Oden & Odenya in Shizuoka City: A Secret & Sacred Way of Life!

Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town

Having spent 36 years eating and drinking my way through Shizuoka City, I suddenly felt last summer in need of a “kakureya/隠れ屋”, that is, a secret place or lair where I could go any time of the day (and late afternoon) without worrying about making encounters of the unwanted kind while indulging with a drink and a bite.

A typical dark broth Shizuoka oden!

Bars or restaurants just wouldn’t fit the bill (in many ways!). Too many people, too many ears, too many known and unknown….
What I needed was a small and cozy place patronized by similar-minded customers.
Quite difficult in Shizuoka, or anywhere else in Japan… a country where secrets can’t be kept safe later than the next morning….

Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town before opening time in mid-afternoon.

Oden are comfort food that you can find in any city in Japan, but Shizuoka boasts the largest number of oden shops, restaurants serving them on a regular basis in the whole country. It has been consumed and served there since Edo Times (1600~) and it regularly appears on TV shows, magazines and the like in spite of its humble origins. In English it is sometimes translated as “Japanese hot pot”.
Oden in the rest of Japan are usually served at outdoors food stands or in izakayas.
Although you can find oden in no less than 300 officially recognized izakaya and waterholes in Shizuoka City, our town has a particularity nowhere else found in Japan: Oen Yokocho/おでん横丁/Oden Alleys!

Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town in the early evening.

There are only two in town (there are other alleys called “yokocho” but the establishments are more varied including izakayas, yakitori and so on) but they are known all over the country to the point that it is quite usual to meet customers coming as far as Tokyo on week-ends, or on Monday and Friday nights after business meetings and visits!

Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town has a history of its own.
The oden food stands were ercted outdoors in Aoba Koen/Aoba Park Street in Aoi Ku until early 1960. And there were many of them!
But in early 1960 the city hygiene laws were changed and all the food stands were ordered to vacate the area.
Some moved to form the Yokocho on the other side of the crossroads with Showa Sttreet. This particular saw a half being renovated this year. Although the food and the atmosphere is the same inside the shops (see pictures later in this article), only half of it has preserved its unique cachet although that might might disappear in the near future. And out of 18, two are more izakayas than odenya.

On the other hand, 21 food stands owners moved to Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town.
At that time they were not using gas to heat the oden but charcoal or sumi/墨 in Japanese.
The sumiya/墨屋 who was selling them his charcoal proposed them to move to his property which he transformed into an alley housing 21 (the 22nd is used as a storeroom) small shops and washroom facilities.
Each shop sits between 6 and 9 customers depending on the configuration,
Although the whole place has turned into a real time slip there is little danger of seeing it modernized soon thanks to its national fame!
And the interesting thing is that they all take their holiday on the same day, namely Wednesday!

All of them have a large noren/暖簾/entrance curtain in front of the glass-paned sliding door upper halves to preserve the privacy of the customers inside
Although all shops will serve oden, some will serve only oden while others will also serve “home-made” food by the owners who could be owned a single (in number!) lady, a single gentleman, two ladies or two gentlemen or a couple!
Usually when an owner retires the place is immediately taken over by a former customer or younger person in search of a small establishment!
I prefer the kind that serves true oden with a little extra home-made food for better balance and a little personal touch.
Oden only can become pretty heavy on the system, especially with all the drinks.
Actually the food served in any odenya is a clear indication of the owner and customers’ characters!

The modernized entrance to the “crossroads yokocho”.

Now, how did I choose “my” odenya (once you have chosen one, there is little point in visiting another one in the same alley for many reasons) among the 21 available in Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town?
Well, I mentioned that I wanted oden and a little more, which already took care of half of them. I also preferred one held by a single lady (not for the reasons you might think of!) and my “kind of customers”. Moreover, although I would go there by myself, there would be times when I would take somebody else with me (again not for the reasons you might think of!).

For a closer view of the modernized entrance to the “crossroads yokocho” in daytime.

As I said, there are only 21 of them but I still walked slowly around the whole place three times before venturing inside one!
The clinching reason why I chose that particular odenya (whose name I will not tell you!) was that the customers were half ladies, half gentlemen, a sure sign of the balance I was looking for.
A male-only clientele can be very boring whereas that of a different gender can be too noisy and nosey (nice pun, wasn’t it?!

