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A culinary journey through Asian metropolises – Japan, Tokyo

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Nadia Damaso travelled to Asia for SWISS where she fed her way through the Asian metropolises.

In the first post of her culinary journey, she presents you Japan.

Japan, Tokyo

A country full of clichés but more so of surprises! You simply have to have experienced it yourself to realise that the Japanese don’t just live on sushi; big cities like Tokyo are just as well-ordered and quiet as cities like Zurich on a Sunday; mouthguards are not worn because of smog, but first and foremost by women who want to cover their non-makeup faces; every toilet seat is heated, whether inside a shopping centre or outside at a park (this really has to be introduced in Switzerland!); fresh fish, for example, from the biggest fish market in the world – Tsukiji fish market – just melts on your tongue; the Japanese enjoy both the heart and insides of a fish alike; ramen soup has been almost naturalised in Japan although it originally came from China; freshly made soba noodles are the cream of the crop; the manufacturing process of sake – a Japanese rice wine – is comparable with beer brewing; green tea and matcha tea are second to none; the famous Onsen hot spring baths can only be used in the nude; sumo wrestlers are as flexible as a rubber band but at the same time as strong as Hercules and could eat as much as Obelix at every meal; beans are part of practically every dessert and besides all this yummy food, it’s quite simply an incredibly exciting, appealing and diverse country!

 

Not to miss

  • Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo – the largest and most famous fish market in the world. More than 2,000 tonnes of seafood are traded a day.
  • Kaiseki dinner with Onsen bath and overnight stay in a Ryokan – you can’t get more typical “Japanese” than that!
  • Watch sumo training – and be both astonished and entertained at the same time.
  • If you have enough time, travel on the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Itoigawa. Enjoy freshly caught crabs on the coast, then go for a 30 minute drive up into the mountains, which are covered in one metre of snow even in April.

It is important to know that..

  • ..it is a huge advantage to have a translator as you won’t get very far with just “Konichiwa”.
  • ..pushing is a completely foreign concept and you should never blow your nose in public.
  • ..you should eat down to the last grain of rice as it is good manners.
  • ..prices are similar to those in Switzerland.
  • ..you can fly with SWISS directly and daily to Tokyo and the service is great!
  • ..cherry blossom time, end of May/beginning of April, is one of the best – you are however surrounded by tourists.
  • ..you should book hotels a few months in advance as it is otherwise difficult to get fairly decent accommodation.
  • ..you have to take off your shoes before steps and landings (shoelaces are therefore not very good)
  • ..you should try everything that smells good to you – only then will you know if you like it or not!
  • ..you should take as many photos as possible – just as many as the Japanese take when they are in Europe!

 

Text: Nadia Damaso
Bild: Nadia Damaso & Tanja Wüthrich