Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Me Want Sushi!

Sarah asked, "What do you want to do for your 40th birthday?"

Jason replied, "Why, go to Tokyo for some good sushi, of course!"

And so it began: the planning, the guide book purchasing, the sleeping
pill prescriptions, the "konichiwa" practicing...

Tokyo it was. The plan called for a 6:00 AM
Thursday departure that got us into Tokyo at 5:00 PM Friday. Sounds painful, but that International Date Line kinda messes with you. Basically, it's about a nine hour flight each way. And, although we pretty much lost a Friday, we had two Sundays!

The plan was to hit Kyubei for dinner the first night. Of course, we say that like it's old hat, but we had no idea where to go or what to do. Based on extensive emails from Joe Cupani, solid Beaver County boy and Carnegie Mellon grad, and a few guide books, we decided to hit the best available sushi restaurant as our first Tokyo food experience. When we arrived at our hotel, Jason asked the front desk person for help finding Kyubei and his response told us that we were on the right track: "Ooohh, Kyubei! Wow!"

That's our sushi chef below, and let us tell you that it was - BY FAR - the most amazing sushi experience of our lives. Spiritual. Ephemeral. Ethereal. Frackin' killer sushi!

From the bowl of baby sardines to the still-twitching shrimp, it has devalued every other sushi meal for all eternity. It was that good! And the toro or otoro or whatever they call the fatty tuna belly, mmmmmm! Words cannot describe how good, how amazingly good, the fish tasted.

Jason is still not sure whether it ruined sushi in America, or gave him a new appreciation for all raw fish from here on out. And since he's now over 40, the "here on out" is starting to seem mighty short!

But there was a lot more to Tokyo that just eating fish. We hit the Tsukiji fish market (to look at fish) the next morning at about 7:00 AM, which was like 3:00 PM Tuesday our time, or something like that. Tsukiji (pronounced Ski-Gee. or so Cupani said) is a huge marketplace where fresh fish is auctioned each morning, and where fishmongers sell the freshest, most beautiful available bounty of the sea. The guidebooks said to be there early, and even though we were there at the crack of early, we missed the big auction. But, there was still plenty of action to be had.

No single photo captures the scene, but just imagine the most enormous tuna that you've ever seen - hund
reds of them - plus tons of random fishes of all sorts, octopus, squid, clams, scallops, and on and on and on! Plus, hundreds of people jamming the tiny aisles, hand carts, powered buggies, and random tourists like us trying to both take pictures and not get killed. Good times!

More photos are below, but it was an amazing experience. And, it was like going directly to the source. The red Ahi tuna, which is kind of a pinkish translucent red in San Francisco, was the deepest blood red we've ever seen! And the toro, which is $6 or $8 PER SLICE in San Fran was $12 or $13 for TWENTY fresh pieces at the market! Heaven! And the REAL wasabi! Oh my God!

We did some non-fish activities as well, like the Meiji Sh
rine and shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya. Sarah found some great earrings, Jason found some more sushi, and we both found a new favorite city! It's amazing how many people were on the sidewalks, yet it was quiet, clean, and no one was bumping into you.

Speaking of the people over there: AMAZING! So darn nice! We'd open a map, and someone would ask us if we needed help finding something. We'd talk in English, they would smile and do their best to help us understand what they meant. No rude looks, just smiles from nice, genuine, helpful people.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. We had a solid 48 hours on the ground. Jason had his best-ever sushi. Sarah had sore feet. And we both had a new appreciation for Japanese culture and people.

Domo arigato, Japan, for the best possible 40th birthday anyone could ever ask for!

See all of the photos in the slideshow below, or click here for the full screen version.

Monday, October 19, 2009

OFS c/o '90... We've Got Spirit!

Just a quick post to share the slideshow from my recent 20 year high school reunion. What an amazing group of people I went to school with. Happy to re-connect with so many people from my youth. Speaking of which, our class ages very well - everyone looked pretty much the same! Yay! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Relaxing Hawai'i Videos

Hawai'i is hella relaxing! Seriously, if relaxing were a sport, Hawai'i would always win the championship. Need proof? Here are two great videos from our recent trip to Oahu...

Here's Sarah during a hard-core relaxing practice session...

You can even relax under the water, as we did while watching this turtle dude swim around...

See - wasn't that relaxing?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Biking HMB