Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Japan and Hong Kong Trip 2012

Hello all! :)

So I got back from Tokyo and Hong Kong last week and what can I say other than: W.O.W. I am officially in LOVE with Tokyo, I adored it. Really, so rarely have a been to a city/place in a long time which has blown me away so much. I adored everything about it – ok, actually strike that, maybe not quite the amount of people in train stations (!!!???! What the?! = sheer madness!!!) but I fell in love with the people, culture (at least from the tiny amount I saw in Tokyo), friendliness, ability to queue.. yes I did just write that, how refreshing is it to go somewhere and not be pushed and shoved left, right and centre?! To the food, cleanliness, order, sense of perfection and just overall I have a new favourite city, I can’t wait to return. I feel blessed my husband Mick will quite possibly be flying back and forth here on business in the coming 12 months, so I will tag along again most definitely.

Hong Kong was a blast too, I will be totally honest and say whilst I found it a fun, vibrant, hectic place to visit, (yes I admit I did visit Marks and Spencers and I did buy too much UK expat food *cringe*) but maybe the fact I had to speak a totally different language in Japan made it a more fun place to be. I managed to master: “Hello”, “Thank you very much”, “Do you speak English?!”, “Sorry I don’t speak Japanese” and most importantly; “Can I have that one?” in Japanese, Oh and also I somehow after way too many plum wines was able to direct a totally non-English speaking/understanding Japanese taxi driver half way across the city back to our hotel, all in Japanese! I was incredibly proud of myself and overall great fun. I look forward to part 2 of a WKA Japan post in the next 6 months hopefully and also most importantly, my upcoming Japan/HK food feature which will be up by the end of next week – due to packing (see end note re heading away), work all last week etc etc (blah blah) aka ‘the usual’, I have had to hold off on including the recipes I planned to feature on here today, but I will have them up by the end of next week.

Anyway I really hope you enjoy the pics below.

My new favourite food ~ Yakitori. I loved these really simple, rustic and authentic Yakitori bars which were situated across from where I was staying. We ate for 2 or 3 nights, enjoying the skewered meats with cold beers and copious amounts of salted chilli edamame beans.

The incredible food department in Mitsukoshi Department Store Ginza… Fancy a AUD$257.00 Melon anyone? (!!?) or you could have two mangoes for the same price…

Hibiya Park

This beautiful park was located directly across from the hotel I stayed at in Tokyo. It was a sublime place to wander around in the afternoon, so incredibly peaceful and serene. The day I walked around it, was a hot one so I didn’t manage to cover as much of the park as initially anticipated, but I got a great thrill to spot my first Japanese maples trees down near the water’s edge, that’s when you know you are officially in Japan! (Along with the many black raven birds which are the same size as a small dog!)

Tsukiji Fish Markets

I was incredibly fortunate to be staying literally only a 2 minute walk from a restaurant which belonged to a good friend of my cousin ~ the latter of whom lived in Tokyo for years. ‘Andy’s’ is located under the Yamanote elevated tracks, 1 minute walk from Yurakucho or Ginza station. Apart from enjoying a a great, authentically Japanese meal with some friends on the Friday night, Andy kindly offered to show me around the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market the following Tuesday morning. He’s still pretty much the only Westerner who buys fish daily at the markets so it was great to be able to head over and get somewhat of a personalised tour. Tsukiji is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world handling over 2,000 tons of marine products every day.

I had been told that most people go to buy their fish at the unearthly hour of 4am *shudder* but thankfully Andy asked me to meet him at 8.45 as believe it or not, this is the only time Westerners are allowed into the wholesale section of the fish markets as before this time the vendors are too busy trying to make a sale to be bothered by tourists stopping to take snaps and in turn, hinder sales taking place. A few years back the fish markets were seen as a good tourist opportunity and tourists were welcomed into the markets to take photos, potter about etc., however guidelines and restrictions were not set in place for such and upon finding tourists sitting on large frozen ($$) tuna having holiday snaps taken, it was decided the number of tourists allowed into Tsukiji each day should be limited to approx. 120 per day.

