Category Archives: Japan

Sushi: Why You Should Eat It Away From Tokyo!

This is an article bond to tickle some into self-righteous reactions but it will help visitors to Japan to discover the genuine article if they have the will to delve into the true gastronomic culture of this incredible country instead of limiting themselves to cliches and preconceptions acquired back home!

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Home-made Taraba crab Chirashizushi.

Tokyo is Tokyo, and like Paris, London and where else, it might be a place where you can eat (up to a point) and enjoy great Japanese food but it produces next to nothing and is always unashamedly borrowing from the gastronomy of other regions.

It is particularly obvious when it comes to sushi.
Sushi was not invented in Tokyo, or Edo for that matter, as many tend to believe when they eat Edomae Sushi, which is only one form among a plethora of styles. To begin with, edomae sushi/Tokyo sushi is made with little truly fresh fish. Actually edomae sushi was a style created by stalls in the streets to be served at all times of the day and night with preserved fish or seafood. Even now the internationally praised sushi restaurants in Tokyo use few fresh ingredients. Almost all is arranged, albeit artistically, for best conservation while served with haughty pride and consequently impossible prices.

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Large rainbow roll at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City.

But what about Tsukiji Market and its “great” sushi bars?
Unfortunately Tsukiji is only a market conceived for a sprawling metropolis, and while many a gastronome, reporters and critics included, falls into the touristic trap conscientiously organised with local and international media, it is devised first and all to feed untold numbers.
The “great” sushi bars serving “great” sushi at “great” prices are only cleverly making a mercantile use of leftovers.
Incidentally there is a misconception of tuna being all brought to Tsukiji Market before anywhere else. It is not. The greatest part of the Japanese tuna, and bonito, catch is first unloaded in the harbor of Shimizu in Shizuoka City. Actually Tokyo has first to wait that fish and seafood has reached a port somewhere else in Japan before even announcing availability on their stalls. Tujkiji Market is after all only a dealer/auction market!

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Flying fish sashimi in Yakushima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu Island.

Why don’t you take your suitcase, camera and chopsticks and board a train, bus or ship ( a plane will do, too) and start exploring the shores of this beautiful archipelago?
Frankly speaking, the choice of venues is an impossible embarrassment!

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Vegan sushi in Shizuoka City! You will not find it in Tokyo, unless you are either ready to fork out stupid prices or make it yourself!

Even in my own Prefecture of Shizuoka I would have to recommend you at least half a dozen establishments, all authentic, reasonable and serving sublime food. For example you would have to visit Yui for fresh sakura ebi/cherry shrimps, Kambara for aji/horse mackerel, Omaezaki for fresh shirasu/sarine whiting, Numazu City for fresh katsuo/bonito, Sagara for long and silvery tachiuo/scabbard fish and strange yagara/trumpet fish, Yaizu and Ogawa again for tuna and bonito, Shimoda for kinmedai and all kinds of seabream, and Hamana Lake for conger eel, eel, and oysters. And I have only started!

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Another sushi millefeuille at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!

Any region with a shore in Japan has the ingredients and the skills to offer beautiful, tasty and reasonable creations without having to resort to dubious artifices.

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The real “oyakodon/parent and child sushi bowl” with fresh sea salmon and its roe in Wakkanai, Hokkaido Island!

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And do not expect to find fresh wasabi, root, stem, leaves, flowers and all as it is not grown in Tokyo!
You will find it there but for what prices and how fresh?
We are lucky here in Shizuoka as we witnessed its birth in Utogi, Shizuoka City in the 17th Century!

Please note this is only a short essay to entice you into some delightful thinking and research!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Fish Species 10: Kurosoi/Black Rock Fish

Kurosoi/クロソイ/Black Rock Fish-Schlegel’s Black Rockfish (Latin name: Sebastes schlegelii Hilgendorf,1880) is a rock fish/scorpion Fish variety even rarer than Ainame/アイナメ/Fat Greening for the simple reason that it is one of those fish great not only for its taste but for its angling challenge!

Also known as Kurosui and Kurokara (and many local names), it is caught south of the Hokkaido Island along rocky coasts as well as off the Korean Peninsula and China.
Great efforts are presently spent on the possibility of raising them either by semi-natural methods or completely raised from egg to adult state in human-controlled environment.
Its flesh can be appreciated in any form of gastronomy, raw or cooked.

Sashimi plate.

Rare as sushi! (two on the left!)

Slow-cooked as Japanese-style aquapazza!

Its head, tail, fins and bones can be turned into a succulent Japanese-style miso bouillabaisse with other seafood!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Rural Japan and farming in Ooka, Shimada City!

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The other day I found myself with some time on hand in Shimada City and took advantage of it to visit a rural area I hadn’t visited yet, namely Ooka/相賀, deep in rural land at the foot of the mountains north of the city.

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One can board a bus (every hour only) leaving from Shimada Station North Exit next to the Tourist Information Bureau going for for Ooka. It also serves as a community bus and therefore is very cheap. Only 200 yen!

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Bus Terminal at Kami Ooka/上相賀, although the orad continues through the mountains till Okabe.

