Rediscovering the Wonders of Japan!

Mike's Articles

Inoki Sakaba is Back for Round 2!

In one of my first articles for Odigo, I wrote about one of my favorite restaurants in all of Japan: the Antonio Inoki Sakaba located in Shinjuku.  Yes, the place was magnificent in its spacious set up, gloriously campy homage to its namesake, with delicious

Meibutsu Delicacies: Kamakura's Hato Sabure (Dove Shortbread Cookies!)

For most travelers staying in the Kanto area during their Japan journey, the Kamakura Daibutsu (big Buddha) will probably be on the list.  After all, it is one of the most iconic sites in all of Japan, and the surrounding seaside area is amazing for a number

Meibutsu Delicacies: Niigata's Nanban Miso

Niigata Prefecture is primarily known for three things—snow, rice, and sake—so it comes at no surprise that its meibutsu products (local specialties) center on those things. The one I will introduce today happens to be associated with treasured Niigata crop—ko

Meibutsu Delicacies: Toyama's Masuzushi

Do you like sushi? Looking for a good travel snack? Interested in Japan's feudal history? Think those things don’t go well together? Toyama Prefecture would beg to differ. via rekishinotabi/5669801198/sizes/o/ Toyama, located along the Sea of Japan coast in we

Are you ready for Setsubun? What you need to know before you go!

Are you ready for Setsubun? Haven't picked up the supplies yet?  Not even sure what setsubun is?  Allow me to point you in the right direction, seeing as it is one of my favorite (and one of the most quirky holidays in Japan).So without further ado... What i

Eggs-ellent Japanese Dishes and Eggs-actly Where You Should Try Them in Tokyo

I love eggs, and what's not to love about them?  They're probably the most versatile protein you can buy.  Fry 'em up.  Boil 'em.  Poach 'em.  Use them for baking.  Use them as a topping.  Mix them with other proteins.  The list goes on and on and on.

Tokyo's Best Foodie Boroughs

Tokyo is one of the best cities in the world for foodies.  You'll see more than a few Michelin Stars in Japan's capital city, and you might be surprised at just how broad the options are in terms of cuisine.  Besides the hometown favorites (including regiona

Tranquil Tokyo: Your Guide to Finding Zen in one of the world's busiest cities

When you’re lost in the hustle and bustle of the big cities of Japan, it can be easy to forget that Japanese culture is deeply rooted in the principles of simplicity, enlightenment, and oneness with nature.  Hardly seems that way when gazing upon Tokyo Skytre

Japan's Best Train Stations that are Worth the Stop

I contend that no country in the world can rival Japan in trains.  Sure, there are many impressive train lines across the globe (probably none as iconic as the Trans-Siberian railway), but once Japan began introducing railroads in the late 1800s, the country

Another Iconic Nintendo Character Turns 25: Celebrate at Lawson's!

25 years ago, one of Nintendo's most iconic characters came to life.  Although Mario's creator Shigeru Miyamoto had a hand in developing this new brand of hero, he was completely unlike the Italian plumber who had captured the hearts of gamers throughout the

Super Mario Cuisine: Italian-Japanese Fusion at its Best!

Back in 1981, Nintendo released the Donkey Kong arcade game developed by Shigeru Miyamoto.  For those uninitiated gamers out there (or too young to remember), players took control of "jumpman," who needed to avoid the barrels that a giant ape threw.  Jumpman

Top-Food at Low Prices: Your Guide to Japan's Cheap Michelin Star Restaurants

I have spent more than half my life in Japan now, and one thing I have always appreciated is the attention to detail that comes with food here.  No, here, food isn’t just something you eat, it’s often a work of art in itself, and Japanese restaurants pride th

Meals on Wheels: Your Guide to Tokyo Food Trucks

It would seem that food truck culture is really gaining worldwide acceptance.  What started as fast food on wheels has reached gourmet proportions, and this trend has been picking up in Japan. Of course, it would be false to assume that Japan has not always h

Japanese Desserts: Mochi Mochi Chocolat

It's a self-indulgent quest of mine to make sure that I share all the best Japanese desserts I encounter with the Odigo community.  I focus on things that almost anyone visiting Japan will be able to find, so no, I don't just tell you about a tiny shop in a b

Matcha Mania: A quick guide to Tokyo's Best Teahouses

Are you a Matcha Man (or woman)?Do you find regular coffee matcha do about nothing?Intrigued by green tea but don’t know matcha ‘bout it?All puns aside, I love matcha.  I drink it everyday, and not for the new age medicinal reasons (even though it is good for

