My Foodie Trip To Japan


Ok, Japan was interesting.  I hated that walking was involved and many stairs.  By the time I would get lost, get on the right train and walk down to Ginza to shop, I’d be tired and head home for a 3 pm nap.  The shopping was great, but I could do that shopping in New York, Honolulu, Vegas, etc.  The Japanese and their toy breed dogs was adorable.  I stayed at the Roppongi Hills Residence, and right downstairs on the corner was a Starbucks where many liked to hang out with their dogs.  The pet stores that frequent the area had the cutest dogs ever! I couldn’t resist going in.

The Japanese culture is very reserve, and strange to me, but I get it.  I got kicked out of a spa for my tattoos, and got a lot of looks, but that’s ok.  It annoyed me out how OCD the culture as a whole is, maybe since I don’t give a fuck.  Maybe now I understand why my Japanese grandmother is the way she is.  Everything is perfect and clean cut and has to be a certain way.  Japanese are the perfect micro-managers.

The one thing that I will come back to Japan for is THE FOOD.  Oh my god it was amazing!  I notice that Japanese like pizza and pasta a lot, mainly carbonara.  Pretty much everywhere I went carbonara was on the menu.  So I enjoyed trying it.  Their bacon and sausage tastes very different, as it is kurubota, but it is delicious and has a unique flavor!   Spajiro is a place nearby Kai liked to eat it.  It doesn’t taste anything like what the Italians make but it has a nice little Japanese flavor to it.

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Oh toro, the fattier and tastier part of the tuna is easily available everywhere, whereas is a delicacy that sells for $35+ a lbs in Honolulu.  Downstairs from my apartment was a Lincos, a grocery store so it was yummy to go down there in the evening and get everything 50-70% off from the day time.  This tray of oh toro was only $2.  You can get tempura, yakitori, among other things.

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Downstairs from the back of my apartment if I walk through the garage and up an elevator is Keyakizaki Dori, a shopping complex that connects to Mori Tower and more high end shopping, there is a small fresh udon shop tucked away in the corner called Hashida Honten.  It was busy several nights, but I came in early at 5 pm at opening and snuck in.  They don’t really speak english.  One of the cooks did.  The noodles were delicious, but they were kind of rude.   Most people in Japan are generally very nice, but I guess everywhere you find rude people. It’s a small restaurant, all light wood and opens to the kitchen so you can see the cooks prepare around a bar like structure

I stole Kai’s goma (sesame) sauce and also had a plain ginger with kaki (tempura flakes.)  It was delicious!

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We decided to walk up Roppongi one evening and stumbled across a ramen place. It wasn’t very busy but the tonkotsu ramen looked very good, so we gave it a try.  The basil gyoza gave it a unique twist.  I really liked the gyoza a lot!  And the tonkotsu brother was very rich and flavorful, but the basil gyoza, I would return for again. And for desert.. we had almond pudding.  Desert is always simple in japan and often a slice of fresh fruit or something simplistic.

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I ate at Sarashina Horii.  This was also near my apartment.  I was so lucky to have such a great location.  This is a famous zaru soba restaurant and always has a line outside.  I came one afternoon when it was cold for the hot duck udon.  But the first time I went, I tried 3 different types of noodles, pork belly and teri chicken.  Everything was delicious, but the soba is something you definitely have to come here for! They have several variations of soba, white, buck, green and a flavored noodle.

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Ikspiari specializes in Hakata ramen.  I found this place inside the shops, outside of disneyland on the 3rd floor.  It had a huge line in the evening, as it was a cold night.  So  I checked out of the Hilton early to get there for lunch.  I’m glad I got there when I did because there was no line and I was seated immediately.  As I left, there was a line of about 15 people waiting to eat.  I don’t think I could get sick of ramen, I think I could eat ramen everyday!

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I don’t remember this place’s name, but my host took me here.  It is a very small shop on the main drag.  After a night of drinking at Oak Door at the Grand Hyatt we came here for ramen at 1 am.  This was my favorite gyoza in Japan.  It was so simple yet so delicious!  I tried so hard to find it again and was unable to 😦 so sad.

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Oak Door was my favorite place to order a bottle of wine and listen to music.  Affluent clients, Japanese business men, celebrities, high end hookers that look like supermodels and generally a beautiful crowd hang here.  I sit at a bar and listen to the live music for the evening.  Mr. Mori, the owner of the Mori buildings was sitting right next to me and frequents his own establishment.

