Appetizer at Hamadaya
Appetizer at Hamadaya

Sashimi and Hamadaya
Sashimi and Hamadaya

Jessica distracted from her soup
Jessica distracted from her soup


Iberico pork tonkatsu
Iberico pork tonkatsu

The famed Roppongi Hills giant spider
The famed Roppongi Hills giant spider


The view #2
The view #2

A very orchid Christmas
A very orchid Christmas

The sky deck
The sky deck




Sadaharu Aoki's incredible matcha opera cake
Sadaharu Aoki's incredible matcha opera cake

Lulu's long distance love connection?
Lulu's long distance love connection?

Tokyo's infamous Christmas cows
Tokyo's infamous Christmas cows

Hop into a taxi in Tokyo and you’re in for a wild ride because it’s pretty much a given that your driver will have no idea where he’s going. Chalk it up to the city’s antiquated address system, its winding side streets, or its crisscrossing thoroughfares – whatever the reason, cabbies seem to be veritable tourists in their own hometown. Thank God for nav systems. Last night, for instance, my driver had one eye on the road, the other on his dashboard map, zipping through the congested labyrinth, turning up a side street and then down an empty alleyway, stopping in front of what looked like somebody’s garage. Surely he was mistaken. This couldn’t be Hamadaya, one of the restaurants Michelin had recently awarded an astounding 3 stars? Could it?

Well, once I stepped inside, it was as if I’d been transported far from the city to a ryokan in the Kyoto countryside. The place looked like something out of an Edo period sword and sandals epic. I was escorted into the tea room and there met my internet pal and new food buddy Jessica, a Houston native who is in Japan teaching English to kindergarteners. Following some preliminary introductions (“I’m a television producer, I have four dogs and a wife, and my favorite cereal mascot is the Trix rabbit.”) we were invited upstairs to our private tatami room. Of course, as expected, we had to remove our shoes. And, of course, despite my best efforts to ensure I’d packed my best pairs, one of my socks developed a hole. Fortunately, it was on the bottom of my right foot and I don’t think anyone noticed.

Anyway, we settled into our private room and then proceeded on to our kaiseki feast. For those of you who don’t know, kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal with an emphasis on seasonal local ingredients, taste, texture, and appearance. We started with an amuse, a cornet fish seasoned with kelp, and daikon radish and carrot marinated in vinegar, then were presented with the appetizer, a colorful selection made up of shrimp, mushroom omelet, angler liver, pickled squid served with a sauce of salted and fermented bonito guts. All of the flavors were crisp and distinct, and while I can’t say I was a huge fan of the bonito guts, I did enjoy everything. Our next course was soup with steamed seas breem, deep fried tofu and greens. Again, simple, clean flavors. Very nice. The same can be said for the ensuing sashimi dish – super-fresh tuna, flat fish, and halfbeak served with wasabi. For our next dish, we were served grilled beef filet with Japanese pepper served atop some steamed rice with wasabi stem and greens. Another artful preparation. We followed with grilled harvest fish with white miso, asparagus and crown daisy, and dried sea cucumber dressed with vinegar and then some steamed tilefish and turnip with kudz sauce. Deep fried prawn with grated daikon sauce and then, to round out the meal, some rice, simmered sea eel, a wonderfully rich dark brown miso soup, and pickles. Finally, we closed things out with some melon, strawberry, and hot sweet red bean soup. All I can say is Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a better-looking meal.

By the time I got in, I was exhausted and went right to bed. Then, this morning, I got up, got in a work-out, then headed out to Minato-ku where I had lunch at Butagumi, a restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu – deep fried pork (by the way, kudos to my cab driver who ended up negotiating an impossibly narrow side street to get me there). The menu consists of some 20 different varieties of pork, each with its own little write-up. For instance, there’s the Nakijin-Agoo-buta from Okinawa that was at one time an endangered species, the Eishow-ton fromm Kanagawa in central Japan whose ancestry can be traced back to China and is 80% sweet fat, and, of course, the Bimei-ton which is described as light-tasting. But I was there for the heavy hitter, Spain’s famed Iberico pork. Like Kobe beef, the meat practically melted in my mouth. Of course, like Kobe beef, the meat was incredibly well-marbled.