An odenya early in late afternoon inside the renovated part of the “crossroads yokocho”

I was actually quite lucky in my choice as it is not always the case that ladies came in equal numbers.
I found out quickly enough that the great majority of the customers were regulars, ladies and gentlemen alike, but also that they were of very similar mind in spite of their vastly different fields and occupations.
They (the “mama san” included) all shared a love for good intelligent talk (craic-loving Irish would love the place!), good homey food, and better drinks, be they sake, shochu, beer and even wine (yes, you read true!).

The traditional entrance of the “crossroads yokocho”

Regulars include two fluent English speaking ladies (did I tell you not to ask nonsensical questions? LOL), a long course fisherman, a company boss, a famous restaurant owner, company executives, city and prefecture officials, a few “mama san”, an architect, a media man, a media lady, salesmen and salesladies, a foreigner (who, you may ask?) and so and so on.
I can assure that on some days the conversations can be really lively!

A nation-famous odenya at the traditional entrance of the “crossroads yokocho” (not my cup of tea, though)

It is a little microcosm of the better side of the Japanese society. In one of the safest cities of an exceptionally safe country, no one worries to swallow one too many drinks. One leaves his/her bag on her stool when going to the washroom. Everyone sits elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder without undue discomfort. One can share some very useful information thanks to the variety of the customers who would not do so in other establishments.

The renovated inside half of the “crossroads yokocho”

Another reason why everyone feels comfortable is because the “Mama san” is the rare one to refuse all interviews from magazines or TV’s in spite of insistent requests! Almost all the other establishments have appeared in some magazines, TV shows or on the Internet. This is another reason why I will not reveal any names.
Mind you, if you are a good friend who understands “the rules” I’ll be only too happy to take you there!

The traditional inside half of the “crossroads yokocho”

Another aspect of this particular secret and sacred (nothing to do with religion!) odenya is that most customers, e,g, the “regulars or jorem/常連” as they say in Japanese, are active and busy people who do move a lot in the prefecture, country and even abroad. We must be an exception, but I’m sure you will find your own crowd! Some of us regularly come with all kinds of “miyage/土産”, mostly food and drinks, and share them with the Mama san (who does the same more than often) and other customers. That may include sushi, sake, shochu, dry food, even fish sashimi!
I personally bring all kinds of sake I report on! I usually pay only an “agreed token” of 500 yen every time I come, although the Mama san refused any money at first due to all the sake I was bringing her (she drinks a lot of it and I insisted that she asked her own money for it when she served it to “non-regulars”!)! The company boss regularly brings wine for all to drink!

Now, I belatedly realized that I’m patronizing that particular odenya a bit too often…
But I already have decided which other one to patronize inside the “Crossroads Yokocho” at a convenient distance from the Aoba Oden Machi/Aoba Park Oden Alley/Town!
Don’t expect me to reveal its name, either!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Fujimasa Brewery-Honjozo

Usually I’m not really keen to acquire “souvenir sets” when it come to sake, but Fujimasa Brewery in Fujinomiya City, whose sake are not easy to buy in Shizuoka City, put out an interesting set I could not resist!

Instead of the difficult to handle one-cup sake they offered their products in 180 ml bottles making it so practical for individual tasting of 3 different sake instead of having to buy the bigger bottles.

Cute design representing the brewery!

You are invited to compare the three different tastes!

The second bottle! A honjozo!

Rice milled down to 65%
Alcohol: 15=16 degrees
Bottled in August 2012

Clarity: Very clear
Color: Light golden hue
Aroma: Strong, fruity and spicy. Green apples, melon, almonds and faint notes of banana.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Well-rounded attack with a strong and pleasant alcohol bak up warming up the palate.
Complex. Dry, fruity and spicy.
Almonds, dark chocolate, chestnuts.
Lingers for a little while before leaving the stage on a dry and spicy note.
Easy to drink on its own away from food in spite of its dry and spicy nature.
Dry almonds make a strong comeback with the second cup.
Varies little with food, persevering with its delicious spiciness. Actually tends to take on a softer turn inside the palate with a wealth of nuts.
Oranges, macadamia nuts, almonds and chestnuts combine for a very pleasant nutty sweetish taste away from food.

Overall: Another sake obviously designed for food, but eminently enjoyable on its own.
A sake one could bring to any izakaya, BBQ or outdoors party!
The spicy nutty taste will surprise and please quite a few, especially for the fact it tends to reveal new facets from the third glass onward!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

French Bistro-Izakaya: Chez Satsukawa in Shizuoka City!

