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Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

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Everyone knows how to live the good life in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany. Now, Matthew Amster-Burton makes you fall in love with Tokyo. Experience this exciting and misunderstood city through the eyes of three Americans vacationing in a tiny Tokyo apartment. Follow 8-year-old Iris on a solo errand to the world’s greatest supermarket, picnic on the bullet train, and eat a staggering array of great, inexpensive foods, from eel to udon. A humorous travel memoir in the tradition of Peter Mayle and Bill Bryson, Pretty Good Number One is the next best thing to a ticket to Tokyo.

266 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 8, 2013

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About the author

Matthew Amster-Burton

7 books60 followers
Matthew Amster-Burton is the author of the YA novel OUR SECRET BETTER LIVES and four nonfiction books, including HUNGRY MONKEY (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) and PRETTY GOOD NUMBER ONE: AN AMERICAN FAMILY EATS TOKYO (2013), which was a bestseller in Japan and has been optioned for film. He has written for Gourmet, the Wall Street Journal, and the Seattle Times, and has appeared in the BEST FOOD WRITING anthology five times.

Matthew is the cohost, with Molly Wizenberg, of the hit comedy podcast Spilled Milk, which reaches over 13,000 listeners. He lives with his family in Seattle.

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243 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 190 reviews
Profile Image for Aloke.
197 reviews51 followers
August 31, 2017
Hilarious, informative and comforting. I imagine it wouldn't be everyone's cup of green tea but if you find the jokes funny and are interested in Tokyo's food, language and culture you'll probably like it. It also helps if you like kids because the author's eight year old daughter plays a big part in the book. She's quite a character too, sociable and adventurous although wary of vegetables.

I'm wavering between 4 and 5 stars. There's no deep insights here: just a lot of great food knowledge tucked dumpling-like into funny vignettes.

On second thought maybe it's more like an okonomiyaki with the food knowledge as the batter studded with succulent bits of humorous octopus and pork belly. Or maybe vice versa.
Profile Image for Michelle.
337 reviews18 followers
April 21, 2013
You don’t have to be a Japanophile to be sucked in to Matthew Amster-Burton’s Pretty Good Number One, but you might become one after you’ve read the book. Each chapter takes you through quintessential Japanese foods and food experiences and leaves you wanting…to book the first plane out for a bowl of ramen, or a crunchy bite of tempura, or a cup of green tea from a café with a floor for matcha and another for sencha.

This is no foodier than thou memoir. He shares stories of regular noodle and okonomiyaki joints, a pachinko parlor and the takoyaki museum. He talks about grocery shopping and trying to sort your recyclables (the specificity of which blows my American mind, but has my half Japanese side nodding knowingly). It bypasses the usual adulation and reporting of the middle of the night visit to witness the buying and selling at Tsukiji Fish Market, and instead tells a sweet story about a shopkeeper who got their day started right, talks about wandering around the market and having sashimi for breakfast.

And if you’re not already drawn in by the food, the stories about life in Japan that round out the book, about the friendliness of its people and the freedom (without worry) that kids have, will get you. Amster-Burton is totally charmed by Japan and you can’t help but be charmed by this book.
Profile Image for Ashley.
366 reviews5 followers
January 8, 2019
While the enthusiasm and anecdotes were enjoyable, what I enjoyed most about this book was the wonderful flood of nostalgia it stirred up: I've had just about all the foods mentioned here.Unfortunately the off-hand generalizations (especially from someone who doesn't speak the language and lived there for just a month and a week) and the goofy tone undermined the good feelings. Multiple times I cringed when a really dumb joke completely ruined an otherwise nice paragraph.

I will say this, though: I appreciate that the book focused on meals instead of restaurants, a smart strategy for both staying current in the long run and for preventing your favorite places from becoming unbearably popular.

If you are curious about Japanese food and want to learn more, it's a decent and pleasant enough introduction.
Profile Image for Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac).
650 reviews583 followers
April 5, 2016
I live in Tokyo, and had already been here for three years when zany food journalist Matthew Amster-Burton, his 8-year-old daughter Iris and wife Laurie took a one-month food vacation here in the summer of 2012. They lived near Nakano Station during that month, which is a 45-minute walk from me, and where I teach English 2-3 times a week.

