Shirokane - absolute beginner
Am staying in Tokyo in Shirokane in late March for one week. I know pretty much nothing about Japanese food and culture and am a little alarmed by the number of people ( most of whom have never been there either, it must be said ) telling me I wont have a clue where /what to eat and indeed what I am eating. These naysayers suggest I will end up in an 'instantly recognisable' burger chain so that I get to eat food I recgonise with guaranteed toliet facilities !
I know this must all be complete rubbish but would massively appreciate any help on
- japanes food - beginner's guide and do's and dont's
- where to go for breakfast, lunch, dinner and how much will it cost / budget
- what the Japanese are likely to be eating, and where
- how lost will I be without speaking the languauge at all ? - particularly in terms of finding places and understanding the menu !
- is where I am staying home to any particularly good places ?
- are there any ' do not miss' experiences ?
- what will my safe bet or safe haven be if I am wandering around on my own during the day ?
- is going to the fish market ( Shinkuju ?) as good as it is cracked up to be and what should I eat as a sushi novice !?
Any help you can give on this would be massively appreciated - happy to provide more info if this is all too vague nad happy to reciprocate with frank views on Liverpool food if any of you are visting us in our European capital of culture year !
In specific addition to Silverjay's general recommendations, I would highly recommend obtaining a copy of Lonely Planet's "World Food" series book on the food of Japan. Even to those who find Lonely Planet guides to be a bear to read, this excellent series is in a much more compact and quick to read format; it provides a broad introduction to the cuisine, festivals, eateries, and food traditions of Japan, perfect for someone coming into it with such a basic start.
Now bear in mind that this would be more of a book to read well before your trip, and perhaps not so much to use whlie you are there, though I can see how it may be of some use then too. It will not tell you about specific shops, but rather get you familiar with the many types of eateries, cuisines, dishes, and regional and seasonal specialties that you can expect to find.
I think you should start by giving the CH search function a good workout, not to mention maybe picking up a book or two from Amazon on the cuisine. You're coming at this so wide-eyed and with such a blank slate, it will take ages for this thread to accrue the knowledge you need to be "dangerous". Fish markets, sushi, budgets, breakfast, language help, etc.- all this has been addressed in recent threads. Shirokane is a very nice, centrally located, residential neighborhood. There are some nice places to dine there and it's easy to get to other parts of the city.