Service: Very friendly and easy-going, more professional in the “room”.
Facilities: Very Clean and beautiful washroom!
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: French food in Izakaya style. Great sake and wines! Extensive use of local ingredients!

Chez Satsukawa is probably the oldest favorite restaurant of mine still standing in Shizuoka City!

I’ve known Chef Tomio Satsukawa/薩川富雄さん since the days he was looking after a Restaurant called Chez Chinois before he went independently in 1989!
His restaurant moved twice to the present location where he conceived his establishment in what he calls “Bistronomie”, and what I call French Bistro-Izakaya!
Simply said it is a happy marriage of French and Japanese ( and a little Chinese!) traditional culinary trends.
It is the kind of place where you can come on your oe\wn and sit at the counter or visit in company and sit at a more elegant table.

The menu is easy to understand thanks to personal drawings. If you don’t read Japanese just ask him and hewill gladly reply in his gruff voice!

Don’t foregt to check the day’s specilas!

Like in an izakaya you will be served appetizers with the first drink. The difference is that they are made with a French concept in mind!

Japanes pickled daikon and open quiche.

Stewed burdock roots and cucumber salad.

It would take quite a few visits to smaple all the specialties but there is one you must start with: Chinese-style raw fish salad/Salade de Poisson!

This time the fish was Shizuoka sole!

You are supposed to mix all ingredients in the dish before transferring it to your plates!

Expect many French bistro classics!
The one above is a seasonal Shizuoka wild boar terrine/Terrine de sanglier sauvage!

I would kill for that!
Notice the pieces of foie gras!

Another specialty of the chef: Chinese Pekin Duck-stylle duck served with crepes!

The pancakes and the sauce!

The duck and the finely chopped white leeks!

Et voila!
Just roll the pancake and eat it with your fingers!

For the potato lovers the Red Moon (Organically-grown in Shizuoka) Potato “Frites” are a nust!

For the hungry client in need of hot food Chef Satsukawa even have a yaki kare/Oven-baked curry inpired from a recipe originating from North Kyushu Island!

Indian? American? Japanese? French? Fusion gastronomy, certainly!

To be continued…

CHEZ SATSUKAWA
420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Kooya Machi, 4-9, Matsunaga Kooya Machi Bldg, 2F
Tel.: 054-205-5133
Business hours: 12:00~14:30, 17:30~23:00 (22:00 on Sundays)
Closed on Mondays and Tuesday for lunch
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2012/11/21): Thanksgiving Day Release: West Coast Wheat Wine 2012

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin
bryan-sayuri.gif

Thanksgiving Day Release: West Coast Wheat Wine 2012

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The onset of cooler weather and shorter days announces the arrival of the season for the enjoyment of hearty, warming and complexly potent ales. We are pleased to greet the season with the Thanksgiving Day release of our 2012 version of West Coast Wheat Wine.

New Seasonal Baird Beer Releases:
*West Coast Wheat Wine 2012 (ABV 9.5%):

Wheat Wine is a beer style born on the U.S. West Coast in the 1980s, thought to have been originally brewed at the Rubicon brewery-pub in Sacramento, California. It has as its progenitor the British Barely Wine style. A Wheat Wine, generally, is characterized by a rich and hearty complexity that is lightened and made a touch sprite by a predominantly wheat, rather than barley, malt base. It is a style representative of the irreverent creativity and unrelenting passion that are hallmarks of craft brewing on the West Coast of the United States. Baird West Coast Wheat Wine is crafted in annual homage to the skilled brewing artisans and fearless beer entrepreneurs who have pioneered craft brewing on America’s great West Coast!

This 2012 version of West Coast Wheat Wine contains no character malt whatsoever and thus appears in a wonderfully hazy hue of sunset gold. The flavor is characterized by a deep, layered wheat malt complexity that is punctuated by 80 BUs of clean and crisp hop character (exclusive use of U.S. West Coast hops: Magnum, Galena, Sterling, Perle, Vanguard). At packaging, West Coast Wheat Wine is krausened in order to add further flavor complexity and to produce a piquant but soft all-natural carbonation.

West Coast Wheat Wine 2012 is available for shipment immediately (kegs as well as 360 ml bottles) and begins pouring from our Taproom taps on Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.).