I asked Andy if the vendors would have an issue with me taking photos and he admitted they generally don’t like it as this is not a venue for glossy shots; it’s a nitty, gritty, dirty, messy fish-fest and the main concern of the sellers is to make a sale, not be distracted by Westerners with their cameras snapping away. He asked that I wait to take shots at each of his vendors until they had mutually agreed upon a sale, then I could snap away to my hearts content.

I found it a utterly mad place, from when you’re not trying to get your leg taken off by one of the many (many) Japanese workers scooting around the place on their scary looking little wheely cars* (seriously they don’t stop, you’ve got to make sure you are out of the way and they come at you from all angles LOL ) to the sheer volume of fish and abundance of bizarre varieties, I literally had no iota what half the species were and a lot in turn only went to confirm I’m not the world’s biggest crustacean fan!

Andy selected his day’s worth of fish and we went about our way stopping off at the external markets or ‘Housewife’ market as Andy called them, basically a place where housewives can go and select their fish and other groceries without having to venture into the main market itself. It was great pottering about the little streets and again a good reality check in regards to being in Tokyo.

Note*: Aforementioned ‘scary looking little wheely car’ they zoom about like billio…

Andy’s restaurant:

Andy took me through the somewhat messy, gutting and cleaning of a large Yellowfin Tuna. I’m not one to shy away from blood and guts so I really was fascinated at the whole process. The cleaned fish then got passed onto his head chef for filleting for sashimi along with the the daily quota of fresh squid. Below: king crab bought at the market being steamed back at the restaurant.

Suginami, Shinjinku/Golden Gai and Shibuya

I was really fortunate that during this trip a good Irish friend of mine; Conor was in Japan teaching English. It was wonderful to get to see him as this normally only happens when I return to Dublin, so we spent a good few nights catching up; drinking way too many Asahi beers and singing really really bad karaoke (!) Conor had been in Japan only just over two months but I am totally indebted to him for showing us some really cool places in Tokyo which we would probably never have found on our own.

First off was an amazing little bar located in the Suginami area which is located in the western part of the ward area of Tokyo. After an initial walk from the train station past a few neon-lit buildings it all suddenly turned rather residential and you very much felt like you were well away from the big city as you meandered down its little house-lined streets. I honestly was a little confused as to where on earth were were going until all of a sudden Conor showed us into this amazing little ‘bar’ in which there was only 5 people. It was insanely authentic Japanese and it really felt like we had just walked into an elderly Japanese lady’s sittingroom… She and the 4 regulars at the bar were so welcoming and ushered us over to the only little table at the back of the room *note, the whole place measured about 3 x 6 metres. We were asked to remove our shoes whilst we clambered up onto the raised seating area and graciously tried to stuff our legs under the low table… this was of particular vocal hilarity to two of the elderly men as they watched my husband Mick trying in vain to get all his legs under the table due to being 6’2″ ;)

Suddenly out of nowhere I was served a WHOPPING portion of warm sake, a drink I’ll be  honest I really haven’t grown to love all that much. I tried it both warm and cold during this trip and can attest it’s not quite my tipple. I don’t know what it is, but it sort of tastes and smells a bit like sour milk and has an odd aftertaste I’m really not all that mad on. Anyway for respect-sake I tried my best to down as much of it as I could (with the help of a decent glug from both Conor and Mick to help save face). Before we knew it the owner of the bar (aka the lady pictured below) was frying up food on the little grill behind the bar and ushering it over to us as a gesture of her hospitality, all the while she and the other 4 guests nattered incessantly at us in Japanese, throwing in the odd belly laugh all the while we had utterly no iota what they were saying to us, so in that instance you smile, laugh back and look thoroughly part of the goings on! LOL It was a fabulous experience and one I’ll never forget.

