I’ve arrived in Japan and am over halfway through my adventure. I’ve only had five hours of sleep but I’m excited to start exploring Tokyo!
I start my day at the Tsukiji fish market to discover some of the best seafood in the world. I need to get some tuna, the hero of these markets, to take to a private lesson with a sushi master later in the day.
I meet Mr Iida, a fish wholesaler in the markets, who lets me help him out as he breakdown some of the enormous tuna sides. The quality of the fish and precision of the work is amazing, I’m a bit frightened I’ll mess it up!
I take my precious piece of tuna to meet sushi master Toshio Fukumoto. His restaurant, Sushi Fukumoto was awarded one Michellin star in 2009 and Toshio has over 40 years experience in his craft. I’ve wanted to take a lesson for years so I’m quite excited!
There is so much skill and precision to preparing sushi, and the rice is as important as the fish itself. I think I need a lot more practice but for now I’m happy just eating.
Today my mission is to embrace the quirky — and Japan is good at quirky so I’m going to Mr. Kanso for lunch.
This unique place sells and serves only food from a can, and there are hundreds of different kinds.
Of course I have to try some of the, more obscure, potted delicacies (and wash them down with a beer). It was better than I anticipated but I don’t think bear and seal will be on my menu again any time soon!
From my slightly odd canned lunch I’m off to Mutoh 3D printing to take in one of Japan’s hi-tech offerings and have a personalised bobble-head figurine created!
A quick face scan and a few outfit and hair choices later and I’m done.
The 3D printing of my bobble head doppelganger will take 2 days but I have plenty to keep me busy before I return on my last day to pickup my mini-me…
Fast forward to Day 22 and look!!!
Can you tell how excited I am?! So cool.
Tokyo is as focused on the future as it is grounded in the past and today I’m exploring a tradition that dates back 2000 years — the national sport of Sumo!
I’m feeling very privileged, very few tourists get the opportunity to even visit Sumo training, but here I am. It’s full on and would you believe that I’m going to get in the ring with these guys?
Before I have a go I have to put on the traditional gear (really just a thick g-string) and cover my tattoos.
Then it’s into battle. I did my best but these professionals are hard core, they threw me around like a sack of potatoes!
You may think these big guys eat several meals a day but in fact they only eat two. They want to slow their metabolism and gain weight as quickly as possible so they exercise on an empty stomach and sleep on a full one. I’m excited to see the preparation of this hearty food and enjoy a meal with my new friends.
Chanko Nabe is one of the main staples of the Sumo diet. It’s a filling soup and the recipe tends to change depending on the cook, but it’s always enjoyed by the group together.
For my final night I’m sleeping in a shared accommodation that is unique to Japan — a capsule hotel. What an experience!
I pickup my mini-me bobble head and then it’s back on the train for lunch — it’s time for ramen!
Ramen is a gift to the universe. That beautiful thick soup so full of flavour, loaded with eggs and pork and toppings — yum.
Tokyo Ramen Street is a collection of ramen restaurants — including my destination, Rokurinsha — tucked into a corner of Tokyo Station. I’ve joined the queue at this hugely popular restaurant at the 30 minute wait marker, apparently it’s worth it though!
After ordering from the machine (with extra pork and an egg of course) my meal takes about five minutes to appear.
My mamma would kill me for slurping my soup in her kitchen but here it’s expected — and it’s just as delicious as I’d hoped!
From lunch I go to meet Chef Mori, a ramen noodle master at Abarenbou Ramen, to learn the art of making noodles.
Chef Mori has been doing this for 22 years and I gave it a good go, but felt like I was a 15 year old apprentice again. I think I need a lot more practice to get as good as this guy — I’ll stick to eating for now!
Japan has been a hit to my budget but I’ve had so much fun — LA here I come! I hope you can join me.
Watch Episode 6 of Around the World with Manu (the final leg of my adventure) in Australia this Sunday, 13 November 2016 on channel 7TWO.