Vinos Yamazaki – Numazu

9 07 2012

Vinos Yamazaki

 

One of the joys of Living in Numazu is that they have a Yamazaki Vinos. And one of the joys of the Yamazaki Vinos is the wine tasting.

The Vinos in Numazu is in a sneaky little spot on the basement of the イーラde (Iira-de) department store snuggled into a corner of the Yamazaka grocery store. The cellar-like subdued lighting and sanded pine timbered walls stenciled with the shop name to look as if it had been branded creates an oasis from the surrounding supermarket.

Getting a tasting is simple. Just rock on up to the counter and ask. There is a list of wines on display  on the shelves behind the service counter and a plaque showing prices for tastings, glasses and the whole bottle.

The wine list is carefully selected and only the better quality wines make it to the tasting list. Every time I have gone for a tasting there I have always experience quality. However, that quality doesn’t always come with a high price. The selection is expansive. Today’s selection varied from 150-1050 yen for a tasting or 350-2650yen a glass. Of course the more expensive wines are at the top end of the tasting cost and frequently retail for around 10,000yen a bottle and taste like you have just drunk unicorn milk.

From today’s tasting my hands down, pants off favourite was the Havens 2009 Chardonay Oakville from the Nappa Valley. This creamy Chardonnay was rich in vanilla with subtle notes of cinnamon and peach.  It combined perfectly with their European cheese platter from their fromagere in Shizuoka. There are a dozen other snacks on the menu to accompany your tasting. The tastings average around 600yen a plate.

The staff know their stuff too. While I was there I noted the staff guiding customers with their recommendations and offering wines in different styles and price ranges to satisfy them. However, I did make the mistake of commenting about one particularly good tasting only to have the wine seller animatedly tell me all about it. This would have been fascinating had I understood a word he had said.

Yamazaki Vinos is not exclusive to Numazu. It is actually part of a high end supermarket business with several chain stores. The prefecture capital, Shizuoka, has two Vinos that I have visited and also is home to the best fromagere I have found in Japan.

 

Hours (bar) – 11:00-21:00hrs(last order 20:30)

English menu – No sorry but its pretty easy to figure out. Just point and say tasting or glass.

 

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Arisaema Urashima – Taro’s interspecies love experiment

24 04 2012

Arisaema Urashima – Taro’s interspecies love experiment

ウラシマソウ Arisaema Urashima or commonly know in English as the Cobra Lily.

The Story

The Urashima plant (ウラシマソウ)was named after the mythical fisherman Taro Urashima.

Arisaema Urashima

The story goes that one day the fisherman, Taro, saw some naughty little kids torturing a poor defenseless little turtle. Torturing sea animals is often an enjoyable past time for school children around the world. InJapan, elementary school children go on excursion to the seaside just for this purpose. I have once witnessed the ritualized slaughter of various small crabs in numerous inventive ways that would have put my boyhood seaside destruction to shame.

Anyway I digress. Taro, being a lifetime member of Greenpeace, was enraged by the misbehavior of the children and rescued the turtle from their brutal tiny hands and released the little turtle back into the sea.

Taro must have been hit on the head during the rescue because the next day while he was fishing he could have sworn that a huge turtle crawled up to him and spoke to him. The mighty turtle told Taro that the little turtle he had saved yesterday was none other than his daughter – the Emperor of the Sea’s daughter. Taro, a little stunned from the shock of a massive turtle talking to him and never being too quick on the pick-up, had to have the now impatient enormous turtle-emperor explain more succinctly that he was before the Emperor of the sea and Taro had rescued his increasingly attractive turtle-daughter.

Before Taro could knock the stopper off his second flask of sake, the Emperor gave him gills and brought him to his sea kingdom as…erh…thanks for his daughters rescue. The Emperor’s daughter, suffering from a serious case of White Knight Syndrome and knowing her chances of getting laid are slim because she is a… well… turtle, fell in love with our hero. Likewise, Taro, never being one to shy away from interspecies relations and well on his way to suffering a good dose of Stockholm Syndrome falls in love with his captor, the Emperor’s Daughter.

The emperor, being a fairly open minded fellow, doesn’t seem to mind the new couple’s hot scale on skin love making so long as Taro is responsible and wears a squid.

