Spilled Milk

Episode 584: What's New in Tokyo?

Episode Notes

This time, Molly can't have any. Matthew is living his best life in Japan and spends the entire episode sharing his favorite new Tokyo finds while Molly tries (and fails) to act excited for him. We try to define the undefinable as we encounter Hot Milk Machines, the latest trends, seasonal specials and vague understandings. How do you like our new slogan?




Machi Cafe

MisDo / Mr Donut

Hina Matsuri - Doll Festival

Musashino Place Library

Nogata Gyoza

"Can't Go Home Until You're Done!"


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Episode Transcription

Molly  0:04  

I'm Molly.


Matthew Amster-Burton  0:05  

And I'm Matthew.


Molly  0:06  

And this is spilled milk, the show where we cook something delicious, eat it all and aren't even in the same on the same continent to eat it together and you still can't have any.


Matthew Amster-Burton  0:18  

Yeah, it's weird that that that's been our slogan all along, like it's first of all, it's very long. And secondly, it's false most of the time, but we just leaned into it, and people love it.


Molly  0:28  

And it lends itself to endless variations, like my extremely smooth one today.


Matthew Amster-Burton  0:34  

Yeah, no, I meant that we had just gone with the end, we're on different not even on the same content. So we can't eat the same thing in the same place at the same time. I figured that's what we've been doing since episode one.


Molly  0:44  

Yeah. Well, everybody what I meant by this long and rambling slogan is that Matthews in Tokyo, and Seattle, and I'm very jealous, but we're recording today and


Matthew Amster-Burton  0:58  

we're only as a baby and a dog and I have no responsibilities. Is this. Molly? Are you familiar with the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is in first class and Elaine is in coach on the same plane?


Molly  1:08  

No, but I feel that that is exactly the situation. Okay, so yeah, yeah, except I feel like I'm in coach. Like in the old days when you could still smoke on planes, and like, the very back of the plane would have a smoking section. So remember that I'm in like the coach smoking section as a nonsmoker. That's my situation right now.


Matthew Amster-Burton  1:32  

I'm so glad you brought that up. Because Okay, so first of all, the topic of this episode is what's new in Tokyo? Because that's where I am. And I have some news. Okay. Interesting news, but some news. And one of the things is that I forgot to even put on the agenda is so there's a there's a smoke anti smoking law here now that there wasn't last time we were here. It doesn't affect every place. But I would say for the most part, like we have been to only one place one or two places where there was smoking it like really the only places you can like restaurants where you can legally smoke now our like, family owned one location restaurants, which which to be fair, some of the best places to go. But in practice, like we went to a really good chain is a kya for dinner last night, non smoking. Fantastic.


Molly  2:20  

You know, that must be a huge change. Because I remember, you know, the last time that I've been in Tokyo with you twice the last time was like December 2019 into January 2020. Yeah. And I think the first night we ate at yakitori No, is that what it's called? And NACA? No.


Matthew Amster-Burton  2:37  

Yeah, that's not actually the name, but that's what we call it. It's actually called Akiyoshi. But yaka Torino is is what I like read tried to read off the side the first time I was in Tokyo, and so we've called it that ever since.


Molly  2:49  

Well, I remember we could only get seated in the smoking section.


Matthew Amster-Burton  2:53  

We don't I don't think there was a non smoking section.


Molly  2:56  

Okay. Okay, perfect. Well, anyway, so


Matthew Amster-Burton  3:00  

places that chain that place would be completely non smoking now.


Molly  3:04  

Wow. Wow. I can't you know, I remember when most things in Seattle became non smoking.


Matthew Amster-Burton  3:13  

Yeah, it was was it like, late 90s. Early 2000s.


Molly  3:17  

I think I was already


Matthew Amster-Burton  3:19  

in 2000s it seems. Yeah,


Molly  3:22  

we should definitely spend this episode figuring it out.


Matthew Amster-Burton  3:25  

Okay. All right. Yeah, no, we've got a lot to cover and like producer Abby's going to edit a bunch of stuff out because I just got to drone on and on and on about like all kinds of stuff


Molly  3:35  

and I'd be happy to chime in with information about oh, like how little my spouse and I are sleeping and things that our dog ate today. He wasn't supposed to eat and oh wow the smell of baby formula I'm never not going to smell formula again. Like yeah, just it's everywhere the smell is


Matthew Amster-Burton  3:57  

I remember I remember like after after like Laurie went back to work and stopped pumping December like we switched we switched to formula I remember like I tasted it I'm like this stuff is gross. Like like breast milk taste tastes like sweet and this this tastes like powder. Babies don't can't tell the difference. They don't care.


Molly  4:13  

Yeah, no Ames if anything. We he he had donated breast milk for the first month and now we are on formula. If anything I could see he likes it better. Yeah, takes it more easily.


Matthew Amster-Burton  4:26  

Anyway, I mean, especially because you mix it up a little sprite.


Molly  4:29  

Actually, here we use brandy. Only the finest for this baby. No but all this to say I'm not in Tokyo. Neither mentally nor physically and so Matthew, this is all going to be news to me. What's new in Tokyo?


Matthew Amster-Burton  4:44  

Let me let me see if I can like put you here mentally just for like the one hour that we're going to spend together. Okay, great. Okay,


Molly  4:51  

so a so okay, you and I left Tokyo just as we now know that COVID was getting started at the time we did not know COVID was getting started. So, is masking any different in Tokyo now?


