Dining with Ninjas in Akasaka

In the feudal days of Japan, the ultimate undercover warrior was the ninja. Always watching, always hiding in plain view, he was bound to strike his target at any time.

Pop culture has romanticized the image of the ninja, so it makes perfect sense that in a neighbourhood just steps away from the tourist and gaijin hub of Roppongi, a ninja-themed restaurant has set up shop. But don’t for a minute mistake Ninja Akasaka as being in the same category as chain-owned theme restaurants like Rainforest Cafe or Planet Hollywood. While the ninja theme is immersive, the food – unlike with the chains – is amazing.

Read more

Episode 13 – Santa’s Always Watching

Christmastime has arrived in Tokyo!  And because the big guy in red is always making a list and checking it twice, what better thing to talk about than etiquette in Japan on this episode of the show!  (For more on good manners when visiting, check out my blog post!)

Also on this episode, we talk about how Tokyo puts on a bright celebration of Christmas, dining with ninjas, climbing a mountain, and some thoughts on Paris.

Tokyo’s Hipster Neighbourhood – Shimokitazawa

One of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Tokyo is located just one express train stop west of bustling Shibuya Crossing.

New York blog Gothamist calls Shimokitazawa Tokyo’s answer to hipster haven Williamsburg in Brooklyn.  With a quirky mix of shops, bars and restaurants, Shimokita (as the locals call it) is an attractive destination for youth and those looking for an alternative scene.  But with the neighbourhood’s popularity rising, a number of smaller independent shops are giving way to bigger brands setting up to do business.

Read more

Tokyo’s Canadian Wine Store – Heavenly Vines

When you talk to people in Japan about Canada, you typically get asked about mountains, moose and maple syrup – not merlot.  But the reality is Canada is producing some world-class, award-winning wine with small, artesian wineries painstakingly crafting amazing products in many parts of the country.

One Tokyo shop owner wants to change the conversation with those in Japan who don’t realize Canada has a lot to offer their wine racks.

Read more