After two days of sweet love making and a cameo appearance along side Kevin Kostner in Waterworld that didn’t make the final cut, Taro wass feeling a bit raw and thought he may have caught crabs. He made an excuse to his new love that he just remembered that his dear old mum was not feeling too well and he must return to his village to check on her. The emperor’s daughter is a little suspicious but lets him go and gives him a box to take with him. She tells him that under no circumstances whatsoever should he ever open the enticing box with the pretty multi-coloured ‘Open Me!’ printed wrapping paper. Feeling the uncontrollable need to scratch his crutch like a dog digging for its favourite bone, Taro hastily agrees, grabs the box, pecks the emperor’s daughter on the beak and makes for his village.

When he returns, Taro discovers that three hundred years had past but the sake flask he left behind on the beach is still good so after a few swigs he staggers around town asking people if they remember a Taro Urashima. The locals only vaguely recall the name as an old wives tale warning children not to get too drunk by the seaside. By now our hero is feeling a bit wobbly and takes a seat on a step to take the final swig of his sake. In his alcohol induced stupor he gets his hands mixed up and tries to take a drink out of the box the emperor’s daughter had left behind instead of his sake flask.

He shook off his befuddlement and carefully examined the attractive print on the box. He squinted hard trying focus through his blurred vision at the words and was surprised to find that they were in English. Unfortunately Taro was not a particularly good English student when he was in junior high school due to the distracting and treacherous nature of his Australian English teacher’s curves.

He asked a couple of local villagers if they knew what the two words meant and it was not long until a large crowd of villagers were milling around Taro and the box grunting, sucking their teeth and making clipped proclamations of their ignorance regarding the meaning of the words.

Of course all the villagers knew what the two words meant but every one of them was too afraid to translate them for fear of a seagulls’ cacophony of ‘sugoi’ (Wow!) that would humiliate the villager enough for them to flee the village and spend the rest of their life as a hermit in the mountains.

Finally someone suggested to Taro that perhaps the box contained a Japanese-English dictionary and that he should open it so that he could translate the words written on the wrapping paper.

The tension among the villagers immediately disappeared as they mentally discarded their packing list for their exiles.

It was time for curiosity so the all the villagers leaned a little further forward to show their interest. Taro, knowing what was expected of him took one last look at the box, shrugged and tore at the wrapping. Beneath the wrapping was an ornate Styrofoam bait box. Taro gave one last nervous look at the crowd who nodded at him encouragingly before opening it.

You see, the Emperor’s Daughter was a cunning girl. She knew that if Taro was true to his promise he would return to the sea to be with her for eternity, but if he didn’t return he would not be able to control his curiosity for the box and open it. Inside the box lay Taro’s old age and as soon as he opened the bait box the stench of his years overcame him like the smell of off bait in the midday sun.

He immediately started to grow old; first complaining about the weather and then farting without shame, before finally turning to dust; thus ending the sad tragedy of Taro Urashima.

Or does it…

Arisaema Urashima

Arisaema Urashima

The little known sequel

Little known to the historians of the time and rarely spoken about among those of the sea kingdom is another story. It seems that during the intense love filled two days between Taro and the Emperor’s Daughter, Taro may have found himself a leaky squid.

It seems that the Emperor’s Daughter had fallen pregnant. Knowing the high success rate of interspecies procreation, she knew she was pregnant with at least three children-turtle things. She had to tell her father.

The Emperor was furious. No way was he going to lets some human, and a fisherman-soak at that, interfere with his noble bloodline. Unfortunately the sea kingdom’s pro-choice lobby was entangled in a tragic jellyfish accident so the sanctimonious old eels were celebrating their victory in passing the anti-abortion laws through the senate. This meant that the Emperor and his daughter just had to go through with the pregnancy regardless.

The emperor was enraged beyond belief and sort comfort in the numbness a line of blowfish could only offer until his addiction finally overcame him.

His daughter, lost in her grief and shame set forth on the great ocean until it was finally time to give birth to her mutated spawn. She crawled up on a bank of sewage and filth in a strange world of lights and noise where she laid not three but four eggs and return to her kingdom to never again remember those tragic times.

The heat of the sewage kept the eggs warm as the mutated creatures within slowly came to life to crack out of their shells. As this was happening, an old mutant rat – who was the result of a similar interspecies mating – was looking for food and came across these four mutated creatures. He was just about to devour them when he was surprised at their dexterity as they ambled over the sewage filth with tumble rolls and back flips.

