Category Archives: Japan

Video: Mt. Fuji, the Misty Mountain

(Disclaimer – We did not actually get to see this view of Mt. Fuji)

When traveling to Tokyo, a trip to the famous Mt. Fuji may be at the top of your “Things to Do” list, as it’s one of Japan’s most famous landmarks.  So, book a tour!  It may be worth it, however, you may end up with what we got…


The entire area was covered in mist, making it impossible to see Mt. Fuji and leaving us with this painting that the whole tour group took turns taking pictures in front of.  Mind you, we’re up in mountainous areas, so the weather is bound to be rough every now and then.  So we never got to see the ACTUAL Mt. Fuji, but we did manage to make the best of the excursion.  Here’s a video we made of our travels through Fuji and the surrounding mountains (and a magical lake with pirate ships??), enjoy!

Japan: Top Photos

Here are some of the most captivating images we were able to get while in Japan.

To check out some of our top food photos, check out this post: Tokyo – A Food Lover’s Paradise .


The Japanese Fish Monger

Name: Ishi

Profession: Fisherman
Location: Ryu Sushi, Tsujiki Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
Reason for Meeting: Stumbled into a restaurant off of the beaten path

Story: Upon entering the restaurant, Ishi peered over from his usual spot at the sushi counter and looked back at us as typical Americans. I am sure he had many preconceived notions as to who we were and what we were about, but I can gladly say that we proved him wrong.

After finishing a 7-course sushi lunch while directly next to this ‘sushi wizard’ of sorts — I learned more about sushi customs than I ever knew before. He told me the intricacies behind every fish that I was served, and what the different types signified. I learned that sushi (raw fish atop rice) wasn’t considered all that special in Japan, but sashimi (slices of raw fish by themselves – without rice) was considered to be the highest of delicacies, if done right.

Sake is a typical drink that is paired with sushi, however, it is a drink that should be drank in a specific way while enjoying the meal at hand, which I was completely unaware of. You are supposed to have a small amount of sake, just an ounce or two in size, only after you eat a piece of sushi, or sashimi. If you drink any other way, you may look as if you are abusing the alcohol at hand, and not enjoying the food quite as much.

Parting Words of Wisdom: Enjoy, but always respect.

Last Night in Tokyo

Japan is known as a very hard-working culture; subways are always packed with people going to and from their jobs (yes, the infamous “subway pushers” are real), and everyone wears suits and holds briefcases,  no matter the time.  It seems like all the Japanese do is work… but they truly live by the motto, “Work Hard, Play Hard.”  Or in this case, play like a crazy person.  When the work is over, the people of Tokyo party harder than we even knew was humanly possible, any day of the week.  So in a culture where the people like to reward themselves after a hard days work, the nightlife must have to cater to this party lifestyle.

However, the night life scene in Tokyo can be very different for Americans and other tourists.  One can’t just pop into any bar and hope to sing karaoke in front of a hundred drunken Japanese people.  Here’s some stuff we learned here in Tokyo about the nightlife, so when you decide to make the plunge you can be prepared.


When coming to Japan, you’ll probably be excited to sing some of your favorite songs like “Mr. Roboto” in a crowded bar filled with locals.  This is not really a thing in Japan though.  If you come in wanting to sing karaoke, you’ll have to do so in private rooms with your party.  Any karaoke place you go to, you pay for an allotted amount of time (30+ minutes) and your party will get to sing to each other while enjoying unlimited drinks.  It’s a great deal!  But if that isn’t what you are looking to do, then sadly your dreams of karaoke may be dashed.  There is word of some bars that do offer public karaoke, but they are mostly closed to foreigners as the owners do not want to deal with drunken tourists.


People think of Sake as one of the national drinks of Japan.  While this may be the truth, it is not as abundant as you may think.  At some bars, trying to order “Sake” will get you puzzled looks and the possibility of getting laughed at, which happened to us at a pirate themed bar in Roppongi, called Genie Queen.  If you want to drink Sake, you’ll have to do so mainly at restaurants, or you can buy some at any convenience store like 7-11.  Oh, and people won’t get what you mean when you ask for “Sake Bombs,” so try to avoid that as well!

So, where to go?

The Roppongi District is the huge nightlife area of Tokyo.  Littered with bars, nightclubs, and Nigerian club promoters, Roppongi is definitely the party hotspot of the city and, as a tourist, this is definitely where you would want to go.  Our own experiences led us to a club/bar called New Lex (, where we partied with the Tokyo Disney princesses (and other Disney characters) at the Hello Kitty themed party the bar was holding.

Pictures of celebrities who have also attended the bar cover the walls of the entrance, which is surprising for a bar that isn’t large in size or very flashy and pretty.  But, it came to our surprise when our very own Justin Bieber came into New Lex, walked right up next to us to give a dirty glance, and headed straight towards the VIP section with his whole posse of swag coaches.  Although we were starstruck, Bieber kind of ruined our night because he invited Snow White and Tinkerbell back to his hotel leaving us alone at the bar to drink with Peter Pan and the Mad Hatter.  Other than that little hiccup, we left knowing that Roppongi is definitely the go-to spot for a great night in Tokyo for tourists and locals alike.

