Tokyo is a huge playground, for those who preserve a childlike spirit, sometimes proudly childish (like the one who, as she writes, has a Luna plush, Sailor Moon’s cat, beside her).
And it is precisely by combining this playful spirit, the desire to amaze, the art of compositions (and marketing, one must say) that in Tokyo you can find any food in any form. Whether they are spun sugars with the colors of the rainbow, ice cream balls with panda’s ears and eyes, that are Hello Kitty-shaped buns, everything here can be made cute, cuddly and edible; the shops that sell kawaii foods often have endless (but very composted) rows of kids who also wait for hours to taste the latest in color, shape, taste, edible madness and even if it is the dessert that is king in this whirlwind of Disney creations, there is no lack of Totoro-shaped onigiri or little Mickey Mouse ears.
Everything to sell, one could argue. Yes, of course, Japan is one of the most consumerist countries in the world, where the wheel for all and everything runs fast, where what is new today will be forgotten tomorrow. Yet there is a logic, or at least I like to find it, beyond the mere commercial aspect and it is that food must also make us smile, it must also bring us back a little back in time and even if very often some culinary follies are certainly not worthy of Michelin stars, you pass over it, because in the end it is so cute, how nice it is to bite a donut with the nice face of an alpaca, oh but look how sweet this sugar origami in the drink. The social networks, of which the Japanese are obsessed, are an immense echo for bars, ice cream parlors, tea rooms that are fighting on the thin thread of wonder, of the new, of color, of fairy tale appeal. The neighborhood of Harajiuku is the navel of this pastel-colored world, a favorite ground for the rise of small shops a few meters away where colorful drinks are poured accompanied by the now famous tapioca balls, Mt. Fuji-shaped granita decorated with bears of the heart, sweet and savory street food, pancakes overflowing with little stars and red strawberries.
As in any respected metropolis, in Tokyo it is possible to find every kind of cuisine and if this year Hawaiian cuisine is the master, with its mixture of fruit, fish, rice, sweet flavors that immediately make the mind lie down to alone, the culinary experience of this place would not be such without the mention of the many ethnic restaurants, in which the Japanese go daily and have therefore become part of the culture. I am obliged to start with Indian restaurants, of which the city swarms in every corner and neighborhood, which at times are literally windows on India, with the inevitable curry accompanied by naan, a sort of bread made of yeast and really tasty yogurt. Then there are, of course, Chinese restaurants, especially in some neighborhoods (or Yokohama, where there is a beautiful chinatown) where you can enjoy freshly prepared dumplings, Korean restaurants with their grilled meat and spicy kimchi, abounding also French bistros and boulangeries with windows full of croissants and baguettes, there are numerous Italian pizzerias, even regional restaurants like the Sardinian one or the Tuscan trattoria.
Tokyo is therefore a place for curious, open palates, it is a place where you can satisfy the eye, the taste, where food can be a fun playground. Here the foodtrends are created that then for years will turn the world, here the ideas are created, here the ideas are born. And the rainbows also appear.