Only for certain people, would I trek to the middle of nowhere for super duper fancy tempura. We went, we ate, it was… good?

We got to sit right in front of him and I mean… the man is a legend. Not my cup of tea but different strokes for different folks. I guess.

Mikawa Zezankyo
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〒135-0032 東京都江東区福住1丁目3−1

Reservations are a must

Gen Yamamoto

I might quite possible be the only person on the planet to think this. But, after my fifth or sixth trip to Gen Yamamoto, I am confident placing him in my “Experience” bucket. Alongside Robot Restaurant, Kawaii Monster Cafe and Tokyo Disney Land.

He is still the charming, lovely, charismatic connoisseur. And his drinks are out of this world!! But there is one thing I cannot get over: his pours are always uneven!!!!!’n

Evidence one:

Me in my head: he will fix the uneven pours before he serves. I think… hope??? 😳

He did not 😑

Me in head: I hope I don’t get served the one on the very right. I hope I don’t get served the one on the very right. I hope I don’t get served… 

*gets served the one on the very right*

Fuck. I got ripped off 😐

Me in head: Stop looking at the uneven pours. Focus on his story and gesticulating. 

Ugh. The one on the left. I hope I don’t get served the one on the very left. I hope I don’t served…

…Mona. Knock it off!!’n Focus on his story. Focus on his story. Focus on his story. Focus on his… *OCD Level 96629495918647392: ACTIVATED*


See? This place causes unnecessary anxiety.

I’ve tried making excuses for him the first one or two times I went. Like maybe he was having an off night. Or maybe his hand is cramped. Or, maybe he forgot to put his contacts in that day. Or perhaps he only serves foreigners uneven pours?

But after about the sixth time, I’m over this place.

So sorry, Gen-san. As big of a crush I have on you, I doubt I will be returning. Nor will I be recommending you until you fix your pours!

*photos aren’t mine; found on Google Images. Mine are on my Insta with a few somewhere in the archives

Edit: I am a loser.

Trevor Moran (who I’ve been hanging with the past week and is an AMAZING human) pointed out all Gen’s glasses are custom handmade, which makes every one of them unique. Some are smaller, wider, taller, bigger, thinner, etc.

When we went to Gen the other night and he kept laughing at me for being so unwarrantedly bothered by the uneven pours. I asked Gen-san if the different shapes and sizes of the same glass bother him. To which he replied in his usual soothing way: “It does not, I actually prefer the different shapes and sizes. Although it may look as though my pours are uneven to my patrons.” and of course, I had to say: “I was actually one of those people“.

And Gen-san laughed really hard. I translated to Trevor and all three of us had a big laugh. Good times.

So I take back this post! If you have a chance, DO PLEASE GO!!


Kotaro: The Statebird Provisions of Tokyo

There are once in a lifetime dining experiences then, there are the places you just fall in love with that you want to return to time and time again.

Only me?

State Bird Provisions in San Francisco is, exactly that restaurant for me. They serve dishes dim sum style: changes daily, on trays, and there is a sense of urgency. “Hurry and grab it or they might sell out!” And before I know it, I am racking up dish after dish after dish. Which in any other establishment would be a chore to finish but at State Bird, not only are they cooking next level food, I taste the passion and curiosity in every single bite and it’s the best thing ever.

Granted, not every dish works but I would go there over and over and over again and order the same exact way.

In Japan, Kotaro in Shibuya has quickly become that establishment for me.

Kotaro-san is trained in traditional Japanese haute cuisine and has his fundamentals DOWN. His dashi and familiar dishes are out of the world delicious. But what makes him stand out (aside from being over 6 feet tall and an overall friendly guy) is he isn’t afraid to experiment.

I would’ve never thought ume with a buta (pork) shabu shabu and cabbage hot pot would delight my senses in a new sort of umami bomb sensation I’ve never experienced before. Beyond the hot pot, there are many signature dishes (potato salad with smoked egg, minced katsu <— AMAZING) and lots more.

He prepares everything in his cluttered open kitchen jam packed with pots, pans, dishes and for what he is known for: his curated sakes.

Kotaro may not be everyone’s thing (especially the Michelin chasing, chef groupie types) but it is easily, one of my favorite places in Tokyo I will proudly bring anyone and everyone.

Bookings are a tad tricky — just show up.
He’s open until 1am M – Saturday
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#Japan, Basically


This is how much sense Japan makes.

On one of the sites to rent a SIM, there is zero mention of pricing (not even approximations) but there’s a picture showing how the packaging can be turned into decoration.


This is just so Japanese. SO SORRY. Because we cannot be accountable for what retailers charge their customers we cannot share pricing; even approximations. It’s like HELLO??? That is only THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. But you know. Here. You can have packaging that doubles as decoration as a consolation!

Hahhahahahha Japan is so frickin’ weird. Makes absolute zero sense but these quirks (at times frustrating) are what makes this country bizarrely charming 🙂