Avoiding the Tourist Clichés: Enjoying Tokyo Minus the Stereotypes

Do you hate tourist traps?  Do you want to avoid doing those cliché things that are common to Tokyo?  I do, too, and trust me, after having shown my fair share of visitors around Tokyo, I've heard all the clichés and seen all the tourist traps.  While thi

Foodie Day in Tokyo: Your Perfect Itinerary for a Gastronomical Day in Japan's Capital

I have spent the better part of my life living in Japan. I have probably eaten at thousands of restaurants here, especially in Tokyo. I've often said it's almost impossible to find a bad meal in Tokyo, largely because bad businesses can't really survive in the

To Drive or not to Drive: I answer the question!

Probably my favorite form of travel is the good ol' road trip.  Pile your bags and some food in the car, hit the road, explore a new place one twist and bend at a time, and see the sights at your leisure.  Ah, it's the best.   But Japan is no good for road

Rain on your Parade? Ways to beat the weather blues in Japan!

Japan has pretty dynamic weather patterns compared to many countries.  With the exception of the southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa, there are four true seasons, each with their own unique characteristics and range of weather events that can threaten y

Navigating the Narrow Streets of Nippon: Lessons learned and tips to get you where you're going!

Finding your way around in a new place can be challenging for anyone, but navigating the labyrinthine streets and alleyways of most Japanese cities and towns can be downright mind-boggling even for the most seasoned world travelers.  Most streets are unnamed

Spice up your Japanese Vacation with these Fiery Foods

Japan is not known for its spicy food.  In fact, most Japanese I know (my own extended family included) are not too keen on any food that makes your eyes water.  Let's face it, in a country where pepperoni is considered a spicy topping, you get an idea of wh

5 Foods in Japan that Taste Better with Mayonnaise!

Japan has a love affair with mayonnaise.  Don't believe me?  Try to find a single sandwich in the convenience store that doesn't have mayo on it.  And that's just the beginning.  You will see mayonnaise on a wide range of foods, but here are my top five di

Making the Most of Your Homestay : Your Guide to Maximizing Your Experience in Japan

One of the best ways to experience a foreign country is by doing a homestay.  One of the worst ways to experience a foreign country is by doing a homestay.  Wait, which is it?  Well, both are true depending on the homestay program you select as well as how

Tsukimi Fast Food: Japan's Harvest Moon makes Food Egg-cellent

The Harvest Moon is almost upon us here in Japan.  This year, it will arrive on 4 October, and while Japan has a traditional Tsukimi("moon-viewing") festival in mid-August, it holds special importance for the Tsukimi associated with the harvest moon. That mak

Foreigner Friendly Feasts: Your Guide to Easy Eating in Japan

I have always found that one of the best things about traveling to a foreign country is enjoying the local cuisine.  No matter your race, creed, or religion, we all have to eat, and the food of a particular country--even down to the region, city, and district

Gotta Catch these Instant Noodles

The Pokemon fever continues in Japan.  Although Pokemon has continued to be popular in Japan since its original release decades ago, it has witnessed a resurgence as a new generation has been brought in with Pokemon Go, Pokemon Sun/Moon, and the recently rele

Japan's Wacky Gadgets: 10 Affordable Options to Bring Home!

For decades, Japan has always had its fair share of quirky gadgets meant to help out consumers in their daily lives.  While always well-intentioned, they ranged from must-haves to "what the heck were they thinking?"  Case in point: the Sony Walkman was a Jap

Celebrate Shonen Jump's 50th Anniversary at Mori Art Center (Tokyo)

A few months ago I introduced you to the Marvel Exhibition at Mori Art Museum, and if you're a comic book/manga geek (or otaku) like me, then have I got the thing for you!  But first, a little bit of introduction to warm you up... If you've a foreigner and yo

Pablo & Pie no Mi: Another Fantastic Collaboration

A few weeks ago, I introduced you, the reader, to the Japanese art of コラボ, korabo, or collaboration, using the popular "Pie no Mi" chocolate puff pastry treat as an example.  Well, sure enough, Pie no Mi is at it again with another fantastic korabo option. 

Japanese Desserts: Anpanman's Namesake!

Japan has countless incredible desserts available for consumption, but a few have emerged as quintessentially Japanese treats.  Those treats are the sort that can be found in any store or supermarket, home, and even Japan's pop culture.  My personal favorite