Trinkets to Have – from Japan

I have always liked to collect things. I think it’s human nature. Most everyone has a passion or a collection of something, but beyond the every day collection – many people keep mementos or trinkets from their journey through life. Postcards along the way. While in Japan, here a few things that we snagged along the way – either for us or for someone else. The intention is the same, to remember a place and time.

EAT: Ekiben. They are little box meals that you can buy at the train station. Many of them come with a variety of foods that serve as a quick lunch. In bento box fashion, most Ekiben – served mainly in Japan and Taiwan – are cleverly segmented and come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. You can expect to have some sort of fish, rice, seaweed, tempura, egg, and/or vegetables in each meal. Some come with chopsticks. That was my trinket to keep from this experience. I have my chopsticks – you never know when you might need a pair.

DRINK: Tokyo is not short on bars, and during our time there, I can tell you that we didn’t even dip our pinkie toe in the waters that are drinking in Japan – but we did try. Along the way we wanted to go to a whiskey bar and came across a bar called Cask Strength located in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo. Highly recommend this establishment. While a bit pricey (you’re drinking expensive whiskey…), the place has great atmosphere and the service is exceptional. They did charge a cover fee. Being a fan of Kentucky bourbon, I spotted a bottle of Blanton’s while I was sipping on Hibiki 17. I walked over and noticed that the bottle of Blanton’s had been dumped in 1991! If this was a six year single barrel – which is typical – this Blanton’s would have been first distilled just one year after production started in 1984. Long story short, we drank the rest of the bottle, because it also happened to be that particular bottle’s exact twenty-fifth birthday. We asked if we could keep both the bottle and the iconic derby cap, and they said yes! (What luck!)

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PLAY: Tokyo Disneyland is so much fun. Kind of a last minute, “Hey, let’s do this thing,” but we knew we would have a great time. We enjoyed the excitement of everyone at the amusement park and had a great time going from Space Mountain to Pirates of the Caribbean to the Haunted House… We have a friend that collects pins from Disney parks, so we stopped by about every shop looking for the right pin to give her. We settled on three: a Mickey Mouse pin, a shoe pin – from Frozen, and stained glass Rapunzel from Tangled.

LOVE: Kitsune. While on the way out of town from Zao Fox Village (near Shiroishi) we were at the train station getting a ticket to head back to Tokyo. After securing the train tickets, the attendant – who was a young man – gave us an origami, multicolored fox. Written on the origami was the work ‘Kitsune’ – the Japanese word for fox. I have taken Kitsune around to many places now – a faithful companion that can fit in your wallet and put a smile on your face no matter the situation.

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