My first thought about Japanese people in general is, how on earth are they all so skinny when their country is full of the best food? Sure, sushi is super healthy and full of goodness but I’m going deeper. Deeper than Fried Chicken Katsu Curry, Tonkotsu Ramen and a never ending supply of sweet creations. I’m talking the real Tokyo. And by that I mean, America.
It doesn’t take much to look beyond the surface and realise the super cool trend going on in Tokyo. And it doesn’t take much to be persuaded to jump right in. Follow my guide and you’ll be saying “Oishi Oishi” with the cool kids in no time.
That’s right – ramen for breakfast. Except the line will be so long, by the time you’re at your seat, it’s more like lunch so it’s acceptable. You think the vending machine ordering system is cool? Wait till you get inside.
After work Friday drinks and ‘Izakaya’ (AKA Japanese pub food). Think small wooden hole in the wall with edamame, fried squid, karage skewers and icy cold craft beer on tap.
Straight outta Booklyn, this café serves intensely strong coffee, loud rap music and an industrial warehouse fit out. If only this place has wifi, it would be the Instagrammers paradise.
Ace’s Music Salon
While I am impartial to a general standing fee in the Golden Gai neighbourhood, in a city that’s already overpriced for our RM, this no charge jazz bar meet whisky bar screams local cool.
The Great Burger
Putting aside the stingy portion of chips, what’s not to love? A burger as good as Shake Shack, Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ playing as you walk in and the option to buy a macadamia nut milkshake.
Step into JBS and you’ll think you’re deep in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. If the cool kids with retro cameras hanging around their neck aren’t enough of an indicator you’re among Tokyo’s hipsters, perhaps the walls lined with records will.
Secretly, this feels like walking up the Orange County coast to order a Lobster Roll from the dockside fish shack… in a good way. Choosing between the Japanese size and US size will be the hardest decision you make. Then finishing it will simply leave you sad and wanting more.
Omohara Beer Forest
After a much needed rest from exploring the park across the road, put your feet up in this amphitheatre style forest in the centre of the shopping district and watch the selfie sticks emerge.
Sea salt caramel, maple bacon & habanero chocolate. Enough said. A tip from me to you: Best not ask if they have anything low fat.