Being the enterprising mutant rat that he was he decided to teach them acrobatics so that one day he might make his fortune selling them on to the circus.

However, due to the mutant turtles strong sense of ethics and large supply of kung fu movies that the rat played to entertain the four young creatures another path was chosen for them.

The plant

 

Arisaema Urashima

I first found the Arisaema Urashima (ウラシマソウ) while hiking in the Numazu Alps in Shizuoka prefecture back in 2006. This most recent find was in a cedar grove near my home on the midlands ofAshitakaMountain.

It is one of the most unusual wild plants I have seen inJapan. Not being much of a botanist buff I thought it might have been some sort of pitcher plant because of its tubular shape and slightly covered top. I am sure the boffins would be chortling over my obvious error.

The Arisaema Urashima is in fact a lily and is more commonly know in the West as the Cobra Lily. When flowering, as you can seen in the pictures, the plant produces a spathe (Yeah I had to look that one up too) that forms an outer sheath that protects the flowers inside.

The spathe (look, now I can’t stop saying it to show you how smart I am) of this lily starts from the stem as columns of white and a purple that is a shade darker than egg plant. As the columns rise towards the mouth of the spathe the purple takes over and the tip of the spathe sweeps over the entrance to the flower.

Protruding from the centre of the spathe is the spadix – the doobalydoo that the flowers attach themselves to at the base – that whips out over the plant and can run as long 60 cm making it look like a fishing line. Thus the analogy of Taro Urashima’s fishing basket (spathe) and fishing line (spadix).

The flower blooms in mid spring along the coastal mountains of centralHonshuand well worth a look if you are on a hike. In summer the flower produces red berries that are poisonous and can cause irritation to the skin like Taro’s nasty case of crabs.

If anything I have provided you with some new scrabble words and a plant to impress your friends with on your next hike aroundJapan. Happy hiking.

Scott.





Competitive speed eating: the Yakiniku King stable.

16 12 2011

Competitive speed eating: the Yakiniku King stable.

 

Yakiniku King Numazu Korean BBQ

 

Right. Pay attention. If you want to test yourself before any competitive eating championship, then I recommend you take yourself to the stables of the Yakiniku King on the Numazunorth side’s Rikodori (dori means road, kiddies). It’s easy to find, just follow your nose to the passenger jet, super-charged, mega, big-like-all-buggery exhausts pumping the smell of delicious charred flesh into a dispersal radius of 500 meters.

Once inside the Yakiniku King, a trainer will take you to a table and present you with a training regime as they light your Korean barbeque. Before deciding, it is important to make yourself familiar with your surroundings so you can maximize your eating time.

Look, put simply, any competitive eater worth their weight in beef needs to be at home in their surroundings. They must be able to reach for sauces with out even looking. They must be able to send out an order while simultaneously flipping strips of fleshy charred goodness on the barbeque. The must not let ANYTHING interrupt their steady, focused mastication.

Your trainer will present you with three training regimes each running for precisely 100minutes:

  • 58 item menu 2,480yen
  • 100 item menu 2980yen
  • 120 item menu 3,480ye

 

Each program increases in difficulty as their quality and scope of choice distracts you from your ingestion.

            There is also a drink list that you can pay per item for or take the soft drink or beer and minor spirits all-you-can-drink (nomihoudai) option to help you wash down your food.

            Ordering is simple, but you need to be on your game because you only have 100 minutes to stick as much as you can in your mouth. You will need to make these steps second nature before you go.

Step 1 – Grab the touch screen console. These bad boys get slippery so watch out. It is a good idea to get some calluses on your hands before you come. I hear that the pro’s callus their hands by turning their meat on the barbeque with their fingertips. This also gives them the advantage of developing a certain heat resistance to the scorching flames emanating from beneath the grill (NOTE: not for the amateur or faint of heart.).

Step 2 – Press the screen with your free hand (remember the other hand should be either stuffing food in your head or flipping the meat).

Step 3 – Choose from a selection of meats or side dishes. Diehards will immediately go to the meat.