Figuring I could use the exercise, I decided to skip the taxi and walk the neighborhood. The neighborhood, it turns out, was Roppongi and the walk eventually took me to the Roppongi Hills shopping complex where I went up to the 52nd floor and checked out the glass-walled observatory. Whereas most everyone else had their faces practically pressed up against the glass, I was barely skirting the central shops, staying as far away from the vertigo-inducing view as possible. Still, I did manage to snap a few pics before making my way over to the Mori Art Museum where I took in two exhibitions, one on gold, the other on contemporary Indian Art. The former was fine, more field trip material for students, while the latter offered works that ranged from the silly and suspect to the downright fascinating. My favorite was the room dedicated to the interactive video that would capture your shadow as your stepped inside. Then, shadowed objects would drop down from the sky and stick to you – broken mannequins, cylinders, toasters. The longer you stood in the room, the more objects would come done until your shadow was completely encapsulated within a shell of junk that would bob and shudder with your every step, occasionally detaching from you and attaching onto whatever fellow museum patron you happen to cross paths with.

Suitably edified, I headed out, strolled through a park, and eventually landed in the Tokyo Midtown Shopping Complex where I dropped by Toraya, a maker of traditional Japanese confectionary that goes as far back as the 1600’s. The wagashi are little works of art, fashioned out of red and white adzuki beans, kanten (a seaweed-derived gelatin), and wasambonto (a unique, powdery domestic sugar). I picked up a few, then happened across a shop selling Noka, the world’s most expensive chocolate. But is it the world’s best chocolate? I’ll tell you tomorrow once I’ve sampled the four pieces I picked up.

I had lunch at the food court, some cold soba noodles (I didn’t realize they’d be served cold when I ordered them), then made my way over to Sadaharu Aoki Patisserie where I ordered the chocolate parfait and a perrier. My waitress suggested that if I wanted to order a cake or pastry as well, I should feel free to select something from the nearby display. A cake or pastry in addition to my chocolate parfait? What a brilliant idea. I ended up ordering the matcha opera cake. And it’s a good thing I did because, while the chocolate parfait was fine (cookies, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and whipped cream), that match opera cake was outfreakingstanding! Layers of green tea genoise, green tea butter cream, and chocolate ganache deliver a sublime bittersweet rhapsody of flavors. This was soooooo good that I’m already planning a return visit.

On my way out, I stopped by a shop called the Pet Shop, sort of a pet store, vet, and doggy daycare in one, and met an adorable Frenchie named Gutsu (perhaps named after the lead character from Berserk?). As I snapped some pics of the little guy, I realized how much I miss my gang back home. They, in turn, are no doubt anxiously awaiting my return.

Well, another successful day which I intend to cap off with another decadent dinner. Tonight, it’s another Michelin 3-star selection: L’Osier.

And speaking of 3-star selections, check out today’s Weird Food Purchase of the Day: Japan Edition in which I sample some decidedly off-the-wall ice cream flavors…

65 thoughts on “November 26, 2008: Tokyo Trip Day #4, Kaiseki Feast, Porking Out, Sweets and Such, and The Weird Food Purchase of the Day – Japanese Ice Cream Edition

  1. Oh, Joe! You are my hero! Eating squid ice cream purely so I can laugh at you … You’re a special guy.

    I’m intrigued, though, about that salty one. And the cheese one! I only have yummy ginger ice cream in my freezer, though.

  2. I’m still seeing neat suits!
    Do they always combine sweet and savoury in their ice-creams? I noticed you didn’t pick up any Whale flavour ice-cream left over from all that scientific research they are doing.

    Is there anything you won’t try? The fermented bonito guts thought had me almost experiencing my dinner twice.

    I like your personal “elevator pitch”. What did the others say for their quick introductions?

    Joe said:

    a restaurant that specializes in tomcats

    Are we talking the kitty cat kind? Actor leftovers from the movie? Jet fighters?

    Have a good night!

