I'll post about what's new (to me at least) on the Japanese food scene in a bit, but for now here's a brief round up of the things which remain immutably wonderful about my favourite country on earth.
The Japanese still love their cartoon avatars. It seems no sign, poster or form of communication, even official, is complete without some kind of squidgy cuddly thing:
The latest hot character is... a field mushroom. With teeth.
He's still pushing his favourite coffee:
Although a certain other grizzled male Hollywood icon is muscling in on the Japanese ad industry these days:
But this place is still as electrifying as dusk falls and the liquid crystal begins to glow:
Japanese shops are still as service-minded as ever - foam-wrapped handle to protect my delicate writer's hands:
They still like their posh melons. £145 to you sir!:
Fuji is still in one piece, for now:
Their menus are still as occasionally challenging as ever:
And Osaka's food scene is as vibrant as I recalled:
Tsukiji is still there, for now at least:
And it still makes me gurn with pleasure just being there:
And, of course, the food is still as staggering as ever (from left, crab, cod milt and monkfish liver - at a very ordinary, under-the-railway-arched place in Yurakucho):