A Honeymoon in Asia - Tokyo - Day 5

We started the day early with breakfast in Tsukiji fish market.  This is part of the chef's omakase set for $38 

I had the uni don bowl.  Sea butter

the market is closed now to the public until 10am because of bad foreigners

Masako scored us tickets to the Ghibli museum as soon as they went on sale and its a good thing she did because they sold out instantly and Steven and his brother couldn't get tix

Ghibli beer tastes how you would think Ghibli beer tastes.  Rounded corners and inoffensive.

No photography allowed so these are all the photos you get.  Its maybe my 7th time going and it is still amazing.

on the way to a gyoza place in Kichijoji

New year's rake hanging in the corner

Next up was a Shimokitazawa tour.  It's a cool little neighborhood.  Ushitora brewery.  It's craft beer and it's Asia so it's expensive.  Good stuff, they would get 5 out of 5 stars except they don't allow tasting before you commit to a pint, so they still have that hurdle to get over.

what a great idea, this onion was simmered in something and topped with pork and green onions.

high end bar snacks

stumbled upon this bar

shibuya crossing

shibuya crossing rain from Jason Raish on Vimeo.

nonbei yokocho, micro bars

just like Foo, Debbie, Salih, and Jennifer's last night in Tokyo we ended our last night at Tight bar.  By coincidence it's the place John and Masako like.  They guy was playing 

Masako's large collection of various umeshu (plum wine) that she made.  impressive.

Well that's it for Tokyo this time around.  Thanks to all my buddies who hung out.  Thanks to John and Masako for hosting us for all those days.  Tokyo stay cool!

A Honeymoon in Asia - Tokyo - Days 3 and 4

Soon we would all be drunk little tanukis
we went straight from the airport to Yakitori time.  Even Jeff Yeh was there on a business trip.  Kinue's husband Kenji too.  

a long karaoke session

Zima is still alive and well in Japan

one more drink under the tracks

this was our Harajuku and Shibuya day, but first breakfast at Bread and Tapas near John and Masako's house.  Everything was delicious.

Blue Brick Lounge in Minami Aoyama

Warhammer is one of the nerdiest things you can do

Beers at Big Love record shop in lesser trafficked Harajuku

we met up with Chika in Shibuya and embarked on a super spicy ramen adventure.  Usually Japanese stuff is not spicy at all because they can't/don't really eat spicy food so well.  This ramen however was SPICY.  We got level 5 and 6 and 6 was starting to be on the unenjoyable end, so for Japanese people it must be torture.

I can eat some pretty spicy stuff but I would recommend only going as high as level 5 because you want to actually taste your food.  It was good stuff though.

Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto is the name of the joint.

Just 3 girlfriends hanging out on a Sunday night

Nintendo lost their lawsuit against this go cart rental service because they call it MariCar and not Mario Kart.  I don't see how they could lose, they are dressed up like Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, etc...  You just need a driver's license or international license to drive these things.  I don't see how it's safe or how it can stay around that much longer.  People are annoyed by it but honestly it looks pretty f'ing fun to me.

A Honeymoon in Asia - Seoul - Day 3

I'm sure this fish was really good but I could barely eat it.  I had a hard time getting up that morning and felt bad.  I rapidly started feeling sick.  Cold chills, fever, sweating, gurgly stomach, headache.  I didn't know what was wrong with me but slowly theorized that I had food poisoning.  Everyone else was fine though.  We traveled by car for a lot of the day making me car sick on top of it all.  Because of this gastrointestinal problem I couldn't eat either, which was bad because I was with my in-laws and the theme of the trip and of Korean culture is to eat a lot.  The first thing that was handed to me when I woke up was the worst for a food poisoned stomach, an ultra salta flavor punch fish egg sack.  I tried my best to talk to the fam but towards the end all I could do was sit there waiting to die.  It was a pretty bad day.

her parents have beautiful Korean furniture.  Check out all that mother of pearl in-lay.

Her mom has this horse riding electronic exercise machine, made by National (a Japanese company).  Yes, it's for real, and no it's not as weird as you think because people on instagram were saying they want one.
I slept at the hotel for an hour and then we had another big dinner to go to, this time with Jen's Mom's side of the family.  They chose a Korean BBQ place just for me and when we arrived there was already a mountain of grilled meats and a huge spread of food awaiting me.  They must have thought, what an @$$hole, why isn't he eating anything, this dinner is for him and Jen.  I was feeling very bad and could only eat a few bites.  It's like a comedy movie, son-in-law from America meets wife's Korean family for the first time, can't speak Korean, can barely speak at all, looks sweaty, doesn't eat or drink anything (in a culture where doing a lot of both is important), and sits there looking meek and pathetic.  It also makes it better because Jen can't speak Korean either so there was no helping out or explaining from her end.  I heard her mom tell a few of the family members that I wasn't feeling well but I don't think that really did the job, so I sat there looking like a human tube blob.  Her family on both sides were very nice, gave us gifts, and did their best with what little they had to work with as far as Jason Raish went.  After the dinner we had to go meet Jungeun from Yonsei University days and Nana, my roommate in Beijing who is married to a Korean guy now.  We had planned to meet weeks ago so I sucked up all my strength and made it work.  We went to Local Bubble, a gastro pub with a lot of craft beer.  Craft beer is making its way into Korea and is expensive (see Kyungwon and Kyle's venture).

We stayed at the Sommerset Palace Hotel which is next to the Japanese embassy in Seoul.  An famously there is this statue of a girl representing a "Comfort Woman" from WWII.  Estimates are that some 200,000 Women were forced into sex slavery during wartime by the Japanese.  The Japanese government was not happy with this statue and it caused a diplomatic row and lots of Korean peeps camped out and protested around the statue.  Eventually a resolution was made but with lots of Koreans not happy with it because the Japanese history books don't state the facts.  An identical statue was put up in front of the Japanese embassy in Busan in the south and it re-opened the diplomatic row.

There are still people camping out, their aim is to protect the statue.

we had Haejangguk, Hangover stew, before heading to the airport.  It was full of tripe and blood and other intestinal goodies so that part of it wasn't our fav.  My stomach was also operating at about 30% by that point as well.  Your stomach better get better real fast Jason because you've planned a 10 person yakkitori dinner back in Tokyo that night!

So the 4 people reading this blog know that I'm adopted, from Korea.  This is the first time i've had a Korean family in Korea.  It makes me feel all kinds of ways.  Thanks to the Suhs and the Yoos for everything.  And thanks to Jen's parents for paying for everything, getting our hotels, driving, organizing, and hanging out with us for a week.  I had a different kind of experience in Korea this time, a family experience, kind of like I never got to have.  Feelings in all kinds of ways.