Ryohei | Tokyo

PORTRAITS

WITH RYOHEI, NANAKO, YUKA & CHIHIRO

 

It would take a lifetime to get to know every facet of Tokyo. The Japanese capital is a fascinating city of opposites, floating between the latest technology and traditional arts, overfull stations and quiet backstreets and parks. No one leaves Tokyo indifferently, but with a mixed feeling of just having scratched the surface.

Big cities are fascinating and have a mysterious side but are also full of clichés, especially Tokyo. Is the story of the ever-working Japanese true? Images of full commuter trains, people working long hours in the office with little time for family life? We asked Ryohei who works for l’OREAL Japan and lives in the heart of Tokyo with his wife and 2 kids:

Ryohei (34), his wife Nanako and their beautiful girls Yuka (5) and Chihiro (2) live near the Meguro river, in a quiet neighborhood where in spring, hundreds of beautiful cherry blossoms bloom along the Meguro. Ryohei met his wife during College time just after he came back from a 8 years stay in the USA. They decided to settle down in the Meguro neighborhood, on the edge of the hypercentre. This neighborhood attracts Tokyo employees, families and artists whose common point is the love of calm and the subtle charm of this district. Organic coffees, renowned izakayas, vintage shops and unforgettable bookshops make this area a cool place to live .

RYOHEI, CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY?

On week-days, we all wake up around 7 am, have breakfast together and prepare for the day. The morning is the only time I can spend with the girls. I usually get back very late from work and the girls are already in bed.

HOW DO YOU SPEND THE WEEK-ENDS IN TOKYO AS A FAMILY?

I usually work on Saturday morning and very often it is difficult to wake up. Not only because I have to work but normally Friday nights, I go out with friends and work mates for diner and some drinks. So my week-end start Saturday after lunch and then it’s all about family. I love cooking with my older daughter Yuka. We decide the menu together and cook all meals for the week-end.  Yuka is learning to ride the bicycle. She also loves to swim, so we have a lot of fun going to the indoor swimming pool. Normally I am the teacher and my wife and Chihiro are the coaches watching and advising from the stands.

Every once in a while, we visit Hakone to enjoy the nature and the hot springs. It’s only a 1.5 hours drive from where we live and we can dive into another landscape and rebalance ourselves from the busy city life. Hakone is a onsen town with great views of Mount Fuji and it’s also known for its old hiking paths lined with 400 year old cedar trees. Hakone is also a hive for arts. Numerous museums are scattered all over the region taking advantage of its already poetic scenery (check out our Hakone tips in the map below).

 

TELL US ABOUT THE FOOD IN TOKYO. CAN YOU RECOMMEND US SOME RESTAURANTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

Everything is delicious in Tokyo, not only the Japanese food but also the Italian, French or Chinese food are of a very good quality. Since we are surrounded by sea, the seafood is absolutely amazing and with the four seasons, the freshness of fruits and vegetables are incomparable. Here is a list of restaurants we visit often and I can recommend highly. Nothing fancy or expensive but with fresh and delicious food nearby Meguro.

Kushiwakamaru  (yakitori) | 1-19-2 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo | Phone +81 3-3715-9292

Kawasemi (soba) | 2-17-23 Shimo Meguro, Meguro, Tokyo | Phone +81 3-3490-5959

Iki (sushi)3-1-1 Kamiosaki | 1f, Shinagawa 141-0021 Tokyo |  Phone +81 3-5437-1228

IS THERE ANY SPECIAL FOOD OR DESERT THE KIDS LOVE IN TOKYO (LIKE LES CREPES IN FRANCE)?

Foodwise, the kids usually love sushi. For desert, my girls like all kind of desert, of course. But to pick one very special “Japanese” one, I would say “TAIYAKI”. Taiyaki (literally “baked sea bream”) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. It imitates the shape of the Tai (Japanese red seabream). The most common filling is red bean paste, made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings are custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.

Naniwaya Cafe1-8-14 Azabujuban | 2fMinato 106-0045, Tokyo

 

 

With each Portraits we ask the family  to give us a typical recipe from their region or country. Below you can download Ryohei’s favourite Taiyaki recipe:

TELL US ABOUT SOME GREAT PLACES TO GO WITH KIDS IN TOKYO?

Tokyo, known as one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, has beautiful parks. This city is always busy and can get very stressful and the parks are like green calm islands. Many of them are huge and a perfect place to spend some quiet time with friends and family. The Rinshinomori Park is only 10min walk from our place. I can also recommend the Arisugawa Park where my daughter’s cousins live. Those are the two places we visit very often on week-ends.

You can find  Ryohei’s Tokyo and Hakone tips in the below map and save it for your next Japan trip: