December 8, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #14 – Il Ghiottone, Sushi Tsubaki, and the Sidney Greenstreet of Tokyo.
I’m in the home stretch. Tomorrow night, I’ll be boarding a flight back to Vancouver and the departure will be bittersweet. While I’ll be glad to set aside the fine dining for the foreseeable future (I am so looking forward to a simple bowl of Steelcut Irish Oatmeal), there are many, many things I’ll miss: the culture, the energy, and, of course, the many people I met while I was here – a little over twenty-five terrific new friends in all and I feel like I was just getting started.
Yesterday, I went to lunch with yet a new friend – actually a friend of a friend now a friend – the lovely Tomomi. She got herself volunteered to spend time with me compliments of a mutual acquaintance, Theresa, but I made a point of making the experience as painless as possible by keeping the conversation clean and chewing with my mouth closed. I think I made a good impression because she agreed to accompany to Yamada Chikara for my last Tokyo dinner.
For lunch, we went to an Italian restaurant recommended by The Peninsula – Il Ghiottone…
A very good restaurant but be warned: the menu is entirely in Japanese. When Tomomi requested an English dessert meny on my behalf, the waiter proceeded to break down the selections for HER in Japanese.
Anyway, I had a wonderful time and, after lunch, we took the scenic route back to the hotel where she caught the subway to head home in preparation for yet another outing (popular – or, as the Japanese would say: ninki!).
On our short stroll back from the restaurant, Tomomi took me on a mini guided tour highlighted by a stroll through Big Camera.
Akemi dropped by the hotel to pick me up for dinner. She patiently waited while I uploaded pictures for the blog…
For dinner, we went to another Peninsula recommendation, Sushi Tsubaki, where we enjoyed yet another splendid meal. Some of the highlights…
"Hey,"you're probably thinking. "It's been days since Joe's eaten cod-sperm." Well fear not. In this dish, it's paired with a lovely piece of tuna.
I headed back to the hotel to pack and ran into a couple from Los Angeles who have also been vacationing in Tokyo. They told me about how they ran into an eccentric Westerner who has been living in Japan for some twenty years, the Sidney Greenstreet of Tokyo – a guy with a wife, a girlfriend, and more personal philosophy to dispense than a drunken Anthony Robbins. While they were chatting with him, one of the guy’s friends arrived on the scene riding a bike. Clearly, the guy was three sheets to the wind and it was a wonder he could walk, much less ride. A few minutes of brief conversation and then he excused himself because he had to get back to work. His job by the way? Teaching English to third graders. “By the way,”confided Sidney Greenstreet as they watched his buddy meander off on his bike. “He’s also my dealer.” I always wondered how difficult it would be to get a job teaching English in Japan. Well, apparently not all that difficult at all.