Trip Report - Japan 5/2019 UPDATED 9/30!! ABD Day 9 - Soy Delicious - Tokyo

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
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The other couple turned out to be Italian. The woman spoke excellent English, but the man spoke hardly any at all, and none of us spoke Japanese, so the demo was conducted in English. But it turned out to be more than a demo, it was actually a cooking class, and we participated in preparing the food!

We started out with tea and some sort of jellied sweet. Then Midori brought out all the various ingredients she was going to be using to create the dishes we were going to cook and eat. It included a wide variety of sauces.

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Our first dish was gyoza. Gyoza are little stuffed, crescent-shaped dumplings. Midori had packages of pre-cut, round, thin dough. She mixed up a filling of ground pork, scallions, cabbage, garlic and various seasonings. We took a small amount, placed it on the circle of dough, folded it sort of in half, and pinched the round edge of the top half. We used warm water to make it stick together.

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This wasn't even half of what we made!!

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We made a TON of them! Then once we had them all made, Midori took them and placed them in a circle around a skillet with a bit of oil and water in it, and steamed and then fried them till they were golden. They smelled (and tasted and looked) delicious!! We ate them hot, with a teriyaki-based dipping sauce. OMG, we just ate & ate, and were SO stuffed, then remembered this was only the first dish!!

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The next dish we did was Takoyaki (octopus balls). They are dough balls with a chunk of octopus in the middle. How she made them was really quite clever. You have a special molded takoyaki pan, which has several half-circle indents. You put a chunk of octopus and some other ingredients in each indent, then add in the liquidy dough made up of eggs and flour and seasonings and something called Dashi, which is a broth made out of dried fish.

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Then, as the pan heats up and the dough starts to solidify, she took a toothpick and started flipping the half-circles of dough about a quarter-turn, adding more dough, flipping it more, adding more dough, over and over until you miraculously end up with actual little balls!

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It was really quite clever! (And much more difficult than it looked!)

Continued in next post.
 
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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Again, they were quite delicious!

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The next food was one I knew we were having later on, during the ABD: Okonomiyaki. The name means “whatever you like, grilled”. Apparently different regions of Japan have different styles of Okonomiyaki. It’s wildly popular, especially in the Hiroshima area. Midori made Kyoto style Okonomiyaki, which is a batter and cabbage and eggs and some sort of meat (we had bacon) and other veggies, all cut up & mixed together into sort of a large pancake. This sucker was humongous, and we could only eat a small part of it, because we were already SO FULL! But it was SO GOOD!

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The last dish, Midori just made while we ate. It was Miso soup, and also quite good.

The Italian woman worked with Midori to figure out where she could buy a Takoyaki pan. Apparently she’s a serious cook, and brings a whole empty suitcase just for cooking things she buys while on vacation. I knew space in my suitcase was going to be at a premium, so didn’t look into buying one.

After what ended up being both lunch AND dinner, Midori gave us her recipes, asked us to follow her on Instagram, and gave us some local chocolate. I really had a great time, and felt it was an amazing way to start my trip in Japan, as well as taste some fabulous Japanese street food. And I actually think I could make the gyoza if I can find the dumpling skins!

I caught a taxi back to the hotel, and was really glad that James and Tomomi had given me a card that had the hotel address in Japanese. Because my taxi driver spoke no English. But he took one look at the card, and was fine. (My taxi drive had a driver’s hat on and white gloves! The one I took from the hotel had not! And the driver opens your door automatically from the inside!)

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When I got back to the hotel, James & Tomomi were still meeting folks in the lobby, so I stopped by to talk with them again, and tell them about my experience.

As I was sitting there, I kind of noticed something on the side of tablecloth that was covering the table we were sitting at. It almost looked like a very clumsily stitched repair on the cloth (hey, I didn’t have my reading glasses on). They noticed me kind of staring down, and thought I was looking at trash on the floor or something, when it moved!! It was some sort of massive centipede or something, and just dropped off the side of the table to the floor! We all three jumped and backed away, but I have to admit, James’ reaction was the best! He was really startled and seemed a bit terrified! None of us wanted to touch it, so Tomomi ran & got someone from the hotel, who ran over, covered it with a cloth napkin, then stepped on it, and removed it. Well, that was exciting!

At this point, I was SO stuffed, I couldn’t even imagine having dinner. Which was really a shame to let that voucher go to waste, but it just couldn’t be helped. In fact, I felt so full, that I decided to go for a bit of a walk to help me digest my humongous meal. The weather was still gorgeous! As I went out, after a bit it started getting kind of twilighty, but I felt totally safe & OK being out in that area & walking around. It was well lit, and people were all around, and it just *felt* safe! I walked down the road a bit, saw just how MANY temples and shrines are in the area (I passed at least 4 or 5 just while I was walking.) I got to what looked like a gorgeous park surrounding a temple, but it closed at dusk, so I couldn’t go in. But I decided to walk around the perimeter to see what I could see over the fence.

