I worked on my blog well into the night, trying to get the damn photos to upload without much success, so I ended up turning in a little after 1 a.m., so wound up that I was unable to fall asleep for another hour. The worst was yet to come.

I woke up at 7:15 a.m. to a siren wailing down on street level, some 47 floors below, punctuated by what sounded like a stern megaphone warning in Japanese. I figured it was either: a) an earthquake alert, b) a tsunami alert, or c) North Korea had launched their missiles. I also figured that if it was: a) most of these buildings were built with quake-proof specifications, b) we were high enough to avoid getting wet, or c) there was nothing I could do about it. So I went back to sleep. Two hours later, I awoke feeling as if I’d been sucker-punched in the solar plexus. I staggered to the bathroom and was violently ill. My first thought was “Those damn gift brownies!”, but Fondy pointed out that she had tried the brownies as well and felt fine. She surmised that, more than likely, the snake soup had been the culprit. The snake soup! If I’d known something like this might happen, I would have specified “the non-poisonous variety, please” when I’d made my order.

I lay in bed for a couple of hours while Fondy watched The Corpse Bride, then we ordered breakfast. I managed a poached egg, a couple of spoonfuls of Bircher muesli (nowhere near as good – and, alternately, as bad for you – as the one at the Shangri-la), and a half a half a banana. The eggs here are top notch, possessed of a dark, golden yolk that is much than its North American counterpart. Fondy is also a fan of the homogenized milk here that comes in at an extra creamy 6.25%.

I lay in bed for most of the day, trying to sleep it off while Fondy read and checked out The Polar Express on pay-per-view. What I did see of it in my conscious-unconscious stupor was, with the exception of the creepy faces, eminently entertaining.

By the time 4:00 p.m. rolled around, I decided I’d be damned if I was going to miss out on a diner. I made reservations at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, showered, shaved, dressed, and tried to walk off the nausea with a stroll around the block. Enroute, we stopped off at a convenience store where Fondy picked up some dark chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies, a jar of olives, and two packs of dried squid for late night snacking.

We went down to dinner at 6:30 p.m. and had an excellent meal. With no real idea what we were doing, we just ordered until the waitress advised us to stop. We started with my favorite dish of the night, the seared mackarel sushi with nori – hands down the best mackerel I’ve ever had in my life. Sweet, tender, and delicious. We followed that up with the seared bonito tuna with egg yolk soy sauce served on persimmon. An equally great dish and Fondy’s favorite of the night. Next came the prime tuna and uni sashimi served with minced seaweed spires. Again, very sweet, it practically melted in our mouths. We followed that up with Japanese medium-rare sirloin with grilled matsutake served in some sort of leaf that was set atop a portable charcol grill and served warm. Spectacular. No one does beef like the Japanese. By this point, we were stuffed, but still managed to enjoy our final entrée: a monkfish hotpot that included a giant yet delicate tofu-skin dumpling wrap surrounding a piece of very subtly flavored monkfish meat and monkfish liver for me. Fondy’s dumpling contained a mysterious yet incredibly sweet and creamy white filling that I asked our waitress about. She pointed to the menu: monkfish milt. Not a clue. It wasn’t until later that night when I checked online that I discovered we’d eaten monkfish sperm.

Anyhoo, we finished the meal with two excellent desserts: the chestnut flan with taro chips topped with green tea sauce for Fondy, and a very nice green tea mousse with tapioca and crème anglaise.

It’s about 9:00 p.m. and I’m wiped, so I’m going to call it an early night so that I can – hopefully – hit the gym tomorrow morning before getting back on track and checking out the city.

milt /mɪlt/ Pronunciation KeyShow Spelled Pronunciation[milt] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation



the sperm-containing secretion of the testes of fishes.


the testes and sperm ducts when filled with this secretion.

2 thoughts on “December 3, 2006

  1. Well, it’s really not an adventure until you’ve endured food poisoning and eaten fish sperm, is it? You seem to have recovered remarkably from both. I’m very jealous about the mackerel, though.

    Have you watched “A Dog’s Breakfast” yet?? Your mother company is going to distribute it!

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