Tokyo Day 5: ジンand Tonic
Day 4 of my trip to Japan was a bit of a write off since I was up drinking til 4am with sgt, MAS, Clean of Core, middle9, talking dead goats, oaqk, and fans at an all-you-can-drink Izakaya. (It was all you can drink for about $22 but you had a 2 hr time limit and the service was intentionally slow so you couldn't binge excessively.)They served food with the drinks (included in the all-you-can-drink price) but skimped on the portions and shared amongst 20 plus people I ended up hungry since I hadn't eaten dinner prior to or during the show. So after drinking I walked back towards the hotel and ate at arguably the most famous (not necessarily the best) ramen place in Osaka. It's called Kinryu Ramen and there are actually a couple locations within the Namba/Dotombori area clearly visible due to the massive dragon sculpture overhead. I've been to Osaka numerous times and usually stay near the Dotombori area. Everytime I walk by Kinryu ramen it's quite busy but I had never eaten there b/c the place looked so sketchy and ghetto. But since I was hungry and Kinryu is a famous ramen franchise in Osaka I tried it for the first time strolling back after the uchiage.
The soup was a nice and fatty tonkotsu broth and with my parents and almost entire family being from Fukuoka I am biased towards Hakata-style ramen. It was alright but not outstanding. Not in the class of Hakata chain standards such as Ippudo or Ichi-ran. I'm sure there are much better places for ramen in Osaka but nothing can compete with its convenient location and hours (~24/7). Also, it's not the soup or noodles per se that the shop is known for. Kinryu is more famous for its unlimited free Kimchee and other spiced pickles that you can add as toppings. Apparently the owner of the franchise is Korean and the making of the kimchee is a well-guarded secret family recipe.
After oversleeping past my check-out time (hahaha) I walked around Namba/Dotombori a bit. Even more famous than Kinryu Ramen, there is another Osaka restaurant chain I had never eaten at and that is Kani Doraku.
Apparently, all you need to become a successful restaurant franchise in Osaka is to have a giant animal statue landmarking your shop. Instead of a gold dragon, Kani Doraku features a giant mechanical crab since their entire menu is based on crab served in a multitude of ways. There are actually numerous locations within Tokyo but I decided to knock one more Osaka tourist trap restaurant chain off my list by eating at its home base. It was pretty good for the price (at least during lunchtime hours). I'll spare you guys the pics of the food for now (but might add them later. hahaha).
But since Geoff asked for pictures of takoyaki:
It was raining lightly in Osaka but by the time I reached Kyoto by Shinkansen it was already pouring. I didn't do much in Kyoto and went over by bullet train to Nagoya to stay the night. That concludes my ho-hum day 4 in Osaka/Kyoto/Nagoya. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On day 5, I was in Nagoya during the day. Nagoya is well known for its regional cuisine so I tried to eat a few of the foods esoteric to Nagoya. I had miso nikomi-udon at Yamamota-ya Honten near Sakae station. Nagoya's regional miso is thicker and sweeter than normal but I think they added some vinegar to give it a tangier zip. Anyhow it was f*cking good.
Since there weren't any decent shows going on in Nagoya or Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe I took the shinkansen back to Tokyo. I had a bento box with miso katsu (another Nagoya specialty) for the ~ 2 hour train ride.
When I got to Tokyo it was raining. There weren't any 'kickass' shows in Tokyo either but there was one I was somewhat interested in watching. Ian had actually emailed me to remind me about an event where he would be DJing and there would be cute girls making curry but I wasn't able to check my mail on the train or while walking around Nagoya. Instead I went to Shibuya Eggman because I was interested in watching *cough* ジン *cough*. Jinn is a fairly commercial band that is known for having contributed songs for hit anime shows like Blood+ and CODE Geass
So why am I even at a show watching a band like ジン? Well, I'm going to try to make more of the shows for the next NMFT tour all-ages (Vancouver will be difficult). A band like Jinn could bring in lots of kids who follow anime and for a popular band they have some DIY/hardcore qualities. They're a young band (early 20's) but have been around for 7 years. Even though they play at big festivals and were signed to Sony ME they still play at mostly small intimate venues. They're blue-collar/hard working, excellent musicians, very energetic on-stage and the vocalist has a unique sounding voice.
Out of all the bands I've asked about possibly coming to Canada they've been the most genuinely enthusiastic. I think the vocalist, Hiitan, lived in the US when she was younger and said her English name is Louise. For both tours I carefully chose bands that I really liked but at the same time I kept the audience in mind, looked for variety, and selected bands that would mesh well together (both socially and musically).
To be honest some of my on-line friends know that I used to slag this band quite a bit but I secretly developed a liking to their song "Raion" due to it's catchy refrain. A lot of bands I never cared for on listening to their CDs I ended up liking when seen live so I thought I'd give them the benefit of the doubt until watching them at a show.
In the end Jinn may be too commercial sounding (moreso than andymori) but if you watch their live shows they have a bit of hardcore soul to them and they are probably the nicest, most down-to-earth bunch of people I've dealt with so far out of the bands I've asked to participate in a potential tour in May.
For what its worth here are a couple VERY short clips I took:
So if you think I'm nuts for even considering a band like Jinn then let the flaming commence in the comments section. But for me they would be an easy band to promote and work with although they seriously clash with the underground roots of the NMFT tour. (But I think they're no longer with SME and are technically an indie band now).