I had the ridiculously good luck to go to Japan over Spring Break, on a trip organized by Japanese students at my graduate school. We spent a week visiting Toyko, Hiroshima and Kyoto, and of course, I ate so many delicious (oishii) treats, I'm not sure where to begin. I've spent my years in New York missing Los Angeles sushi (Hama and Saito to be precise), but LA has nothing on Tokyo sushi at 7 am right outside the Tsujiki Fish Market, the largest in the world (more on that in an upcoming post).
Another favorite was nisshin soba--buckwheat noodles topped with mackerel--a specialty of Kyoto. I was able to slurp a whole bowl down in minutes (slurping is ok in Japan fyi), despite my tight kimono. Later that same afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending a tea ceremony (chanoyu) at Kankyuan, the center of the Mushakouji Senke tea school. Our tea was prepared by Futessai Sen Soushu, the 14th Grand Master of this school of tea. He will be in New York demonstrating a tea ceremony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on April 8, 2009 at 2 pm.
Of course, I brought home many treats as well, including Kyoto's famous cinnamon-spiked yatsuhashi, plum wine, Japanese whiskey, and more funny sour, sweet and gummy candies than my bag could hold.