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Had yakitori with my host one evening.  Don’t remember the name of the place, but everything is delicious and simple as always.  The whole snapper was my favorite.  I especially love snapper as it always has a light flavor and delicate tenderness to it.  The crunchy skin on the outside is the best part!

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Down the road there was a yakitori spot that had open windows and as often loud with patrons of the drinking sort.  This place looked fun but always had a long line.  So as usual, I come at opening and sneak in.  Bacon wrapped shiso pinwheels and ochazuke were my favorite.  I got Kai to try some beef tongue (but I didn’t tell her it was tongue) and she loved it! The crab cream karokke was my favorite that I’ve ever had!  It is a potato deep fried with a creamy crab filling with lots of crab on the side.  In America they call it a croquette.

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Sweet potato pocky sticks?  Need I say more?

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Japanese candy is the best! For $1.20 ( just as much as a snickers or twix ) you can get dark chocolate with dried strawberries and raspberries on it.  This brand is everywhere in every store.  I had several of them.

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Saizen is located on the 5th or 6th floor of Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills.  It was a random stumble upon and I’m glad we ate there TWICE.  My host told me the quality of the fish was better than what you can get down at Tsukiji.  They had great unique specials too that we were trying left and right.  Oh toro is my favorite!   For 3 people it was about $200.  I can think of some high end places that would cost a lot more for high quality sushi.  However, the atmosphere is very casual as it is in the middle of the dining area of a shopping complex.  The green tea warabi azuki mochi at the end in a very small portion ended the meal with a nice slightly sweet touch.  Deserts I notice in Japan aren’t always too sugary.  I guess you need to balance for the carbs from the noodles and rice!

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Joelle Le Robuchon was nearby and I’d frequently pick up pastries.  I loved the fruit tarts specifically.  I tricked Kai (my 9 year old daughter) into trying foie grois and she LOVED it.  She said “mmmmm it’s so buttery,”  Then when I explained to her what it really was, she freaked out!  Come on!!! You loved it! LOL

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Jean Fuckin George.  The Roppongi Hills location shuts down the Vegas location.  This was literally right outside the door of my apartment.  So I went not once, but TWICE.  The first experience was so amazing that I had to go a second time.  This has got to be one of my most favorite dining experiences to date.  Everything fused together with one story and flavor.  They use traditional french ingredients and techniques but also add small japanese flairs like adding shiso flower to the fried calamari for example.  Every bite was orgasmic.

Blue fin lemongrass chili chestnut coconut sorbet ala mode.

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Seared scallops with shaved truffle.  Can’t go wrong.  This had perfect contrast in texture.

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I’m not a fan of calamari but WOW!  Fraiche with  truffle shavings shiso flower.  Simply genius.

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the manager always talked to us at the bar and explained dishes and wine and was very cool.  There are only 2 or 3 tables upstairs and everyone else is dining around the bar watching the cooks prepare our dishes.  I got to know each of the chefs, where they are from, where they learned to cook, what their hobbies are.  It was a really close experience where everyone was socializing and meeting each other.  We always leave late, so the staff all walk us out and talk to us outside of the restaurant for 10 minutes.  They must love us.  Haha.  The manager also started hitting on me the second my date went to the bathroom. hahaha!  I don’t mind. (:

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Smoked quail sous vide.

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Best fois gras EVER!

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This dish was a buttery sauce.  I can’t remember what was all on it, but the dark spots are a unique mushroom.  I would think it tastes like a richer more flavorful hollandaise sauce.  Oh you know the french love butter.

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This was my favorite dish.  It was so simple, yet so amazing.  The chef actually showed me a device they use to cut the egg perfectly.  He then whips butter and egg together with salt and tops it with caviar.  So simple, yet amazing!  I could eat 10 of those!  I think I could make it at home myself.

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If you don’t know anything about wine then read up on these.  It’s a 1st class wine and there are only 4 from Paris.  It was the most intense wine I’ve ever had in my life.

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Seared A-5 Hida Beef with carrot lime emulsion and carrot top pesto.  Thigh cut perfectly fatty and tender.  Hands down, the best beef I’ve ever had.
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Suckling pig confit with silky rhutebega and bacon marmalade.

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Since then they’ve changed their menu already.  They constantly change it.  I’d like to try the hairy carb risotto with nori and yuzu.  And the caramelized sea scallop with cauliflower caper raisin emulsion.  The new foi gras brûlée is seasoned now with made with black mission figs and toasted brioche.