In addition to West Coast Wheat Wine, two new small-batch seasonal brews also will debut at our Taproom pubs this Thursday. One is a handpump-dispensed American-style robust porter (American Porter; 6.1%), which brims with American hop character (Columbus, Simcoe, Cascade) without losing its rich malt opulence. The other (Thanksgiving Harvest Amber Ale; 5.1%) is an autumn foliage-colored ale that combines three malted grains (rye, wheat, barley) to produce a hearty yet intricately nuanced malt character. The hopping features American Glacier, a wonderfully spicy and herbal hop. American Porter and Thanksgiving Harvest Amber Ale are available only on tap and exclusively at the Baird Beer Taproom pubs.

Cheers,

Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

Food & Drink Bloggers in Japan (amended November, 21st, 2012)

The number of foreigners and Japanese nationals who write about the food and drinks in Japan in English (or at least answer comments in English) has remarkably increased lately.
I thought it was about time to start some kind of round-up to help people discover these deserving foodies and their blogs!The list below is far from exhaustive, but I’m planning to update and announce it regularly!
Of course if you know more foodies residing in Japan, do please direct them to me and I will introduce them gladly!

HOKKAIDO TRIBE
(Hokkaido Island)
Meishu no Yutaka by Carlin
The Best of Sapporo by Ben!

TOHOKU TRIBE
(Northeastern Japan: Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima)
Cooking with Mama Miyuki in Sendai
Slow Food From Japan by Nigel Fodgen in Miyagi Prefecture.

KANTO TRIBE
(Eastern Japan: Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa)
Japan Eat’s Videos
Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton
Watch Japan in Tokyo
Little Japan Mama in Tokyo
Japan Eats (featured on request)
47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities By Sara and Roshni in Tokyo
Eating Out in Tokyo with DominicTokyo Through The Drinking Glass by Melinda Joe in Tokyo
Tokyo Foodcast by Etsuko Nakamura in Tokyo
Sake World by John Gauntner in Tokyo: The inernational Reference for Japanese Sake!
Tokyo Terrace by Rachael in Tokyo
Gaijin Tonic in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture
Nonjatta by Chris Bunting in Tokyo
The Soul Of Japan in Kanagawa Prefecture
Sake, kimono and Tabi In Tokyo
Tokyo Kawai, Etc… in Tokyo
Blue Lotus in Tokyo
The Japanese Food Report by Harris Salat in Tokyo
The Sake Chronicles in Tokyo
Watashi to Tokyo by Mari Kanazawa in Tokyo
Japanese Food-Food Lover’s Guide by Yukari Yamamoto in Tokyo
Gaijin Life by a Canadian gentleman in Tokyo
Leo’s Japan Food Blog in Tokyo
Eating Out In Tokyo With Jon
Fugu Tabetai in Tokyo
Japan Style in Tokyo
COCO’s Oriental Kitchen by angela Cooper in Tokyo
Free Online Japanese Food Recipes in Tokyo
Reminiscence in Tokyo
Cooking Japanese Style By Naoko, in Tokyo
Japan Farmers Market in Tokyo by Joan

CHUBU TRIBE
(Central Japan: Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi)
Good Beer & Country Boys in Aichi Prefecture
Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonbayashi in Shizuoka City!
Damonde Life by Matt Ryan in Hamamatsu & Enshu, shizuoka Prefecture
Mangantayon in Shizuoka Prefecture
Shizuoka Gourmet, Shizuoka Sake, Shizuoka Sushi, Shizuoka Shochu in Shizuoka Prefecture
Bryan Baird’s Beer & Brewery in Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture
A Modern Girl from Niigata and all over Japan!

KANSAI TRIBE
(Western Japan: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Kyoto, Wakayama)
Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
Yellin Yakimono Gallery by Robert Yellin in Shizuoka Prefecture, just moved to Kyoto!
Colorfood Daidokoro in Osaka (Englis & French)
Dominique Corby In Osaka (in French, but can answer and read in English)
Nagaijin in Osaka
Kyoto Foodie in Kyoto
Our Adventures in Japan by K and S Minoo in Osaka
Japan Food Addict by Mai in Kyoto

CHUGOKU
(“Central Country”: Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi)
“Made in Matsue” in Shimane prefecture
Get Hiroshima Blog in Hiroshima
The Wide Island Review, The JET Programme Webzine Of Hiroshima Prefecture (includes food & drink articles)