Matthew Amster-Burton  5:03  

Oh, boy. Okay. So as people may or may not know, Japan has navigated the pandemic, probably the best of any industrialized country like, you know, the lowest, lowest rate of infection overall, the lowest deaths per capita. And early on in the pandemic, there was lots of like debate about why this is I think, to some extent, there still is debate. But when you come here at like, you're like, Oh, okay. This is why people wear masks here. You know, masks are for sale everywhere, like fashion masks, and like regular masks. When you go into a business, there's hand sanitizer, which probably doesn't make a difference, but it's there. One, we went into one place where the hand sanitizer dispensing machine took our temperature by like, you know, with like an infrared thermometer on our hand, which was ridiculous, because we just come in from the cold and my hand measured like 90 degrees Fahrenheit.


Molly  5:57  

So you I'm recording today with a ghost?


Matthew Amster-Burton  6:00  

Yeah, if it was my actual body temperature, I'd be super dead. People in ads often wear masks. The thing that has been hard to get used to is people wear masks on the street outdoors, like pretty much all the time, unless you're like, in a park, not near anybody else. And like, I remember doing that in Seattle, like in the early days of the pandemic, and yeah, like, you know, it doesn't actually make a difference. But I understand why people do it. It's been tough to get used to doing that again, but it's fine.


Molly  6:31  

I also imagine that it's challenging. I mean, Your Japanese is very good. But it's hard enough sometimes to understand. It's hard enough for me sometimes as a native English speaker to understand other native English speakers when we're both wearing masks. Yeah. So I imagine that has been challenging


Matthew Amster-Burton  6:49  

as it has. And also, like not having spoken Japanese for two years, also makes it pretty challenging. Like the first few days, I was like, Oh, I've forgotten everything. Like, I can still read fine, but I could not like speak or understand at all, it's starting to come back now having been here for a week and a half week. Yeah, so like, you know, just this is this is like, as serious as this show ever gets, I think but like, you know, one thing that people say about about like COVID in Japan is that like, you know that the main reason that Japan was able to like navigate COVID Semi successfully is that it has like a very healthy underlying population, you know, like people live a long time and, you know, have lower lower rates of common health complaints than then the US, for example. And that is sort of that is true, but it's really that the same factors that produce a healthy population also helped Japan get through COVID. So like a high level of societal trust, there is no masking law here and has not been since day one of the pandemic, people just do it because it's the right thing to do. There's a robust public health infrastructure, there's universal health care, you know, all of these things like create a healthy population and help you navigate a pandemic. Boom,


Molly  8:05  

well, so would you say that you have felt that it was that you could feel safe, like eating in restaurants and stuff there?


Matthew Amster-Burton  8:13  

Yeah. So like, I still, I still think there is there is a good chance we might catch COVID from eating at a restaurant here around, you know, unmask people at the same time, like so far, so good. And like it feels, it feels comfortable, because it feels like I can trust the people around me to do their best. Sure, sure. But Matthew, should we move on to fun stuff?


Molly  8:35  

What about like, the kinds of things that Spilt Milk is into, like, convenience stores, pastries, vending machines with beverages in them? Yeah, it does. Tell me about these things. So what's going on in the world of the lid for instance, mochi Cafe the like cheap convenient store coffee that you and I enjoyed so much.


Matthew Amster-Burton  8:59  

Yeah, so Okay, so I've gotten news about mochi Cafe so much cafes is Lawson convenience stores coffee brand. And like in the past, they would like if you order a coffee drink, they would make it for you behind the counter. And now at least of the last ones that I've been to it's self serve, they give you a packet. So I like the cafe mocha best and I've learned that it is an instant coffee with with like powdered milk packet. And I'm sure that's what they were using when we ordered it like in the past because it tastes the same but it's still good. Well, you take it you take it actually no it's not. It's not powdered milk because you take it to a hot milk machine use


Molly  9:36  

our hot milk machine. Yeah, this sounds like a really good album title hot milk machine. No, because she is already like an AD


Matthew Amster-Burton  9:43  

AD is Alva with like, like a busty lady. Right? Like it's kind of a like Spinal Tap started. They like it's so sexist that it's crossed back over into being we can't be offended because it's too silly.


Molly  10:00  

Yeah, okay. Okay. What else is new in the world of companies or convenience stores?


Matthew Amster-Burton  10:06  

Okay, the Mooji section at Lawson has exploded in size and selection. And I know this is one of your favorite things. So like, yes. Tell us what this is. Okay, so


Molly  10:15  

Well, I mean, I think that at least Americans living in like San Francisco or New York No. Mooji Yeah, certainly. We have one case. Yeah, that'll we I don't think we have one. Yeah. So Mooji is a a Japanese. It's kind of like I was told that it was like the Japanese. You know what, I'm not gonna explain what it is. I was gonna say it's like the Japanese gap. And then I was like, That's UNIQLO.


Matthew Amster-Burton  10:44  

Yeah. They do have clothes, but it's kind of a it's kind of like a housewares store.


Molly  10:49  

Yeah, it's like, Crate and Barrel but cheaper.


Matthew Amster-Burton  10:54  

Where they also have stationery and clothes. Yes. And, and packaged food. But it's not a department store. Okay. It's it's not possible to explain what Mooji as it's just a state of mind anyway, but


Molly  11:07  

Moochie in the States, it's like, you know, you're lucky if you live in a city that has Mooji stores. I always go to the MUJI in New York whenever I'm there. Yeah, I haven't been in years. But anyway, in Tokyo, Matthew showed me that there is a MUJI section in the Lawson convenience store and when I was like a little end cap, right in this situation, but there's more now.


