Obama arrives in Tokyo, gets down to fishy business
April 23rd, 2014
11:00 AM ET
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President Obama's first mission upon touching down in Tokyo: a fish expedition. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe joined Obama at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three Michelin-starred restaurant made (even more) legendary by the 2011 documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."

Jiro Ono, the 86-year-old chef/owner, still presides over every bite of the set menu. Obama seemingly approved, telling the pool of reporters assembled outside: "That's some good sushi right there."

Japan's first state visit by an American president in decades comes as the United States works to reassure Abe and other Asian leaders that the U.S. remains committed to turning foreign policy focus on them. The weeklong tour will also take Obama to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

CNN's Dan Shapiro dined at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in 2012 and shared a dish-by-dish account of his extraordinary 39-minute, $375 dinner of a lifetime:
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Filed under: Asian • Cuisines • Japan • Japanese • President Obama • Sushi


Squeeze his finger to let him know how much fugu you want
April 4th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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Under the bright lights of the waterfront Haedomari warehouse in Shimonoseki, Japan, tails twitch and bodies writhe in defiance of the onset of death.

The floor is awash with seawater as Yoshi Yanagawa moves down a line of 20 boxes, each containing about 15 puffer fish of varying values, lengths and states of coveted plumpness.

"Eeka! Eeka!" he chants, as 20 or so interested parties put their hands up to bid.

The puffer fish, or "fugu" in Japanese, gulp in more air, ballooning out their white belly sacs.
Shimonoseki is Japan's fugu capital.
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Filed under: Asian • Japanese • Stunt


The rival empires of Japanese whisky
March 26th, 2014
03:18 PM ET
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The first thing offered to me at Suntory's Yamazaki whisky distillery - the birthplace of Japanese whisky - is a glass of water. It's so delicious it comes as a shock.

Even before the reason is explained to me, I'm asking: why does it taste so crisp, so different?

The distillery is surrounded by beautiful bamboo forests on a mountain - they must be getting to my brain.
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Filed under: Japan • Japan Eats • Japanese • Sip • Spirits


'Local' is always on the menu in Okinawa
March 10th, 2014
01:45 PM ET
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When it comes to food movements, the word “local” is a rarity in Okinawa. That's because restaurants in Japan's southernmost prefecture have been doing the local thing long before it was trending - or even just trendy.

World-renowned for promoting health and longevity, traditional Okinawan cuisine uses primarily local ingredients. What's more, it's easy to find.
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Filed under: Asian • Japanese • Local Food


November 1st, 2013
08:00 PM ET
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World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Tokyo, Japan in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, November 3, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

"Maybe the most important thing you need to know about Tokyo, from my point of view is, every chef I know – every high end chef, from Spain, France, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles basically every chef I’ve ever met. If you asked them, 'If you had to spend the rest of your life, in one country, eating one country’s food for the rest of your life, where would that be?' They’re all gonna say the same thing. Japan. Tokyo. Period," says Anthony Bourdain.
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Filed under: Asian • Japan • Japanese • Parts Unknown • Sushi


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