17 March, 2016

Visiting Japan

By Clint

Serious business.
Far from NJS approved. 
After our visit to Taipei, I decided to take the Travel's Check to Tokyo to ride around, eat ramen, and visit shops.

Tori Paitan ramen at Kagari in Ginza.
The ramen master at Fu-unji in Shinjuku.
Many of these noodle shops were tucked away in alleys around the city, marked only with Kanji characters.  Knowing little to no Japanese, it was reasonably difficult to locate some of them.  The general strategy was to figure out what block the shop was on, walk around a few times, and look for the lines, often with a few white people who read the same food blogs I do.

Mountain (山) is one of the few characters I know.
The powerlines are kinda cool.
Preserve by the fishing town. 
This food is so pretty.
Mr Kentaro of M's Collection, one of our distributors in Japan, was nice enough to show me around the Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo.  We rode around one of his favorite routes, along the water, past a fishing town, then to a harbor where they'll be sailing in the 2020 Olympics.   We stopped at a cute little restaurant on the water for a great lunch.  The views were great along the water.  Fishing boats coming in and out, surfers on the beach.
Even the drive there and back was rather scenic.  It still amazes me how far the city extends, turning into warehouse districts, then back into high rises and sky scrapers.  On the way back, we drove past the Fuji TV building.  Didn't get a good photo, but I've wanted to see it (it was in a bunch of those cartoons I watched as a kid).

Original location in Hatagaya.

They let me help out in the shop. 
Rew10 and Cook Paint Works.
Okonomiyaki master.
Next, I had the opportunity to visit some of Blue Lug's shops.  Coolest shops I've ever been to.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping in.  They now have three locations and a coffee shop/bar.  They do some incredible custom builds.
One of their staff members, Naoto, was nice enough to show me around town. I had the opportunity to see some sides of town, I wouldn't have found as a tourist.   We met up at the Tsukiji fish market in the morning, grabbed some food, explored some hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, and rode around town.  We had a great lunch at Lug, Blue Lug's cafe & bar.  After that, we stopped by to see Rew10 workshop and Cook Paint Works next door.  They both do amazing work.  After a busy day riding around town, we went out for okonomiyaki, seafood pancakes and takoyaki, octopus balls.

Night ride, remember to ride on the left.  
Back in the states now.  I already miss the people, the food, and the heated toilet seats.  Can't wait to go back.  Special thanks to Mr. Kentaro and Blue Lug for hosting me!  I had such a good time!


Grego said...

How cool! Thank you for sharing your pictures and experiences!

Clint'so dad said...

Good job Clint!

David said...

I sort of love and hate you guys in equal parts! Japan is a fabulous place. No place like it. Tour d Noto some day.