Tokyo Quotes

Quotes tagged as "tokyo" Showing 1-30 of 47
David Sedaris
“In Paris the cashiers sit rather than stand. They run your goods over a scanner, tally up the price, and then ask you for exact change. The story they give is that there aren't enough euros to go around. "The entire EU is short on coins."

And I say, "Really?" because there are plenty of them in Germany. I'm never asked for exact change in Spain or Holland or Italy, so I think the real problem lies with the Parisian cashiers, who are, in a word, lazy. Here in Tokyo they're not just hard working but almost violently cheerful. Down at the Peacock, the change flows like tap water. The women behind the registers bow to you, and I don't mean that they lower their heads a little, the way you might if passing someone on the street. These cashiers press their hands together and bend from the waist. Then they say what sounds to me like "We, the people of this store, worship you as we might a god.”
David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Renae Lucas-Hall
“What comes from the heart will go to the heart”
Renae Lucas-Hall

Natasha Pulley
“No,"Ito said gently, "we will not be needing soldiers. Accountants will do nicely."
Mutsuhito frowned. "How does one storm a castle with accountants ?"
"One buys it, sir.”
Natasha Pulley

Mo Hayder
“I had an overwhelming sense of the lonliness of this city - a trillion souls in their bedrooms, high in the cliffs of windows. I thought of what was underneath it all - I thought of the electricty cables, steam, water, fire, subway trains and lava in the city's guts, the subterranean rumbling of trains and earthquakes. I thought of the dead souls from the war, concreted over.”
Mo Hayder, The Devil of Nanking

Yūko Tsushima
“Living right in the heart of Tokyo itself is quite like living in the mountains – in the midst of so many people, one hardly sees anyone.”
Yūko Tsushima, Of Dogs and Walls

“Tokyo was a place you could quite happily exist alone and be self-contained. It seemed to promise that it was better to be by yourself.”
Olivia Sudjic, Sympathy

Matthew Amster-Burton
“When you visit Gindaco, spend some time watching the cooks make takoyaki before ordering, because it's an amazing free show. The shop has an industrial-sized takoyaki griddle with dozens of hot cast iron wells, each one about an inch and a half in diameter. The cook squirts the grill with plenty of vegetable oil. She dunks a pitcher into a barrel of pancake batter and sloshes it over the grill, then strews the whole area with negi, ginger, and huge, tender octopus chunks. Some of Gindaco's purple tentacles are two inches long. This cooks for a little while, then the cook tops off the grill with more batter until it's nearly full.
Up to this point, the process looks haphazard, but then she whips out the skewers. Using only the same slender bamboo skewers you'd use for making kebabs, she begins slicing through the batter in a grid pattern and forming a ball in each well. Somehow she herds this ocean of batter into a grid of takoyaki in a minute or two.
The takoyaki cost all of 500 yen, and the price includes a wooden serving boat that you can take home and reuse as a bath toy if you haven't gotten too much sauce on it. A Gindaco takoyaki is a brilliant morsel: full of flavor from the negi and ginger, crispy on the outside and juicy within. Takoyaki also stay mouth-searingly hot inside for longer than you can stand to wait, so be careful.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Gordon Vanstone
“With chopsticks, I cut through the dark-skinned egg, releasing molten yoke into waiting broth. Face bathed in the warming steam, I tasted.
Sheltered from the rain
Soothing train, ramen-numbed brain
I reap contentment

With the Zen meal consumed and consumed by the Zen meal, I exited back into the chaotic Tokyo night.”
Gordon Vanstone, Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko

Roland Barthes
“In this manner , we are told, the system of the imaginary is spread circularly, by detours and returns the length of an empty subject.”
Roland Barthes, Empire of Signs

