Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tokyo eats on the cheap

Yes, even cheap sushi. This was had for about $10 at a department store market. More on that later. On Tuesday I arrived in Tokyo and I visited Chuo University on Wednesday. This is not a great picture but I did manage to snap a skyline view of Tokyo from one of the tall buildings at Chuo. It certainly does not capture the immenseness of Tokyo.

The interesting thing about Japan is that many of the private railway companies are owned and operated by huge department stores. These are unlike anything in America. Many major train stations in Tokyo (and all over Japan) are a maze of department stores, shops and train entrances. Once you figure that out getting around is not too difficult. Every major department store has a floor for each type of goods they are selling. Generally the bottom one or two floors are dedicated to food, both prepared and fresh produce. There are cases filled with delectable sweet treats and gyoza stands. It is like a huge market with super attentive staff at every station. The sushi you see above was my dinner on Tuesday. Yes, $10 from the Tobu department store at the Ikebukuro station.

Here is one case filled with fried meats of all kinds. Oh, I wish I had better pictures. I will try to get some better ones when I get to Osaka.

Here are a couple of pictures just outside the Shinjuku train station.
And in Ikebukuro I was tempted by the Colonel.

Instead, for lunch, I treated myself to another local cheap favorite. This is a small fast food shop that has a variety of rice bowls topped with grilled meats. It is an interesting process. You must first buy a meal ticket from the vending machine near the entrance. You can choose a variety of things from their limited menu and you choose by pressing the button for anything within the price range of what you've put into the machine. You sit at a counter, there is only one thin counter at this place, and hand your meal ticket to the server in front of you. Within a minute or two a hot steaming bowl of meat covered rice and a small bowl of miso soup appears. You eat quickly and leave. For less than $4 you can be satisfied. Quick, easy and you don't even need to hassle with trying to order off a menu written in Japanes. Many of these places have a picture of the food next to the buttons on the vending machines.

Here is a photo of the street that I am staying on near the Mejiro station.

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