The third day was the most affected by jet lag. I was slow getting up, slow eating breakfast and slow at the gym.
After the gym I was starving, so I ate an apple and a hard boiled egg I saved from breakfast. Then I went out in search of two of the neighborhoods we were considering. It was nearly impossible to find any of the buildings since I have no idea how to read a Japanese address. But one was easy to find, since it was right by the subway and big, square and yellow.
I visited the Shibuya and the Asakusa neighborhoods. Eventually I had walked all I could, and had no idea where I was. I took the subway home. The subway is completely amazing. It is in Japanese, but there is English everywhere. There are so many lines, but they are color coded and easy to follow. Sometimes the transfers are long 15-20 minutes walking. But the trains come very quickly. I don’t think Japanese really want to sit next to me on the train, but I don’t mind.
I have not noticed the crowed trains, but apparently they are only really crowded during morning rush hour.
When I met up with Dean for a drink, I realized I had not eaten lunch. That is a sure sign of jet lag. We ate a good dinner of Indian food, which seemed pretty actual except for the saffron Japanese rice it came with. It was a pretty good match. On the way out, we did notice that it was possible to order Basmati. (Japanese rice =$5, Indian rice +10).
I fell asleep at about 8 PM…
Work up early, but did sleep all night, which is good. Ate breakfast on the club floor which included some terrific apple and crab apple juice. Went to the gym, which really helps my jet-lag. This was fine except for the fact the elliptical machine had hand bards that were shaped different from what I was used to. Somehow I hit myself with one causing a large bruise. After that I switched to biking. I plan to try to beat that machine again today.
Bad time caused my room to be unavailable due to cleaning when I came back from the gym. So I grabbed some jeans and went out. I visited an Indian Spice store nearby the hotel to establish what spices they carried and determine if Basmati Rice was available. Then on to a book store. I was excited to see the Michelin Guide for Tokyo available. Japan has the most stars of any country and I hope to enjoy some of these amazing restaurants while I am here.
The cookbooks are completely amazing. So many specific pictures and explanations of how to do everything just so. I MUST learn to read Japanese as quickly as possible.
By the I was starving again and remembered a sing for a grocery store below Banana Republic so I went down to the basement. Not only was there a grocery store but all kinds of small and fast restaurants. Bento boxes of all kinds, soups, sushi, sandwiches etc. I came away with about $10 in carry out sushi which was a fine lunch. I must say that the cherry tomatoes on the top of the dish were just delicious.
Around this time there was an earthquake, but I did not notice.
After lunch I walked around for the rest of the afternoon, just looking at parts of the city. The subway is so easy here, that once I got tired I just jumped on it and came back to the hotel.
Dean and I met up for cocktails and then headed out for dinner at a terrific sushi restaurant.
Left JFK at an 11:30 am flight. Tried to sleep, watched three movies, ate three meals – each worse than the last, read about Japan.
Arrived at 3:30 PM on Sunday. We were through immigration and customs, and had our bags by 4:00, plenty of time to take a shuttle bus to our hotel in Roppongi. This is a trendy area comprised mainly of hotels and shops from what I can tell.
By 6:30 we were in our room. Despite an overwhelming desire for sleep, we showered and went to dinner at a Yakitori restaurant. It cost $85. We drank 3 large Asahi beers which cost about $7 each here. The same beer, imported to China cost about $3 there as I recall. Yakatori means the food comes on a long stick, grilled over a small charcoal grill. In Yakatori restaurants, this is generally the main food served.
Our meal started with chinese broccoli cut small in a sesame based sauce. Next two skewers of chicken, and two skewers of basil chicken. The basil chicken appeared to be chicken rolled around basil and sliced to make a pretty circle. I didn’t like the chicken too much, but the cumin flavor was nice. There were also skewers of sliced grilled leek. I don’t think the leek was the type of leek we buy in NY, I think it was more like a giant green onion.
Also there was a gorgeous giant scallop, cooked gently and served in a light sauce with mushrooms and seaweed. It was served in a giant shell. There was some other kind of tentacle added, which was not as good but this was so lovely I should have taken a picture of it.
Chicken meat balls and pork meat balls were both delicious. Chicken and beef chunks were good. Squash, asparagus and okra were excellent.
Yakatori will become a favorite for us here. As you can imagine, once we had finished eating we feel straight into bed slept as long as we could. Awake at 6.