  3. Dracula = Garlic, I can’t believe you didn’t get that one Joe! You horror fan you. See the little symbol on the front, it looks like garlic clove. hehehe Nice that it actually tasted like cardboard. Ewwwww, I have had many things in my day taste like cardboard too, did you ever notice that when they package things. Ugh, nice it taste just like the package.

    Thanks so much Joe for the weird food video, I so missed them.

    Have a great time, sounds like you are, stay safe! Thanks for blogging the trip too, really enjoying the read.

  4. Coucou Joseph!! Sa va ? moi oui, j’ai passer une trés bonne journée, vous aussi on dirait^^!!!
    Trés sympas ces photos! Vos chiens doivent vous manquez non?

    Les Frenchie sont toujours adorable^^!!

    Ahhhhhhhhh, j’adore vous voir sur les video!! c’est trés drole de voir tout ces éxpressions sur votre visage on comprend trés vite votre opinion sur le produit^^!!!

    Passer encore une trés bonne journée!*
    Bisou a demain!!!

  5. Coucou Joseph!! Sa va ? moi oui, j’ai passer une trés bonne journée, vous aussi on dirait^^!!!
    Trés sympas ces photos! Vos chiens doivent vous manquez non?

    Les Frenchie sont toujours adorable^^!!

    Ahhhhhhhhh, j’adore vous voir sur les video!! c’est trés drole de voir tout ces éxpressions sur votre visage on comprend trés vite votre opinion sur le produit^^!!!

    Passer encore une trés bonne journée!*
    Bisou a demain!!!

  6. Glad you’re having a gastronomically great time. I love that cartoon Eiffel.

    Holiday time here, hope everyone who celebrates it has a lovely, safe and relaxing Thanksgiving. even in the worst times there’s always something to be thankful for.

    Brain Storm = Emotional cyclone. Best thing and what I anticipated most about this episode was Dave F, Bill Nye and Neil, they didn’t disappoint, I loved their performances. I loved Ronon’s comment at the beginning. I woulda loved Rodney in this- without Jennifer. Didn’t like end scene. I’m glad she’s become more assertive but not where Rodney’s concerned, can we say “hen pecked”? That’s what her behavior towards him comes off as to me (when she’s not being sexually aggressive), and it will get old fast. Won’t be long before Sheppard says something to McKay about either hecking pens or how’s Jen in the sack. Wait, it will be long because of no s6. Ah well there’s always fanfic which changes everything.

  7. I was barely skirting the central shops, staying as far away from the vertigo-inducing view as possible. I do exactly the same thing at the top of the Eiffel Tower *shudders*

    As for the ice creams, I’ve always enjoyed eating something salty after eating something sweet, so having them both at the same time is an interesting and probably good concept for an ice cream. As for the Dracula ice cream, maybe the Japanese think that Vampires think that humans taste like cardboard. That’d be a bit boring, wouldn’t it?

  8. I think I need to start planning my own trip to Japan…you are just having too much fun (& too much good food) for me to stand!

    My favorite gelato flavor is Black Pepper & Olive Oil, so I probably would have gone with the Salt ice cream as well. Not sure what would even possess someone to combine squid & ice cream. *shiver*

  9. I laughed outloud when you said “Double Cheese”.
    3 questions for you; 1, would it be better to take a sip of water between each thing to get a better taste of each flavour? (that said, after seeing the squid thing – maybe not).
    2. Have you ever eaten anything that the moment you put it your mouth you had to spit it back out?
    3. Just how many clothes did you take with you? that appears like a lot of jackets and shirts.

  10. Hello Joseph!
    I had gotten an email once from my sister about food in China… they serve like dog and horse stew and dung beetles. Just, please, ask what it is before you buy it, I’d hate to think of someone eating horse or worse yet… a bug!

    I had an idea the other day and wanted to throw it at you since you are, after all, the man… on (David’s place) there’s a forum thread called squirrels diet post and this is a reply I made…

    Too bad we can’t make a video of empty Atlantis halls going by… with the cast walking by from time to time, waving or something.
    We could all put our bikes or treadmills in front of the tv and pretend we’re walking, running, or biking through Atlantis!

