The day after I got back to Tokyo, my sweetie and another friend and I trekked up to Mt. Takao, outside the city. So many restaurants have plastic models of food on display outside, but at one place, they had a cute display made out of papier-mache.

Feed me, Tokyo

Engrish is everywhere! Yes, it’s a very gourmetic world, and we’re just living in it.

A friend took me to her favorite soba shop, where the noodles are homemade and served Edo-Mae-style (i.e., a strong, salty soy dipping broth, not the mild stuff they give you in Kyoto). It came with tempura-fried hamo (yes, I’m obsessed) and shiso leaves.

Action shot: There was a constant line of about 20 people outside the Cold Stone Creamery at Roppongi Hills, some of the chicest real estate in Tokyo. I walked in while all the perky kids were singing their ice cream theme song as they kneaded strawberries and cookies into blobs of ice cream. Interesting to note, the Sweet Cream tasted better there than here, I think because the milk in Japan is so damn good.
One of the ponds at Ueno Park was a sea of lotuses about to bloom – too gorgeous. Nearby, little old men sat behind their outdoor vending kiosks, chopping cabbage to make okonomiyaki (one of my favorites) at lunchtime.

Lunch in Shibuya, at a restaurant whose name roughly translates to The Beautiful Rabbit: This ginormous feast was called the “Lady’s Set.” That made me feel more ladylike and a little less guilty for eating almost every morsel set in front of me. (There were noodles, too, which didn’t fit into the camera frame. Oink!)

Mmm, tempura . . .

I have to indulge in a Mos Cheeseburger once in awhile. That’s a sloppy tomato sauce on the burger, along with mayo and chopped sweet onions. Sure, it’s fast food, but it still rocks, and it’s actually clean and pleasant inside the restaurant. Next to the front counter, there’s a little chalkboard listing the names of the farmers who grew the produce being used that day, and up above, there’s a sign that says, “Hamburger is my life.” That would make a great t-shirt.

The gods are thirsty: Casks of sake outside of Meiji Shrine, in Tokyo.

A quiet moment at Meigetsu-in, in Kamakura.

These two perfect peaches, wrapped in foam padding, probably cost someone a nice chunk of change. (Fruit’s so expensive in Japan.) They were an offering for the Daibutsu, along with flowers and a lovely bowl of oranges.

Asakusa Bakushu, a local microbrew.

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