Thursday, September 22, 2011

Japan is Delicious

They're next door neighbors.
Over Korean Thanksgiving we hopped on a ferry from Busan to Fukuoka, Japan.  We were only there for two and a half days and stayed in the city, so I only experienced a tiny corner of Japan.  From what I can tell in that short trip is that Japan has some of the best food anybody will ever eat!  There isn't anything really special to do in Fukuoka except eat and drink, and we over indulged in both areas.  Actually, besides a large sitting Buddha and a couple hours at the beach, I can only remember eating and drinking.

You think you've eaten ramen.  Back in those days when you were a poor alcoholic in college most of your meals consisted of a 27 cent package of ramen and a can of Natural Light.  Then you graduate from school, earn some money, and never look back at those boxes of ramen that could feed you for a week.  Well it turns out Fukuoka is the ramen capital of the entire freaking world and their ramen costs about nine dollars for a whole meal of it.  If you know how to use a calculator that's over a 3,000% increase in price!  Also, that's about how much better it is.  Don't ask me how they do it, but best ramen I've ever had in life: check.
Caroline slurps her ramen.
Next thing we ate was sushi.  I know you've probably already thought about how the best sushi is in Japan because it originates from there and all that.  So it's not a crazy concept that Japan has the best sushi in the world, but it's hard to imagine just how ridiculously good it is.  It was like the first time I heard the sweet sounds of Led Zeppelin, I couldn't believe something could be that good!  I will never forget the first sushi I ate in Japan.  It was simply a piece of salmon, some wasabi, and a ball of rice that I picked off a conveyer belt.  Sushi will never be the same to me.  From now on I'm that annoying guy that states how the sushi is not as good as the sushi I ate in Japan that one time.  Best sushi ever: check.
There's heaven on that plate.

The last thing we had to try in Fukuoka was to eat at a yatai, or a mobile food stall.  As the sun goes down these food stalls start setting up near the river and in downtown.  It features a cook surrounded by about a dozen stools and a bar that wraps around the grill.  It's kind of like one of those restaurants in America where they cook the food in front of you but it's outside and much smaller.  When we found out the cook did tempura we had him deep fry everything he had.  We actually ate all of his mushrooms.  It was addicting!  It was like someone spiked the oil with crack.  Then the cook put a pot of saki on the grill and served it to us hot.  Let me highly recommend that.  The best food stall I have ever eaten at: check.

The Master

Happy Customers

Good stuff right there.

Japan was a great visit but its only downfall is that it's damn expensive.  You could easily blow hundreds of dollars in a weekend without doing anything very extravagant.  I will be back so I can at least taste that sushi one more time, but it's best to visit Japan in small doses.  Unless you look in your bathroom and your toilet is made of gold, just visit Japan for a few days at a time.  However, arguably the best food I've eaten in Asia: check.

More pictures from Fukuoka to feast your eyes on:


  1. Hello Ryan,

    You don't know me and I'm fairly certain we don't know anyone mutually. However, my husband works for MJ Harden in Kansas City and a man by the name of Doug Walters recommended your blog to my husband and I who are planning a trip to Japan and looking into the JET program (Unfortunately my husband is over 40, so I don't think that will be an option).

    I just read the last few pages of your Blog and I have to say, you're HILARIOUS, but your experiences are also an inspiration to to me.

    I've had a long-standing fascination for East Asian cultures and have found I spend more time watching Japanese and Korean media than American (I use to watch "Invincible Youth" when it was still on and now I enjoy "Running Man").

    The current state of the U.S. these days have made my husband and I scratch our chins and wonder what it would be like to flee the old red, white and blue and find adventure in a different land. I have a lot of respect for you and what you're doing. I'm also a bit envious of how much you've experienced in your life. I've never been outside the Midwest -- and I am scratching at the proverbial walls to be let out and experience more of the world.

    I wish you the best of luck in your continued journey and I look forward to more updates to your blog. :)

    My Best,
    -- Leeanne

  2. Leeanne,

    Thanks for the compliments! I actually worked at MJ Harden until I left for China in 2009. I got the itch and decided to travel for an extended period of time.

    I know close to nothing about JET (other than it's very competitive). But if you decide to head to South Korea or China, I'm expert in what you need to do to get a teaching job in those countries. Feel free to send me a message. And as long as you're not over sixty five, there's no problem with age.

    If you feel like the time is right, then I would highly recommend taking a break from America and experiencing what else the world holds. I'm beginning year three of this break and I'm planning on making it last four. I couldn't imagine not doing this! It's been a great experience.