The food she gave us was so wonderful, fresh green capsicum fried from what I could tell in soy sauce, black pepper and black sesame. It was paired with fresh eggplant grilled in the same manner; really simple, flavoursome proper-style drinks nibbles. I tried out a recipe when I got home last week and it tasted really similar, I didn’t get a shot but in short; cut up a green capsicum discarding the white membrane, seeds and stalk, cut green flesh into thick strips and char-grill on a hot griddle pan sprayed with a little olive oil, after 2-3 minutes splash with a good glug of soy sauce, season with freshly ground black pepper and scatter with black sesame seeds, serve warm.

The reason we were going to Suginami area was Conor had told me a few days beforehand, he was going to bring me to “The best Bar in the World”… I was intrigued… When we left the above cosy spot, we walked 3 or 4 doors up to a place called ‘October’. It was a small bar, very atmospheric and literally like the Japanese pub version of the movie ‘High Fidelity’ ~ aka I have never seen so many vinyl records in such a small place. Being a huge music fan, I was optimistic for a good few hours ahead. I had no iota we were about to encounter, quite possibly the biggest music head in all of Japan, holy moly, this owner/dj knew his stuff inside out and had quite possibly, every record ever pressed… (!).

For most of our time there we were the only patrons and sat chatting happily. After 20 minutes or so we started to notice every time one of us mentioned a country; place; band; concert or musical love etc etc., all of a sudden a song relating to such or the band itself would come on the speakers. This guy ~ Hirovuki Endo, was secretly listening in whilst pottering quietly behind his bar waiting for any given opportunity to place music we wanted to hear or reminisced about. It was fantastic! it also turned out oddly enough and much to my delight I had met Japan ~ and if not the world’s biggest RIDE fan – to explain, when I was a teenager, for about 4 years, my most favourite band in the world was an English Indie band called RIDE. Whilst there were plenty on RIDE fans ‘back in the day’ I rarely meet them nowadays. Hirovuki had the largest RIDE album collection I have ever seen and put mine to shame. I think we both got a kick out of meeting each other for that purpose alone and how amazing to find someone so utterly passionate about their love of music. October bar is well worth a visit if you are in Tokyo, it’s literally a 30 min train ride west on the Chūō Main Line.

Next we were on to Golden Gai ~ quite possibly my favourite part of Tokyo during my short stay. A myriad of miniature streets and laneways full one after the next of teeny, tiny bars all of which only hold about 6 people. Seemingly a lot are themed, so one might be all about English Literature or the next all about American Film, I was told a lot of artists, musicians, Japanese celebs etc go to have a drink and discuss their hobbies/favourite topics. We ended up in a punk one, pretty crazy and really unique, oh and also a pretty tacky Karaoke one which was a bit larger ~ i.e. it could hold 20 or so people, but quite possible one of the funniest, best night so my life in a long time. Did I mentioned Japanese business men on a Friday night after way too much Saki and beer letting off steam, are utterly hilarious and great fun to be around?!

The following is a selection of snaps taken during the week in Tokyo, mainly around Ginza where I was staying.

After a 7 night stay in Tokyo, it was onto Hong Kong for a few days where really we just kicked back and pottered about the immediate area we were staying and over near Hollywood road and Queens road where I found some interesting food and veggie shops/stalls.. If you are looking for a hotel in HK central I can highly recommend the Mandarin Oriental. Really in the middle of it all on HK island, beautiful rooms, fantastic service and good bars. It’s only a 5 minute walk to most things and a short train ride (with a station literally outside the door) to Causeway Bay, Kowloon etc…

Tomorrow I am off to Hamilton Island in Queensland for 4 days to shoot a very exciting  job which I really look forward to featuring on the blog my return. I’ve had a fairly hectic week work-wise since my return from Asia last week so I will be pushing back picking out a winner for the Maggie Beer Book and also the Gourmet Grocers/WKA competition winner for the USA food hamper. Apologies for the delay on this but I will promise to announce both next Monday (July 9th).  I will also be giving details on a fantastic wine giveaway and the July Book too.

Until then I hope you enjoy the above post and photos and will be back with some recipes inspired by the above next week and the above competition winners etc.