As I was walking, I came across an area that *had* to be a cemetery. But it was just so incredibly densely “populated”! And it turned out it was *HUGE*!! The first area I saw, which was big enough, was only the first of at *least* 6 areas that surrounded the temple! I eventually turned back, and had not come close to seeing the whole thing!

ETA: After some Googling, it turns out this place is Otani Hombyō, which is a Buddist Temple and Tomb or mausoleum. I'd asked a passer-by what the name was, and now that I've found it, I do remember she said "Otani".

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I finally headed back to the hotel, and got ready for bed, because we had a fairly early starting time the next morning, as we were meeting for breakfast to have our Welcome Breakfast and meet the rest of the group.

But it had been a spectacular day, and the ABD hadn’t even started yet!

Next up: Day 02: Bamboo Beauty
 
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  • CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    Yay, love that you started your TR--and it's off to such a great start. The cooking school sounds fabulous. I used to make potstickers (the Chinese version of gyoza) all the time, but then my family started eating too many. I swear I'd work all day, intending to freeze a bunch, and I'd have hardly any left, LOL. You know my family so you understand (remember the shanghai dumpling place? "No one ever eats all the dumplings they put on the table." We were stealing from other tables, LOL). I may have to look into that. Sounds super fun.

    We leave on July 12th so you need to finish by then, LOL!!!!
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    Oh man I can't wait to read all of this as it progresses. Jetlag for Europe trips was annoying to me but the jetlag coming back from Japan just destroyed me.

    I love gyoza. I'm hungry now!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Sounds like it was a nice pre-AbD day for you!
    Thanks, it really was! Really pretty stress-free as pre-days go!
    Excited to read your report!
    Thanks! I'm going to really try to post regular updates!!
    Yay, love that you started your TR--and it's off to such a great start. The cooking school sounds fabulous. I used to make potstickers (the Chinese version of gyoza) all the time, but then my family started eating too many. I swear I'd work all day, intending to freeze a bunch, and I'd have hardly any left, LOL. You know my family so you understand (remember the shanghai dumpling place? "No one ever eats all the dumplings they put on the table." We were stealing from other tables, LOL). I may have to look into that. Sounds super fun.

    We leave on July 12th so you need to finish by then, LOL!!!!
    Well, given how many gyoza I ate, I totally understand! And yes! I *do* remember the meal at Din Tai Fung!! I think we all ate more than we realized, but you guys were champs!! :)
    Oh man I can't wait to read all of this as it progresses. Jetlag for Europe trips was annoying to me but the jetlag coming back from Japan just destroyed me.

    I love gyoza. I'm hungry now!
    I'm usually pretty good with jetlag, but this time was just killer!! China was nowhere near this bad! I *will* try to post regularly!!!

    Sayhello
     
  • distravel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2013
    So happy to read another one of your trip reports! Wow, that was a lot of food. Looks delicious. We still haven't made any plans for the first day. May just spend some time around the hotel area as we will have some massive jetlag.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    So happy to read another one of your trip reports! Wow, that was a lot of food. Looks delicious. We still haven't made any plans for the first day. May just spend some time around the hotel area as we will have some massive jetlag.
    Thanks, glad you're enjoying! :) It was a TON of food, but SO good! Walking around the hotel area is definitely an option. As I mentioned, there's all sorts of Temples, Shrines, Museums, parks, a river, etc, in the area. It's very walkable! And I find walking the best way to deal with jetlag! (ETA: You can check out Otani Hombyō and the park around it for me, and let me know what it's like during the day! :) )

    Sayhello
     
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    CaliKris

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2015
    So excited to read your trip report! They are always so informative and entertaining. Do you take notes each day? Your experience finding the cooking school reminded me of when my family had a hard time finding a photographer's studio in Tokyo. We walked back and forth on the same block and could not find it. We stopped a nice couple on the sidewalk and they pointed up. The location had been above us the whole time. LOL! The signs in Japan are just not always very obvious (at least to our American eyes).

    We are planning on returning to Japan in 2021 (want to skip the Olympic year). I am trying to convince my husband to do the ABD, but he wants to go on our own (and maybe copy the itinerary as much as we can). I am hoping I can use your TR to convince him to go on the ABD instead.:-)
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    So excited to read your trip report! They are always so informative and entertaining. Do you take notes each day? Your experience finding the cooking school reminded me of when my family had a hard time finding a photographer's studio in Tokyo. We walked back and forth on the same block and could not find it. We stopped a nice couple on the sidewalk and they pointed up. The location had been above us the whole time. LOL! The signs in Japan are just not always very obvious (at least to our American eyes).