Matthew Amster-Burton  11:32  

Yeah, like the last one by me, which is like a pretty average size store. There's like half an aisle dedicated to MUJI stuff. So like, like Laurie texted me that, that she bought a pen that she was so excited about for 110 yen, which is like 80 cents. And like, you know, they got great notepads, and like MUJI branded food and like Mooji Mooji. Underpants? Probably


Molly  11:55  

yes. Yes, exactly. Or like Moochie T shirts like yeah, if you truly can now get everything you need for living at Lawson.


Matthew Amster-Burton  12:03  

Yeah, and Mooji means like no brands so it's stuff with like, No, there's no like brand logo on it. The brand is no brand. Yes, the brand is no brand.


Molly  12:12  

Yes. So Matthew, what's hot in Tokyo? Do you have the latest trends for all


Matthew Amster-Burton  12:17  

I have got the latest trends for you. And to be fair, this means like this is a thing that I saw once or twice that I didn't notice before. Okay, Kana lays like the little what our candle is Molly.


Molly  12:31  

A candle is a French pastry that is basically made from a like a custard that is poured into this ornate fluted mold and the mold has been coated with beeswax and I can't remember what else beeswax and something else. Anyway and then this custard cooks for a long time, I think at a quite low temperature. So the inside is like this delicious, like, like creamy ag custard. And the outside is this burnished crust that it's like the most wonderful textural and flavor contrast.


Matthew Amster-Burton  13:08  

Yeah, so these these are like all over. Laurie brought some home from just some random neighborhood bakery that had like a little salt sprinkled on top. They're really good. They're they're very custardy inside like not not cakey really really good stuff. There's a place near near us that that sells ice cream and candles and the logo of the shop is a candle lay with eyes that looks like a PacMan ghost. So maybe now you can envision what they look like.


Molly  13:35  

Yes. Okay, so do you feel like Canalys or the new like French Mac at home kind of situation?


Matthew Amster-Burton  13:43  

It seems like it's trending that way like yeah, I feel like I feel like maca home I saw like I still see them around here but like they were everywhere for a while and now like feels like candles are on the come up maybe


Molly  13:55  

it's so interesting to me that these really quite fiddly French pastry. Yeah, I mean, the truth is a lot of French pastries are fiddly. But maca Hall are famously difficult to make to get the texture right and Kana lay Are these like esoteric things from Bordeaux. That requires special molds and are probably very expensive to make anyway, I'm fascinated that they've gone big and gotten Pac Man eyes.


Matthew Amster-Burton  14:23  

If I were if I were from Bordeaux, I would have a T shirt that just said esoteric thing from Bordeaux.


Molly  14:29  

And it would be me you still can have that T shirt.


Matthew Amster-Burton  14:32  

Okay, that's true. I can have any t shirt I want. Yes. American chewy cookies seem to be a real trend here. I've seen those a lot of places have not tried any because we can get American chewy cookies at home I'm sure they're good.


Molly  14:44  

So is that I mean would it be chocolate chip as well as like snickerdoodle oatmeal raisin all the regular American chewy cookies. Okay,


Matthew Amster-Burton  14:52  

totally. Okay, okay. Okay, this one is definitely like a you know, since the pandemic trend which is frozen gyoza Like this was like, you know potsticker dumplings. This is something you could always get like at a at a supermarket and still can. But now there are shops completely devoted to them. There's one like a block from us that we got, we got some for dinner that were really good. And that place is like staffed like a normal store with normal store hours. But there is also a chain of 24 hour unstaffed frozen gyoza places that we passed by in a different neighborhood and peeked in is it like


Molly  15:28  

pekao leads to higher like frozen store like self serve,


Matthew Amster-Burton  15:34  

but it's really small. And they really only sell a couple of different flavors of frozen dumplings. And because this is Japan, the way you pay is there is a wooden box that you put a bill of like, like cash into, like, it would be the easiest thing in the world to grab this box and walk off. And I guess no one has.


Molly  15:57  

Is there a place to like, cook your Goza in their


Matthew Amster-Burton  16:01  

take home? No, there isn't a stove. But I


Molly  16:05  

just feel like why would I mean I love the fact that these are 24 hours a day? Sure. But like three in the morning, let's say you're coming home from the bar, right? I need to stop and get your Giza but why would you need frozen gyoza in the middle of the night? Like you need to be able to cook


Matthew Amster-Burton  16:23  

it. You know, I think I think partly it's partly to gimmick just like you know, come check out our store like you've never been in a store like this before. And like you know, partly it's people like coming home late from work although like supermarkets are open late after work so and I think partly it's just like it would cost more to send someone over to close and reopen the store than to just leave it open since it's unstaffed. Anyway,


Molly  16:46  

this is delightful and perplexing.


Matthew Amster-Burton  16:48  

I liked it.