Seryna is famous for their quiet, cute and dark atmosphere.  Great business spot or date night.  The atmosphere is like you are in a boat and there is a forest behind a glass. Great unique atmosphere.   Shabu shabu is a couple hundred bucks, it’s not a cheap place.  But this spot is famous.  The shabu is amazing. I also tried sharks fin for the first time.  To my surprise it was pretty good.  Gelatinous and delicate in texture.  The weird thing was I pet a shark earlier that day at the aquarium.  At Seryna, they bring out a lot of side dishes so by the time you get your main dish, you are almost full.  But the portions of the food are huge and the quality of the meat and crab legs are wonderful.  I like the soup they bring out at the end very much as well.  The Seryna House sake is the best.  It’s so delicate and smooth, it goes down so easy and before you know it, just a small glass has you buzzed. They also have a great wine collection.

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DISNEY LAND HAD SMOKED CHICKEN INSTEAD OF TURKEY. #WINNING

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There is a place called Matsurokuya that serves a lunch special of A-5 beef for 1300 yen.  That’s between 11-12$.  That is a deal!  Esp. for the portions, as they are large.  They only serve 50 sets per day for lunch, and there is always a line.  I didn’t get to go. 😦 I walked there several times but to my dismay they would always be sold out.

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Big bowl of Oh Toro don at Tsukiji $18

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My #1 favorite restaurant in Japan!  Azabu Ramen.  The broth is so thick and rich and flavorful, I don’t even dare dream about drinking it.  The gyoza was perfect too.  I must’ve ate here at least 5 times in a month. I would eat early in the evening, but apparently eating ramen is a drunk late night to-do thing so they get busy late night.

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SO now that you know why I’m so fat… to be continued.  I came home 150 lbs and see how I cut down 20 lbs to 130 lbs to get on stage at the Paradise Cup in just 2 1/2 weeks!

5 of My FAVORITE Facial Treatments


I’m a connoisseur for the finer things in life, and facials is something I splurge on every month.  Being in Bali, I get to try more things, like the Javanese royal vagina steam for example.  Most spa’s in Bali keep to simple traditional techniques and products, unless you are at the high end spa’s at the resort in Nusa Dua.  Regardless, Hawaii has some of the best spa’s I frequent.  The Modern, Mandara, Ihilani, Aulani.  The Rock Spa (Hard Rock Hotels) and Ritz Carlton’s also have some of my favorite spas as well.  Let’s just say, I’m a well seasoned spa-go-er.  Below are 5 of my favorite treatments and products to use.

1. the High Frequency

I first used this product at “Heaven on Earth” back when I had a little bit of an acne problem and milia.   High frequency helps with fine lines, wrinkles and tightening the skin, but in this case, was used to kill bacteria on the skin, eliminating acne.  Love this product!  Machines can cost $200 but now you can buy affordable machines for home.

Available on Amazon.com $28.42

2. the Red LED light.

I first had a LED treatment at the Four Season’s Spa in Wailea, Maui.  I ordered the Kate Sommerville LED facial.  This was a 2 hour facial and in the top 3 facial’s (second on my list) I’ve ever had, (Ritz Carlton AHA peel in Las Vegas, being the best). Red LED light is good for repairing.  After aggressive extractions (my face was pizza) and clearing everything out, the redness was apparent.  20 minutes under a red light with a euphoric scalp and face massage healed my skin instantly and gave it a youthful, moist appearance.  I came in looking like a teenager in puberty and came out looking like a movie star ready for the red carpet in a matter of hours.  Red LED light repairs skin, anti ages and can repair acne scarring.  I had some bad gashes from picking my face and my skin is pretty smooth now after adding this to my regimen. Blue LED lights help reduce oiliness and close the pores as well as kill acne causing bacteria.  You can get a package that has the red and blue LED and a micro current ion head for as much as $299, but if you are on a budget you can get home LED kits for under $50.

Available on Amazon.com $299

3. IDunn Multi Modeling Mask Pack

So I go to Facial’s by June regularly.  She is a cute Korean girl off of Keaumoku and King St. in an old medical building.  The reason I go to her is she does a 2 hour facial for only $150 utilizing ALL of my favorite treatments in one.  Microderm, enzyme peel, red light, supersonic, high freq. etc.  All of these treatments at a spa would cost $150 for a 50 minute facial EACH and if you want an extra service for  5 minutes they would charge you $50 EACH.  I can get ALL of my best products in one facial for ONLY $150.  One of her products she uses is her “secret rubber mask.”  It is mixed in a bowl when I arrive, so  I do not know what it is.  So I did a little google searching and came across the Korean IDunn mask and found out what the huge secret was.  The Korean rubber mask is huge in Korea and this is one of my favorite masks.  I especially like that she places it over my eyes, as it cools and easily comes off. Apparently there are all kinds of benefits from removing toxins and moisturizing, collagen and adding elasticity to whitening (you know the asian girls like to keep their faces light.)  Overall good product to finish up your facial before adding the final toner and moisturizer.

