Posts Tagged ‘ sushi ’

Edo-Kyo (江戸京)

Edo-Kyo (江戸・京) is a sushi-sashimi restaurant tucked down at the bottom of some off-street stairs along San-Jo street in Kyoto.  To get to it begin at the several-storied CD & DVD store at the corner of Kawabata and San-jo. Walk down San-jo past The Pig & Whistle. Edo-Kyo just a couple dozen steps further, on the same side of San-Jo as the CD store and Pig & Whistle.  Look for the sign on your left, then go down the stairs, through the split curtains (“noren“) and through the door into the restaurant-proper.

Top of the stairs Edo-Kyo sign and entrance.

Top of the stairs Edo-Kyo sign and entrance.

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Down the stairs. . .

Down the stairs. . .

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Master sushi chef, Jun-san, welcomes all patrons. . .

Master sushi chef, Jun-san, welcomes all patrons. . .

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Featured in a chapter of my upcoming book:

Edo-Kyo combined Tokyo’s old name “Edo” with the first half of “Kyoto”, designating a wide-ranging cuisine of sashimi and sushi and lightly grilled seafood.  It’s a single, white room with one long bar to the left and a with a contemporary calligraphic work spanning the entire, long wall to the patron’s right as they enter, having come down a set of stairs and through a door from the street above.  Cool jazz plays low and all chefs, servers and patrons speak in equally low, reserved voices – because you want to, not because you have to.  It’s a Comfortable Place, friendly and not pretentious.  There’s no fresher sushi in town.  It’s expensive, though.  I always had the vinegared octopus salad.  We both enjoyed the various cuts of tuna sashimi.  The flame-grilled scallop, with sea salt and lemon, is worth a trip to the other side of the world. . . .

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And while, yes, the scene painted in the excerpt set out immediately above was one I shared with my former spouse, I’ve visited EdoKyo many times over the intervening years with Japanese friends, with the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Texas Christian University, with the Executive Director of the Jackson County (Alabama) Economic Development Authority, the (now retired) President of Nippon Steel & Sumikin-Intercom, and various other friends and acquaintances.  EdoKyo’s simply a favorite spot and I’ll oh-so-lament the day I go and find out it’s no longer there.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi — Updated, June 2012.

UPDATE:  I finally saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi last night, June 1, 2012.  Excellent.  Director David Gelb is oh-so-obviously influenced by Godfrey Reggio, which is a fine thing.  Props to Birmingham’s The Edge theater for bringing it to town.

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QUOTING JIRO-SAN

Jiro Ono. Sushi chef. At eighty-five, says . . .

“You must fall in love with your work.”

“. . . I feel ecstasy every day.  I love making sushi.”

“There is always room for improvement.”

“Nowadays parents say to there kids, ‘If it gets too hard, you can come back.’  When parents say stupid things like that their kids will turn out to be failures.”

“I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”

“When I was in school, I was a bad kid.”

“It’s essential to check every detail.”

“I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top.  But no one knows where the top is.”

Can a  “Jiro’s Guide to Business Management”  book be far off?

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A new documentary directed by David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, was released in the U.S. on March 9, 2012.  I’m posting the trailer just below (there’s a short ad you can skip at the trailer’s beginning).

A beautiful documentary.  Scenes from Tsukiji Fish Market bring back memories, and will bring them back for many who’ve made it there in their travels to or living experience in Japan.  A plug for  memories . . . 懐かしい。  I’ve traveled on the Ginza (Subway) Line many times, but, no, I’ve not yet been to Jiro-san’s “modest” restaurant, yet.  Just from the trailer, the language, the words, what is said and how it’s said is both poetry and prayer.  Of course, all the best poems are prayers and all the best prayers are poems.  Now that I’ve seen the film, I can say that it will not be a let-down from the trailer.

Review:  On my recommendation a friend of mine just saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi and offers-up this review on her blog.  While she finds Jiro-san “an inspirational figure,” she understandably draws the line at his lifetime focus on one thing, on one profession.  I agree that I cannot empathize with a Doing-Only-One-Thing-in-Life philosophy, but, of course, that’s what makes Jiro-san so unique (and a film about his life worth making):  he found One Thing that captivated him (and “captured” him), that he loves, and that he felt/feels compelled to never stop improving upon.  I believe that while few of us can or would want to be 100% Jiros, we can all find valuable lessons in the central message of, “If you’re going to doing something, do it well and in an inspired way.”  Even a vocational or professional “Renaissance Person” can be a perfectionist at multitasking, right?

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Just for fun, here’s another take on sushi-ness in Japan (yes, it’s a parody):

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Updated, June 2, 2012:  Here’s something I shot in August 2011, a short vid I made at a kaiten-zushi restaurant.  In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, one of Jiro’s sons, Yoshikazu, laments the depletion of fish stocks, due to over-fishing, and in part blames places just like this, which are now common in Japan.  He makes a good and sobering point. . .

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Foodie II

This month I’m just posting food- and restaurant-related pics.  And, today, vids.  Enjoy and Itadakimasu・いただきます (roughly:  “Thanks for what I’m about to receive…”).

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This is a young, restaurant (izakaya)-owning couple in Kyoto.  Yumi-san and Hiroshi-san.  I was there with a friend on a slow night back in early November 2009.  The restaurant, Dai Kichi Yakitori, is actually a franchise, a chain.  This one’s on Shirakawa Dori.  Almost across from the bus station there.  Anyway, I dropped back in a few months ago, and, alas, it was under new ownership/management.

Yumi & Hiroshi. At their Dai Kichi Yakitori place. November 2009.

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When this melodrama-drenched enka blasted from the speakers I thought it would make a good soundtrack for a quick, 30 second vid tour of Yumi & Hiroshi’s place.  So here you go:

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This past August I was in Japan on business for a little more than two weeks.   The next couple of short vids were shot during that trip.   In Japan (and in larger cities around the world) there’s are these sort of low-end, or family-oriented, sushi restaurants called Kaiten-zushi, or Conveyor Belt Sushi.  They’re good enough, inexpensive and, well, kind of fun.  I shot this little vid while treating my client (company president and vice president having their first trip to Japan and first Kaiten-zushi experience) to lunch (they got quite a kick out of the experience):

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Gyoza‘s (餃子) some of my favorite food in Japan.  I make it pretty well myself, actually.  These are the Japanese version of Chinese dumplings or “pot stickers.”  I don’t like the Chinese kind so much, at least the ones typically served in restaurants — they’re too sweet. Gyoza shouldn’t be sweet.  In Japan you find gyoza tandem’d with ramen at small, informal “Chinese” restaurants called “Chuka” (Chooka).  Gyoza’s either seared on a griddle, or steamed, or seared with water added to semi-steam them.  Some places have gyoza steaming contraptions, like the little working-class place I ambled into one August night in Kyoto, right off of Kiyamachi-dori:

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We’ll wind up today with this one, this vid that I’ve also posted in my Tsukiji (fish) Market Gallery.  These are, well, eels:


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Speaking of eels, do any of you know the group “The Eels?”  A great band.  It’s Mark Everett‘s group.  Mark used to perform just as “e.”  He’s a great musician.  Anyway, Mark and I lived in the same neighborhood when we were kids in Northern Virginia.  We’re the same age and went to Spring Hill Elementary and Cooper Jr. High together.  I think we were in the same Cub Scout Den, but my memory’s kind of fuzzy on that.  My family moved to the Very Deep South when I was 13, so I lost touch with Mark.  Anyway, I’m just proud to know he’s doing so well.  My brush with music greatness.

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