Molly  16:49  

Are there other? Are there like? I remember there being a kiosk outside Alba ramen where we ordered our ramen, and then we would take the ticket inside? Are there more like kiosk or vending machine kind of things? Especially since the pandemic Oh, that's so thin contact free so to speak full


Matthew Amster-Burton  17:11  

of things. Yes. So first off, there's this place in our neighborhood by the way we're staying in the Nishio gi Kubo neighborhood. There's this place in our neighborhood that took us a while to figure out and Watson will finally figured it out it looks kind of like the auto matte like where you would get like you know prepared meals from a window like in a cafeteria like in New York in the 50s because it was like it looked at first we thought it was like storage lockers and we're like no there's food in there and it turned out it's attached to a bakery and we think it started as like a social distancing thing like you know you go in and like instead of going up to the counter at the bakery you put money in a box and and take your your you know shelf stable big your cookies or biscuits or whatever from from a little locker and so Laurie got some just because it was fun. And this was while the bakery is open, but we also past a vending machine outside a curry restaurant. That is only the vending machine only operates when the restaurant is closed. And you can like buy frozen curry to make at home from a vending machine like this restaurants curry rice, like from the vending machine, and we did did you do it? Yeah, we got we got like a chicken chicken and cheese curry. And it was really tasty.


Molly  18:22  

And does it come out? Is it like in a vacuum sealed pouch or what form does it come


Matthew Amster-Burton  18:26  

in? Just yeah, it's like in it's not vacuum sealed. It's like in a plastic pouch. That's like wrapped up in paper with instructions and you just microwave it was it like as good as curry from a restaurant like at the restaurant? No, but like as far as microwave dinners go it was very tasty.


Molly  18:40  

Delightful. Is there anything you know? Okay, so like I know, Mr. Donut, your favorite doughnut chain. We need to start tonight always has seasonal specials or like monthly specials. Like, you know speaking of what's hot right now, what's going on at Mr. Dona?


Matthew Amster-Burton  18:58  

Okay, so we're kind of on the cusp right now. I'm not sure if I use this term correctly, because we're seeing like the the tail end of Valentine's Day donuts, and then the beginning of Socrata cherry blossom season donuts. And we've tried both. Oh, yes. For years I've been wanting to try like for Valentine's Day as a chocolate holiday here. Like like it is the world over I guess. And so for years I've been wanting to try the like chocolate ass donuts for Valentine's Day for misto and we just barely caught it. They're just finishing up. Usually they they team up with a famous chocolate tear this year. It's Toshi Yoto zuka who has like a few shops around around Tokyo. And these donuts are de luxe. They covered a little cardboard box. And the one we've had a couple but like one of them was one of the best doughnuts I've ever eaten. It's called the chocolate trio lay which I think is a totally made up word. And so the website described it as ganache chocolate cream, chocolate whip curled chocolate and candy dama topping and a dusting of cocoa powder to finish


Molly  20:02  

is this what you sent me the picture of it sure is. It looked like something that like a high end French patisserie would make but in donut form. Like it had 20 Different textures, creamy things going on crunchy things. toasted nuts. Yeah,


Matthew Amster-Burton  20:22  

yeah, it's like it's like a French color kind of shaped donut although like denser and crunchy your chocolate dough and then and then stuff piped in sprinkled on top. And really like I would have been happy with just the donut and the dusting of cocoa powder. Because like it's really bitter chocolate. The crunch is incredible. It's just like, amazing donut that was less than $2.


Molly  20:43  

Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Yeah. Was there like a big line to get this was like the kind of thing where they sell out?


Matthew Amster-Burton  20:51  

Yeah, it totally is. And there was a big line because we went on the Emperor's birthday, which is February 23. And it is a national holiday. And people people mostly get the day off of work. Although not people who work at Mr. Donut obviously, and kids get the day off school. So lots. It's a big shopping day. And like lots of families out in the park. But yeah, there was a big lineup missed out great. You want to hear about some other February stuff. I


Molly  21:21  

want to hear about some other February stuff. Although when is this episode coming out in March? Do you want to tell us about the future? What's happening in March? I


Matthew Amster-Burton  21:28  

really am realizing Yeah, like it probably should have looked ahead to well, okay, so March, when does it actually come out? March 9, I was gonna tell you about something good happens on March 3. You know what, our new slogan Johar our old slogan was the show that's on not even on the same continent and we can't eat things together. And yeah, one of us. First class one of us didn't coach that our new our new slogan is screw you listeners. That's right. We're gonna tell you about some cool things that I ate that that are no longer available.


Molly  22:01  

Okay, great. Matthew, You better really make it worth our while feed our ear.


Matthew Amster-Burton  22:08  

All of these things are going to repeat next year. Like, you know, it's still going to be the Emperor's birthday next year. It's still going to be Valentine's Day donuts next year. And it's they're still going to be Hinamatsuri doll festival next year on March 3.


Molly  22:21  

Oh, that's what you were going to tell us about. Okay, so it's a doll festival?


Matthew Amster-Burton  22:25  

Yes. Okay. So this is, this is a Japanese holiday that I like had a vague understanding of and continue to have a vague understanding of, so I'm definitely gonna get some of this wrong. You know, mazzotti is it's a Shinto holiday, where you set up a display of ornamental dolls in your house, dressed in hay on period garb, and they lay on period. Oh, wow. I probably should have looked that up before putting


Molly  22:51  

this Yes. Yes. Should have Matthew I


Matthew Amster-Burton  22:55  

guess the 17th century that is? Okay, let's see how wildly wrong that is. Okay, producer Abby definitely cut out the part where I said 70 century Hey, on period read from 794 to 1185.


Molly  23:13  

Okay, all right, Matthew. It's close


Matthew Amster-Burton  23:16  

to seven years Lee right.


Molly  23:20  

So okay, so what does it look like if you're dressed in Hayyan period garb?


