Japan Journal

Back in LALALand and finally have a moment to reflect on my trip to Japan.


Omakase at Yasuda – in a rare moment when all other guests were gone, Chef Yasuda told us his favorite sushi was rock oyster sushi, then prepared it for us. I was in disbelief because not only did no one else get to taste it that evening, I felt that this was an intimate and special revealing. He told us his favorite places in Tokyo like a knife shop downtown, which we visited, and explained to us how his journey started, in New York, and why his personal views clash with the Japanese way. Even though I was about to keel over from jet lag, there couldn’t have been a better way to start my trip. It set a tone, a mood. Tokyo became backlit with a personal story, one that cued certain elements the rest of the time, like noticing the order, discipline and politesse of the culture more from the perspective of someone who is Japanese but internally, rebels.

10 Course Kaiseki at Isshi Souden Nakamura – I felt tears flooding my eyes not just because of how beautiful the courses were, how elegant they tasted, how unique the night was sitting on bamboo mats in Kyoto and watching the rain tap gently on the sliding glass doors, but because I seriously couldn’t eat anymore by the 7th course. Sometimes a sensory overload can elicit a powerful emotional response in me; I am moved. As I get older I find that ability to be moved disappearing because it’s worn down by exposure. But Nakamura brought it out in me; you can’t not appreciate the experience.

Tea at Ippodo – I’d found this place on Instagram a while back and never had an opportunity to visit the shop in New York. The original shop in Kyoto is adorable. I have never had matcha that tasted as rich and flavorful. We went back twice even in the rain because we loved it so much.

Hedgehog cafe- there are many types of cafe’s- cat, owl, bunny, maid, you name it. The one I thought would be special was the hedgehog cafe, where you could pick up tiny hedgehogs over tea. Mine was very prickly and walked all over me, literally! You’re supposed to cup it in both hands while holding it, but mine wouldn’t sit still.

Bondage workshop with Kinoko Hajime- our last day in Tokyo right before heading to Haneda airport, we met with legendary Kinbaru artist Kinoko. He told me I have “a very mistress face”- I blushed