Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cavalock and The Tokyo All-Booze Edition

One thing I can never get enough of in Tokyo is booze. I hardly drink in Singapore but when I'm there, every dinner (and the occasional lunch) is accompanied by a satisfying cool mug of Japanese beer or like this recent trip, glasses of glorious highball cocktails. The wide selection of local beer is incredible and cheap too if you are comparing with what we have to pay back home. Like when in a restaurant, you look at their drinks menu and every single thing on it looks so cheap!

Of cos you know this is a real drinking country when you see the above whisky being sold in giant two-litre plastic bottles. Yah, the kind we are used to see filled with cooking oil instead at NTUC. Not in Japan, them plastic bottles are made for good ol' whisky!

So yah, I had a little more whisky this time and I even bought the above bottle of Hibiki 17 at quite a ridiculous price simply because it comes in a special edition design bottle. Well, now we are thinking of a special occasion or reason to start chugging it. Oh wait, you don't chug whisky, do you? I'm still new at this. <^;^>

Well, most of the above pix I took about 4 months ago where I kept going "hmmm ... which should I buy back to the hotel room?". The ones below are from this latest booze run.

And now this. Spotted at the famous Tsukiji Market, the one and only Death Sauce!! (with double exclamation points)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cavalock and The Japanese Breakfast Cereal Movement

I'm gonna make a crazy predication and say that this is gonna be the next food craze to hit our shores, Japanese breakfast cereals. They look mostly like regular American breakfast cereals but are sold in packs instead of boxes and there are no toys in them. The three brands I noticed on the shelves were Calbee, Nissin and Kellogg's, and they come in various fruits, grains and nuts combinations.

Friends have asked us to purchase a couple of packs for them during our Tokyo trip and off we went scouring the city for them. Well, they were actually pretty easy to find as most pharmacies and toiletry or grocery stores sell them. They are apparently moving out pretty fast so I guess they are popular there too. Breakfast cereals haven't been my thing for awhile now but the baker-in-the-house tried some. She thought it was not bad and definitely "cheaper than a box of Post cereal" back home.

Each pack in Japan is about S$4 to S$6 depending on the size. They are actually on sale here in Singapore but at an insanely high price of S$10 each or more. But you won't find them in your regular NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage (yet?). I have spotted them at our local Meidi-Ya and Takashimaya event hall below. Looking at how quick they are selling, it looks like folks here do have an appetite for them.

And now this. I may have went a little overboard with my Star Wars shopping spree four months ago in Tokyo. So for this trip, I think I exhibited a wee bit more self-control. Just a couple of cool folders and ... hmmm ... er...  an entire Star Wars helmet display collection.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cavalock Goes to Pissing Alley

More meat, less fish. That pretty much summed up this trip's mantra. Yakitori dinners have been a regular affair since our last couple of visits here. Well, after years of visiting Tokyo, we finally had one at Shinjuku's infamous Piss Alley. We didn't really have any particular joint in mind so we cruised the alley a couple times, up and down we strolled. We settled on one that appeared ... er, friendlier ... and less crowded than the rest. After ascending a folding stairway to a dining room no larger than a roof attic, we tucked ourselves into a cosy little corner at the back.

This is how yakitori is supposed to be. All manner of delectable chicken parts and vegetables nicely grilled over an old-fashioned charcoal fire. And beer of cos. Now that's a whole other post that'll hopefully be up one of theses days. Heh. Anyway I only wish that I didn't take this long to at last explore Piss Alley. I do admit that a narrow alley filled with rowdy locals would appear imitating to first-timers but it's really a great place for some authentic and affordable Japanese food.


I know these aren't exactly the best shots ever taken of Pissing Alley but I hope they do highlight how narrow and cramp the place is. While online articles and write-ups do say that the area is mostly patronised by locals, we did encounter more than a few tourists there as well as an entire foreign boy (or were there girls too?) scout troupe!