Step 4 – A new screen will appear and give you an option for meats (or other items). Choose what category you want. It is pretty easy to figure out thanks to the pictures. Training guides generally tell you to go for the beef first. A couple of thin pieces of skirt steak followed by some beautifully marbled rib eye slivers are a good start for me. After the beef I’m onto the pork and then finally the chicken.

Step 5 – You should now be in the final sub menu. Select your items by pressing on them.

Step 6 – Now two things could happen next. It’s designed to test your will power and dexterity. Either another small plus and minus icon will appear near you selection and you press the (+) to add more items and the (-) to take them away (but that would never happen right? Right? Good.), or a pop-up window will appear with the same plus and minus icons also with a choice of seasoning (sorry by this stage I am in the ‘zone’ as the meat haze descends upon my consciousness so I don’t remember what is what).

 

Step 7 – Once you have made a selection you are free to make more. Warning!!! There is an upper limit to the amount of items you can select at any one time. If the console is not letting you select any more then you have probably maxed out your limit for that order. It’s time to take it to the checkout.

Step 8 – To checkout, simply press the big red shopping basket at the bottom of your screen.

Step 9 – It’s not over yet. Another screen will open to confirm what you have ordered is correct before sending it off.

 

Step 10 – Repeat steps 1 through 9 until you either run out of time (almost never happens), feel like you are going to vomit (need more training), or send the Yakiniku King stables bankrupt (a titan of the competitive speed eating world).

 

courtesy of Lauren Donald

At the end of your 100minutes at the Yakiniku King it is time for quiet reflection. Think about what you did well, where you could do better and mentally prepare yourself for the next time.

 

Good luck and I will see you at the championships.

 

Mmm, meat flavoured meat.

 

Scott

 

 

 

 

 





Tsukuru Izakaya – Numazu

3 07 2011

Tsukuru Izakaya – Numazu  North Side

Just as the tendrils ofNumazu’s back alleys release themselves into built up suburbia, there are small oases of restaurants designed to feed the locals houses and apartments. In one little area on the North side ofNumazu, a little beyond two major supermarkets, Coop and Maxvalue, lies a small string of such restaurants.

Lately, my wife and I have been taking this route home from our regular Tuesday afternoon grocery shop. Each time we pass this area we declare, in the perfect cliché of a long serving married couple, that we “really should try one of these places out one of these days.”

Investigating these types of places can sometimes fill you with trepidation. You just don’t know if you are going to enter some territorial hotspot. Will you be met with the cold hate filled stares of regulars, as you are about to park your derriere on the recently deceased Granny Suzuki’s chair, while the waiter triggers the panic button under the counter calling for a horde of samuri obaasans to decent upon you and tear you to threads with their devilishly sharp elbows?* Alternatively you could be welcomed in with a warm smile and greeted with an excellent meal. You just never know.
photo 5(1)

Fortunately this time it was the latter. As my wife and I entered one of the restaurants in this little food oasis called Tsukuru 巣くる or, as a waitress explained, Create. This little classic style izakaya with a quirky striped white pebble and black timber walkway was an excellent choice. There are only four seating areas two tables on the side wall and a traditional style raised sublevel with recesses under the tables to plonk your feet.
photo 1

We had arrived early so we took our orders from the chef and settled down to a couple of beers. While we were waiting for our meals two waitresses arrived and prepared themselves for their evening.

First to come out was a prawn and cheese spring roll halved and placed on a bed of lettuce. This was delivered by an impressive young woman who had eyelashes that were no doubt designed to provide shade from the summer heat for her and a small tribe of pygmies clinging to her lower boughs. The spring rolls were light and crispy with a delicate minced prawn aftertaste mixed with the mild cheese.
photo 3
Another round of spring rolls ensued. This time they were a cold salad spring roll filled with salad herbs and thin slices of ham and drizzled with some sweet chili sauce. This was a refreshing cleanse from the deep fried treat we devoured earlier.
photo 4

Next came an exceptional dish of splayed avocado topped with slivers of smoked salmon and finished will small dollops of cream cheese. This unctuous treat lay in a bed of mild vinegar and soy. The unusually soft texture of the salmon and avocado was surprising to my palate but nevertheless enjoyable.