With unpretentious charm and goofy humor, Amster-Burton chronicles his culinary escapades. He and Iris are crazy about Japanese food, and pig out at local holes-in-the-wall and fine restaurants all over Tokyo and beyond.

I was so busy being entertained by the rollicking foodiness, I barely noticed that I also learned a ton. I'd never really understood some basic things about Japanese cuisine, such as the history of Japanized western food 'youshoku.' I found the assertion fascinating that most natives identify a dish from this category, such as omu rice or Hamburg steak, rather than more authentically Japanese food like sushi, as their favorite Japanese food.

He also makes bold assertions such as that the French restaurants in Tokyo are just as good if not better than in Paris.

Amster-Burton doesn't confine his observations solely to food: he gave me words to describe what I most love about Tokyo when he described the "nameless, narrow backstreets, with frequent intersections and diversions" as providing an ineffably magic sense of enclosure, what some architectural theorist termed "outdoor rooms." Yes, exactly!

He and his family lived in one such outdoor room, in the narrow backstreets of North Nakano, and his book opens with precise walking directions to his place from the train station, including a crude English translation of the street name as "Pretty Good Number One." I'd been down that street before, and a few more times since I started the book.

This book has pointed me down umpteen other streets, narrow or wide, nameless or named, in search of food adventures, of teeming Japanese life.

Profile Image for Susann.
716 reviews41 followers
July 10, 2013
Covering the Amster-Burton family's month-long stay in Tokyo, Pretty Good Number One is a fun, breezy, and helpful love story with this beautifulugly city.

I'm lucky to have traveled to Japan once before and to have loved everything but the smoking and jet lag. So I spent much of the book smiling whenever I recognized my own experiences (yakitori! onsen! dining in department store basements!) I spent the other time feeling wistful that I've missed out on cat cafes, pan-fried soup dumplings, and traveling with eight-year-old Iris. I spent all the time feeling hungry.

I kept changing my mind about my favorite part but, ultimately, the incident involving takoyaki and a two-year-old was the winner.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys travelogues, food writing, or family stories. And an absolute must for anyone planning a trip to Japan.

The book is now available as an ebook and as a print copy.

Profile Image for Katie.
1,094 reviews53 followers
January 3, 2021
If you do not have at least a mildly obsessive interest in Japanese food and Tokyo in general, you won't find this book as interesting as I did. But I dove into it and enjoyed this deep dive into all things ramen, udon, and much more, quite a bit.

The author (a podcaster whose podcast I listen to frequently, and I have also just finished a memoir by his co-host) lived in Tokyo for one month in a 260-sqft apartment with his wife and daughter. Given that space limitation, like many Tokyo residents, they spent a lot of time outside the house (long pre-COVID, of course) and went to many many many restaurants, shops (kawaii!!), theme parks (a ramen museum.... an udon museum!) and tourist destinations.

It's a love letter to Tokyo, and very informative about Tokyo as a city, to those of us who would love to go there but probably never will. Tokyo is not a quintessentially beautiful city, but it is unexpectedly historic and has many neighborhoods with distinctive personalities. He describes the mind-boggling public transit system, the quaint and unexpectedly medieval streets (once you get out of places like Shibuya crossing), the cat cafes, and the notable tradition of its restaurants that usually specialize in ONE food and not the disparate menu common in the U.S.

The food is described in great, wonderful detail, for those who are interested. Also, an astounding amount of info about the relative mucosity of various Japanese foods and how/why this offends the American palate (including the author's).
Profile Image for Leigh-Anne.
309 reviews7 followers
March 21, 2018
"When you ask for a cake to go on a hot day, they'll ask how soon you intend to eat it, and then pack it for travel with tiny ice packs taped to the inside of the box for temperature control and protection against bumps and bruises."

"Bad service in Tokyo is shockingly rare, and being able to walk into any shop and be treated like a human made me realize how painful it is when you can't depend on such treatment."

This book was great and had me reminiscing about when we lived in Okinawa, Japan for 3 years. There are days that I miss Japan so much it's like a sack of Okinawan sweet potatoes sitting on my shoulders. When we left Okinawa to move back to America, the flight from Tokyo to LA was staffed with Americans. When I asked for a water outside of the regular service window on our 10 hour flight and the flight attendant gave me a heavy, annoyed sigh, I knew we weren't in Japan anymore and my heart deflated.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, but I do miss some of it. I never could get into Ramen or broth type Soba like the author Amster-Burton, but living in Okinawa I loved melon pan fried ice cream, sushi (duh), tepanyaki, yakitori, and yakisoba. I still think the best steak I ever had was in the mall food court! When you think of a mall food court, take it up about 20 notches and that's what the Okinawa food court was like!

