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I've fallen quiet over the past week for a number of reasons, one of which is that on Monday I'm off to HalCon in Omiya, Japan. (Which, the astute among you will note, doesn't happen for another two weeks, but if you had a reason to visit Japan wouldn't you want to stay a little longer?)

I'm going to try and blog a little while I'm there, but I'm likely to be a bit erratic. So in the meantime, I've invited Glasgow-based fantasy author Hal Duncan to borrow the soapbox for a week or so from the 5th of April; I'm sure he's got plenty to say. (We may also be hearing from Elizabeth Bear again.)

11 Comments

1:

If you have time while you're in Japan, and want another of those "WTF?" experiences, I'd recommend a meal at one of the big 100-yen sushi chains, either Kurazushi or Kappazushi. Each table and counter seat comes with its own computerized menu; you order by pushing the relevant button, and your plates are delivered to your seat (in Kappazushi's case by a miniature shinkansen running above the main conveyor belt). And at Kurazushi, if you sit at a table there's a slot for your used plates linked to a little computer slot-machine game, which plays automatically for every five plates and yields you a tiny plastic sushi-shaped novelty if you win. Take along someone who reads Japanese to navigate you through the menus, and enjoy the experience even if you don't really like sushi! (As these restaurants are popular with kids, there's quite a few options beside raw fish, including a few vegetarian/vegan ones. You could even try natto, if you dare...)

2:

Feorag can read Japanese (at least to a reasonable extent), so that shouldn't be a problem for them, though there will need to be vegan options, or at least vegetarian ones, for her.

(And natto? Nowt wrong with natto that some Tabasco or Lea and Perrins doesn't sort.)

3:

Natto AND tabasco? Please, nooooo ....

There's a link to the menu at Kurazushi here:

http://www.kura-corpo.co.jp/menu/menu_top.php

As menus vary slightly between regions, you can click on the relevant part of Japan to see what's available in restaurants there (using the "next menu" and "previous menu" buttons to navigate the following page). If Feorag can find her way around the site, she should have few problems in that sort of restaurant.

Vegan items (if you don't count flavouring with bonito stock): Yuba (tofu skin), inari (stuffed deep-fried tofu pockets), natto, natto rolls, cucumber rolls, kampyo rolls (dried winter melon), and possibly kitsune udon (noodles in soup with deep-fried tofu) depending on the area

Vegetarian items: Corn, salad, egg, dashimaki (soft rolled omelet), ajitama (boiled egg)

It's really hard being a strict vegetarian in Japan, as so much food is made with bonito stock. Pretty much the only true vegetarian food is found in Buddhist restaurants offering shojin ryori (Zen cuisine), like the wonderful one in the Daitokuji temple complex in Kyoto.


4:

"And natto? Nowt wrong with natto..."

納豆がおいしいですね。

Why yes, I am trying to get some practice in. Might even inflict my Japanese on the (definitely Japanese) staff on the sushi stand at Schiphol on Monday.

5:

The monkey waiters in Tokyo might be a fun experience.

In any case, avoid any stopovers in the US, I hear they have a zero tolerance policy with Sci-Fi authors

6:

Happily, the routes out to Japan from the UK tend to overfly Russia instead on the way to the other end of Eurasia. A plane crossing the US would be very, very lost indeed.

Actually, I can't think of many places I would want to go to that involve the US, except the US itself. For anything in the Eastern hemisphere, we go east, and as for the Western hemisphere, either we can fly direct, or it's Pacific Ocean.

7:

I figured that was probably the case, just wanted to make a Peter Watts related quip.

In any case, when did crossing Russia become a more welcoming prospect than doing the same with the USA. Man.

Maybe Charlie can hook up with fellow brit Danny Choo. If you see a guy dressed as a stormtrooper or Darth Vader, that's him.

8:

I'm flying out to Japan after Easter from Heathrow for the same convention that Charlie's GoHing at. I was thinking of flying Air China, changing planes at Beijing as it was one of the cheapest tickets on offer. If I did that I wouldn't have to go through Immigration and Customs in China, just stay airside for my connecting flight.

I flew from Edinburgh to Montreal last year. I could have flown through Newark in the US changing planes there but under the current US regulations for transit passengers I would have had to pass through US Immigration even though I didn't actually want to enter the US. I'd have also needed to wade through a pile of bureaucratic makework for this flight beforehand or risk being deported back to the UK when I arrived in the US. I chose instead to fly to Montreal changing planes in Charles de Gaulle airport, much less hassle for me even though it made for a longer total flight time.

9:

off-topic but interesting..

American fantasy and sci-fi writer George R. R Martin shares his experience about American Health Care system for sci-fi writers
http://grrm.livejournal.com/141683.html

10:

Typical, I come up to Edinburgh and you leave the country.

11:

Nowt wrong with natto that some Tabasco or Lea and Perrins doesn't sort.

Well, if you'd mentioned a flamethrower I could have agreed with you.

On the subject of things to try out - Katsu Curry has to be one, and a nice Soba and Tempura set is also nice - especially if there's Renkon Tempura. Renkon is a crunchy, fresh and tasty vegetable for which I can think of no analog in the British Isles - and battered it is just delish!

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on March 27, 2010 9:47 AM.

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