Matthew Amster-Burton  23:25  

Like very fancy flowing bacilli dresses kimonos okay, and that gives the these dolls like a very particular triangular shape because like the the bustle is very basally and it's like a spring puberty like, you know, girls coming of age kind of holiday. And also like, you know, spring purification so like, there are you know, if you go out in the country, they're, you know, Nagashi been out ceremonies which is like flowing doll where they make the same kinds of dollars out of paper or straw and send them down a river to carry your impurities and sin away.


Molly  24:01  

I hope that all these papers are like, I don't know, biodegradable or they're using


Matthew Amster-Burton  24:07  

Yeah, I mean, I don't think this happens a lot. But yeah, probably they catch them a little further down the river and like they drag the river for the bodies of these dolls.


Molly  24:18  

Are you going to send all your impurities down the river on March 3?


Matthew Amster-Burton  24:22  

That's right, that what do you do with your impurities? I dumped them in a river like Well, that's not illegal, right?


Molly  24:27  

I usually just put mine in the yard waste bin. Okay, you know, oh,


Matthew Amster-Burton  24:32  

should we talk about Japanese garbage sorting again? No,


Molly  24:35  

God, no. Okay, but anyway, so do you buy the so hold on. I'm just trying to figure this doll festival out. So do you buy the doll? Yeah. And so then throw the doll.


Matthew Amster-Burton  24:47  

No, no, like because the actual dollars are super expensive, although I'm sure you can get them at all sorts of price levels like if you like build a collection over time and like display the ones you've got each year. But the thing that I Enjoying about it is that it is so fun to see like a holiday that is that is not widely celebrated in the US become like like a commercialized like it like steamrolled by commercial capitalism the same way our holidays do because like they've got like a big like flyer for like get your Hinamatsuri you know raw fish on rice do Lombardy bowls at the at the fish fish and rice bowl restaurant around the corner from us like is there a real tie in there? I doubt it.


Molly  25:29  

Wait, but hold on so so do they like carve the fish into the shape of a Hinamatsuri doll?


Matthew Amster-Burton  25:37  

No, they're just like a bunch of dolls on the flyer and and the color scheme sort of sort of match the dolls


Molly  25:44  

well this sounds this sounds festive. I mean it sounds like it would make kind of chilly time of year maybe go a little faster because you're thinking about about cleansing yourself and throwing things in it filling rivers with garbage and yeah, that's gonna be more fun.


Matthew Amster-Burton  26:02  

That's right yeah no, I've been thinking a lot about Philip Rivers


speaking of cleansing yourself, Lori and I went to the neighborhood center which is the public bath and like if you're picturing like, you know, like a lavish like hotspring type of arrangement. This is not it this is this is like you know, a shower area and then like one big hot bathtub with simply some jets. Okay, and but it's great because it's indoor heating in in Japan is not is not as like, you know, everybody has it, but it's not like central heat for in most apartments. It's like one heater that's in the bedroom and doesn't heat the whole apartment. So you're kind of chilly a lot of the time in winter. And like when you go in the center, like it's like for me it's been kind of the only time when I felt like my whole body warmed up. So it was really nice. And we noticed floating in the bath were some bags of pomelo fruits that had been like cut into quarters like giving the bath a really nice scent. And then like when we checked in like unpaid they gave us a little box of pomelo candy and you may know this candy under the name Bhutan rice candy.


Molly  27:18  

Yeah, but


Matthew Amster-Burton  27:19  

this Yeah, okay. I did not know until today that Botox is a is like a you know, shortening of the word Bonton which it means pomelo and it is pomelo flavored rice candy. Oh, yeah.


Molly  27:34  

I know, I missed this entirely, like did not understand the


Matthew Amster-Burton  27:39  

that candy is from Kagoshima Prefecture. And starting about five years ago, the pomelo Farmers Association of Aku a city Kagoshima started a promotion. And the promotion is just to get Santos to put pomelos in the bath as a way of like promoting like Pablos and selling some potlucks. Okay,


Molly  28:01  

did it make you want to go out and buy a pomelo?


Matthew Amster-Burton  28:03  

No, cuz like they're really big and I think Hardy


Molly  28:07  

Okay, these I think that up I always saw pomelos I mean the pith is so thick right like or is it the rind that's so thick? I don't


Matthew Amster-Burton  28:17  

know. Well, what's the difference? You can grind in pith? And like like the like outside? Like the part used best is not super thick. But the white part is super


Molly  28:24  

thick. Yeah, I always find it really pleasing when they have one on display in the supermarket. And you can like marvel at how thick it is. There was one pillowy yeah,


Matthew Amster-Burton  28:34  

there's one on the counter at the center. And I was like, Hey, buddy,


Molly  28:37  

which is your answer for everything. Yeah. And so hold on. I have a question about the sento. Does the central have the same sort of prohibition on tattoos than an onsen? Would?


Matthew Amster-Burton  28:48  

It does? Yes. Although, like, you know, did they? Did they ask was there anything posted? Like would any one really give you trouble? If you went in with a tattoo? I kind of doubt it. Like people are pretty chill and like no one's scrutinizing each other in the back. Darn Yeah, I was pleased that like I thought I was gonna be the youngest person there by decades, but actually, no, there were there were like, you know, ages from like, 20 to probably over 100


Molly  29:15  

That sounds truly delightful bathing. Bathing with many generations and pomelos


Matthew Amster-Burton  29:21  

Yeah. Oh, it's yes. Pablos and penises. That was the that was so


Molly  29:25  

nice. So nice. Matthew, wait a minute. Hold on, hold on. I want to talk about something. Oh,


Matthew Amster-Burton  29:33  

please. No, no, listeners only want to hear me talk nonstop and interrupt you.