    Wonder if we could talk The Flan into making an excercize video for treadmills and another for bikes. For the treadmill, he could start at level one, walking through Atlantis, the camera could be like ‘us’ following him, and he’d turn and say encouraging things like ‘you’re doing great, just a little further’.
    Level two could be him jogging and from time to time, rather than the you’re doing great type things he usually says, he could give us a gentle kick in the pants… ‘Come on, you’re not tired yet, we just got started. Buck up.’
    Level three could be running… not as fast as he did in conversion though. At that point the kick in the pants may need to be a little tougher to keep us all motivated.
    But I would totally follow John around Atlantis(That way I could lie and say the panting I was doing was from the running ;D )!

    OH! We could get a whole line of Atlantis work out videos! Just think of what Rachel could teach us as Teyla… we could lose weight AND learn to kick some major butt! Who needs self defence classes when you have Teyla on your side?!
    Hmmm, I move we talk the cast into doing work out videos… I bet they’d sell like hot cakes! I know I’d by them!!

    Anyway, You have access to the cast, and since you’ll all be getting together soon for the movie… might be worth talking about. A good way to please the fans AND get a little more cash from Atlantis.
    Thanks for your time Joseph! Hope you’re having fun and not eating anything that will scar your tastebuds for life.

  11. Am enjoying reading of your Tokyo travel adventures. Sounds like you’re having a good time. I admit to getting a chuckle out of your description of the trip up to the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills as this is how I typically respond in similar vertigo-inducing situations. ; )

    And that matcha opera cake sounds absolutely divine! Looked pretty scrumptious too.

  12. I think that I will stick to Vanilla ice cream.

    Hope you have been speaking to your loving hounds via sub-space or something whilst you are away. You can be certain that they will miss you much more than Fondy will.


  13. Squid ice cream…. ick, Joe, didn’t you sample a kettle corn cheese ice cream a while ago back home??? If I remember correctly that was a winner for you too. I can see how that sweet/ salt taste combo would be appealing.

    That’s so nice of you to entertain us while you are vacationing.

  14. I also saw the garlic symbol on the Dracula ice cream and I’m wondering why Japanese garlic tastes like cardboard, at least in ice cream.
    Questions for Martin Gero:
    I’m assuming that the scenes in the control room and flooded hallway were shot in a refrigerated location, given the frosty breath of the actors. Where were the scenes shot? If they were shot in a refrigerated trailer, how did you make the control room look so large/roomy?

  15. Hmm…The squid one said “tako” on it and I’ve always been under the impression that tako is octopus… Not that that would have made it any better but still, octopus is a bit cooler than squid.

  16. Hiya Joe!
    I’ve been enjoying the Japan tour by proxy. Thanks so much for sharing pictures and your food experiences too. I LOVED the photo of the Orchid Christmas tree. The mechanics of putting that together have boggled my mind.

  17. “But I would totally follow John around Atlantis(That way I could lie and say the panting I was doing was from the running ;D )!”

    I so read that wrong..

    Joe: Instead of using all your energies trying to pitch pilots and horror films, why don’t you invest in doing a Joe’s Gourmet Tour of the World? That way, we get funny, witty, downright snarky, scientific, drama and horror all wrapped up in the one show. Not to mention the environmental aspect of meet and greet with your food before it’s whisked off to be throttled and tossed into a pan. I’d watch, though maybe not quite pre-watershed mark and certainly not whilst i’m toying with my own dinner.

    Das: Whilst my love of Rugby is based purely on the game itself, I have to admit there’s something delightfully entertaining about watching two teams of exceptionally well-built guys trying to de-robe one another on the pitch. Tackles, rucks.. you name it, clothes are gonna get shredded everywhere. It’s all a part of the match.

    And a 10 lb Haggis?

    At least they managed to kick the leather. England were apparently wearing mittens on their feet when playing S. Africa 😛

  18. I’m just wondering how you found your dinning companions. Thats something I’d definately want to do next vacation I go on.

  19. Vampires do like cardboard. It’s a little known fact.
    Glad you are enjoying your trip so far, and I am enjoying your travelogue a great deal.