4. Epicuren Pumpkin Enzyme Peel

When I was in Vegas I found a small salon that was reasonably priced to do my hair.  I was looking for epicurean medicated cleansing milk, a facial wash I borrowed from my girlfriend, and came across her salon nearby in Henderson.  The owners mother was an esthetician and I’d regularly get facials from her.  She carried many Epicuren products and over the holidays, ordered this enzyme peel.  It was one of my favorite peels to this day.  I’ve tried everything from glycolic to AHA and salicylic peels.  This is my favorite!

Available on Amazon.com $92.52

5. Melty Berry Premium

I bought this at a drug store in Japan.  It is a gel with exfoliating beads in it.  It effectively cleaned the black heads out of my nose with a circular motion instantly.  I know there are tons of great exfoliants out there, but this one instantly cleaned my black heads. I used a fine scrub by “Fresh” back in the day, but I haven’t been able to find it, I believe it’s been discontinued. Melty Berry is a black gel, I cannot read the japanese, but perhaps there is a charcoal or some kind of osmosis agent which aids in removal of clogged pores.

Approximately $30 online or in Japan at any drug store

xoxo

I want to move to Bali.


“You don’t need a man, you need a champion.”

OMG Truth can’t be so far from that!  I just saw Eat, Pray, Love, and I am so inpressionable, and suddenly inspired to go to Bali.  I can’t go all over the world, as I don’t have the means to, and it would be hard on the Kai bug, but living in my little villa in Bali, just writing my blogs from there, meditating in the morning, doing yoga in the afternoon, teachin Kai to surf in the afternoon, finishing my studies online, enjoying life in Bali, maybe get into some exporting, that sounds like a wonderful life I can’t wait to have.

If you lived in Hawaii, you know that there is no place in the world like Hawaii.  The “Aloha” is strong.  The people are beautiful.  I love Hawaii, but I think to live in Hawaii, and come back forever, we need to venture out and see life, and the world, and bring back with us culture and experience, to share with Hawaii and grow.   I hear that Bali is the same way, except in a totally different way.  They call Bali the “Island of the Gods,” and it pertains extreme positive spiritual energy.  It will conjur up the negative person you are, or bring out the positive person.  It has a mysterious way of bringing out who you truly are.  If you are a jaded lawyer who lives in New York, representing murderers, have no soul, slept with your girlfriends mother, and will step on anyone to get where you want to get, Bali is probably not for you.  It will probably bring out all those evil energies.  This is why some people go to Bali, and are smitten with the positive energy.  Some people go there on vacation, and never leave.

Why do I want to go to Bali?  Because that stupid movie made me realize that I know that I am unbalanced, but if I just stay here in Vegas, I am accepting it, and doing nothing.  I am “staying in the relationship” that I am miserable in, Las Vegas, the industry, being imbalanced.  I’m taking a 180 degree turn and diving in.

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful.  Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”

“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”

“One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else’s body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn’t there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient’s body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor. My friend Annie says it all comes down to one simple question: “Do you want your belly pressed against this person’s belly forever –or not?”

“A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master.”

“Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing – right in the hub of the wheel – not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness – that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.”

“If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”

” In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”

“Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.”

” A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

“As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you.”

” Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. Balance is not letting anyone love you less than you love yourself. To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”

Look forward to blogging more about Bali.

xoxo

Kristie Manning

10 nice ways to get rid of a lingering ex…


10. Buy them a Puppy.

9. Hook them up “inadvertently” with one of your hot friends on a rebound date.

8. Buy them tickets to a male review show, or have a friend take them to the strip club and make sure they hook up after.

7.  If they are a girl, buy them their first jack rabbit impulse (if they haven’t had one before) This will keep them busy in bed for a month, (and sexual satisfied). ;D

6. Eat beans and tell him that you have really bad gas.

5. Tell them that you contracted herpes from a toilet seat.

4. Find them a good job in another state.

3. Take them to a really expensive dinner, then make them pay. (wait that’s not nice.)

2.  Convince them they should travel the world and go see different places.  Buy them a one way ticket to another continent.

1. buy them Call of Duty, Black Ops, or in my case, Final Fantasy XIII.  It’ll keep them busy for months.