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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sayonara Japan

Our final breakfast in Japan is at the soba and udon house our local train station. I have a set of zaru cold soba and Japanese curry with rice. The soba is delicious soaked with the cold tsuyu sweet dipping sauce. The curry is potent with curry sauce and typically sweet. Our server is a cross little Japanese woman reminiscent of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi. In a fortnight filled with smiling nodding always-willing-to-please hospitality workers, it's almost endearing to have a moody woman who jabs at the correct place we should've placed our dirty noodle bowls, and who points aggressively at the waste paper bin where I'm supposed to deposit our used tissues.

We cheer ourselves up with the thought of what lies ahead: a visit to Pierre Herme to worship at his temple of macarons. We make our way to the Seibu department at Shibuya and almost tremor with excitement when we are greeted by the gleaming glass cabinets beholding cream-sandwiched yoyos in a palate of pastels. One of each we decide, and feast on them later on the shinkansen to the airport. We have rose, pistachio, chocolate, citron, vanilla, arabesque (apricot with apricot flowers) and caramel fleur de sel.

The citron is the absolute winner. "It's like a chewy lemon tart" gasps Veruca. They are all exquisite with perfectly crisp shells, moist chewy interiors and decadent fillings sandwiched within.

Some last minute shopping, including a stop at Yodobashi Camera (the shop at Shinjuku is made up of seven buildings!) before we hop on a shinkansen to Osaka and another train to Kansai airport.

Sayonara Nihon. The trip was oishii desu ne.

Read the first Japan entry
12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/22/2007 11:59:00 pm


  • At 5/26/2007 2:28 pm, Blogger Robyn said…

    Aw, no more Japan.. :( I mean, no more you in Japan. Japan still exists!

    Curry! Oh glorious food of the gods! And soba...I just ate that for a late dinner, although probably not as good as yours. ;D

    I don't think I've had PH's citron macaron! At least, I don't remember that flavor. Awww shucks. Haven't had arabesque either; it sounds great.

    So oishiii. Thanks for sharing!

  • At 5/27/2007 2:55 pm, Blogger Jason Truesdell said…

    I had the arabesque and a taste of the Earl Grey at the Aoyama/Omotesando Pierre Herme... very flavorful... I just wish it wasn't straight out of the refrigerator. I should have waited a little :)

    I just returned from a trip to Japan and about two weeks ago, and finally caught up with blogging it today. It's amazing how busy a "vacation" can be (mine had a bit of business in it as well, but still).

    I'm jealous that Japan is such a short trip for you... For me it's a 10 hour flight, and that's short compared to what many people have to deal with... These days, I usually stay in a weekly apartment unless I'm doing really intense cross-country cruising.

  • At 5/27/2007 3:29 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Robyn - lol. I am sad too, altho' it's always funny to come home from overseas and notice so many more things you take for granted.

    I'm not so big on Japanese curry but thought a trip wouldn't be complete without it. I love zaru soba. I'm sure yours was great :)

    The citron macaron was divine. And hah, I think you are the macaron queen. How many macarons have you had the pleasure of eating!

    Always happy to share. Thanks for reading!

    Hi Jason - Ooh an Earl Grey version sounds delicious. And short flight? Ours was still 9 hours so it's not that much shorter :)

    You have a great set of posts too.

  • At 6/01/2007 5:16 am, Blogger DARIA - New York said…

    I LOVE japan and everything about it! too bad I haven't visited yet. isn't it like the most beautiful country in the world? ^_^ i think so.

  • At 6/01/2007 1:56 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Thanx for the tour. I have neer been to Japan but I feel like I have a taste for it now!!!

  • At 6/02/2007 7:45 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sophia Cho - Japan is an incredible place. And definitely full of tasty adventures if you love your food!

    Hi Morgan - Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you make it to Japan someday!

  • At 6/05/2007 4:23 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I just got home from my own trip to Europe and have been feverishly catching up with the blogosphere (I sympathise with your plight, I still have 5 days to write up and post photos of!) but took the time to read through your entire Japan trip. As a bit of a foodie and an avid traveller this was of keen interest as I am heading to Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo with some American friends in the Spring next year, though I'm taking a slightly different bent to take advantage of the Hanami season and Miyako odori in Kyoto.

    I am interested to see you did lots of it on the cheap (ie. Jetstar, cubicle hotels, lots of chain restaurants) was this on purpose and how easy was it to research? I'm going with some friends that don't have as much money as I do and I'd like to keep the budget as low as possible. Also how easy did you find it to book the ryokan? I haven't yet worked out how to organise these rather than normal hotels.

    Keep up the excellent blog, it's become a must read since I moved to Sydney. So much so that I set it up as an RSS feed on LiveJournal if you have other readers that may find it useful. http://syndicated.livejournal.com/grabyourfork/

    And with all that salivating I've got an intense craving... I'm off to Ichi ban boshi for dinner!

  • At 6/05/2007 8:28 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Amaya - Travel is great isn't it, but sometimes all the photography can make it feel like work! :)

    We did make an effort to sprinkle our treats with cheaper options. A little bit of both makes each of them more poignant!

    We made all our ryokan and hotel bookings via email from various websites. We did a lot of research online. There's plenty of websites out there and a Lonely Planet in the backpack never hurts either!

  • At 6/06/2007 5:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We spent three wonderful weeks in Japan a few years age and wish we could go again and do some of the things you did and we missed.

    To everyone I say do everything you want because you never know if you will have another chance!

    Thank you for your wonderful blog and photos! Jean

  • At 6/13/2007 10:46 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jean - We're already lamenting the things we didn't do, the food we didn't eat, the stuff we didn't buy! Argh. I agree. Always follow your heart when you travel. You never know when's the next time you'll make it back there!

  • At 12/10/2007 10:04 am, Blogger suzie said…

    hi helen, your post made me want to go back to Japan next year. The first time I went was in 1983! I'd be interested to know the hotels you stayed at, were they walking distances to train stations and main shopping district of Osaka and Tokyo?

  • At 12/17/2007 11:28 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Suzie - I can't remember the hotel names off the top of my head, but yes we always stayed at hotels near train stations, JR ones mostly so we could maximise use of our JR pass. They weren't near major shopping districts but there was always a supermarket closeby and a noodle house or two. The trains are so fast and efficient we headed into the major sights with few problems anyway.


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