  20. Thanks for your ongoing heroic efforts in entertaining and edifying us. A shame about the squid ice cream though. I’d have thought that one had potential. Any plans to go back, and perhaps find an interpreter to help you choose some other exotic flavors? As if you have the time to do a lot of backtracking. Anyways, again, thanks for taking the times to post and please enjoy the rest of your vacation.

  21. To iamza from yesterday, who inquired why Keller is considered a Mary Sue by some, here is the Wiki definition:
    “Mary Sue, sometimes shortened simply to Sue, is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot and is particularly characterized by overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as “Mary Sues” is that they are too ostentatious for the audience’s taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the “Mary Sue” character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an “author’s pet”.
    I think if you analyze the above you can see why some people might think Keller fits this definition. To me, IMHO, she could be considered the writer’s fantasy come to life, as an object of desire for McKay, who they identify with most strongly, and as stated by MG in on the MGM site, a preferred character to write for.

  22. Sounds like your having a good time 🙂

    Enjoying the updates

    Continue enjoying yourself in the city with more michelin stars than Paris (the french werent impressed with that)

  23. Hey Joe!

    Again, amazing photos of your culinary journeys, and I love those photos of the skyline of Japan. Cool! 😀

    In regards to your Weird Food Purchase of the Day, I would personally only try the Salt one (sounds neat actually), and possibly the cheese one. Although I like fish, I would agree with you, I would avoid the squid one. When you showed the Dracula ice cream, I thought it was garlic-flavoured and I was waiting for your reaction once you gave it a sniff…too bad it had to taste like cardboard. 😛

    Thanks, and enjoy day 5!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  24. 😆 I finally got around to watching the video…and ALL I could think of was a Godfather version of Mr. Rogers! Loved it! “Youse got time? I’ve got time!” I actually lol’d there. All that was missing was the sweater. 🙂 And did you actually say ‘youse’, or was that just my imagination?

    I like the sweet/salty combo, too…but not sure I’d like it mixed throughout…I prefer stumbling across patches of salt amid the sweetness. And the squid? WHAT were you thinking?! *shudder*

    That’s the only problem I have with Japanese food – too much seafood, not a favorite of mine. Yet, I love how clean and delicate Japanese cooking is. So I have a buddy who lives up in Gifu (teaches English 😀 ), and his wife – Japanese born and bred – dislikes seafood very much (except eel). I asked him (she doesn’t speak English) what she cooks, and he said mostly chicken, and he shared a few of her recipes with me.

    My favorite part of Japanese cooking is the presentation. Sometimes it is almost too pretty to eat. I just wish we had a real Japanese restaurant nearby – all are Chinese-owned around here, and though their sushi is fine, the other offerings lean more toward a Chinese-American style, with heavier sauces and fried rice and such, and little attention given to the presentation.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation! More weird foods, please! 😀


  25. I was actually reading about Noka chocolate not too long ago. I seem to recall that most of what was said was that it was a big crock, that the chocolate wasn’t really better than most others, and that the whole pricing thing is just a ploy to become famous and make people think they must be fantastic. So, I’m curious to hear what you’ll think.

  26. Oh, Joe. I have to say that I originally started reading your blog to get the little nuggets of Stargate information, but that was before I learned how comical and funny you could be.

    Now your blog is a daily stop on my perusal of the internet and this blog and your video were hilarious. I know you love writing, but I think you could also pull off a comedic role acting too.

    Keep up your witty banter – it really makes my day!!

  27. I can’t imagining tainting ice cream with squid. Yuck! You’re very good about not spitting out stuff. I’m finding the various restaurant fares quite fascinating. It’s stuff I’m not likely to encounter in my excursions (nor would I want to in some cases–I’m very narrow minded when it comes to food.) A whole new world of travel for food has opened up.

    Are those suits in the closet behind you? Interesting.

  28. Are you planning on eating at Aragawa while you’re there?
    I was reading through my son’s 2009 book of world records and this resturaunt is the second most expensive resturaunt in the world next to a Japanese resturaunt called Masa in New York. Meals average $227 US at Aragawa and $400 US at Masa. Just useless knowledge I felt like passing along. Have fun!