I daydream about expating to Japan, but as the author pointed out being a visitor and relocating to Japan one will experience two very different reactions from the locals. I simply loved this book because of all the little, kawaii things about Japanese culture that ring true. They are so unique, and even odd, that it just makes you smile. I loved his little shout out to Okinawa too....what's better than Japan on island time!?!? Nothing. I will say he commented on the parks being run down and dirty in Tokyo. Let me point your eyes again to Okinawa. The neighborhood parks are a bucket list item there!

This book is for any former Japan resident or those wishing to travel there. Take notes and visit some of the places he mentions. If you have the time and money, Japan should be #1 on your travel destination. Don't be afraid. It's very easy to navigate knowing zero Japanese. Several times when we traveled to mainland and were caught staring at a train map for more than 30 seconds, someone always came up to help point us in the right direction. Can you tell how much I love Japan?
Profile Image for Melody.
2,622 reviews251 followers
July 5, 2013
One thing I've read over and over is that this is the book that will make you want to go to Tokyo. I don't want to go to Tokyo, however I really enjoyed reading about Amster-Burton's adventures there with his family. He's a funny guy and he has a delightfully unrepentant stance when it comes to food. He's in it for what he likes, what his daughter likes, and to hell with your idea of what's fashionable or acceptable or healthy.

I loved hearing about all the interesting foods they had, but even more, I loved reading about Iris' adventures and how easily she made friends. My absolute favorite thing about the book, and by extension, Toyko is cat cafes. I want to go to a cat cafe. I loved the way Amster-Burton evoked the sense of place. His giddy love for Toyko warms the heart. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Julie Davis.
Author 4 books263 followers
June 9, 2014
I've never been that interested in visiting Japan and it says a lot for Matthew Amster-Burton's engaging food/travel memoir that by the end I was wondering if I could have a successful week-long visit without learning to read kanji. I'm already a fan of Amster-Burton's light-hearted style because I listen to Spilled Milk, the podcast that he co-hosts. It transfers fairly successfully to a book style, though I did find myself wishing that he'd have cut out a few extraneous jokes here and there.

Pretty Good Number One is fairly food-centric but without pretension and in a way that makes you understand how plain rice balls can be delicious. The food talk is woven in with plenty of interesting cultural observations that make you feel as if you understand Tokyo just a bit better. Plus it is just a fun read.
Profile Image for Whit.
547 reviews
August 27, 2015

So painful I finally had to just quit. I hate quitting books, but this was like a bunch of train of thought draft blog posts that accidently got published. And I paid for it. Hungry Monkey was somewhat good and I enjoyed reading it before going to Seattle. Now I am headed to Tokyo and was interested to see that the same author did a book on food in Tokyo. But in Hungry Monkey, he had the expertise of living in Seattle as a food critic. Here, he visited Tokyo for a month and acts like an expert on the Tokyo food scene. I finally stopped at the chapter on tofu. "Asians like Tofu!" WOW.
Profile Image for Courtney McGrale.
280 reviews10 followers
November 2, 2017
I love this book. I love travel, I love Japanese food, and I love to read about food and travel. And Matthew Amster-Burton made me laugh and smile.
Profile Image for Colleen.
758 reviews
August 7, 2019
I felt like I was back in Japan reading this. Great descriptions of everyday things and delicious meals. I enjoyed it so much that I dipped in and read a little at a time, just savoring it.
Profile Image for Phillipa.
715 reviews16 followers
April 30, 2022
Enjoyed reading this although the food still doesn't really appeal to me. Definitely would recommend to anyone planning a trip to Tokyo tho.
Profile Image for Leanne.
542 reviews13 followers
June 22, 2020
Funny, self effacing, realistic account of a Foodie's short time in Tokyo. He is the poster boy for successful foreign travel, and under no illusions about his fanboy status re: Tokyo.