    We are planning on returning to Japan in 2021 (want to skip the Olympic year). I am trying to convince my husband to do the ABD, but he wants to go on our own (and maybe copy the itinerary as much as we can). I am hoping I can use your TR to convince him to go on the ABD instead.:-)
    :) Thanks! So glad you enjoy my reports! :lovestruc No, I don't take notes. That would certainly make my life easier, but appears to be too much for me! :) What I do is take thousands of photos (thank goodness for digital photography!!) which help stimulate my memory, and frequently provide context, etc. And I keep pretty much all of the paper stuff, such as tickets & pamphlets & such. The rest is just my memory!

    Tell your hubby I highly recommend this trip, especially if he doesn't speak Japanese! It was so nice to know that we were covered because the Adventure Guides and our local guides all spoke the language. Folks in the hotels spoke English, or could summon folks who could speak English, but a lot of people in Japan do not speak it!

    And the itinerary is honestly just spectacular.

    Sayhello
     
  • Chirple

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 30, 2009
    Great pictures! I can never show those food pictures to my husband because it would make him hungry. 😂
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    Would it be cheating to ask if you liked DisneySea?
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Would it be cheating to ask if you liked DisneySea?
    It would be premature, but not cheating at all! :) I know I'll still be posting this as folks go on their trips, so PLEASE feel free to ask any questions you'd like, and DON'T feel you have to wait until I post that day to ask!!

    I *did* like Disney Sea. I don't think it's *quite* as revolutionary as a lot of people seem to make it out to be, but that said, it's gorgeous and amazing. It's EPCOT's World Showcase on serious, SERIOUS steroids!! The level of detail and theming at DisneySea is beyond anything I have seen anywhere. Instead of a building or two for each country around a lagoon, it's entire streets of a region, around a massive lagoon. The Mediterranean Lagoon has Venice which is a long series of streets with a canal running through it, *with* gondolas and bridges going up and over it! Multiple areas of Italy are represented. The United states is a small New England ocean front, complete with a full-sized ocean liner moored to the dock. There's also an American fort area. There's a "Lost River Delta" which is sort of an Incan/Andean mix. There's an Aladdin-ish Arabian area. And there are areas like the Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island that are pure make-believe. I honestly spent the first hour or so I was there just wandering from land to land, taking it all in. It has a couple of serious roller coasters in the Lost River Delta area, and Tower of Terror, but otherwise, most of the rides are dark rides that are very cool.

    Did you have any specific questions? I'd be happy to answer!

    Sayhello
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    It would be premature, but not cheating at all! :) I know I'll still be posting this as folks go on their trips, so PLEASE feel free to ask any questions you'd like, and DON'T feel you have to wait until I post that day to ask!!

    I *did* like Disney Sea. I don't think it's *quite* as revolutionary as a lot of people seem to make it out to be, but that said, it's gorgeous and amazing. It's EPCOT's World Showcase on serious, SERIOUS steroids!! The level of detail and theming at DisneySea is beyond anything I have seen anywhere. Instead of a building or two for each country around a lagoon, it's entire streets of a region, around a massive lagoon. The Mediterranean Lagoon has Venice which is a long series of streets with a canal running through it, *with* gondolas and bridges going up and over it! Multiple areas of Italy are represented. The United states is a small New England ocean front, complete with a full-sized ocean liner moored to the dock. There's also an American fort area. There's a "Lost River Delta" which is sort of an Incan/Andean mix. There's an Aladdin-ish Arabian area. And there are areas like the Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island that are pure make-believe. I honestly spent the first hour or so I was there just wandering from land to land, taking it all in. It has a couple of serious roller coasters in the Lost River Delta area, and Tower of Terror, but otherwise, most of the rides are dark rides that are very cool.
    I've been there but I was curious as to what you thought of it because I know you've been to many of my bucket list items (Shanghai Disney, etc). A friend of mine (who hates theme parks) wasn't impressed and it just blew my mind. I thought the architecture alone was mind-boggling and so beautiful.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I've been there but I was curious as to what you thought of it because I know you've been to many of my bucket list items (Shanghai Disney, etc). A friend of mine (who hates theme parks) wasn't impressed and it just blew my mind. I thought the architecture alone was mind-boggling and so beautiful.
    The architecture absolutely was gorgeous!! Truly unbelievable! :)

    Sayhello
     

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