Molly  29:38  

So hold on. Okay, so I keep thinking about so you texted me a photo of the Mooji section in Lawson. I'm sorry. We're gonna go back to to Moochie because as I was looking at it, I was thinking about you know, how great their gel pens are and whatever. And that got me thinking about stationary stores in general. Yeah, because I still I mean, when I I was with you in Tokyo over three years ago. Now I'm so sorry, I've got my dog in my office and he's just a hot mess.


Matthew Amster-Burton  30:08  

Send him off to the dog center.


Molly  30:10  

I brought back a bunch of of notebooks because I love the you know, the velvety paper you can get like in a cheap notebook there. And so I've got this drawer in my desk that still has that still has all these notebooks in it. And I just was thinking about how much I loved I think I went to the stationery store three or four times in the 10 days that we were there because I just get so much pleasure out of looking at all the different notebooks, pens etc. And it made me realize I don't know the last time I saw a dedicated stationery store in the US. Yeah, whereas like in Tokyo I mean I can only speak for Tokyo because it's the only Japanese city I've been to. It seems like there was wondering Oh, like every micro neighborhood


Matthew Amster-Burton  30:57  

Yeah, no, it's true. There are there are at least three and maybe four stationery stores in our neighborhood here. Which is which is like not like a notable neighborhood.


Molly  31:07  

I mean, you know, there are there are like gift stores and things like that in the US that might have a little stationery section. You know, if you go to like a university bookstore in Seattle, they've got a whole stationery area. But that is it is not like a standalone thing. And I found myself the other night as I was feeding a baby at three in the morning. Thinking about how much I would love to just go like run my fingers over a bunch of notebooks in a stationery store. Have you ever gone into Have you bought anything at this stationery? Yeah.


Matthew Amster-Burton  31:42  

Like there's there's a place that I've been to that I don't know if it's still there at fisherman's terminal like near fisherman's terminal and like a little strip in Seattle Ballard Yeah. And then there's there's paper hammered near Pike Place Market, there are stationary stores in Seattle.


Molly  31:57  

Of course there are stationary stores in Seattle, but there is one like it's not like I feel like stationary stores are to Tokyo neighborhoods as like cheese stores are to French neighborhoods. Like there are the there are these dedicated places whereas in the states what these dedicated places sell is lumped into bigger stores


Matthew Amster-Burton  32:22  

Yeah, I think part of that I'm going out here Yeah, it's like car culture in the US that makes everything have to be like big and far apart. But yeah, we went to this this delightful little stationery store called Donati no which means like next to or like neighbor and it's the kind of place where like you know everything they sell is like you know, something hand selected that the owner wanted to carry. Like I've been to stationery stores that felt like they sold like like gag gifts and stuff that I was not very interested in. But this is like just like an everything nice store. I bought some I bought some bird stickers. And Laurie got some stationery and the like the owner of the shop was really nice and one thing I loved about it which I've noticed this in a couple places now that it seems like there must be a thing where school learn like elementary schools like do a field trip to a local business and learn about that business and then they make posters, because like there were posters from elementary school students had written and drawn on the other wall like you know about like the owner of the shop and like why she named it Donati know and like he had drawn picture, the stationery store from like, you know, so and so from this elementary school second grade, it was delightful.


Molly  33:33  

Do you remember as a kid like having other kids in your class or knowing other kids in your school whose parents owned businesses? Oh, I


Matthew Amster-Burton  33:42  

certainly did. No, no. But


Molly  33:44  

did you feel like you were close to celebrity like you had access to celebrity? Because you knew these families?


Matthew Amster-Burton  33:53  

Yes. So I'm thinking of one in particular, whose family owned a bunch of Burger King franchises. We've talked about this before. And then like, this kid at this kid's birthday party there were they the burger tranq King truck pulled up and we could order as much Burger King as we wanted. Oh, my God. No. I mean, that kid was a celebrity or you


Molly  34:14  

know, but I mean, I really felt like I think somehow I felt that it was like a bigger deal to own a business than it really is. And so therefore knowing these, like kids or families who owned businesses, I truly felt that, like I had had a brush with start going to school with Jessica Shepherd whose parents owned pioneer pies.


Matthew Amster-Burton  34:37  

Oh, you don't have to tell me about the shepherd, the shepherd pie dynasty,


Molly  34:42  

where there was this girl named pumpkin, Brandon? No, yes, yes. And pumpkins. Parents were caterers or maybe it was just her dad. But her dad made these amazing orange rolls and I don't know if I got to have them at some point at some school thing. I don't know how I would have known about This, but I thought it was like the coolest thing that like the kid of the the orange roll. Yeah, I was in my class. I wonder where pumpkin is now.


Matthew Amster-Burton  35:12  

You know, I knew I knew Robin and sometimes got to eat Robins cookies before she opened. Hello, Robin. Oh, I thought


Molly  35:19  

you meant like, like Robin like call your girlfriend. Like you went to school with Robin?


Matthew Amster-Burton  35:24  

Yeah, before she before she got into singing when she was when she like had a stationery store like


Molly  35:30  

Yeah. Oh man, it was so cool. You could just go over and like watch TV with her.


