So I realized that my approach to planning this Tokyo trip was all wrong. Instead of building an itinerary based on what I want to do, I should be basing it on what would provide you, dear blog readers, with the most entertainment value. With this in mind, I’ve decided to divvy up my meals accordingly: Dinners – I’ll be checking out the high-end restaurants like Joel Robuchon and Morimoto XEX. Lunches – I’ll be hitting some of Tokyo’s most outlandish theme restaurants like The Vampire Café and that place where the waitresses dress up as maids. This should offer up a wonderfully varied, potentially awkward, yet no doubt memorable assortment of dining experiences.
The casual lunches probably won’t require reservations but the fancy dinners certainly will. Unfortunately, my attempts to book some tables online proved a little trickier than expected given that none of the websites are in English – and the few that are in English require phone reservations. My Japanese is passable (I possess the verbal skills of a very polite four year old Japanese boy), but I’m not sure it would pass the infamous “Maitre d‘ Test“. At a bit of a loss, I emailed The Peninsula Hotel (which will be my home away from home while I‘m in Tokyo) about my situation and received a responsible from an amiable fellow named Yian, the hotel concierge, who offered to make the arrangements for me. What a swell guy! I sent him a list of my top ten picks (actually more like thirteen just in case he’s unable to get me in at certain places since some of the city’s top restaurants book up three months in advance) and gave him the heads up that I would be traveling alone and as such, might be eating alone on more than one occasion (although I’m fairly confident that I will hit it off with the Harajuku Goth gang and thus never wont for a dining companion). Is it okay to eat alone in Japan? I’m sure that many a Japanese salaryman will saddle up to a yakitori counter and dine solo, but how often does this happen in Tokyo’s higher-end restaurants? I would prefer to know what is and is not acceptable lest I commit an egregious social faux pas. You would think that you could let common sense guide you but, in truth, you can’t leave anything to chance in a foreign country. For example, noisily slurping your noodles is perfectly acceptable in Tokyo but taking off your shirt in a karaoke bar in order to do the best possible Steven Tyler impersonation is not. I mean, seriously! What gives?!
But I get ahead of myself. Before hitting Tokyo in late November, I’ll be heading down to L.A. for three days next week. We have seven meetings lined up. Now I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to any of you when I say that I’m better on paper, but I am nevertheless confident that by the end of that seventh meeting, we’ll be fairly close to having our horror pitch down pat. I’m ready. The only thing I need now is a title. So far, these are what I’ve come up with:
Citizen Cane, Bludgeon, and Stab
Mr. Smith Goes to a Creepy Slovakian Hostel
On the Slaughter Front
It’s A Wonderful Knife
All About Cleave
West Side Gory
Birth of a Nation of Brain-Eating Zombies
Dances with Werewolves
The Dear Hunter
Bringing Up Baby…After You’ve Eaten It!
Guess Who’s Having Us For Dinner?
Damn, this is going to be tough. They’re all great!