Final Tokyo chapter

Walking up a side street we spied a coolroom of hanging meat on the second floor of a restaurant. Naturally we were drawn to investigate. Gonpachi hadn’t exactly satisfied. Up we wandered and soon we found ourselves sitting down with some jamon, terrine, cheese and baguette, a rose wine for me and a red wine for Steve = Happy days! 

This place was a delicious, delightful respite. Le Petit Marche in a back street of Roppongi was just what the doctor(chef?) ordered. Fortunately it was mostly patronised by Asian customers with only one other Western couple (American, I think).

 It was from here that we walked up to Kento’s – a 50s/60s pop club which although was a bar, looked more like an american diner. The band does 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off throughout the evening of american 50s/60s pop – with the occasional Abba song thrown in for good measure. The band is appropriately attired and coiffed wooing the audience who really seem to get into the swing of things even if they have little to no sense of musical timing. I drank some sweet garishly coloured cocktails; Steve had some 12 year old Yamazaki whiskey. All was somehow right with the world.

Coming home along the main street where lots of restaurants and clubs are situated was a different experience altogether. So many noisy westerners that I became quite resentful. It’s an odd feeling because I am a westerner but I was almost offended by the presence of so many westerners. I’m still processing that bit.

One guy deliberately tried to bump into me either to pickpocket(of which I had nothing on me) or to ‘cop a feel’. Either intentions aren’t pleasing but that’s honestly the only unpleasant experience like that on the whole trip.
All in all, despite many instances of language barrier, we have fared very well. Japanese people, as a culture, are very honest. They also, on the whole, have very good english language skills. Way better than our ridiculously small grasp of Japanese.
Note to self – learn more basic language skills of the country I’m travelling to.

next installment…

Saturday April 5th 5pmish

We are all checked in to our swish accommodation – Hotel S – on one of Roppongi. It’s very modern with tight, efficient design = very japanese and one thing that I’m actually quite attracted to. I didn’t quite prepare for what I might buy here. A knife was a possibility but to be honest I don’t really need one. The ceramics and fabrics are highly covetable but again it’s all want not need.

This morning we commuted by train from Asakusa to Roppongi – that was after a hearty breakfast of cream cakes and coffee from Angelus, a store we’d been drooling at the glass of in Asakusa. Pretty much most of the way Steve was strongly advocating a taxi ride instead. That might, of course, be related to the many stairs Tokyo Metro seem to have as well as the need to transfer trains with our luggage.

After arriving in Roppongi and dropping our bags off at our hotel we went for a wander. Luckily, it turned out to essentially to be a dry day. I get to visit the art supply store (which is incredibly well stocked – far greater than anything I’ve previously seen and well presented in a tiny space). Again fabulous use of a small space.

A short promenade around the Mori Art museum area and we just happened to find ourselves at the Brew Dogs bar. Brew Dogs are a couple of the scottish guys who brew incredibly interesting craft beers. Beer in Japan can be a no-brainer – like in many parts of the world – but there is a growing market for craft beers – well made and tasty little numbers.

A few hours were easily lost there before we strolled/straggled back to our hotel via a very fancy, high end shopping outlet complete with an american high end food store – Dean and Deluca (WANKERS!)
There is quite a strong attraction to french and italian (more so than other european nations) food and drink here in Tokyo, and more so in Roppongi. Obviously a fair proportion of that is expat demand. Fabian. our Shinjuku guide from Monday night, did point out that it is most favourable and advantageous to be french in Japan. There’s clearly an attraction there.
So now at our hotel it’s time for a soak in the bath ( a little down time – aaaahhhh!)

After a most appreciated soak, we hit the town. We started at Gonpachi which is a restaurant that inspired a set in director Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill. It is a replica of older Tokyo (Edo) style places. Food was hit and miss, probably because it straddles too many styles (sushi, yakitori sticks, soba noodles as well as other odd items which felt western to me). Most other eating establishments we have visited usually had a tighter, more limited but more focussed menu.

Gonpachi was clearly playing to a more western audience, of which there are many in the area of Roppongi. We had heard there was a large ex-pat community in this area. Last night as we chose to walk up a quieter backstreet , avoiding the touts, we found an array of embassies. Pieces fall into place.


Currently I’m being forced to rest up whilst recovering from being a tad unwell. Now this does give me a great chance to plan “Mandypalooza” – my birthday festival. I can’t take credit for the fabulous title – my delightful partner was the brains behind that one. In fact, he’s already done some excellent scheming bringing plans together and I’m very chuffed about that.

I’m thinking coffee out with friends, manicure, pedicure, lunch out, take away in front of movies, pre-dinner cocktails, lavish romantic dinner….and more.

Someone even suggested that one’s birthday festival should last as many days as one is old. Whilst I’m not going to that extreme, I am having at least 16 days of Mandypalooza.

The first step was to take two weeks off work, having already worked extra shifts over Christmas/New Year period the finances would be okay. That way I will have plenty of time to fit all my Mandypalooza activities in. Planning is integral so as not to double book – making sure I allow plenty of time for sleeping in and naps of course.

So anyways… Mandypalooza starts… NOW!