Matthew Amster-Burton  35:35  

Yeah, you know, she was like I'm I'm over here dancing on my own. Do you want to come over?


Molly  35:44  

Me Yeah, hang with me. And and how she ever sent you a letter that says that she's missing you? Yep. Oh, sorry that now we're getting into more boring song title.


Matthew Amster-Burton  35:58  

Just a couple a couple of Dancehall Queens back then. Yeah. Okay. All right. Yeah, we should we should do a better.


Molly  36:05  

Nice one. Matthew. Thank you. Thank you. Okay. All right. None. None a damn. No. What was the what's the song called? Yeah, I think you're right.


Matthew Amster-Burton  36:14  

Can I tell you about a couple more things.


Molly  36:19  

Done. Okay.


Matthew Amster-Burton  36:21  

Okay. It's okay. Like, it's just, it's just you and me. Now like all the all the listeners have have tuned out. So we can we can talk about anything. We can say the stuff that normally we just cancelled for Hurry up. Okay. I've talked on the show before about this wonderful series of, of comics called is Kichijoji. The only place to live they are available in English, although only as ebooks. And I love they're a series of comics about a quirky real estate agency, where people come when they are like starting a new stage in life, and they take them to the perfect neighborhood and perfect apartment for them. And these are all like real neighborhoods in Tokyo and they visit like, you know, restaurants and other places along the way. And I went on to two places from from the books on this trip. And actually three, but I'm going to mention two. Normally, I say like don't bother, like going out to some specific place in Tokyo just like wander around your neighborhood. And like check out the places there. It'll be great. I'm gonna make an exception for these two places. So number one is Musashino place library, which is in Musashi Sakai. This is one of the best libraries I've ever been to. It is an incredibly beautiful modern building, with like, a spiral staircase in the middle and like, it's quirky, it's got it's like rounded, it's got to have like, you know, it's sort of, like lumpy Gaudi esque touches. But also like just incredible reading areas. Like there were classes going on, there's like a teen center. And and it's open, like six days a week from 9:30am to 10pm. And like, you know, if you if you love public public libraries, like you know, Weitzel and Molly and I do if you're in Tokyo go to this library.


Molly  38:07  

Do you feel like you remember what was the place book apartment or something that you love to go to? Do you feel like there's any aspect of being in there that scratches that urge? Like, I know you're absolutely yes. And read and pass time in book apartment?


Matthew Amster-Burton  38:22  

Yeah, because it's a library you can read any of you considered by Bernardo and read any of the books. There's a wonderful magazine section. They don't have a ton of stuff in English, but they have some. There's free Wi Fi. It's there's a wonderful cafe they sell postcards of the library that I'm gonna get bring you some of you Molly, not you the listener who's no longer listening.


Molly  38:41  

Oh, you can't have any. That's right. Can Yeah, you will. What else Matthew, what else have you been doing that you learned about from these books?


Matthew Amster-Burton  38:50  

Okay, so this is this is a non frozen gyoza restaurant where they will cook them for you and you can eat them on the premises. It's called no gotta gyoza and it says it's near Nakano. So So you Molly, no, no, approximately where it is. And it's kind of it's kind of a trendy place, but in a very nice way and the food absolutely more than lives up to the hype. I got like boiled Goza with Dan Dan noodles sauce kind of like sesame, spicy sesame garlicky meat sauce, which was fantastic. And then I had the wonderful experience of like, you know, it said, you know, pickles, like, you know, one one for like, 300 or an assortment for 500 And I'm like, you know, I'm not I don't have a huge appetite. I don't need a whole pickle platter. Like I'm going to ask what the one pick what what their options are in order one pickle. She started reeling off the pickle options. I'm like, give me the platter. Like, I need to have all of these. Some of the best pickles I've ever eaten in my life. And like I live in Seattle. There's a lot of pickles. That sounds amazing. Yeah, like the I will I will have dreams about the like turmeric pickled burdock root, just incredible. Amazing. saying, I've got I've got one more thing and then I found that I think I'm done and then and then you can take over and talk for an hour.


Molly  40:06  

Great. I can't wait. I'm gonna really enjoy telling the zero listeners we have left. All about like, what's new with your dog? What's new with my dog? What? What else have I been thinking about in the middle of the night while feeding a baby other than stationary stores? Surely I've got a hot take.


Matthew Amster-Burton  40:27  

Yeah, no, I'm when when I get back. I'm gonna come over. I'm gonna. I'm gonna like look after that baby for a little while. And you and ash can do whatever. That sounds amazing. I'm gonna show up unexpectedly. It's gonna be a poppin Oh, God. I'm gonna, I'm gonna, like wander into your house at 3am. Looking for the frozen gyoza store.


Molly  40:44  

As long as I can hand you the baby. Yeah, I will gladly show you where the freezer is. And you can see if you find any gyoza in there, but you gotta you got to deal with the big no,


Matthew Amster-Burton  40:53  

no, you'll hand me the baby. And I'm gonna and I'm gonna say hey, hello, my frozen good, is it? Okay, I've been I've been like turning on the TV every night and watching some delightful, delightful shows. And I stumbled upon the least ambitious premise for a TV show that I have ever heard in my life. Okay, okay. So here, as far as I could tell, here's the gist of the show. They dropped like four people, four presenters in some neighborhood and tell them that they need to take the bus to somewhere else kind of in the same neighborhood. So not very far. And they're going to roll a die to see how many bus stops they can ride before they have to get off the bus. And then when they get off the bus, they have to go into a restaurant and eat something. And then they can come back and roll the die and get on the bus. There's no nobody wins or loses. sounded fantastic. It was I loved it so much. So and like part of it is that. First of all, they all wear masks on the show while they're out on the street. They don't know where they're going to end up. Exactly. So they don't like pre clear shooting in the restaurants. So they have to send someone into the restaurant to say Can we film here and sometimes the restaurants like no like like we're it's lunchtime get out of here. So So then they go somewhere else. And of course they end up like eating way too much food but the food all looks really good. And they were just did like some neighborhood in Chiba prefecture. Yeah. I loved it. It was great.