Tokyo – A Food Lover’s Paradise

Simply said — Tokyo has spoiled us. 

We have experienced a wide variety of cuisines, from high-end sushi and shabu shabu to ‘street ramen’ and Tsujiki fish market feasting. This large spectrum of food has been incredible for us to experience (partially because we consider ourselves pseudo-foodies). So let’s dive in!

Sushi in Japan
Having come to the ‘mecca’ of sushi with large expectations and big appetites we were expecting life-changing indulgences. Imagine a world where the most simple of places on the side of the street or on a hidden corner of the fish market are all better than the best sushi places back in the states and could even be a fraction of the price — consider the likes of Nobu and Zuma.

The sushi here is mind-blowing. Get lost, and explore the native cuisine in Tokyo. You cannot go wrong with any options whether you are in one of their bustling subway stations, with gourmet markets better than Fresh Market and Whole Foods, or a small ‘hole in the wall’ sushi spot with only 6 seats situated off the beaten path. 

Shabu shabu
noun \SHäbo͞o ˈSHäbo͞o\ : a Japanese dish of pieces of thinly sliced beef or pork cooked quickly with vegetables in boiling water and then dipped in sauce
So, this was an interesting experience. Think of a boiling hot ultra-gourmet Melting Pot. The look of shabu shabu is not the most appetizing thing in the world, but it is something that is not offered in the US. Just quickly dip the beef into the boiling hot water, throw some sauce on it, rinse and repeat. 

Shabu shabu is a more involving experience for its patrons, so it isn’t as readily available as sushi restaurants, but a great time investment for the more adventurous foodie travelers.

Street Ramen
The ramen trend is starting to catch on in the US with some restaurants popping up here and there, but the more widespread understanding of ramen is a form of cheap food consumed predominantly by college students, or just a very ‘economical’ form of sustenance in general.

Well, having originated in Japan, ramen noodles here are not only popular, but very tasty. One of the best meals I had here in Japan was a $7 bowl of ramen noodles at a shack on the street by the Tsujiki fish market. There was a line around the block for this place that was manned by a single ramen-chef who occupied a 5′ x 5′ shop that cooked up amazing portions of ramen. 

Definitely not for the feint-hearted, but if my better half can stomach it, so can you!

Tsujiki Fish Market Feasting
4 am and the alarm clocks are already going off. People from all over Japan get up in order to be a part of the Tsujiki Fash Market auction where they auction off some of their best catches of the day, or 800lb tunas. These massive fish easily top $40,000 USD and go to the highest bidder whether it be 5-star restaurants and hotels, or just local fisheries.

Wandering through the Tsujiki Fish Market is fascinating. You can acquire anything that has to do with seafood there. And, I truly mean anything. You can walk through the side streets and buy any type of fish you would like whether it be sushi grade, cooked, marinated, or even alive!

Not only can you see what Japan prides itself in (the best fish in the world), but one can also enjoy the potent smell of this food while walking around 🙂 Yes, it smells like you were ‘Finding Nemo’, but the hustle and bustle witnessed throughout this area was very different from anything in the US. 

On our way around the fish market, we stopped in to have some of the most fresh sushi in the world at Ryu Sushi, where we tried fish that I didn’t even know existed! 

Favorite Experience
My favorite culinary experience while in Tokyo was in a place by the name of Kyubey. Upon first walking into this five-story venue we were a bit intimidated. The dining rooms were buzzing with people moving in and out, and other people being denied access as they didn’t have reservations. Thank god we had reservations, but we had no idea of what was to come.

We were led up to the private dining area, had to take our shoes off before entering the dining room, and we were greeted by our own personal Sushi Chef for the evening. We were being served by a sushi master who had to train for over a decade by washing rice and cleaning fish in order to be at the helm of this sushi making enterprise. We left our lives, or stomachs, in his hands and it was beyond worth it.

Shortly after sitting down we were then greeted by the owner himself, Yosuke Imada, who has built this enterprise into a world-renowned sushi destination. Mr. Imada was one of the most personable proprietors I have ever met and is known for greeting his guests whether they are corporate CEOs, Hollywood stars, or even just tourists (like us). All in all, Kyubey is a must for anyone who visits Japan!

I could sit here and go more into the details of each experience, but I encourage you to come out and experience it for yourself. Shoot me a quick note if you have any questions, or if you just want some recommendations! 

Sanrio Puroland, The Cutest Place on Earth

adjective \kəˈwī\ (in the context of Japanese popular culture) cute.

Whether you are a fan of Hello Kitty, or just plain curious about one of Japan’s biggest mascots (and happen to find yourself in Tokyo), visiting Sanrio Puroland is a must.  Enter a world filled with magic, happiness, and cute dancing fluffy mascots; Sanrio Puroland is like a small-scale Disney World dedicated only to Hello Kitty and her accompanying crew of Sanrio characters.  From boat rides to traversing forests, dancing with the characters to eating Hello Kitty shaped food, Sanrio Puroland has everything a Hello Kitty enthusiast would dream of, as well as the biggest Hello Kitty store I’ve ever laid my eyes on!

pink thing dance            baby

So kawaii! High Five!