  29. Nothing like a writer to make us feel like we’re there! Very enjoyable reading, thanks! When I’m away, I Skype my dogs and they love seeing Mom on the webcam, you should try it if you haven’t!

  30. So, as tired as you must be from all your gastronomical adventuring and piloting on foot through the streets and byways of greater Tokyo, you find the strength to post your detail-rich narratives for us.

    That’s our Joe 😀

    Wow. Do you interview the waitresses or chefs where you eat to get the lowdown on all this exotic food? Do they hand out info pages with each dish? How do you know all this stuff?!
    I still would not eat any food item from this trip that you’ve photographed or described, but, impressive work Joe. Please enjoy.
    Pace yourself man…

    Waiting to know ever more in NJ…

    Carol Z

  31. Morning Joe! 😀

    I’m just leaving work… 😛

    Bad day today in Mumbai, India, part of the city has been under siege for most of the day. I hope no one has friends or family there. Just terrible what’s happening…terrible what people are capable of.


  32. @ Perragrin – I know! 😆 I deleted the England v SA match as soon as it was over…too painful (although, I am starting to like South Africa…mainly because they have really worked hard to improve as a team over the past 2-3 years. I’m very impressed with them at the moment).


  33. Almost forgot… I totally agree with susanthetartanturtle in that I prefer vanilla ice cream. No sprinkles, nuts, syrups, fruits or other contaminants mind you, simply vanilla ice cream.

    Good evening all.

    Carol Z
    in New Jersey

  34. Hey Joe.

    I’m glad you’re having a good time in Japan. I, on the other hand, am not having a good time. My grandma (54-ish) has colan-cancer. Recently, she began to get worse and worse and had some tests done. The results came back and it turns out that her cancer has spread throughout her entire body. Anyway, after the doctors warned that she doesn’t have much time left, my mom left for NFLD on Monday morning.

    My grandma is now very underweight and very sick. I spoke with them over the phone today and the hospital cannot do anything else for her. She has been placed in Pallative Care so that she can live out the rest of life at home.

    Thus the reason I am a few days behind on your blog. Enjoy the rest of your trip….I wish I could goto Toyko so could take my mind off of all this.

  35. I envy you..
    I want to go to Japan just so I could buy some Manga, Anime dvds, and stuff like that. O________O

    Hmmm, squid ice cream…
    How would you explain how it tastes?
    I think it would taste weird, but I would like to try that, and the salt ice cream. And I think the Dracula ice cream would be garlic flavored, don’t you think?

    ^-^ And the cosplayers, that would be something that me and my friends would do. Just walk around all day dressed up in our favorite anime characters.. O__O

  36. Hi Joe,

    Excellent! More pic’s. Some creept me out though! THat spider one really did I am a sever arachnaphobic person.

    You are so game trying half the weird purchases of the day! I dont think I could do the Japanese icecream thing! It just to grose for me!

    Cant wait for me pic’s & stories from your travels in Tokyo!

    Take care & happiness always!


  37. To the lovers and haters of McKeller. I saw <a href=”” this and couldn’t resist sorry.

    If I had action figures it could have been much more fun but you make do with what you have.

  38. Kudos on your food stamina! I wish I shared it!
    It’s American Thanksgiving over here, and I think I might have to give up after one course (the turkey; it always does me in!) or possibly two. You inspire me! I might even try one of my aunt’s homemade dishes this year!
    And it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who goes out of her way to find puppies when she’s away from the dogs she loves! When I’m away from my puppy, I go on “dog runs” and stop to pet every dog I run past!!!

  39. I am enjoying the Japan tour immensely and sorry, but I laughed out loud at your expression eating the squid ice cream. Thank you for trying it.

  40. Yeepp ! The Japanese food really very tasty and thus very useful in difference from a barbecue. Even темпур where it is more useful. But if to you Japan has given new ideas and inspiration from Japan is much more tasty. If it is final them correctly to prepare. In Japan in general important correctly to do. Especially fish the Fugu ;)/. And go to stores in Akihabara if you want really today Japan spirit also descend there if you plan to begin translation of Stargate in Japan. It very much to you will help to understand modern Japanese who in general are interested in high technologies and science fiction, instead of hamburgers. 😉
    But i uderstand Japanese food is Really tasty :).

