Japan by Woleck

Tokyo is a staggering city, due primarily to its immense proportions - the agglomeration of Tokyo boasts a population in excess of 35 million people - and secondly through the cultural shock to which we, the Gaijin, meaning outsider, are subjected when we touch down in Japan for the first time. Here everything evolves around the principle of respect; “excuse-mes” trip off the tongue effortlessly in the event of an accidental bump or collision, the younger generation respects the old, aggressive behaviour is non-existent, as are any feelings of insecurity, while tradition plays an integral part in the life of every Japanese individual. I was lucky enough to discover Japan with my friend Keisuke Matsushima, the eponymous Michelin-starred chef based in France and Japan, as we explored the must-see areas beyond the well-trodden tourist track. Indeed I discovered the city through the extraordinary diversity of Japanese cooking. Our visit to the fish market in Tsukiji (with compulsory alarm call at 4 am!) was a truly exceptional experience. And breakfast spent sampling delicious sushi in Uogashi Yokocho was an absolute must, (and a million miles from its European equivalent), where small fish shops and restaurants merge seamlessly into one. One of my favourite spots is Ebisu Yokosho, a kind of covered market literally teeming with miniscule restaurants, where each stall presents its own speciality, including yakitori (skewered chicken) soba and udon noodles, sushi and tempura, all served in an amazing atmosphere.”

Woleck

From beyond | Published on: 10 December 2012
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