Postcard From Japan: A blog about a black cardamom adventurous journalist’s trip to Japan.

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As a journalist and food writer, I have been to Japan dozens of times. I keep going back because there’s always something new to see, eat and write about.

Last month, I saw a plant that looked like a tree but was actually an herb. It was growing in the garden at the home of Kei Onishi, who is one of Japan’s leading experts on herbs and spices. This unusual herb was black cardamom (Amomum subulatum), which looks like ginger with its knobby brown skin, but when you slice it open it reveals hidden layers of reddish-black flesh.

Tasting this spice’s aromatic seeds leads you down a rabbit hole of memories from past meals, as if you’re chewing on the words that describe them. The taste is deep, long-lasting and almost hauntingly familiar — not like any other flavor on earth.

Japan is a country where things happen. It’s also one of the most fascinating countries in the world, with a rich history and culture, and much more. Kenji from Postcard from Japan will take you on an adventure on his new website!

The first chapter of Postcard from Japan will take you to the country’s capital, Tokyo, the biggest city in all of Asia. Tokyo is a place that never sleeps. From skyscrapers to temples and all sorts of other things, this guide will show you around and give you a taste of what Tokyo is all about!

Tons of restaurants, shops, museums, and monuments are featured throughout the site. This guide is like no other!

Fantastic Asia Cardamom is a seasoning agent used throughout the world for its pungent, aromatic and spicy nature. Black cardamom is the most popular variety of cardamom, which is also known as elaichi. This spice is extensively used in Asian and Arabic cuisines. It has an aromatic smell that resembles eucalyptus and citrus.

It can be obtained from the fruit of a plant that belongs to the ginger family and it has been used since ancient times. This spice is known by many names such as black cardamom, badi elaichi, illaichi, jaiphal, kali mirch, kalli mirch and shah jeera.

Black cardamom is said to have aphrodisiac properties. It can also be beneficial for those who are suffering from cold, cough and throat problem.

I arrived in Tokyo on a Tuesday night and I planned to spend the next day wandering around there, but my guidebook said that the best day to visit Tokyo was a Wednesday, because most museums were free then. I had figured that in a country as small as Japan everything would be closed on holidays.

I checked into my hotel and went to sleep. The next morning I walked past the Imperial Palace and went to the National Museum of Western Art. Picture galleries are great places to take photos, so I spent a lot of time there, and it was free! After that I went to the National Museum of Nature and Science, which cost 400 yen, but you could get it back as a credit toward future purchases in the museum store. That was nice because they had all kinds of cool stuff there.

There were several other museums I wanted to visit over the course of my trip, including two more national museums (National Museum of Modern Art; National Museum of Ethnology), an art museum (the Mori Art Museum), and another science museum (the National Science Museum). But since I didn’t know how long I’d be staying in Tokyo or how much time I’d have for sightseeing, I decided to do each museum individually rather than buying passes for multiple museums

A few weeks ago I was in Tokyo and Osaka, on a trip to research the food of Japan. I’d done this sort of thing before–I once spent a year eating my way through every country in the Middle East, from Syria to Oman. But usually I have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting into. Not this time. I knew that Japanese cuisine is one of the most important and influential in the world, but what would it be like? Would it be very different from Indian food? From Chinese?

Women are generally smaller in Japan than they are in India or China (they’re also more likely to wear lipstick and speak English), but otherwise the differences were not immediately apparent. Many restaurants had menus with pictures (as Indian restaurants do) and lots of rice (like Chinese restaurants). The ingredients were often unfamiliar: sea urchin, dried baby sardines, squid innards. At first it was all new and exciting; the novelty kept me interested for hours, as did talking with people who had been on similar trips. Then, as the days went by, I began to miss things that were familiar…

In the last few years, I’ve eaten my way through Japan. It’s a small country with many regional specialties, but here are 10 of my favorites.

1. Sake

The best sushi restaurants in Tokyo offer a wide selection of sakes to go with your food. This is perfectly natural since sushi was originally served with sake. For best results, drink it in small sips between bites of sushi; the rice and the fish should be served at different temperatures.

2. Shojin Ryori

Buddhist vegetarian food is served in temples as part of a daily ritual for monks seeking enlightenment and for lay followers who want to purify their bodies and minds. Many famous chefs started out cooking this type of food before turning to meat. The vegan Buddhist cuisine from temples in Kyoto is some of the best vegetarian food you will ever eat.

3. Yuzu

This citrus fruit has been grown and used for centuries in Japan for its aromatic zest and flavorful juice, which is added to a variety of dishes to enhance their tanginess without adding additional sugar. If you like Japanese cuisine and you don’t mind spicy foods, add some yuzu juice to your next bowl of ramen or soba noodles.

4. Kaboch

Surely, there is nothing wrong with the fact that Japanese food is tasty. However, it is surprising to see how much of this country’s cuisine is based on rice. The second surprise is that some of the rice dishes in Japan are surprisingly boring: the same rice and the same fish with a different sauce taste the same almost everywhere.

Takara Sake Brewery in Ibaraki prefecture, which makes Takara shochu (a distilled beverage) has offered me a chance to go to their brewery and see how they make shochu as well as sample their products. It was quite an experience since I was not prepared for what I saw at all.

But first, some information about shochu and sake. Shochu is a distilled beverage which is made from various ingredients such as barley, potatoes or sweet potatoes. The ingredients are usually mixed with rice and then fermented for about 2 weeks. There are two types of shochu, hanazake (made from rice) and imojake (made from barley).  

Sake (saliva) is also a distilled beverage that has been around for centuries but it differs from shochu in that it also contains yeast (in order to ferment). Sake can be made

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