The book is a little jarring in its progression and it will definitely take you a little more time to read because of all the Japanese words, but it's truly worth it. You will laugh, you will learn.
Profile Image for Jill.
687 reviews31 followers
February 10, 2018
One of the biggest challenges of reading books like Pretty Good Number One, where the author speaks about their experience of something - food, a place, an experience - is figuring out "do I trust your taste?" "Do I think your opinions are credible?" For instance, I've decided to ignore any opinion offered by the food writer for my local paper because I've figured out over the years that any restaurant that offers fatty cuts of well salted meat and other rich foods pretty much earns a 4 star review from him. And a couple of chapters in Pretty Good Number One, I couldn't decide if I should trust Amster-Burton and continue reading the book, or if I should move on to something with more substance.

For instance, it wasn't very confidence inspiring to read 4 pages in that "If Westerners think of Tokyo at all, it's as the capital of a nation struggling to right itself after years of economic stagnation capped by a devastating earthquake and nuclear disaster. Even before the Tohoku quake, however, Tokyo was a slightly off the map tourist destination. How many Tokyo tourist attractions can you name offhand? I'm going to guess zero." Oh dear, you think. This is going to be one of those Americans who discover exotic Asia, its exotic culture and flavours and mind boggling practices. They serve the fish whole here! Including the head! They eat seaweed and drink bitter tea! They eat fermented foods! And octopus balls! Page 53, where Amster-Burton wrote "to better understand what makes Japan one of the world's greatest places to eat, we should go to 7-Eleven" almost made me shut the book for good. I was convinced at this point that Amster-Burton had spent his life eating Cheez Whiz, Pop Tarts and Twinkies and now found Japanese convenience foods to be a revelation in flavour and texture by comparison. While I agreed with his assessment that "putting together lunch for the whole family from an American 7-Eleven would be as appetising as scavenging among seaside medical waste", I wasn't sure whether he could be trusted to discern what was mediocre (it doesn't exist, in his opinion), average, above average and sublime Japanese food. Or if everything was going to be awesome and a revelation.

In the end, I decided to get over myself and read the book for what it is - how to experience Tokyo with young kids, where, let's face it, you're not going to be making plans for that sublime Michelin starred meal, to get in line early for that utterly mind-blowing hole-in-the-wall ramen joint, or beg the concierge to score you seats at Sushi Jiro. So exploring the joys of Japanese supermarkets and kombinis, train food (because kids love trains and train food is a convenient option for hungry kids during the train journey), and kid-friendly options for yakitori, tempura, ramen, sushi and what not, is probably the way to go. Read in that light, Pretty Good Number One is a pretty good read and travel guide for families heading to Tokyo.
Profile Image for Maren.
189 reviews
April 25, 2015
Sometimes reading about the fun things that other people are doing--blog posts or whatever--can be a downer for me. That just comes with the territory of having a chronic illness. But this book I found so refreshing and enjoyable! Do I wish I could go to Tokyo myself now? You bet. But at the same time I feel like I've been there, just a little. This was fun to read and just about as great as mind-travel can get. :) That said, I'd like to put in a request to Matthew: the next place I'd like to travel to vicariously is Taiwan. So if you could just learn a little Mandarin now . . . :D

