No travel blog about Japan would be complete without some discussion of food. Of course, there are plenty of noodles, rice, and sushi to be found. However, the big cities like Kyoto and Tokyo have a wide array of food from around the world. The photo above was taken at the Straw Hat Cafe in the Ghibli Museum where I ordered a hamburger:

I remember, during my trip to Paris several years ago, being served a hamburger like this one. I still don’t understand the concept of bathing a burger in sauce and topping it with a fried egg, but this hamburger dish I was served at the Straw Hat Cafe was surprisingly tasty compared to the monstrosity I had in Paris.

Of course, I also sampled the staples of Japanese cuisine, including unagi over rice. Unagi, for those who don’t speak sushi, is eel. Yashi, the owner of Ichiensou in Kyoto, directed myself and some fellow hostel folks to this hole in the wall unagi joint. It was delicious.

This was one of the few pricey meals I had at a somewhat upscale restaurant in Nara. I got a combo meal with cold noodles, assorted pieces of sushi, tempura, rice, and a dipping sauce for the noodles.

I stumbled upon an adorable cafe/shop along the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto. The shop was filled with trinkets and jewelry and a couple of small tables for dining. I ordered a “cured ham” (prosciutto) pita sandwich with fries. The ham was tasty and the fries were excellent. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the sandwich was. In fact, I wish I had one now…

I went out to dinner again with some of the hostel guests in Kyoto and we found this noodle place. They bring you the noodles and fixings and you fry it yourself right at the table. I ordered BBQ noodles with beef.

There’s a much longer story behind this shot than I should probably go into. Basically, I went on an outing with several hostel guests one night to find a bar. We came upon a small bar in an alley with a sign out front that said: “Men 15 yen, Lady’s [sic] Free.”

After negotiating to have the male only entrance fee waved, we entered, only to discover that we were actually in a Girl Bar. Girl Bars are sort of like strip clubs without the stripping part. The women flirt with the male customers (mostly older Japanese business men) while serving them drinks. As uncomfortable as we were at first, we ended up befriending the manager, Hiro (the man behind the bar in the photo above). He let some of us behind the bar and started making us weird green and blue drinks like the one in the photo. It turned out to be a very fun night.

Just for fun, here’s a picture of me with my bowl of unagi at the back alley unagi restaurant.

This post completes my Japan flashback series. I really enjoyed looking at my photos from the trip again and I hope you enjoyed them too. I had an amazing experience and can’t wait to go back to Japan someday.

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