  41. yayayaayayay!!! WFPOD is back!

    Eww at the squid icecream.. and in future, if you don’t see two puncture marks in your future tubs of Dracula icecream, you know it’s not a fave of theirs.

    Love the view of the Tokyo skyline.. reminds me of the view from Sydney tower. You must go there!!!!

    I also love the arrangement of your clothes in the background. Although there’s a shirt that’s a millimetre out of place nyuk nyuk..

    Sayonara. (hope it’s spelt correctly) :/

  42. Neat, neat photos! The stained glass and orchid/lily Christmas trees, the sky deck (oui, mon capitain, you are brave to gaze over ze edge), and of course, Su-u-u-shi! were great. You may make foodies out of all of us yet. At minimum, I’ll have to sample some Kobe beef….

    Enjoyed the description of the Mori Art Museum, especially the art exhibit that showed your shadow collecting virtual debris and shape-shifting along with you! Awesome cool… You DID get a photo of that, right? 😀

    Was that molten-silver-looking statue outside the art museum? It kind of looked like one of the Sekkari aliens from Remnants, who weren’t as sweetly survival-motivated as you might think. While three Atlantis crew did supply their own hallucinations, it was the insecurity/vulnerability button for all three that our alien “friend” was manipulating. NOT nice.

    Scary in a different way would be the desecration of ice cream in Japan, at least to this born-in-the-state-of-cows-and-honey girl. (That’s my gene pool, anyway.) Fish!? Horseflesh?!? Viagara!?!? Sacre’ Moo! 🙄

    LOVED the ice cream video! But when you ate the awfulest one, squid, you didn’t – pitoouie! – make a face or spit it out. You’re with us. You don’t have to be such a grown-up. 😀 I’m thinking you need to try some flavors that are even more awfuller. And as Rhondapointed out, you are quite comical. In the spirit of fun, Cap’n Joe, you and these weird flavors could make your digital screen debut:

    ❓ Squid Ink
    💡 Chili Pepper (you like it HOT)
    ❗ Pit Viper
    ➡ Stout (black beer).
    😐 Potato liquor (like vodka—by now you might want it)
    :mrgreen: Goat (and goat milk, too)

    If I were there, ice cream purist and/or pansy though I am, I’d try the Red wine, Cherry Blossom, Cactus, Sweet Potato, and Wasabi essences. Dee-rish!!

    In case anyone missed it, nicole gustas suggested this link to frightening ice cream flavors:

    And you know what? After hearing about all those horrid concoctions, I sat here and ate some nice, SAFE, creamy butter pecan ice cream. Just ‘cuz.

    Speaking of safe and comforting, have you called home? How’s Fondy?

    à demain…(till tomorrow) 🙂

  43. I’m glad you are enjoying your trip . Is your ability to communicate better or worse than you expected ? How good are you at reading Japanese ?
    Thank you for taking the time to blog while on vacation. My aunt & uncle loved Japan. They’d send beautiful postcards every time they visited. Maybe you will pick up an unusual souvenier as a blog giveaway ?
    Take care & have fun.

    I’m praying blessings for you & your family, Jason & Anne Teldy.

  44. Hey Joe,
    I LOVE your video. it’s hilarious.

    We WooHoos (fabulous worshippers of Martin Wood’s unique work) held council again and came up with this: For you obviously like food one of us (or more) will send you a homemade cake in return for Martin Wood’s birthday. How does this sound?

    enjoy your trip

  45. LOL…squid ice cream doesn’t sound appetizing one little bit…I think I literally flinched in distaste when I watched you try it…I’ll have to remember the salt one. That on the other hand does sound interesting. The one I would like to try the most is the double cheese. I’m a huge cheese fan. And cream cheese aftertaste sounds really good.

    Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I was watching my dad make chocolate souffles from scratch today…he first time making a holiday dinner all by himself…they looked fantastic. Especially that apple pecan pie he pulled out of the oven. He makes everything from scratch and doesn’t want anyone to help him. I want to know why it took him 54 years to realized he loved cooking, and actually has culinary talent….????