BTW would be great to hear from you via the comments below as to which is your favourite photo out of all the above. It’s for a little printing project I am doing. Tks :)


Katie xx

67 Responses to “Japan and Hong Kong Trip 2012”

  1. July 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Excellent photos, would love to be there. It looks like we’re about to move to Hong Kong for 6 months, can’t wait to see it myself

  2. July 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Katie. I mirror your sentiments exactly in that Tokyo is such a unique and vibrant city. Your photos are a beautiful reminder of all the fun times I’ve had there so thank you so very, very much for sharing.

  3. July 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    What a simply stunning set of photos! I’d love to visit Japan – I can’t imagine there is anywhere else like it in the world!

  4. July 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    i never wanted to go to Japan… now i do!!! :)


  5. July 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Awesome pics, like always. (Huge fan here ;)

    Just one thing: it’s “yakitori” and not “yakatori”.

  6. July 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hello Katie

    it is difficult to choose because they are all nice and add to the ‘big picture’.

    But here is my selection


    And something from Hibiya Park, maybe

    What project do you plan?


  7. July 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wow, these pulled me right in. I’ve never been to Asia and this puts it right back on my list.
    My favourite shots I think are the ones at the fish market – that coral squid on the aqua packaging.

  8. July 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Katie
    Fabulous,atmospheric photos. I was interested to read the information you gave about the fish market. My husband and I visited Tokyo two years ago and with terrible jet lag, woke up at 4.30am and decided to go straight to the market. We had no prior information about what was acceptable so went at 6.30am and wandered about at our leisure. Everyone was friendly and no one seemed to mind us snapping away and walking through the narrow lanes. Maybe things have changed now as I remember being told to stay away from the early auctions but that was it.

  9. July 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Katie, I can’t wait to go home after seeing all your gorgeous images! You made me want to revisit those places:) And thank you for capturing the Japanese culture so beautifully!!!

  10. July 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I enjoyed looking thru your eyes – you’ve got some good ones – great work! My favorite photo is the “Hoppy” Beer image. I am usually drawn to high contrast b&w.

  11. July 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Guillermo thanks for pointing it out to me, I appreciate you mentioning it to me the way you did, I have amended. Someone else wrote the same to me but in a really nasty, ignorant manner aka someone with way too much time on their hands and a really sad, bitter attitude. These posts take me days to compile, I spend hours of my own free time doing this and when I cook I spend $$$ of money from my own pocket. I do not make a penny from the blog and a lot of the time when I do upload the posts it’s very late at night and I am exhausted, at times I miss spelling and there are typos. I don;t have a copywriter behind me double checking everything that goes up until I spot these mistakes myself later on when I read the post once up.

  12. July 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Your posts always completely blow me away Katie, this one is no exception! I simply cannot chose a favourite photo :)

  13. July 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    You just melted my heart. I too have had the amazing opportunity to be able to stay in Ginza and experience the amazingness of Tokyo. Unfortunately I did not having anyone to show me sensational bars like this but all the same it was the best trip of my life. I long for the day when I can go back to Tokyo. Thank you so so much for sharing this!!

  14. July 4, 2012 at 1:54 am

    AWESOME photos. They made me miss Japan. My favorite is the one with a glimpse of the Shinkansen (bullet train) in the upper left background, while the foreground is filled with much older shops, restaurants, and paper lantern signage. I like the old-meets-new feel of the photo, and the puff of steam back by the train. (Was it taken near Ueno Park?)

  15. July 4, 2012 at 3:02 am

    hello katie – it’s fun to see my homewtown through your eyes and i’m glad to hear you had a great time in tokyo. it made me chuckle that you actually took photos of those outrageously expensive melons, and got a kick out of reading small writings inconspicuously seen in some of the photos. and it’s great you’ve made it down to koen-ji (where October is). it’s a cool little ‘village’ in tokyo, isn’t it?

    it’s hard to choose one favorite photo of mine here, but this one would be it… it’s just so beautiful.

    thanks for sharing and hope you’ll come back soon!