photo 1(1)
Just like any red blooded man, I have an uncontrollable urge to order fried chicken when ever I see it on the menu (I also make myself a mountain of fried chicken to gorge upon when ever my wife is out on the town with her friends, so I can release the true animal within; sitting on my haunches and rendering flesh from bone with my gnashing teeth as globules of grease drip upon the massacred remnants of chicken bone strewn below…but that story is for another time). Tsukuru’s fried chicken was very good. It was extremely well spiced to the point of competing with the ‘Colonel’ but a little over cooked in the centre leaving the meat a little stringy.
photo 2(1)

photo 3(1)

To finish off our little feast my wife and I shared a bacon and mushroom spaghetti carbonara that proved to be a deliciously good filler.
photo 5

IzakayaTsukuru was the perfect end to a busy day. Its staff were eager and attentive and, it seemed, very happy to see foreigners so far out into the suburbs ofNumazu.

* This is an increasingly all too common occurrence in Japan  and heralds the coming of the New World Order run by supprisingly sprightly obaasans. For more Conspiracies on this check out this post. 

Style: Independent Izakaya.

English Menu: No sorry Japanese.

Picture Menu: Some pictures

Phone: (055) 925-9330

 Hours: 17:30~3:00hrs

Price: Dishes average around 650yen Izakaya Stlye.

Directions: Numazu North Side north of Coop just before Route 1





Numazu – What’s On – July 2011

1 07 2011

Numazu- What’s On – July 2011

Highlighting the best of what’s on inNumazufor July 2011

Live – Spazz If You Want To – Exceptional Local DJ’s no door charge – July 2

Festival – Tanabata ( Star Festival) –  The Numazu Nakamise is lined with storks of bamboo with paper wishers attached andlots of decorations that my 192cm height head butts. More here. ~ July  10

BBQ – Speak EZ hosts a BBQ atMinatoguchiPark  – BYO booze and food. 12:00 – July 3

Live –Fureai Square Performance -Bands, Street Performance, Taiko Drums, Mini Train etc. Numauz North Exit right in front of Bivi. 11:00-16:00. July 3

Market –Ricodori (Rico Shopping Street). Local vegetable market, demonstrations in making puffed cereal, cereal give aways. 11:00-15:00. July 3

Live – Regional Friendship Concert. Limited seats East Annex of Imperial Villa. 14:00-15:30. July 3

Festival – Kamihon Wid-Chime Festival. Free Wind-chimes and fans for the first 100. 13:00 ~ . July 7

Live – Speak EZ Acoustic Night – 20:00~23:00 after live DJ. Entrance 1000 Yen. July 8

Live – Acoustic Live with Jordan Patrick and Friends – Folk Rock With Some Covers at Baird Beer’s Taproom. Any live performance at the Taproom is awesome. From 20:00. July 9th

Live –Speak EZ DJ Choinori – R&B, Hiphop and House – Free entry from 10:00pm. July 9

 

Sports – Kano River Walk and Run – I know that there is a couple of you who are into some long distance running so if you are interested check this one out. Run categories are in 3,5, 10 and 20km distances http://www.n-machiaruki.com July 10

Beer – Baird Beer 11 anniversary celebrations – This year they will be celebrating again with a BBQ this time with a Tex/Mex theme down stairs. Upstairs there will be a 1500 yen Buffet each day from noon til 8pm (BBQ items included in this price). 500yen beer in a plactic cup and the usual pint for 700yen. There will also be scheduled tours each day. July 16, 17, 18

Dance – Speak EZ Salsa Night – Jump in on this regular for a sexy good time. 8pm Start. Entrance 1000yen. 15 July

Live – Speak EZ Live Jam – Bring your axe and play. from 20:00. Free. 16 July

Dance – Speak EZ Anime Dance Party – A little bit of cosplay and little bit of fun. Just check out the link, hilarious. early start 2pm-10pm. Free. July 17

Live – Speak EZ Shady Glimpse – Thrash it out with this new school hardcore group. Opens at 20:30 starts at 21:00. Cover 1000yen (including drink)

Exhibition  –  Sailboat Models display – Excptional display of model sailboats. Don’t know how they got this past the ninja committee but this is definitely a pirates dream.Numazu ImperialVilla Park from 12:00 July 16-24

Festival – 32 Heda Port Festival – Fire works, drums, yosakoi dancers. At theHedaPortCentral Peir. 13:00 start . July 23

Live –Speak EZ DJ Wakana – This cuties will be spinning some hot tunes. 9pm-11pm July 29

Drink – Speak EZ Summer Festival Special – After a thorough steaming at the Summer Festival Chill out with the cool vibes from the DJ’st at Speak EZ. From 20:00. Free.  July 30.

