🇲🇽 Mexican Food in Japan! 🇯🇵
Getting to Japan
They say no news is good news, so if you haven't heard for Maisi and I just yet, it means we are busy adjusting to life in Japan!
After a very eventful morning trying to get from Salt Lake to Denver on separate flights, Maisi and I spent the night at Denver before flying to Japan. While Maisi took the afternoon flight to Denver, I went through an afternoon of orientation at the Japanese consulate in Denver. That evening (Friday the 22nd), my new colleagues and I attended a reception at the home of the head of the Japanese consulate in Denver. After a wonderful meal including some traditional Japanese food, we all (some 67 of us) took buses back to the hotel.
The next morning (Saturday the 23rd), we arrived at the group check-in counter at the Denver Airport, and boarded a United Airline flight direct to Narita International Airport near Tokyo. I’ll admit, a flight of over 11 hours is not generally what I consider to be my cup of tea. However, watching a couple of Disney movies including the new Star Wars eased the process, and in due time we arrived at the immigration counter in Tokyo on Sunday the 24th.
Maisi was to fly to Fukuoka, where she would spend a few days with a very good friend of mine while I attended yet another, much more in depth, orientation at the Keio Plaza located in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. We luckily skipped most of the enormous line at immigration because of the group we were with, and soon received our new residents card, which all gaijin in Japan must carry. After immigration, Maisi and I breezed through Customs, where we had nothing to declare. Maisi headed to the domestic flights counter, and I to another bus.
After a sometimes hair-raising ride on the bus to the Keio Plaza (as a bus driver myself, I still feel uncomfortable when someone else is behind the wheel), we arrived at the nicest hotel I have ever stepped foot in. We received several papers, a name tag, and a bag to put all this lovely new paperwork into. We would also be receiving much more paperwork over the next few days.
After that, we were free for the evening. After putting my stuff in the room on the 16th floor, I immediately set out to find a Japanese convenience store. I found one on the second floor of the hotel! Now, we’ll cover Japanese convenience stores later in one of our YouTube videos, as they can be a gaijin’s best friend. The Japanese “conbini,” as they are called over here are what most Americans would call “legit.” Once inside, I found my favorite kind of Onigiri (rice ball), and grabbed two of those, as well as a couple of my favorite treats, Black Thunder. Dinner never tasted so good! After dinner, I did take a quick walk around outside the hotel and took some night photos of some of the buildings in the area.
We hit the ground running the next morning with opening ceremonies after a pretty western-style breakfast (no miso soup). For the reader’s sake, we’ll skip an in-depth report of the meetings over the next couple of days, and get to the good part in Tokyo.
Mexican Food in Japan
On the night of the 26th, the day before heading out to my assigned city on Kyushu, I did a little wandering around Shinjuku. I had it on good authority that a good Mexican restaurant operated in the area, and decided that if this was the last opportunity for a year or more to have some Mexican food, I’d better get it now.
I found El Torito less than two kilometers from the hotel inside another building. As I entered, I heard for the first time in years a welcome into a restaurant in traditional Japanese fashion. And, to live up to its name, a basket of homemade chips and some excellent salsa made their way onto my table in traditional Mexican fashion while I studied the menu.
Once I found the enchiladas, I knew exactly what I wanted. I did order an appetizer of the Mexican Potatoes (メキシカンチリチーズポテト, or Mexican Chili Cheese Potato) as well. The Mexican potatoes were good, but the enchiladas themselves are beyond reproach.
For those gaijin in the Tokyo area, I might highly recommend the beef enchiladas (スパイシービーフエンチラーダ）at El Torito in Shinjuku. They are excellent! And I’m pretty picky about my enchiladas. Last but not least, they were reasonably priced at just under $9 (890円) and came with rice and beans as well.
I knew even before I finished my meal that I had eaten too much, but that was some good Mexican food! As excited as I was to be in Japan, I love me some good food from just about anywhere. And, I suspect I’ll get my fill of Japanese cruise here over the next little while.
On the way back to the hotel, I again tinkered with some long-exposure shots of the street below. And just for old times sake, I stopped at one of Tokyo's many vending machines and got the first vending machine drink that I’ve had for many years.
After a semi-wonderful nights rest (I'm still extremely jet lagged), I exited the hotel to head to the Haneda airport. After checking my bag and an extraordinarily painless security check, the much smaller group I was now with had a short wait before boarding the plane to…
be continued 😉