When the sakura are blooming, it’s time to bring out the hibachi.
Roasted rice balls go well with just about anything. In Buzen, it wouldn’t be a picnic without teriyaki and taiko.
All that percussion builds up the appetite for our next stop, Beppu.
The Hatto Matsuri has summoned paraders to downtown, so we opt to stay indoors. In this town, there’s nothing like room service.
Japanese beef with a tricolor of peppers cooked over slow heat, tempura veggies straight from the fields, steamed fishbead and shiitake, a bubbling nabe of tofu and seafood, tai sashimi, and Buzen conch.
We venture to Kyoto’s Tsukada Nogyo for Kyushu grilled capon thighs, choy sum egg yolk, and something you won’t see in the U.S.: seared chicken sashimi. Food regulation here allows for raw poultry, meat, and fish.
Ready for a midnight mixed plate? Hawaii expat Jena Hayama takes us to Shinjuku for ramen.
When asked how often she eats ramen, Hayama replied, “Once a week. The packaged kind, twice a week.”
Served here, it’s good to the last sip of soup.
Watch “Mixed Plate: Under a Sakura Sky” with Pamela Young on Wednesday, June 29, at 9:30 p.m.