Festival – Numazu Summer Festival and Fireworks Show. This is the main event forNumazu. The entire south side is covered in endless stalls. There will be taiko drums, dancers, endless lines of street food, riverside performances and a massive fireworks display each night. This titan of a festival has been running since 1948. More info here. July 30 and 31

 

Romantic Road

My book: An Amorous Route





Pizzeria Il Palio – Numazu

31 05 2011

Pizzeria Il Palio – Numazu

Amendment: It appears that I am the one that should be replacing his big Coke bottle glasses. I am pleased to say that I stand corrected. My friend, let’s just call him ‘Mr Awesome (formally known as Mr Lost) ‘ was indeed correct in his directions. I just couldn’t find it. I owe him a pizza and I owe you a review of the real place he recommended. Read on below and laugh mockingly at my over confidence.

I should have known better, trying to get directions from a friend with the navigation skills of…well let’s just say someone who is geographically challenged was bound to be a disaster waiting to happen. But you just get plain excited when you hear of an exceptional pizzeria in town that you haven’t yet visited.

My wife and another friend of mine were riding through town one afternoon last week trying to decide what we would have for dinner. We conducted our usual procrastination over our choice of eats with gusto as we made our way south towards the station area and the centre of town.

Suddenly I remembered about my pizzeria conversations and begged some time to search it out. My wife, knowing exactly what ‘some time’ means, restricted my search to ten minutes. My friend who had tried to give me directions to this place (let’s just call him Mr. Lost for some clarity) had told me that he thought the place was on the north side of the station in the Snack Bar district. I had asked if it was near Ito Yokado, to which we was not sure until I mentioned that it was a shopping center and then he readily agreed.

I shared this information with my wife and friend as we set of in search for the pizzeria and we all concurred that it should probably been in the snack bar area in the north west relatively close to the station.

We were wrong.

Our ten minutes were up and we had not found the restaurant so we headed to the south side in search of an alternative and resumed procrastinating over where to eat. It was mid afternoon by this time and most of the restaurants were closed so this led us to wandering aimlessly from restaurant to restaurant in search of something open.

By now we were on the south side between the station and the library. As we were walking in search of a restaurant I casually looked up to see a Pizzeria sign. It suddenly dawned on me that this must have been the pizzeria that Mr. Lost had recommended. It was close to the station as he said and it could be very loosely described as being in a Snack Bar district and I guess that the Seibu could be described as a shopping center. I also should have remembered that he had mentioned a bar that foreigners frequent being somewhat nearby. Yep I missed the obvious. Here I am rabbiting on about my friend’s lack of direction all the while I am having conversations as if my big fat ears were painted on.

The Pizzeria we had found was the Il Palio. By the time we had found it the restaurant was not quite open so we went and had a coffee at a nearby café until its dinner opening time at 5:30.

The Meal


The Pizzeria Il Palio was a rare treat. The restaurant has a large covered terraced area that blends into the restaurant and the open kitchen proudly displays a pizza oven you would sell a kidney for.

We wanted to chill out before the main meal so we had a few snacks over an excellent bottle of Ameroe Red that my friend, the ever astute culture buff, recommended. For snacks we ordered a plate of mixed cured meat of suprising quality far beyond the usual bland massed produced rubbish that you find in most Italian restaurants in Japan. The meat dish included Mortadella, Proscuito and Salami. We also ordered a cheese and mushroom creamy baked casserole and some bread and olive oil on the side.

photo 10

It was a quiet night in the restaurant so we did not feel compelled to rush our dining experience. We picked through out snack and chatted over our wine as the sun went down and our hunger returned.
photo 2(1)

Ready for dinner we called over our slightly nervous fresh young waitress. We opted for one of the dinner courses which gave us a starter, a selection of pizza, pasta and meat dish for a main and dessert and coffee or tea to finish. We asked our waitress to leave our dinner to what ever the chef recommends and proceeded to enjoy our wine. A little perplexed our waitress went to ask the chef if this was okay.
photo 3(1)

For our starter we had a mixed plate of delights. A deliciously spiced pork pate on oiled toast was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the baby octypus with real balsamic vinegar, the tomato and bocconcini, sashimi white fish in olive oil and a little more proscuito.

First of our mains out was our pasta. A concoction of prawns, scallops, a Japanese style spinach in a tomato sauce with shavings of dry cured smoked salmon on top. This was a exceptional mix of texture and taste with identifiable flavors in each bite. I would have loved to have seen it with some home made pasta but this just does not seem to be done in most Italian restaurants in Japan.
photo 4

As we made our way through the pasta a large pizza appeared on the table with a small bowl of honey. I could see that the pizza crust was light and crunchy and stippled with spots of brown that is the signature of a good pizza oven. One half of the pizza was smeared with tomato sauce with big globs of mozzarella cheese and topped with a basil leaf. While a slice of this was incredible the other half of the pizza stole the show. On this side were large melted slices of rich gorgonzola. I would have been overbearing on its own but with a spoon full of honey to balance it we were met with an exotic delight. Upon the first few bites you are struck by the two intense flavours of the cheese and the honey until they blend into a remarkable flavor in your mouth.
photo 5

Next was our meat course. My wife and I ordered the fish and my friend, the meat. For our fish dish I was met with a beautiful plate of what appeared to be perch lying on a bed of mussles in a buttery liquid sauce. The succulent flakey fish was done perfectly and eaten with a guilty dip into the sauce. Begging a bite of my friends I was pleased with the tenderness of the meat.
photo 2
photo 1

Dessert was a not too rich tiramisu with a side of super creamy mascarpone cheese. The tiramisu was exceptional and not too overbearing. We finished the night discussing the exceptional food over a treat of Amarula.
photo 3

Numazu’s Pizzeria Il Palio is one restaurant that I will not have trouble finding again.

Style: Italian Pizzaria

English Menu: No sorry Italian and Japanese. Well, at least you can kinda work out what it means.

Picture Menu: No sorry.

Phone: 055-963-5677

Website: http://www.hotel-miwa.co.jp/miwa.nsf/doc/shop_palio

Hours: Lunch 11:30 – 14:00 Dinner 17:30 – 22:00

Price: lunch starts at 900yen for pasta and 1000 yen for pizza. Dinner starts at 850yen for pasta and 1100yen for pizza. Courses start at 1800yen.

Directions: Numazu South Side close to Speakezy






Radiation levels in Numazu Shizuoka – Appear Reasonably Safe

16 03 2011

Radiation levels have risen due to the crisis of the nuclear reactors in the Miyagi Prefecture after the Sendai Earthquake.

According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan radiation levels in the Shizuoka, while higher than average, are currently not a risk.

Levels today for Shizuoka were reported to be between 0.089 μGy/h (millirems per hour) and 0.062 μGy/h with and average of o.o62 μGy/h.

So are we safe from the harmful effects of radiation here in Numazu?

The current US occupational limit of exposure per year is 5000 microsievert . Extrapolated down to an average hourly rate over a year you are looking at 0.0570 μGy/h.  That is a little lower that Shizuoka’s average today but remember you would need to be exposed to that every day for a year before you would be over the US limit. There is no indication to suggest that this level of exposure will continue over a prolonged period of time.

The average radiation levels for Shizuoka is between 0.0281 to 0.0765 μGy/h.

So everything appears to be fairly safe so far. No third eyes or superpowers to report yet.

References:

MIT news

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.(copied and translated page)

A cool site with information on radiation levels for Tokyo.

Japan times article from yesterday.

Comments and corrections welcome.

18 Mar 2011 – The Australian Radiation and Nuclear Protection agency supported by The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have extended their exclusion zone for Australians to 80km from the Fukushima Nulear Power Plant.  Numazu is about 360km from the plant.

19 Mar 2011 – The ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology have updated their radiation reading for the past few days. For the Shizuoka Prefecture levels have averaged to 0.038μGy/h which rests at almost midway for the average levels in Shizuoka prior to the Nuclear Reactor Crisis. This suggest that levels may be returning to normal.

20 Mar 2011- The ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology have published their radiations readings for yesterday. For Shizuoka Prefecture the levels have again averages at around 0.038μGy/h. This about average for the year.

This is a link to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA)  latest update on the nuclear situation. It discusses agriculture, the current handling of the damaged reactors and radiation monitoring.