  16. July 4, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I loved your post as I have also just returned from my first trip to Tokyo (only back two weeks)so it transpotred me back to the craziness and lights of Tokyo.
    As a culture, they are so polite, warm and considerate that it was lovely to be welcomed to a new city without much ability to communicate.
    Loved the photos.

  17. July 4, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Hi Katie, what an amazing post.
    I loved the older lady in brown top, shop seller, glass bottles behind her. I also loved the couple sitting on stools at a street restaurant below the guy sharpening the knives. And the very first photo. These were all filled witha story.
    I also loved the shot of the tools / implements in the fish market ( has some white muslin cloth around the bottom of the container)

  18. July 4, 2012 at 6:00 am

    WOW, what a visual feast, stunning photos as always!

  19. July 4, 2012 at 7:15 am

    WOW!Amazing!Really enjoy the photos!You showed a different side of Japan and Hong Kong.

  20. July 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Oh my gosh, I love this post! I went to Japan in March and this brings back a whole lot of memories. My favorite picture is the subway one (WKA_TOKYO-7) with the woman in the middle.

    Thanks for sharing, this makes my day. x

  21. July 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Hi again, Katie.

    I didn’t want to be a smart ass with my comment, and I tried to say it in the most polite and helpful way.
    There’s always rude people (and complete and utterly idiots) on internet, but those are to be ignored ;)

    I think we all appreciate and value your work. You keep on doing it and we’ll keep on enjoying it :)

  22. July 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

    stellar photos as usual! i’ve never been to tokyo and your photos make me wanna jump on the nearest plane to japan or hk!

  23. July 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

    wow your photos blew my mind! Thanks for sharing.

    I was also a Ride fan – I was studying at Oxford while they were still together so that was fun – got to see them live once in Oxford. So weird to see all those album covers in Japan!

  24. July 4, 2012 at 11:40 am

    wow your photos blew my mind! Thanks for sharing.

    I was also a Ride fan – I was studying at Oxford while they were still together so that was fun – got to see them live once in Oxford. So weird to see all those album covers in Japan!

  25. July 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hi Katie,
    Beautiful photography. I love WKA_JPN-3-2-1.jpeg and WKA_JPN-3-2.jpeg from the Tsukji Fish Market series. They are so full of life and energy. Really compelling.

    Dave in Boston

  26. July 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Great pics as always :) Love the big night traffic scene – looks great. Xx

  27. July 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    OMG!!! home… (even tho i m from Kobe) thank you for posting Katie!

  28. July 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    OMG!!! home… (even tho’ i grew up in Kobe). thank you so much for posting Katie. always love your pics!

  29. July 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    What a lovely post Katie, brimful of thrilling, fast paced shots that captured the cities so well…thank you for this tour of Japan!

  30. July 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    wow, these pictures are amazing…
    I wish one day I will have the chance to go to Japan…
    my favorite picture will be the one with the red little fish with a big eye… look like a cartoon fish!(WKA_JPN_FM-8.jpg) and also, a special mention to the 3 green stools picture where a striped t-shirt lady is sitting…(WKA_JPN-3-2.jpg)

  31. July 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Gorgeous post! and pics!!!!!!!
    The Hong Kong ones really caught the smell and vibe of the city!!

  32. July 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Hello Katie

    I am sorry you received negative feedback. You have huge posts full of beautiful pictures and it is clear how much effort and money they cost. Maybe he/she had a bad day.

    Keep up
    Thank you for sharing your recipes. I like their simplicity with that extra twist ;) Honestly.

  33. Samantha
    July 5, 2012 at 1:05 am

    What a great post, I have been wanting to go to Tokyo for many years and now it has moved up my travel list.
    My fav pic is the one with the woman in the train station with the bright pink umbrella. She looks so deep in thought among a sea of people and movement. She looks like a character from a book.

  34. Emma Scamell
    July 5, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Hi Katie,

    After hearing about your work from a friend a few months ago, I have been eagerly seeking out any images and updates from you..and what a wonderful post!