Molly  42:27  

I wish that I could watch it. Um, maybe I'll find it. Maybe you can find a link


Matthew Amster-Burton  42:31  

to and maybe yeah, now that I bet I can like try and Google this up and maybe find a clip on YouTube or something like people people riding the bus to food. It was so so they like they would like throw just throw like a regular like six sided die just onto the street. And that's how they decided what to do now. Like one day, I'm right. Like they made this show for like, like $40 including the costume. It was correct. Okay, that's it. That's all I got. Unless you want more because I could come up with more.


Molly  43:07  

Ah, no, I mean, I feel I feel very satiated. You know, especially given that I didn't get to have any


Matthew Amster-Burton  43:15  

Yeah, no, I do. Like, I do feel like I wish I could share this with you more.


Molly  43:21  

Well, yeah. I mean, I have to believe that someday, Matthew, we will they will get back there. We'll get back there.


Matthew Amster-Burton  43:28  

Yeah, teenagers show December is quite past that their parents went to Japan without them.


Molly  43:32  

Oh, I bet I bet. Have you been like holding back on on texting them? Or like withholding all the good stuff so that they don't hate you? Yeah,


Matthew Amster-Burton  43:41  

I mean, they want to hear about some of it. But they don't want to be bombarded with it all the time. So we're trying to be selective. But yeah, next week, we're taping again, it's gonna be like, more shit that I that I noticed in Tokyo. No, it's not. No,


Molly  43:53  

no, it's not. It's not. In fact, next week, aren't we talking about something that I am going to be a little bit of the authority on? Absolutely. Next week we are going to be talking about meal train favorites or meal train strategies or meal Train Choo Choo


Matthew Amster-Burton  44:13  

Yeah, so yeah, so I'm like really happy to to it's like you know, a real privilege to to have gotten to like come back and travel to Japan again. Like there are some like bittersweet things about being here. Like I thought I started to have this idea that like I would just be deliriously happy for two weeks nonstop and that's not how life actually works. But like I'm enjoying it and have been like a normal level of happy which is good. That's fantastic.


Molly  44:38  

Did you have any sort of feeling when you especially when you first arrived a week ago this feeling of like you thought you might never be there again? Or like, like a surreal kind of feeling you stepped back into that world


Matthew Amster-Burton  44:53  

for sure. And then also like a lot of anxiety around like, like have I completely forgotten how to speak Japanese and I'm gonna Am I gonna be like, constantly like embarrassed about that but no, it's fine. Great. Yeah, so I recommend it everyone all listeners all it's all show up immediate. No gotta gyoza next next year on the Emperor's birthday if they're


Molly  45:14  

terrific and we will be having what is it? Turmeric pickled burdock root?


Matthew Amster-Burton  45:18  

Exactly. Yeah, so I can't believe I heard that. I thought it was carrots at first cuz because like the the turmeric color like it makes it orange and they're kind of carrot shaped. And they've been so good. It's so good. There's also celery kimchi. Okay,


Molly  45:32  

we have given our producer a lot to do today. Our producer is Abby, sir. Catella. Bless her.


Matthew Amster-Burton  45:40  

Molly has a delightful newsletter called I've got a feeling that you can subscribe to at Molly weissenberg.substack.com


Molly  45:47  

And Matthew has been making music lately. With his band early to the airport. Matthew, how can they find your music?


Matthew Amster-Burton  45:56  

Yeah, just search for early to the airport on any surface where you listen to or buy music. The EP is going to be out soon. But the first single cornerstones is out now. We already forced you to listen to it at the end of a recent episode. Thank you for the people who said nice things about it. And there will be more soon.


Molly  46:13  

Excellent. Well, you can rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts and you can chat with other spilled milk listeners at everything spilled milk.reddit.com


Matthew Amster-Burton  46:23  

And until next time, thank you for listening to spilled milk


Molly  46:25  

show that looks like a carrot but it's actually a turmeric pickled burdock root.


Matthew Amster-Burton  46:32  

I Amster-Burton I came up with that one and now now you can send this episode down the river and get rid of your be free and


Molly  46:43  

be by


Can you hear my dog whining?


Matthew Amster-Burton  46:56  

I can't. You're good.


Molly  46:57  

Yeah, let me see if I can get him. Oh no, he doesn't want to he's feeling shy.


Matthew Amster-Burton  47:06  

Girl. Should we should we bring in Gilbert as a third? Host? Yeah, he's


Molly  47:10  

kind of inarticulate. He's still like working on his consonants.


Matthew Amster-Burton  47:14  

Yeah, okay. It's like let's see chair like we don't we don't talk pretty one day


Molly  47:21  

now, but we will. We will talk pretty one day. Oh my god. We're struggling here. Let's get this show on the road. Let's map I'm


Matthew Amster-Burton  47:29  

already on the road.