SHIKOKU
(Shikoku Island: Kagawa, Kochi, Ehime, Tokushima)
Obachan’s Kitchen & Garden Balcony in Kochi Prefecture
Still Clumsy With Chopsticks in Kochi Prfecture (Continuation of Obachan’s Kitchen & Garden Balcony)
Rocking in Hakata by Deas Richardson

KYUSHU
(Kyushu Island: Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Saga, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima)
Finding Fukuoka
Food from Fukuoka, Kyushu and Japan by Fumiko Soda
Fukuoka Sake Guide by Daisuke Ito
Quixotidienne in Kagoshima Prefecture
Christine Molero in Kyushu & elsewhere (French)

OKINAWA
(Okinawa Archipelago)
HWN Pake in Okinawa in Chatan, Okinawa
I’m sorry to say that Nate has just passed away and that his blog has disappeared, but I’ll keep it there as it is in his memory!
Dojo Bar in Naha
Eating Okinawa
Okinawa Hai!
Total Okinawa

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

Musk Melons: The Best in the World grown in Shizuoka Prefecture! Tasting Heaven!

When it comes to fruit, and especially melons, the Japanese must be the most extravagant farmers and consumers in the World!
Not so long ago Roland Buerk of The BBC wrote a fine article about the musk melons grown in Shizuoka Prefecture:
Check here and you will be convinced I’m not biased!: Shizuoka Musk Melons-Japan’s obsession with perfect fruit by Roland Buerk of the BBC

Last night I received a phone call from a home delivery company checking my address as they were going to deliver me one these extravagant melons today as a gift from a friend!
Would you believe I stayed home all day just for that melon as it arrived only at 4:30 in the afternoon (on a Sunday!)?

Before I start describing the experience let me tell who is growing these beauties:
The Company is simply called Shizuoka Crown Melons and is located in Fukuroi City, although they are actually members of the Shizuoka Greenhouse Growers Association!
Although it is written in Japanese check their homepage here: SHIZUOKA CROWN MELONS.
Also check the CROWN MELON FARMERS INTERVIEW VIDEO!
Mind boggling!

Let me continue today’s story then:

The package! With indications “FRAGILE” and “KEEP IT STANDING”!

Another package inside the first package!
Japanese attention to care and details!

Japan Agriculture Forestry and Fishery Minister Award/Shizuoka Crown Melon/農林水産大臣賞受賞!

Such a beautiful box!
Alright, let’s open it!

English that anyone should be able to understand although the fruit are not exported!

To be consumed between November 16th and November 18th! Let’s hurry, then!

Plenty of explanations for the consumer’s attention!

Well, you must read Japanese! LOL

Actually the pamphlet is very informative, but once again you must be able to read Japanese! LOL again!

The melon!

Note the perfect T-shaped stem!
Would you believe that the melons are brushed every day by hand?

WOW!
Look at that color and the perfect smooth grain of the flesh inside.
The seeds are so small!
Only one melon is allowed to grow on each plant!

The flesh is just perfect with a regular color, a fine grain, juices bursting out but with just the perfect smoothness and firmness for the ultimate bite!

It will be tough to eat other melons after having tasted a Crown Melon, believe me!
It is unfortunate that one can’t convey the perfume and taste on the Internet!

Shizuoka Crown Melon
437-0056 Shizuoka Prefecture, Fukuroi City, Oyama, 239
Tel.: 0538-42-4146
Fax: 0538-42-3208
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Makino Brewery-Fujisan Junmai Ginjo

Makino Brewery might be a small brewery in Fujinomiya City but it is the only in Prefecture calling one one of its brands “Fujisan/Mount Fuji/富士山”!

Their sake are not easy to find in Shizuoka City, but for once I managed to get my hands on their Junmai Ginjo!

Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15 degrees
Bottled in September 2012

Clarity: very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Fruity and light. Pineapple, green apples
Body: Fluid
Taste: Dry and smooth attack immediately followed by puissant junmai petillant.
Rapidly disappears on an even drier note.
Fruity and complex. Almond, pears, macadamia nuts.
Ends up on very dry almonds.
Insistently calls for the next cup.
Faint coffee beans appearing later.
Very easy to drink in spite of its very dry nature.
Changes little with food but tends to disappear more quickly then.
Strong comeback by coffee beans away from food.

Overall: In spite of its elevated ginjo status, it is a sake highly enjoyable with food.
Because of its dryness it can be also appreciated at any temperature.
A sake for dry sake lovers, it seemed very attractive to my lady friends!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, Pierre.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: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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