  46. oh…and I thought NYC taxis sometimes made me nervous…at least they always knew where they were going…well…90% of the time.

  47. Wow Mr M. I just tried to watch the weird food purchase Tokyo edition and it must be co ming fr om th e peg a su s g al axy it s a ll st op an d st a rt. yup, just like that!

    I guess from your opening comments re: taxi drivers that I could get a job taxiing there as I never seem to know where I’m going either. LOL

    I LOVE Lulu’s outfit and my staffy Missy wants one just like it. may I enquire as to where it was purchased so I can get her something to keep off the cold damp winter weather here in deepest Cornwall?

    As for my plans this weekend I’m having my autistic nephew to stay to give his mum a break and I’m really looking forward to spending time with him. He does the most amazing storyboards and I’d like to send some to you just to check them out and be amazed like the rest of us if that would be ok. I’m really proud of him and all he’s managed to accomplish since he’s only 15. would that be ok?


  48. Hashi, thanks for the pointer to the wikipedia entry regarding Mary Sues. I guess I don’t interpret Keller that way, and so to me she does not come across as a Mary Sue character.

    It occurs to me that any character that fans dislike might be considered to play too major a role in plotlines. From that perspective, I think the decision as to which characters are Mary Sues is rather subjective…

  49. Joe, one wonders whether the cuttlefish ice-cream would have had quite as fishy a flavour. *grin*

    Maybe the Dracula ice-cream isn’t red because it’s blood with the red platelets removed, which changes the flavour from copper to cardboard…? (I have visions now of Japanese vampires sneaking around bookstores and furtively sinking their fangs into the covers of books just to get their cardboard fix for the day)

  50. Hey there Mr M!

    WOW! What a great tour and treat you are having in Japan. I have always wanted to go there, but just haven’t gotten to it…but then I said that about Canada too and I got there.
    Have you noticed any major difference since your last trip? eg. customer service/ english speaking staff/ etc or has the western influence been minimalised?

    You are a very brave re:food. I salute your cluinary ambitions!

    Best to you


  51. @ Davidd – So very sorry to hear about your grandmom. Such a young woman, too. I have a friend going through the same thing with her father, but he’s 83 (his is throat/liver/kidney). The father of one of our employees has colon cancer, and has been fighting it for over a year now, but it’s been relentless. He’s in his 60’s, still relatively young, too. Just such a devastating disease…for everyone. Sometimes the person who has it has come to accept whatever happens, but it’s the caregivers – the family – that really feel the emotional stress of it all.

    My thoughts are with you and your family…hang in there the best you can. Your mom will need a lot of support, and make sure you find time for yourself, too.

    A few years ago my dad was in hospital for 4 months with a bad staph infection. He wasn’t expected to live (but he did). Still, I had so much stress during that time – running the family business by myself, and taking care of my 100-year old grandmother (who lived at home), so that mom could be at the hospital every day, and – of course – concern for my dad. My husband is a great guy, but one of those chatty types…the kind that comes home from work and tells you every. single. detail. of. his. day. That used to burn me out because I had so much on my mind, I really couldn’t handle more input.

    So, on nights that he worked, I would take a book (yes! A book, Joe! Forester’s Hornblower series, to be exact) and go to this restaurant I really liked, and I ‘nested’. Ordered a nice dinner, a glass of wine, and settled back with my dinner ‘date’, my book. It was winter and the restaurant was slower that time of year, so they never minded that I took my time eating, and reading. For that hour or so I was totally distracted from the stressful events of the day, from the thoughts in my head. It did me good.

    Perhaps you can find a similar escape – even if it’s just for an hour or two – to help settle your mind a bit.


  52. I am stationed in Northern Japan (Misawa AB). I’ve been to Roppongi. Stayed at the Prince Hotel, there. You should check out the dolphin show at the top, if you want a truly Japanese cartoon experience. You visited Tokyo Tower, yet? If you decide to take the Shinkansen north, I’ll show you around.

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