    Just amazing, you can almost hear and smell the place. My stand out favourites are the eels in the bloody water, the guys on the tube (that image tells so many stories!) and the clocks. But also, I second Giulia’s favourite of the Octopus as well. Amazing colours.

    I think you should ignore any negative comments – I can completely empathise with the amount of time, effort and energy that goes into creating something like this (and you have treated us all to quite a chunky helping of blog love here!), so please only listen to the ones that love you, they’re the only ones worth your time :)

    I think your work is incredible, amazing and I will be adoring your images from my laptop, delicious mag, etc..

  35. Marianne
    July 5, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I just love your blog and photos since discovering it and now you are part of my ‘flipboard’ (great app). I travel a lot with my job and before arriving somewhere I check out people’s blogs for restaurant recommendations. Any chance of some addresses of the restaurants you enjoyed on your trip? I’ll be in HKG in 3 weeks and also go to Tokyo form time to time…Thanks!

  36. July 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Favourite images are:




    What a great virtual tour around Tokyo!

  37. July 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This is such a heady montage…it’s like being right there too!

  38. July 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Wonderful reportage! Thank you for giving us a hint of China. I’m really curious to know what those sort of worms in the photo near to the hanged salami are….Are they really worms?

  39. July 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Nice post! I am currently living in Japan, and I have to say you chose the best time to visit! I think I saw some wisteria blooming in a photo or two. :) Lovely pictures.

  40. July 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Awesome photos! Bring back so many memories. I went with my Dad to Tokyo when I was in high school. What an unbelievable trip. I’ve always adored the Japanese culture and Tokyo was just such a magical place to me. I’d love to go back.

  41. July 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Wow! Overwhelming!

  42. July 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hello Katie! sent you a message, not sure with your travels if you ever got it but it mainly was a Thank you, Thank you, message :) ) Now on to your fabulous trip post, I absolutely love the fish market photos the best, so exciting and so well done. Ciao Valery xx

  43. July 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

    If I had to pick a favourite it would be a dead heat between two Japanese faces, the knife sharpening man and the shop lady in brown. Their faces tell the Tokyo story. Katie, you’ve captured the heatbeat of this city so well.

  44. July 7, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Hi Katie,

    I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed this post. I realized half way through how long it was, and obviously how much effort must have gone in to writing it, but nonetheless I devoured every part. I’m half Japanese and have only visited Japan a handful of times, but I hope to go back again soon and these pictures just remind me so much of everything wonderful Tokyo has to offer. I love the style of photos you’ve taken I really felt like I was there.

    One of my favs would be Yakitori4, the one with the little red van.


  45. July 7, 2012 at 1:07 am

    This is why I go back to Japan every year!

  46. July 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Oh I love Japan (only been once) and your photos bring it all back!
    Our Japanese friends gave us a melon and we didn’t really understand the significance and busted it out at a BBQ and shared it with everyone. They were a bit shocked, I think you’re meant to be a bit more reverential when eating it, oops!
    Boring, but can’t choose a face pic – maybe WKA_GG-7.jpg on the right? Only because it reminds me most of Japan tho. Actually WKA_FISHMARKET2-.jpg is pretty great (the second big one from top of whole post).

  47. July 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Katie!
    Wonderful photos!!!
    You made me soooo homesick:)

  48. July 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Hey! I recently discovered your blog and is so elegant and interesting! I never visited Tokyo, but I was in HK 4 months ago. Such a great place!Unfortunately my blogis in french only… But I really have to make it bilingual ^^ Have a good day :)

  49. Anonymous
    July 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Love, love love Tokyo and Kyoto. Back in Sept for another visit.
    Favourite pics are the close up of the fish head, the plump lady eating at the Tsujiki market stall and the knives.

  50. July 9, 2012 at 4:01 am

    What beautiful photos! You’d almost have to have a craving equivalent to those pregnant mothers experience to purchase that melon!

  51. July 9, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I always love reading your blog, the pics are so amazing and inspiring!! And I’m so happy to see 2 of my home country in 1 post that I must leave a comment!! You have super eyes on the beauties of these 2 countries. And I’m happy to see that you like both of them!!

