Monday, 30 March 2009

Shinjuku, Shinjuku

In the heart of Shinjuku lies Lumine Est, a shopping mall adjacent to the JR Station and Metro. Floors 7 & 8 were a gastronomical discovery and the answer to the next few meals I'm sure.
Japan is big on recycling, which is a good thing, and the decor reflects this well. Old frames plus lighting ... and voila you have a great feature wall. The famous have an outlet here as well as at every major area in the city. The row of chairs are in anticipation of the queques at meal time. Unique to Japan, all restaurants worth their salt set out chairs or even benches to encourage customers to wait for a table. Okinawa cuisine is popular and famous for its goya dishes cooked as tempura, or sweetened by soaking in brown sugar. Goya is a gourd with a characteristic bitter taste and considered a refreshing summer dish. Goya is rich in Vitamin C and has been used medicinally in China, India and Arabia for centuries.
An interesting wall of corrugated cardboard painted red. The Japanese take pains in recycling their garbage. The sorting and recycling starts at home and carries on into public places like the parks. Special days are allocated for disposal of inflammables, paper or plastic. Bottles and cans are disposed of in designated collection areas. I just found out today that pieces of paper smaller than a post card are deemed non-recycle worthy. The Paper Museum gives a detailed history of the use of paper in Japan through the centuries as well as the modern challenges of recycling. Of course sushi and sashimi is everywhere . . . presentation being just as important as freshness.Wondered where all the old PC's, CPU's and keyboards went to? In this case a wall. It makes a statement, a reminder of mans excesses polluting the planet.
The famous plastic food of Japan. It certainly helps when you don't know the language. The point and smile method works all the time.When stacked up pipes and meter boxes are painted grey they make stark contrast with large glass sheets . . . most effective decor effect. A tastefully decorated lounge area amidst the restaurants lends a spacious feel. This new interior design concept certainly adds to the trendy ambiance.The romance with all things American still lingers on here in the Land of the Rising Sun. The hamburger is given a Japanese twist with teriyaki flavouring; rice, noodles or fries as accompaniments, shredded cabbage with mayo and grilled onion rings. For desert you have the choice of French pastries, crepes (penchant for all things French as well), waffles or this new wave ice cream - Cold Stone. Creamy flavours of your choice are mixed and folded on a freezing stone surface before your eyes. To add to the fun, the cheerful young girls behind the counter break into little ditties of song as part of the performance. Ice cream served till 11 pm...who could ask for more?
Rushing off to catch the last train (midnight for JR line; 1 am for the metro) is this rare sight of two genteel Japanese ladies dressed in kimono. Special Sunday occasions and weddings are about the only time the kimono is donned these days. The cultural divide widens as modern wins over traditional.

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