Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Did my dinner just crawl away?

Well, well, well... Here I am, back in London. Minus one husband but plus two kittehs who have been incredibly snuggly since my return. The jet-lag hasn't been too terribly bad. I imagine that's partly because I was lucky enough to use my killer Southern charm on a Japanese British Airways agent and snag myself an upgrade. And let me tell y'all something. I've been in business class on a few long-haul flights in my day. Long-haul meaning 6 or 7 hours between Europe or the UK and the US... But for the 12 hour nightmare that is the trip between Tokyo and London, I highly recommend BA's outstanding mini-hotel room.

I had a bed, people. A full-on bed. And a divider wall between me and the person closest to me. So from my seat/bed, I could see no one and no one could see me. Just the way I like it. There was so much space, I had three windows to myself. After dinner, I got comfy and settled in for a few discs worth of Sex and the City. Once I found myself drifing in and out (usually only getting woken by the noise during one of Samantha's "scenes"), I curled up and slept right through breakfast. Probably my best flight ever.

Anyhey, here's what I did on my last two days in Tokyo...

Thursday was a beautiful day so we decided to go up to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to their observatory for some views of Tokyo and Mount Fuji.

So here they are...

That's Mount Fuji with the snow on it.

After that, we had decided to go to Hama Detached Palace Garden. And as much as both of us had loved the garden that we went to on Monday, we had high hopes. Unfortunately, this one really needs to be seen in the Spring when everything is in bloom. Or maybe even Autumn when the fall colors are on display. But in the winter, it's just a bit blah. No color. Just brown and green. And the thing I was excited the most about was that there was a Japanese tea house that was built on the water so it appears to float. Alas, it was closed for renovations. Which brings me to the last straw, which was that they were doing major construction on the only part of the garden that was still pretty during the winter. So it was an all-around let down. I managed to get one nice shot with no heavy machinery.

But it worked out allright because after a late-ish lunch, we popped into Mikomoto to look around and then decided to call it an early day since everybody was hitting the town that night in Roppongi. Kampai!

We went to a Robatayaki style place called Inakaya. Robatayaki is the traditional Japanese "art of grilling" . The atmosphere is insane... and beyond description, so I'll let the photo speak for itself. And they were so pround of their little photo album that had pictures of all the celebrities who had been there. Tom Cruise (multiple times), Cameron Diaz, the Lord of the Rings cast and director Peter Jackson and LOADS of others that I can't remember now...

These prawns were HUGE. And still alive. They would squirm around every now and then and one of them eventually made a break for it. No word on whether he survived or not.

Jason's whole Red Snapper. Pretty, huh?

Nemo? Is that you??

Clearly, Jason has no respect for the deceased.

This is how they serve everything up to you - on the paddles. (Including the huge bottles of Japanese lager.)

These are all the name plates of each of the chefs. When they switch shifts, there's this whole "changing of the guard" ceremony type thing and then the new guy changes out the name plate in front of him.

Friday morning, Candice and I headed for the National Museum which was outstanding and then tortured ourselves one last time by trying to find a specific restaurant from one of our books. The only thing left on our list of "eats to try" was a typical noodle house. By now, we had mastered the infamous Tokyo address system as much as a tourist ever could so we were fairly confident. And sure as shit - we did it. Didn't take us very long either! And considering, once again, the signage was all in Japanese characters, I think we fared pretty well.

Finally, we hit up one last shrine. This is a close up of the row of red torii (from underneath) that lead up to it.

And the little charms that people write their prayers or wishes on and hang there.

Friday night, Jason and I took the bullet train to Kyoto for the weekend. And that'll be my last Japan post... Coming soon!


Catherine said...

Please tell me you did not eat that!

Suze - Manchester UK said...

Does the guy with the big stick with food on it have any legs. If not, that's wayyyy cool.