I couldn't resist getting my sister a copy too, before I'd even finished--and she's actually been to Tokyo. :)
Profile Image for Rachel.
352 reviews11 followers
September 21, 2013
This is a well-written and witty book by an American man from Seattle who went to Japan for a month with his wife and young daughter with the goal of eating a lot. It's both a travel memoir and a food diary, and while there are a number of inaccuracies, it's still a good read. I wrote an earlier, harsher review before I read Amster-Burton's acknowledgments at the end of the book. He thanks a few people who served as his fact checkers on precisely the inaccuracies that bothered me (regarding language and food facts), and it's not his fault that they did a less than exemplary job. I recommend the book, but with the caveat that if you have some familiarity with Japan and Japanese food, you'll still enjoy the book but will probably be a little irritated as well.
Profile Image for Jennifer Shepard.
134 reviews6 followers
April 21, 2015
I am giving this culinary-based travel narrative 5 stars because I loved the author's voice. For the past few months, I have been listening to the podcast he co-hosts with Molly Wizenburg. He's funny and smart "on air," and that voice was evident on the page, as well. Throughout the book, one of Amster-Burton's constant foodie companions was Shiro Yamaoka, the protagonist of Oishinbo, the seven-volume foodie manga I read a few years ago. Since I picked up Pretty Good Number One, I have been unable to think of anything but ramen, sushi, okonomyaki, octopus balls, and more Japanese food stuffs. In fact, now, after reading this book and spending time with Japanese artifacts at LACMA, I am also pretty obsessed with Japan in general and Tokyo in particular.
Profile Image for Patrick Collins.
464 reviews2 followers
October 18, 2014
I really wanted to like this author - He is from Seattle. He loves Japan. He loves food. Maybe he is too close to me? Or maybe his jokes are just TERRIBLE. He is like the food maven who nobody really wants to have along on a social evening, but everybody would ask for advice on where to eat and what to order. If you have every enjoyed eating in Japan, you should read this book. If not, don't.
Profile Image for Ruben Giró.
264 reviews3 followers
August 28, 2016
Un discurs molt divertit, seguint el fil habitual del podcast Spilled Milk. L'autor enganxa des del primer moment, tot i que només explica les estades familiars que ha passat a Tòquio (amb la filla primer i després amb la filla i la dona) i tota mena d'ingredients, coccions i presentacions.
M'han agradat els malentesos lingüístics, són realment molt divertits!
Profile Image for Whitney 'Thompson' Jenkins.
620 reviews9 followers
May 16, 2013
I really love the way this author writes. In this book, like Hungry Monkey, you get a real feel for the way he and his family interact and the adventures they take together. This is such an easy and interesting read about a subject that most of us would not usually not bother to read about!
Profile Image for Gonçalo.
47 reviews8 followers
February 2, 2017
Funny and multifaceted report of an American family eating what Tokyo has to offer.
Profile Image for Emily.
598 reviews
January 20, 2019
Read Harder Challenge #23: A self-published book.

This is a little bit cheating in a way, because I already love Matthew Amster-Burton's writing. His podcasts, especially Look Inside This Book Club, are a highlight of my week. But I hadn't read this book before, so this challenge was the perfect opportunity.

I love reading about food, and this book made me want to eat almost everything Matthew describes. Maybe not natto, or anything else to which the word "mucilaginous" applies, but everything else. And this is challenging, because I have to avoid both gluten and soy, so I would probably spend my time in Tokyo appalling the locals with my inflamed red skin and constant feral scratching. That's okay. I can enjoy teriyaki, udon, ramen, and all the other wonderful-sounding foods in my imagination.

Matthew is really funny both in podcasts and in writing. I often listen to old episodes of LITBC to help me fall asleep and I have to stifle my giggles lest they keep my partner awake. This book contains plenty of excellent dad jokes. I'd love to have it as an audio book so I could dream about noodles.

Just one thing bugged me about this book. Matthew is always really good about acknowledging his privilege as a straight, white, cis guy, and I really appreciate that about him. He does cop to the privileged nature of a travel memoir and the pitfalls of writing about Japan from a white perspective, but not until after writing tone-deaf lines like "Nothing is stopping you from having your own torrid and shallow affair with Tokyo" and "We live in a good food neighborhood in Seattle called Capitol Hill, but compared to Nakano, it’s a food desert like you hear about on NPR."

My dude, you don't know my life! This eBook was a splurge for me. And to assume that your readers could only know about food deserts from NPR is just... I can't think of a word for what it is. It's not great.

Aside from that, however, this is a really fun book from start to finish. And I'm very hungry now.
Profile Image for Karen.
331 reviews8 followers
April 23, 2019
4.5 stars

More fun with Matthew and Iris, this time also with Matthew's wife Laurie, when the three of them spent a month in Tokyo, living in a tiny apartment and eating all around Tokyo.

I loved Hungry Monkey and found the father-daughter relationship really charming. Also I have been impressed with Matthew's respect for, and nerdy obsessiveness about Asian foods (yep, he eats all the stuff real Chinese people are happy to eat).

This is basically a sequel to Hungry Monkey. The same charming father-daughter interactions are there. It's a bit more nerdy-obsessive in terms of documenting the foods - which is actually a strength. I have read (in a sequel novella by Matthew) that some fans have used it as their guidebook to Tokyo - an excellent idea worth emulating.