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Go out the north exit of Nakano Station and into the Sun Mall shopping arcade. After a few steps, you'll see Gindaco, the takoyaki (octopus balls) chain. Turn right into Pretty Good #1 Alley. Walk past the deli that specializes in okowa (steamed sticky rice with tasty bits), a couple of ramen shops, and a fugu restaurant. Go past the pachinko parlor, the grilled eel stand, the camera shops, and the stairs leading to Ginza Renoir coffee shop. If you see the bicycle parking lot in front of Life Supermarket, you're going the right way.
During the two-block walk through a typical neighborhood, you've passed more good food than in most midsized Western cities, even if you don't love octopus balls as much as I do.
Welcome to Tokyo.
Tokyo is unreal. It's the amped-up, neon-spewing cyber-city of literature and film. It's an alley teeming with fragrant grilled chicken shops. It's children playing safely in the street and riding the train across town with no parents in sight. It's a doughnut chain with higher standards of customer service than most high-end restaurants in America. A colossal megacity devoid of crime, grime, and bad food? Sounds more like a utopian novel than an earthly metropolis.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Iris and I will eat at a skeezy yakitori joint and enjoy char-grilled chicken parts on a stick. We'll go to an eel restaurant and eat several courses of eel, my favorite fish. Iris's favorite is mackerel, saba no shioyaki, tearing off fatty bits with our chopsticks. We will eat our weight in rice... we'll have breakfast at Tsukiji, the world's largest fish market. And we'll eat plenty of sushi from a conveyor belt.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Something about Tokyo's exuberant modernism made Iris and me feel like the city existed just to make us happy: Cheer up! the waving maneki-neko cats seemed to whisper. You're in Tokyo!
Iris and I came back with a list of Tokyo attractions we never made it to on our first trip, a list about a month long. And we started to drive Laurie insane by breaking into misty-eyed reminiscences about our cherry blossom days in Japan.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo
tags: tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“The ubiquity of great food in Tokyo is beyond imagination. It's not just that I'm interested in food and pay close attention to restaurants and takeout shops, although that's true. In Tokyo, great food really is in your face, all the time: sushi, yakitori, Korean barbecue, eel, tempura, tonkatsu, bento shops, delis, burgers (Western and Japanese-style), the Japanese take on Western food called yōshoku, and, most of all, noodles. I found this cheap everyday food- lovingly called B-kyū("B-grade") by its fans- so satisfying and so easy on the wallet that I rarely ventured into anything you might call a nice restaurant.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“In Tokyo, ramen is a playground for the culinary imagination. As long as the dish contains thin wheat noodles, it's ramen. In fact, there's a literal ramen playground called Tokyo Ramen Street in the basement of Tokyo Station, with eight top-rated ramen shops sharing one corridor. We stopped by one evening after a day of riding around on the Shinkansen. After drooling over the photos at establishments such as Junk Garage, which serves oily, brothless noodles hidden under a towering slag heap of toppings, we settled on Ramen Honda based on its short line and the fact that its ramen seemed to be topped with a massive pile of scallions. However, anything in Tokyo that appears to be topped with scallions is actually topped with something much better. You'll meet this delectable dopplegänger soon, and in mass quantities.
The Internet is littered with dozens if not hundreds of exclamation point-bedecked ramen blogs (Rameniac, GO RAMEN!, Ramen Adventures, Ramenate!) in English, Japanese, and probably Serbian, Hindi, and Xhosa. In Tokyo, you'll find hot and cold ramen; Thai green curry ramen; diet ramen and ramen with pork broth so thick you could sculpt with it; Italian-inspired tomato ramen; and Hokkaido-style miso ramen. You'll find ramen chains and fiercely individual holes-in-the-wall. Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is having a meet-cute with her first bowl of ramen. As she fills up on pork and noodles and seaweed and bamboo shoots, she thinks, we were meant to be together, and she is embarrassed at her atavistic reaction to a simple bowl of soup.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“The meat section is mostly devoted to presliced meats for hot pots and quick-cooked dishes, with a thin steak or chop here and there. In addition to commodity meat, you'll find Wagyu beef and kurobuta pork. The quality of the meat in an average Tokyo supermarket is higher than at most specialty butchers in the U.S.
Time to fess up. Life Supermarket is not the best supermarket in the world; every supermarket in Tokyo is the best supermarket in the world. I haven't even gotten to the prepared food (two different yakitori sections, reheatable fried foods that stay crunchy, and lots of appealing salads and cooked vegetables).”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“A depachika is like nothing else. It is the endless bounty of a hawker's bazaar, but with Japanese civility. It is Japanese food and foreign food, sweet and savory. The best depachika have more than a hundred specialized stands and cannot be understood on a single visit. I felt as though I had a handle on Life Supermarket the first time I shopped there, but I never felt entirely comfortable in a depachika. They are the food equivalent of Borges's "The Library of Babel": if it's edible, someone is probably selling it, but how do you find it? How do you resist the cakes and spices and Chinese delis and bento boxes you'll pass on the way?