And now this. Luxury. Capsule. Hotel. Three words I never thought I would see in a brand name. But thats what I like bout this city. Never fails to amaze me or raise a snigger.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cavalock and The Izakaya Night-Out

It's a good thing that the baker-at-home made the necessary reservations before we left for Tokyo. When we finally made our way to Uoshin at Nogizaka, the popular izakaya was already quite packed with Japanese patrons, mostly office workers boisterously enjoying their dinner and drinks. I must admit, I found the lively atmosphere rather refreshing even though we were seated away from them.

We eagerly ordered more than a few dishes from the English menu. Their above house speciality Nokkezushi quickly became my favourite. A glorious mix of cucumber rolls topped with salmon roe, chopped tuna, crab meat and sea urchin. We had two servings by the end of the night. This enormous and luscious oyster below was another memorable dish. Now how I wish I had ordered another. Great food for a memorable night-out with friends.

Well, just when I thought I couldn't find another reason to love Tokyo, a Saturday afternoon at Ginza gave me one. The wide open streets were closed to traffic, tables and chairs set up in the middle of the road. Families and shoppers strolling, enjoying themselves. There's this huge chill vibe hanging over the area that's so engaging. I can imagine how much more appealing it would be if the weather was a tad cooler.

How I wish we could see that happening here instead of those ridiculous, choreographed Orchard Road closures. Do we really need mass yoga or tennis demonstrations? If only one is really sincere about closing Orchard Road for the people and not for the purpose of organising government-sponsored mass participation exercises. Just close the roads and let the people do whatever they wanna do.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cavalock and The Fuchico Cup Biz Plan

It's all the rage in Tokyo right now. No matter which street corner or shopping mall corridor you look, Fuchico on The Cup can be found throughout the city. Spotted them four months ago but they seem to have flourished during my temporary absence. Like tiny mushrooms, they have sprouted everywhere, in either gashapon (capsule) machines or stores like Tokyu Hands. Incredibly cute and tempting, I bought several for friends but none for myself in March. Instead I bought a couple of their coasters which I posted earlier.

They are pretty cheap at only 300 yen each. Y'know what, I got an idea for the hipster cafes here in Singapore. Maybe purchase a couple hundred of Fuchicos, then attach one of the figures onto a glass of (homemade/organic/natural/premium/secret recipe/SG50) iced tea, sell it for eight to ten bucks! It's so simple. Like stick an 'exclusive' $3 plus figure form Japan on a normal $2 drink and charge up to $10 for it! The ridiculously cute photos will start going viral, word will spread and all the hip kids will come for it! Seriously, who can resist it? :)

Like I said, I bought some red coasters the last time and when I saw the new blue coaster series. Well, I couldn't exactly say 'no'. I thought the coasters made more practical sense as I foresee the girls sitting and falling off the edges if I tilt my glass or even poking an eye out while drinking. And now I have four coasters.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cavalock and The Tokyo Haagen-Dazs Rendezvous

What are we as a race or even species without traditions? Traditions are important to me, l look forward to them. Like whenever I'm back in Tokyo, getting my glasses cleaned at the same spot year after year is a treasured tradition, as important as me getting my early morning ass-rim from my hotel bidet. But this has got to be my favorite Tokyo tradition, trying out all the new special Japanese Haagen-Dazs flavours. We saw what was available four months ago, now in the middle of a heatwave I can't think of a better time to see what's in the fridge now.

I have always loved Snoopy and the Peanuts gang since I was little kid so when I saw this huge banner in Ginza, I knew where I was headed that morning. Man, I thought I had a thing for Snoopy but definitely not as much as the mob at the Snoopy fair. Imagine the Chinese New Year Eve crowd at Chinatown, then multiply that by a gazillion in a mall, that's how crazy packed it was.

Here are all my Peanuts loot this trip. A folder, iron-ons (from Uniqlo) and a bag huge enough for transporting all them huge boardgames around. :)