpaccio, with mashed ginger and…

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Soy Sauce Kit Kats (and other awesome flavors) Cute & Kawaii Extraordinary Eats 

Soy Sauce Kit Kats (and other awesome flavors)

I was a little confused about the Tokyo airport when I flew through there a few weeks ago. It seemed so… rundown. Ceiling tiles missing, chairs blocking entrances, stores closed. And then I saw this sign. Uh-oh. What had I missed during my media blockout? Turns out the third reactor was about to go, so I did what any slightly-nervous very-jetlagged consumer might do. I bought Kit Kats. Lots of them. You probably already know that Kit Kats are the lucky treat in Japan. The local name for them, kitto…

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And we’re back… Cute & Kawaii Somewhat Perverted 

And we’re back…

Sorry for the silence. China got wise to the VPN, and issues had to be resolved.  But we’re back.  Hopefully for a while, at least. While we pop the bottles of silkworm baijiu and seahorse bourbon, here’s a photo from last night’s dinner at Beijing’s newest maid cafe.  (Sure, Japan had sexy 19th century French maids a decade ago, but in China? Well, they’re still an untapped welcome trend.)

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The Most Divine Piece of Sushi Extraordinary Eats 

The Most Divine Piece of Sushi

This was something I’ve never seen before. I found it in Hakone, a small mountain town. (Across the road from 7-11. Sliding slat door, with no windows.) Maybe the roll was called Namaji Rasu, and maybe it’s called Shirasu. But either way, it was incredible, deliciously sweet, and so unbelievably weird. Tiny fishies, with big eyes, piled into a rolled piece of nigiri. So entirely straight-from-Star-Wars, and so one-of-a-kind. The chef handed it to me unexpectedly, after he discovered I wasn’t a Russian.

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Old Pirate Ships in Old Japan Uncategorized 

Old Pirate Ships in Old Japan

After the insanity of Tokyo, I really needed a break. So, on the advice of a teenage stranger at a sushi bar, I bought a 3-day pass to Hakone.  And what a break it is. A mountain town, there’s almost nothing to do here. No madness, no crowds, and certainly no stress. Just groups of old ladies in hats, taking a midweek break from the city. But there is a pirate ship.

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Sucking on Sour: The Miracle Berry aka Miracle Fruit Extraordinary Eats 

Sucking on Sour: The Miracle Berry aka Miracle Fruit

Tokyo Mission #2: Miracle Fruit! I’d heard about Miracle Fruit at a hipster science conference in New York a few years ago, and had dreams of them ever since. History: in the 1700s, an explorer moved into a West African village. Everything was great, except the food — it was horrible! Sour, disgusting, absolutely inedible! After a few days in the village, though, he realized the locals were all sucking on berries before eating. He joined in, and suddenly, this vile meal became glorious! So sweet, so tasty — absolutely…

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Tokyo’s Creepy Parasite Museum Offbeat Museums 

Tokyo’s Creepy Parasite Museum

You might think it a bad idea to eat all these weird and raw meats — like diaphram. I did, too. So I trolled the streets of Tokyo until I found the world’s only Parasite Museum. Sadly, everything was written in Japanese, and I couldn’t find a single employee to translate. Not one. Just an unlocked door, and room after room of parasites, and no people. (Even the gift-shop was empty… parasite key-chains (real parasites!) stood waiting to be sold, but I left them there.)

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Eating Diaphram in Tokyo Uncategorized 

Eating Diaphram in Tokyo

Another of Tokyo’s “best meal” contenders was Toraji Param, a Korean hormone restaurant on the 500-something-th floor of some fancy Tokyo building. As the elevator flew up the 5000 flights, my ears popped. At our table, floor-to-ceiling windows showed off all of Tokyo. It was jaw-dropping, to put it mildly. And then the food came. And my jaw dropped again. Before this meal, I’d never heard of “hormone restaurants,” but it’s a new Tokyo fad where every part of the animal is offered on the menu. You want to try…

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Hayao Miyazaki’s Breathtakingly Awesome Ghibli Museum, Tokyo Uncategorized 

Hayao Miyazaki’s Breathtakingly Awesome Ghibli Museum, Tokyo

To be honest, I came to Tokyo for only three reasons. Each had been percolating in my mind, independently, for years. Each seemed to be something I needed to do. Each of these demanded a pilgrimage. And each of these would be difficult. I first read about The Ghibli Museum in a New Yorker profile on Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favorite filmmakers. A legend in Japan, he’s created a number of gorgeous, meditative animated masterpieces — Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo are my three favorites. They’re slow,…

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The Insane Monkey Bar in Tokyo Extraordinary Eats 

The Insane Monkey Bar in Tokyo

I came to Tokyo for three pilgrimages. The first, a trip to Miyazaki’s Ghibli Museum, left my cheeks wet with tears. The second, lunch at a Miracle Fruit Cafe, had me giggling aloud, the juice from an inedible umeboshi plum running down my chin. And the third? It was to be dinner at an izakaya tavern, waited on by monkeys. Monkeys. Not guys in monkey suits, or hirsute fellows, but real, honest-to-xxx monkeys. This was probably a PETA nightmare, but monkeys are totally awesome!!! But instead of being in “North…

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