At the Isetan depachika, in Shinjuku, French pastry god Pierre Hermé sells his signature cakes and macarons. Not to be outdone, Franco-Japanese pastry god Sadaharu Aoki sells his own nearby. Tokyo is the best place in the world to eat French pastry. The quality and selection are as good as or better than in Paris, and the snootiness factor is zero.
I wandered by a collection of things on sticks: yakitori at one stand, kushiage at another. Kushiage are panko-breaded and fried foods on sticks. At any depachika, you can buy kushiage either golden and cooked, or pale and raw to fry at home. Neither option is terribly appetizing: the fried stuff is losing crispness by the second, and who wants to deep-fry in a poorly ventilated Tokyo apartment in the summer? But the overall effect of the display is mesmerizing: look at all the different foods they've put on sticks! Pork, peppers, mushrooms, squash, taro, and two dozen other little cubes.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Other than chicken and rice, you'll find Tokyo restaurants specializing in fried pork cutlets, curry rice, ramen, udon, soba, gyōza, beef tongue, tempura, takoyaki, yakitori, Korean-style grilled beef, sushi, okonomiyaki, mixed rice dishes, fried chicken, and dozens of other dishes. Furthermore, even if you know something about Japanese food, it's common to come across a restaurant whose menu or plastic food display indicates that it specializes in a particular food you've never seen before and can't quite decipher.
Out of this tradition of single-purpose restaurants, Japan has created homegrown fast-food chains. McDonald's and KFC exist in Tokyo but are outnumbered by Japanese chains like Yoshinoya (beef-and-rice bowl), CoCo Ichiban (curry rice), Hanamaru Udon, Gindaco (takoyaki), Lotteria (burgers), Tenya (tempura), Freshness Burger, Ringer Hut (Nagasaki-style noodles), and Mister Donut (pizza) (just kidding). Since the Japanese are generally slim and healthy and I don't know how to read a Japanese newspaper, it was unclear to me whether Japan's fast-food chains are blamed for every social ill, but it seems like it would be hard to pin a high suicide rate on Mister Donut.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Dairy Chiko, in the basement of Nakano Broadway, is a surrealist ice cream shop known for octuple-decker soft-serve cones. You can also order a smaller cone with less than one billion calories, but the draw at Dairy Chiko is watching how other people eat their towering cones of vanilla, yuzu, milk tea, matcha, ramune, orange, strawberry, and chocolate (flavors may vary). Walking while eating is taboo in Japan, and Dairy Chiko has no seating area, so people loiter near the stand, two to a cone, drawing spoons up the sides of the ice cream, trying to forestall the inevitable. Old ladies, meanwhile, usually order a small matcha cone and eat it with a spoon, avoiding the shame of a green milk mustache. Near Dairy Chiko is a cafe with a public seating area and a very angry-looking drawing of an eight-layer cone with the international NO symbol superimposed on it.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matthew Amster-Burton
“Japan is obsessed with French pastry. Yes, I know everyone who has access to French pastry is obsessed with it, but in Tokyo they've taken it another level. When a patissier becomes sufficiently famous in Paris, they open a shop in Tokyo; the department store food halls feature Pierre Herme, Henri Charpentier, and Sadaharu Aoki, who was born in Tokyo but became famous for his Japanese-influenced pastries in Paris before opening shops in his hometown. And don't forget the famous Mister Donut, which I just made up.
Our favorite French pastry shop is run by a Japanese chef, Terai Norihiko, who studied in France and Belgium and opened a small shop called Aigre-Douce, in the Mejiro neighborhood. Aigre-Douce is a pastry museum, the kind of place where everything looks too beautiful to eat. On her first couple of visits, Iris chose a gooey caramel brownie concoction, but she and Laurie soon sparred over the affections of Wallace, a round two-layer cake with lime cream atop chocolate, separated by a paper-thin square chocolate wafer. "Wallace is a one-woman man," said Laurie.
Iris giggled in the way eight-year-olds do at anything that smacks of romance. We never figured out why they named a cake Wallace. I blame IKEA. I've always been more interested in chocolate than fruit desserts, but for some reason, perhaps because it was summer and the fruit desserts looked so good and I was not quite myself the whole month, I gravitated toward the blackberry and raspberry items, like a cup of raspberry puree with chantilly cream and a layer of sponge cake.”
Matthew Amster-Burton, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Matt Goulding
“There are succulent loins of fatty pork fried in scales of thin bread crumbs and served with bowls of thickened Worcestershire and dabs of fiery mustard. Giant pots of curry, dark and brooding as a sudden summer storm, where apples and onions and huge hunks of meat are simmered into submission over hours. Or days. There is okonomiyaki, the great geologic mass of carbs and cabbage and pork fat that would feel more at home on a stoner's coffee table than a Japanese tatami mat.”
Matt Goulding, Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture

Matt Goulding
“With six thousand miles separating me from sleep, I stumbled down into the subway at dawn and emerged on the outskirts of the Tsukiji market just as the sun broke across Tokyo Bay. Inside the market, I saw the entire ocean on display: swollen-bellied salmon, dark disks of abalone, vast armies of exotic crustaceans, conger eels so shiny and new they looked to be napping in their Styrofoam boxes. I stumbled onward to a tuna auction, where a man in a trader's cap worked his way through a hundred silver carcasses scattered across the cement floor, using a system of rapid hand motions and guttural noises unintelligible to all but a select group of tuna savants. When the auction ended, I followed one of the bodies back to its buyer's stall, where a man and his son used band saw, katana blade, cleaver, and fillet knife to work the massive fish down into sellable components: sinewy tail meat for the cheap izakaya, ruby loins for hotel restaurants, blocks of marbled belly for the high-end sushi temples.
By 8:00 a.m. I was starving. First, a sushi feast, a twelve-piece procession of Tsukiji's finest- fat-frizzled bluefin, chewy surf clam, a custardy slab of Hokkaido uni- washed down with frosty glasses of Kirin. Then a bowl of warm soba from the outer market, crowned at the last second with a golden nest of vegetable tempura.”
Matt Goulding, Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture

Matt Goulding
“What to eat? You've crossed a dozen time zones to get here and you want to make every meal count. Do you start at an izakaya, a Japanese pub, and eat raw fish and grilled chicken parts and fried tofu, all washed down with a river of cold sake? Do you seek out the familiar nourishment of noodles- ramen, udon, soba- and let the warmth and beauty of this cuisine slip gloriously past your lips? Or maybe you wade into the vast unknown, throw yourself entirely into the world of unfamiliar flavors: a bowl of salt-roasted eel, a mound of sticky fermented soybeans, a nine-course kaiseki feast.”
Matt Goulding, Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture

