a short diary of some part of my life.

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Disclaimer: I have forgotten how a great ramen should be. The only two ramens that I consider great are Santouka in San Diego and Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley Irvine. Both in California.

I should have written down the name of the ramens but these two are their favorites. There are quite a few options on the ramen and the soup but since I cannot read Japanese, I only asked them based on popularity and suggestions.

The noodle was smooth, not slippery but just smooth and easy to bite and cut. There was virtually no dominant taste on the noodle. It seemed natural and yet, inviting.

The soup was also very tasty. Not overly tasty like Ikkudo’s. This soup was superbly done. It did not make me want to drink a lot of water.

The meat was also very natural. It’s like it’s never frozen but I could be wrong. I like fresh meat and this thing was one of the freshest I have encountered in a ramen.

The gyoza was supreme. Perhaps I’m already biased here but I can’t help it. Honestly, the gyoza was cooked just right, not hard, not overly crunchy or soft. I really like how Japanese look into the tiny details and they are able to do it right every single time.

Just look at the spices, me likey!

They sell the sauce, I should have bought it. Maybe next time!

Before the busy hour started.

Given the limited time I had in Tokyo, if I have to pit it against Santouka and Shin Sen Gumi, I think they are all pretty good in their own ways. Ippudo is different. I’m glad I had the chance to come by. Next time, I’ll try another ramen. I’m sure I can’t go wrong with any ramen restaurants in Tokyo.


I love Tokyo. The first time I came was when I was a young kid. Tokyo is every young kid dreaming about. There are games, arcades, and comics practically on every corner of a city block. I consider Tokyo as one of the cleanest metropolitans in the world. There are automated machines used everywhere and there is a fish market that does not stink.

Tokyoites can be a bit weird sometimes, especially when there is an event. They are among the most discipline citizens that I have seen in the world. So, you can imagine the city is very neat and new techs are actually used in real world. They are so discipline that they do not tolerate late Shinkansen arrivals any more than 15-seconds.

This is really the real modern city. The big difference with other big cities is Tokyo is able to preserve their traditions. It’s not a small feat to do it right. In Jakarta for example, I rarely ever see people wearing traditional clothes. In Tokyo, you may find people, especially women wearing kimonos.

It’s not just traditions, Japanese mentality is to never be satisfied at less than great results. That’s why you see well-built buildings, infrastructures and public transportations in the city. They seem to be able to withstand weather, earthquakes, and time better than any comparable cities other than Munich. The foundation has been laid and future generations should be able to preserve where Tokyo should be heading in the future.

Here are a few pics I took when I was in Tokyo on a week long vacation:

As you can see, not even New York is this clean, tidy, and neat. Perhaps, there are parts of Tokyo that look bad but I didn’t find it. The amazing thing about the city is wherever you are going to eat, it’s almost likely to be much better than any comparable random restaurants in any other metropolitans. Much better and I’m not kidding. Even a random curry rice restaurant I found is amazingly good. So, they are not only care about how their way of life but they also care about their way of living. I’m amazed. I will cover more about Japan on future posts.

I’ve meaning to write something about the world’s most famous fish market. I didn’t quite have the push to do it until I had dinner over at a local Sushi Tei (which sucks).


If you couldn’t make a decent sushi at all, then you should sell sushi at all. All you do is depleting the number of fishes in the ocean. The Japanese do consume fish but their consumptions do not really affect the number of fishes in the open ocean. The alarming depletion can be partly blamed to those who make poor sushi. Off course most of that depletion are mostly cause by us, human who consume practically everything we gather off the ocean.

Super-Duper Clean Fish Market

I went to Tsukiji on December 2012, during that time, the local government is planning to move the existing market to a new place. Many protested but given how clean, tidy Japanese are, I’m sure they will make it right. I was very surprised when I first arrived. It looked like any traditional markets, but boy, the cleanliness, I don’t think there is one that betters this, even one in Seattle (Pike Place Market).

Other than the cleanliness, there is nothing unique to see, maybe I didn’t get a chance to watch the fish auction. There is always next time.

Next Time, Check Holiday Schedules!

I didn’t bother to check their holiday schedules before I boarded the plane to Japan, so I didn’t plan ahead. When arrived, I noticed that they were having holiday. I waited out (not camping on site), until they are open. The day they are open, I went to Tsukiji at 4.30 AM, knowing that there are several sushi restaurants, I was very ecstatic. Why the rush? Well, it turned out they are very famous so the wait line is pretty bad. It can be up to 2 hours. Guess what, I waited 5 hours to get 5 seats! That’s the longest wait time I have ever experienced, not to mention the super chilly temperature and occasional wind. Brrr…

5-Hour Wait Time

What happened? They were having holiday, so people did not come, just like me. There are many people just like me, who have been waiting for the restaurants to open on that day. To make it worse, one of their competitors was still closed. So, there you go, 5 hours!

5-hour wait is pretty dreadful for most things, but not this! This was well worth the time spent on standing still. The sushi are all awesome. All others suddenly look amateurish. This is the real deal. Let me share some pics of the sushi (even the photos look delicious):

To top it off:

‘Unusual’ Fishes

There are plenty more that look rather unusual. I’ll post a link to them some time this week.

The name of the place is Sushi Dai. It is one of the most celebrated sushi restaurants in Tsukiji. I’m sure there are more who serve great foods. I wished I had more time.


Let me explain a bit about the taste of the sushi above.
Forget everything you have had in the US. I have tried virtually every single sushi restaurants on Yelp that gets great reviews. Nothing comes close. Perhaps it has something to do about the quality of the fish. At Tsukiji, there are many ‘weird’ fishes that you don’t normally find at your local sushi restaurants. Perhaps it has something to do with the cutting techniques. I guess the former plays a much larger part of the experience.
The salmon is probably the best I have tried, It’s actually tasty. Imagine that with sushi and they don’t put anything, unlike at Nobu. The otoro is also the best I have tried, again, nothing comes close. The rest is similar. It’s like having a meal after a whole day of starvation. I couldn’t stop ordering. I had two rounds of omakase. I felt bad already that I needed to stop to make way for other people, otherwise, I would have sticked around.

I Will Definately Go Back

I will go back again, perhaps not for the sushi but for the fish auction. I will try other places that get great reviews. Perhaps more Japanese restaurants that locals visit. Did that once and it was a great experience. I ate a raw chicken meat that tastes like fish. Imagine that!