    Can’t wait for your cook book (New Zealand version) to come to Japan.


  52. July 9, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I loved all of your photos from the markets. They reminded me of the times when I was a little girl, and our helper in the Philippines would wake me up at 4 a.m. to go with her to the wet market. I loved being surrounded by all the sights and smells, watching her pick out the best produce and haggle over the prices.
    I shared this in my weekly round up of great reads. Thank you!

  53. July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Love the pictures. My son is going to University in HK in september and I’m planning a trip in November. I’ll have a look at the hotel you just mentioned. Thanks so much!

  54. July 10, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Your pictures are so beautiful and have a really special touch to it. I just visited Tokyo myself, and could re-live my experiences with your pictures. We even took a picture of the same lady at the tempura place in the outer fish market area. Funny! You can see it on my blog post about Tokyo.

    This is also one of my favorite photos plus the open restaurant scene with the lanterns and the girl on the zebra crossing. It’s really hard to choose one, as they work very well together as a collage.

  55. July 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Wow, first time reading your blog & I am loving it, especially because we are hauling 4 excited children to Tokyo on friday, we cant stop looking at your pics, although the kids are not sure about the fish market…regardless the all pics are great, I love the Japanese lady at the bar, beautiful.

  56. July 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    bellissimo reportage,tanti colori,decisamente bello Tokyo:)

  57. July 12, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Fabulous recording of your trip – just beautiful

  58. July 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Love all the photos and spent way to much work time pouring over them. :-) For some reason I’m very drawn to #82

  59. July 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Looking through this post makes me both happy and sad. I lived in Japan for a year several years ago and it remains one of my favorite places; while I’ll admit that I didn’t spend much time in Tokyo–I was located in Kyoto (lucky me!), so I spent most of my time in Nara, Kyoto-shi and Osaka–the whole country is just a gorgeous, magical place. Next time you’re there, take the shinkansen to Kyoto or Osaka (or both) and eat Takoyaki (fried octopus balls). Also, if you go as far south as Hiroshima (a really lovely, vibrant city), Hiroshima-yaki is a must as well. Really, in Japan, all things fried (yaki) are wonderful. Thank you for the photos and for the walk down memory lane; so happy you loved Japan, too! Although, admittedly, it’s an easy place to love.

  60. July 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Katie, thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures and story. Hopefully, one day I have a change to visit Japan :)

    Oh, my favorite photo from this posting, hmm… a lady with the blue ruffle skirt on the zebra cross. Love it!

  61. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm


  62. November 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Katie,
    Beautiful post! I’ve been to Hong Kong several times but it’s really fun to see it through your eyes.

    Favorite photos: there are several. I really like the first photo from the Japan Fish Market section, the one with all the wooden carts lining up. Also like the photo of the 3 clocks from the karaoke place I think. From the Hong Kong section, I like the photo of the building, not the apartment one but the nice, clean looking building (with white sky background).

  63. Hiroyuki Endo
    December 6, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Hi, Katie.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Hiroyuki Endo@OCTOBER

  64. February 11, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Hi Katie,

    I love this post. I lived in Tokyo, Japan until June 2012 and I miss it so much. Your photos brought me back there for a brief time and I truly needed that. Thank you!


    • Katie
      February 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Great to hear Rachael, I can’t wait to go back myself :)

    February 24, 2013 at 1:28 am

    nice photos`
    i am hong konger:3
    i am curious to know how does hk look like in foriegner eyes^^
    thanks for sharing your experience^0^

  66. Jonathan
    March 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Katie

    You captured Tokyo very well with your words and pictures.

    I have just come back from Japan, this was my third trip in recent years and we always go to the “best bar in the world”, October.
    We discovered it a few years ago as we were staying in the Koenji area of Tokyo and saw the Guinness sign on our way back from the train station.

    We have been back there many times but always enjoy the music, the vibe and the uniqueness of Hiro.

    That’s what makes Japan, these little, out of the way discoveries and the people.


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