Matt Goulding
“There are a dozen factors that make Japanese food so special- ingredient obsession, technical precision, thousands of years of meticulous refinement- but chief among them is one simple concept: specialization. In the Western world, where miso-braised short ribs share menu space with white truffle ceviche, restaurants cast massive nets to try to catch as many fish as possible, but in Japan, the secret to success is choosing one thing and doing it fucking well. Forever. There are people who dedicate their entire lives to grilling beef intestines, slicing blowfish, kneading buckwheat into tangles of chewy noodles- microdisciplines with infinite room for improvement.
The concept of shokunin, an artisan deeply and singularly dedicated to his or her craft, is at the core of Japanese culture.”
Matt Goulding, Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture

“We passed a building ad with a Japanese businessman who had a huge white cat's face poking out from behind his head, and a slogan written in Japanese that looked very happy based on the pink-and-red coloring of the letters.
Hold up. Excuse me?
"What's that ad for?" I asked.
Uncle Masa said, "It's a political ad. That man is running for parliament."
"Why the cat?" I approved, obviously, but it made no sense.
Emiko said, "Cats are revered in Japan. You will see many shops with cat figurines on display. They're called maneki-neko, or 'beckoning cats.' They're considered good luck."
I didn't like all their rules, but a country that revered cats had potential.”
Rachel Cohn, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

“I loved that there were cat symbols everywhere: feline figurines in window storefronts, cat posters, and cat ads. Even the construction signs were cats- pink-and-white Hello Kitty figures hanging off barriers, to keep pedestrians from stumbling into holes in the road.”
Rachel Cohn, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

“He stopped our walk to peer inside a splendid white, wrought-iron gate with gold spokes, through which we could glimpse a building that looked like Buckingham Palace in London. The grounds were lush and parklike, surrounded by trees. Kenji said, "Tōgū Palace is through those gates. It's a state guesthouse now. You can't see it from here, but the crown prince and his family live on the grounds farther back behind the palace."
"Can we take a tour here sometime?"
"It's only open for visitors on New Year's Day and the emperor's birthday. The Imperial Palace, closer to where we live, has more access for tourists. It's even got a moat surrounding it. Beautiful gardens year-round but especially in spring when the cherry blossoms bloom.”
Rachel Cohn, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

“If I died in a freak accident while hurrying through Shibuya's notorious "scramble" intersection, where thousands of pedestrians crossed from all directions at once when the WALK light shifted to green, I hoped whoever performed my funeral service would know I died satisfied. Shibuya felt like being in the center of the vertical world, with tall buildings flashing advertisements, neon lights, and level after level of stores and restaurants visible through glass windows. So many people, so hurried, so much to look at and experience. Fashionista women wearing skinny pants with stiletto pumps riding bikes down crowded sidewalks. Harajuku girls with pink hair and crazy outfits. Loud izakaya bars where men's conversations and laughter spilled onto the street, and women walking by wearing kimonos with white socks tucked into flip-flops. Young people strutting around dressed in kosupure ("cosplay," Nik translated) outfits from their favorite anime, like it was Halloween every day here.
TOO MUCH FUN.
I didn't want to die, but if I did, I would tell the souls I met in the afterlife: Don't feel bad about my premature end. I saw it all in my short time down in the upworld of Tokyo.”
Rachel Cohn, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

“Right here is my favorite sanctuary in Tokyo," said Ryuu. "It's called Momijidani. It means 'autumn leaf valley.'"
We'd reached an artificial ravine with a waterfall tumbling down from a high rock formation about three stories tall, surrounded by a variety of rocks, and maple trees with red autumn leaves. A stream ran below the waterfall, with a picturesque bridge path over it. The effect was spectacular, like being deep in a valley surrounded by mountains- serene, private, magical- but with Tokyo Tower looming over it, a reminder of the bustling city just beyond.”
Rachel Cohn, My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

“Oh no, there goes Tokyo, Go Go Godzilla!”
Blue Öyster Cult, Blue Öyster Cult - Cult Classic

Jonas Cramby
“It is useless to even try to answer the question I've been asked at least once a week over the past three years: 'Okay, which are, hands down, the three best resturaunts in Tokyo?'... asking this question about Tokyo is like asking which three websites are the best on the internet.”
Jonas Cramby, Tokyo for Food Lovers

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