My last week working in Japan begins and me, Kenneth and John go to knock another item off my list: Fugu! Fugu is that poisonous puffer fish you’ve all heard about. The one that needs to be prepared juust right or it’s deadly. I found a place when wandering around Shibuya that only serves Fugu that seems appropriate, the pricing seems good too, around 500 sek per person for a set meal. When eating things that might kill you, you probably shouldn’t go for the cheapest available alternative. Sort of like with sky diving 😉
The restaurant is divided into private little rooms with a hotplate built into the table. The first thing we get is sashimi (raw pieces of fish, sort of like sushi, but without the rice) that you just dip in soy and eat as is. It tastes like any white fish sashimi I guess, nothing special really. The next course is something else though; we get the fish, seemingly haphazardly chopped up on a plate. The pieces so fresh that they are actually still twitching! We also get a wicker basket in which the server places a large piece of waxed paper and a metal plate. The plate acts as a conductor for the induction hotplate and the eerily ambulatory fish is plopped into the basket together with some broth and veggies to simmer for a while.
The boiled fish tastes as you might expect; pretty bland. But that’s okay, because immediately following that we get the favorite part; the tempura. It’s hard to go wrong when deep frying and it doesn’t disappoint this time either. All in all I wasn’t all that impressed by Fugu, but then again I’m not that much of a fish person either. But it was an interesting experience and I’m glad I tried it.
Another thing I’d been having on my list was to go up the tallest building in Yokohama; the Landmark Tower. So Thomas, Henrik, John and me take a long lunch and head over to the galleria at the foot of the tower to find a nice place to eat. That pretty much ends in failure as we spend far too much time and end up at a, admittedly nice, but overpriced place. When we finally make it to the elevator we’re met by a horde of school kids, who are also going up today. We admit defeat and grudgingly go back to work. As I’ve wrapped up most of my work business, me and Ken go for another long lunch to find me an extra suitcase so that I can get all the Hello Kitty stuff I’ve bought back home. He takes me to one of the interesting Don Quijote chain stores, which is basically equivalent to the Swedish Rusta chain, but classier. They sell all kinds of shit and they make use of every last inch of space in there, so it’s rather fun to just go around browsing. They have really good prices as well and I get a really nice suitcase out of it.
Thomas suggest we go to a really cool store over in Akihabara as well. It’s called Super Potato and it sells all manners of used video games, consoles, tie-in merchandise. Basically a nerd heaven, of course I agree! The place isn’t easy to find, it’s nestled in among the maid cafés and you have to go up some stairs to find it. The maid cafés are in themselves worth mentioning; they’re more or less a café where the staff is dressed up in over the top maid costumes and entertain you by playing games or just conversing (at least the legitimate ones…) , sort of like a modern day Geisha I guess. There is a rather creepy vibe to them, since the overwhelming majority of the customers are older salarymen. Super Potato is really fun though and I certainly get my fill of Nintendo nostalgia!
My colleague Tore and I will be leaving at roughly the same time so Nishihata-san has arranged a going away party for us. The dinner is a dish called Shabu-shabu, something I’ve managed to miss entirely during my stay. It’s basically a Japanese version of Hot Pot, you get a pot of broth and pick up raw meat from a tray and dip in the broth and stir it around (hence the name; Shabu-shabu is mimicking the noise when stirring). It’s really good, I like it better than the Chinese kind actually, it’s much more flavorful. My boss Sarbel has heard that I sing in the Red Army Boys choir and has been talking about that I should sing for a while now, and since this is the last opportunity for it I get up and do a couple of songs, to much merriment. I also make sure I get pictures with all my lovely friends. On the way out Okamoto-san buys me a lovely present in form of Ghengis Khan candy, that’s right, it’s lamb-flavored candy (not as awful as it sounds it turns out).