Is it possible to surprise a man who has been to 75 countries and eaten maggot fried rice? Anthony Bourdain may seem unflappable, but there’s a destination he calls “intimidating” and “thrilling” despite his many adventures, especially for solo travellers: Tokyo.
Bourdain dishes on the Japanese capital in an interview with Travel + Leisure. “Tokyo is very exciting alone,” he said. “Every time you need to feed yourself at a restaurant you’re taking the plunge, stepping through the curtains into a room filled with locals, menus in Japanese, feeling awkward and freakish—the tallest guy in the room—having no clue what it is that they’re serving.”
The author, chef, and television personality remembers his first time in Tokyo as “an eye-opening, traumatizing, life-changing experience.” Even now, though he has visited many times and his travels have taken him to some of the most unusual locales on earth, Bourdain is still challenged and inspired by the city.
“When you finally get to the point when you can order breakfast at a restaurant? That’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” said Bourdain. “That’s what I love about Tokyo. You’re forced to learn stuff every inch of the way.”