“Japan Week” New York, March 10-12, 2016

In which culture does a week last only three days?  Whereas I currently don’t have a good – or sarcastic – response to that question, I will confess that it’s a treat whenever the annual Japan Week rolls into Grand Central terminal in New York.  This year, it’s happening…right now! Until tomorrow evening.  So hop a train, plane or boat to Midtown Manhattan – or go straight to Japan.  Either way.

Since I learned about the event three years ago, I’ve been paying a visit to Vanderbilt Hall, the part of Grand Central in which it’s held.  Although it was larger in the past, that doesn’t mean it was better.  This year, they made up for it slightly with the addition kaitenzushi (回転寿司/かいてんずし), aka a gimmicky but no less amusing conveyor belt sushi-style eatery, sponsored in part, by the US-based Japanese supermarket chain Mitsuwa Marketplace.

So, about those exhibitors…

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (7)Domo kun, the mascot of NHK news.  Let’s keep this part G-rated.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (3)Every year I’ve attended, JR East, the railway company serving Tokyo and north/northeastern Honshu (the largest Japanese island), has a display that belittles Amtrak.  Of course, that’s not their main objective…but I don’t mind.  New for this month: the Shinkansen (新幹線/ しんかんせん), their highly lauded bullet train, will connect Honshu with Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (4)Black garlic from Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of Honshu. Tastes sweet, but with the caveat that you still shouldn’t kiss her later…unless you bought also some for her.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (5)Earthy burdock (牛蒡/ごぼう/gobou)- usually enjoyed for its taproots in East Asian dishes – tea.  I could drink this all.  day.  long.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (9)Not exactly the corn flakes for the breakfast bowl.  Maybe as a topping for Japanese pizza?

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (6)In part, due to the shinkansen finally reaching Hokkaido, Hokkaido is a theme of this year’s Japan Week.  Sapporo is the largest city on that island, and its name graces this  common sight in Japan – a tissue pack.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (1)As for that conveyor belt sushi…

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (11)First up, 大トロ(おおとろ), ootoro, the fatty part of a tuna’s belly.  Some folks like how it melts in your mouth.

Clearly, I should be employed as a menu writer.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (13)Hokkaido-sourced kite.  I mean callus.  I mean octopus.  (たこ/tako means all three).  Not that chewy, and that’s a good thing.

Manhattan - Japan Week New York, March 10-12, 2016 (12)“(Seaweed-flavored) horse mackerel,” or 鯵 (あじ/aji).  Lift the individual cut of fish off of the rice, dip that into the soy sauce, then place back on the rice. Or, use your fingers.


I’ll be back next year, but as for this year, take a look tomorrow at Grand Central!

 

 

 

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About buildingmybento

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me
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