BUT WHERE IS LAURIE? Not getting that 5th star because she has been largely left out - and I found it somewhat unfair. Unlike in Hungry Monkey (where Laurie was largely absent because she was the primary income earner and Matthew was the stay at home dad), this time Laurie was actually there ALL THE TIME with Matthew and Iris. I get that she did not particularly like Japanese food and was a bit ignorant about it, but wouldn't it be fun to write about the culture-shock aspects of that? We only saw in the last chapter that she started to love Japanese food after the trip - if only we could see that developing along the way.
3 reviews
June 21, 2019
Funny funny funny, surprise surprise!

Come for the food, stay for the laughs. This guy and his cheerfully unruffled kid are a pair of characters.

I laughed a little too loudly at 2AM and possibly woke up my neighbors. (Sorry, person living in Apt 209.) I got food envy and made improvised ramen out of what was in my pantry. I tried to figure out the pronunciation for words that I don't understand and am definitely still not saying right.

Food aside, the best part of this book is probably eight-year-old Iris making friends with the entire population of Tokyo in a month. She wins over an entire grilled eel restaurant, a busload of schoolgirls, and a neighbor kid with an English vocabulary of three words and enough swagger to be the main character in a movie about rap artists. (She also totally got me, in case you couldn't tell.)

Matthew's account of other stops on the trip--for example, the local supermarket and its... interesting English jingle, or the pachinko parlor (one of very few places he doesn't recommend visiting, if you value your hearing)--are also vividly recounted.

Even Laurie, Matthew's somewhat skeptical wife, warms up to Tokyo by the end of their trip. I have to imagine that Matthew and Iris's enthusiasm would be ridiculously contagious in person, because it is in print.

In short, I have this to say about Pretty Good Number One: you should read it. Even if you're not a foodie, you might get a funny surprise.
Profile Image for Bryn (Plus Others).
1,836 reviews14 followers
September 1, 2020
The very beginning of this book annoyed me so much I thought I was going to give up -- I just could not believe that in 2013 Amster-Burton could write that Westerners have no idea that Tokyo is an exciting travel destination, that they think of Japan as "a nation struggling to right itself after years of economic stagnation capped by a devastating earthquake" and that nobody in the West could name any Tokyo tourist attractions without having to pick up a travel guide. Did he not notice Japanese popular culture becoming more and more mainstream in the US? Who exactly did he imagine as the audience for his book?

But I pushed past it and I am glad I did, because once the annoying framing chapters were out of the way Amster-Burton delivers a really fun book about falling in love with Japan in the company of his wife and charming daughter. He is enthusiastic about nearly everything, honest about the occasional things he disliked, and never holds himself out as some sort of expert -- he's always very aware that he's an American tourist who is passionate about Japan rather than a Japanese native. Occasionally his 'nobody would do/think/say/eat X' annoys me, but I was able to let it go and enjoy the vicarious travel experience and daydream about someday going to Tokyo with my own daughter and eating our way across the city.
Profile Image for Danielle.
160 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2020
I’ve lived in Japan, but I’m not as much a foodie as this author. Reading this book (during social distancing no less) made me want to go back to Tokyo and seek out some of the restaurants and experiences he talked about. It seems he made a real attempt to learn the language (at least to some extent) and to respect the culture and history, which not every American travel writer in Japan does. I’d recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Japan, whether they’re already knowledgeable, in which case they can nod and laugh as they read along, or a total novice, in which case some aspects of Japanese culture might be made less intimidating and more approachable. I’m sharing with my 13 year old son next—he was in Japan at about the same age as the author’s daughter, and I think he’ll enjoy it. But he’ll also want to go back even more!
Profile Image for Kevin.
85 reviews3 followers
June 28, 2020
This brought about a good deal of nostalgia for my time living in Japan and my food experiences there. Mister Donut - I miss you. MOS Burger -- oh my, I still dream about your ebi burgers with MOS sauce. Hell ramen in Kazo City -- I wish we could still hang out...

But it isn't just the nostalgia that hit me with this book. It's the desire to travel and eat. It's tough to read a travelogue, especially one focused so heavily on restaurants and food, in the middle of a pandemic. Sure, it's about to be July and things are opening up and yes, I do live a short drive from the greatest food mecca in North America so it technically should be possible soon to jump in the car and hit up the best Japanese restaurants in the U.S., but it's not the same. Reading a book about Tokyo and not being able to hop on a plane and fly there *even if you wanted to* is just unfair.

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