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I just leisurely walked back and took on the sighs.
Ingenious water wheel!

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Daikon/大根 laid to dry under the sun before pickled as “takuan/沢庵”!

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“Kuchinashi/梔子” flower pods used to colr the takuan a beautiful yellow color!

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Chinese cabbage/Hakusai/白菜 being dried under the sun before being pickled!

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What are these beans laid to dry under the sun!

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Soybeans/Daizu/大豆 being dried before being turned into miso paste!

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What are these?
Daikon/大根!

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And how about these?

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Turnips/kabu/蕪!

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Love those small white vegetables!

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Very fine cabbages/kabetsu/キャベツ!

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Enormous praying mantis/kamakiri/蟷螂! Loved by the farmers for their cannibal habits. Loves to eat evry insect in view!

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The last kiwi fruit of theyear?

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Loquat/biwa/枇杷 tree! Flowers coming out soon!

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Quaint Buddhist figures!

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Harvested rice paddies!

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Sweet potatoes/satsuma imo/薩摩芋!

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Carrots/ninjin/人参!

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Broccoli/ブロッコリー!

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Red chili peppers/tougarashi/唐辛子!

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A small Buddhist shrine!

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With a red cap and apron!

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A large variety of persimmon/kaki/柿! They will have to wait until February before being eaten!

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This is green tea land!

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Ginger/shoiga/生姜!

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A typical Japanese farm house!

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Leeks/negi/葱!

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The last tomatoes of the year?

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Taro/sato imo/里芋!

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Plenty of flowers around, too!
A variety of small chrysanthemums/kiku/菊!

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Marguerites?

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The last fig of the year?

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Bonsai/盆栽/Miniature trees!

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From a different angle!

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Another small Buddhist shrine!

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Winter orenges tree/Fuyu mikan/冬蜜柑!

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A fruit Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for!

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Mandarin oranges/mikan/蜜柑!

Where shall I go next?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Crab Species 4: Japanese Mitten Crab/Mokuzugani (expanded)

This crab goes by the latin name of Eriocheir japonica (De Haan, 1835). It was first recorded outside Japan by a Dutch researcher.
It also goes under the name of 上海蟹 (Chuugo mokuzugani/チュウゴクモクズガニ) although this can also be read as “Shanghai kani” because such specimen come from China. Not to be confused!

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Japanese Mitten Crab or Mokuzugani in Japanese is also called Mokuzou, Zugani, Tsugani or Kegani.
It caught alsmost everywhere in Japan in Autumn and Winter.
In Autumn the females come to lay their eggs at river mouths.
Plenty are found along the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture.
They are caught in boxes baited with fish.

As for food, they can be eaten boiled in soups or crushed with their shell and cooked with miso. They could even be prepared as French bisque.

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The female specimens are particularly appreciated for their egg sacs.

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These boiled egg sacs with the meat make for delicious sushi nigiri or gunkan!

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Very popular served/prpeared the Chinese way!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Abandoned Shizuoka: Ivy Chimney in Shizuoka City!

I was cycling around Yamato machi in Suruga Ku, Shizuoka City when I espied a green column poking out of a cluster of houses and decided to investigate!

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That is when I realized it was an old chimney completely overgrown with ivy!

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Getting near enough was nigh impossible as it was completely surrounded with no open access to it!

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It is positively enormous by Japanese standards and would cost a fortune to pull down.
The company in front seemed to have ceased business.
They must have used an incinerator at their back.

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There was some kind of access for a better view with a flight of stairs but it was safely locked!

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I tried to walk though the high grass covering the small lane to another side access to what seemed a house or shed.

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Unfortunately the gate was safely locked and the whole place overgrown with the trees of an abandoned garden, especially loquat trees!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Weird Japan (49): Dangerous Pixie Billboard in Shizuoka City (recently changed!)!

There is a famous and ancient knife shop in Gofuku Cho, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City using a manga character depicting a cute female pixie carrying an enormous knife. on a billboard downstairs.
They have just changed it although the former picture can still be seen at the back of some local buses!

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Now the pixie still in the same garb and a big knife tied around her back is displayed prancing around!

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The stairs leading to the shop!

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Note the three blades at the bottom right and her wooden clogs!

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One more blade on her left (actually right!)!

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Not only they sell all kinds of knives but they will also sharpen your old ones!

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She is carrying along her own knives and whetting stone!

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A very sharp smile!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

Romantic Gofuku Street in Shizuoka City?

There is little romantic about Gofuku Street in Shizuoka City!
It just shows you can easily transform any dour place into a destination with some appropriate photos!

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You don’t even need a professional camera and whatever paraphernalia.
I took all these pictures with my mobile telephone! It is a Sony Ericsson they don’t make anymore, but I use it for all my blogs, although I do not use the flash!

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I was in Gofuku Street, walking aimelssly, at around 7:00 pm, just before dog and wolf as we say in French, but it was particularly dark.

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The contrast was naturally accentuated by the lamps focused by the camera.

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If you know the whims of your camera, or mobile phone for that matter, I’m sure you can come up with some very interesting shots indeed!
And you don’t need to be a pro!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents