So, following weeks of high-end lunches AND dinners, multi-course chef menus that included everything from foie gras to fatty tuna to fancy desserts, macaron binges, and chocolate snacks, all counter-balanced by all five in-room workouts, I finally weighed myself last night.  The result?  A grand total of -5 pounds.  That’s -5!  I actually lost weight!  But hang on a minute.  The same thing happened last year as well and my friend Ivon was quick to point out that I probably lost muscle and gained fat because, of course, muscle weighs about twice as much as fat.  Well, unlike last year, I now own a scale that allows me to measure and approximate my body fat.  And that result?  -1% body fat.  I’m actually in better shape now than when I left!

I’m not at all sure what happened.  Could it have been the smaller portions?  The fish?  All that walking?  All the worrying about all of the weight I thought I’d put on?

Hey, while in Japan, I kept on seeing this trailer for a movie called Assault Girls –

I want to see this movie.

And date all three actresses.

Well, I was back at it today and by “it” I of course mean working on Stargate.  I finally started writing that script and made some good headway, hitting the ten page mark before flaming out.  Still, ten pages aint bad.  At this rate, I’ll be finished by this weekend.  Which, of course, I won’t be.

Oh, hey, to all those asking – Yes, the book of the month club discussion proceeds as scheduled.  To those of you who haven’t started on Lawrence Watt-Evans’ The Misenchanted Sword – What are you waiting for?  I just started and it’s proving a very quick, and very entertaining read.  Discussion begins on Monday so get movin’!

Last night, I checked out what was formerly Fuel and presently Re-Fuel: same crew, different concept.  The room is darker, more casual, a little more hip, and the menu definitely more affordable yet full of Fuel favorites like their buttermilk fried chicken and crispy duck.  Among the items I sampled…

The new look Fuel = Re-Fuel

Piggy Puffs: Made from Berkshire pork, they’re the gold standard of crispy pig skins.

Croquettes: Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal does something similar. Crispy on the outside; hot liquid foie gras on the inside. Tasty!

Ox-tongue salad. One of last night’s favorites.

Roasted bone marrow.

Buttermilk fried chicken. Now available at dinner!

The dry-aged beef burger with cheddar, bacon, and fries. All I could think was "Boy, wait until Carl tries this."

Plenty of other interesting items on the menu that I didn’t get around to trying this time – spaghetti carbonara, crunchy scrapple, house made potato gnocchi, and many more.  I was eyeing the peanut and chocolate parfait for dessert but, alas, didn’t have the appetite.  Next time for sure.

One of my fellow travelers, Said, a Swedish freelance photographer has a great Japan blog here (  Check it out – especially if you understand Swedish.  Some terrific pics, including one of my ice cream tower.  And no, Das, that isn’t a euphemism.

Oh and this entry dedicated to blog regular PoorOldEdgarDerby.  Happy Birthday!

51 thoughts on “December 10, 2009: 15 Days. 29 Restaurants. 34 Michelin Stars. Only One Survivor.

  1. Impressed is the word of the day. Impressed at your ability to eat so much food over the last two weeks. Impressed you lost weight and body fat doing so. Impressed you were able to buckle down and get back to work in such a big way. Impressed at the peek at Re-Fuel. If I ever make it back that way I’ll want to try out the croquettes, fried chicken, and beef burger, for a start. Hmm. wonder if one can make a reservation at lunch and then remain sitting through dinner? Ah well. Thanks for taking the time to post, and do let us know how the doggies reacted to seeing you again.

  2. Hi Joe, and everyone who let me know that Alaina Huffman’s baby is indeed a girl. Sorry, Alaina. My bad. My very favorite and only brother is named Charlie, so, I just assumed. I am very curious to find out, however, if her pregnancy gets written in to the SGU story line.

    Welcome back to the great white north, Joe. I bet the temperature change was a bit of a shock. Did you know that Los Angeles actually got down to the mid 40’s Fahrenheit? If it were Celsius, that would have been far too hot. Not moaning too much, but the current temperature where I am in Alberta, is a balmy -40…which is minus forty in either measurement. Guess what! I can spit and it freezes before it hits the ground! Yes, I’m just trying to make you all jealous.
    Um…is it working?


  3. Welcome home!

    Been waiting to mention this…my birthday is Wed. 23 Dec.

    That’s it, got nothing more.

  4. Joe wrote: “Some terrific pics, including one of my ice cream tower. And no, Das, that isn’t a euphemism.”

    Rats…and here I was all ready to ask if it was soft-serve.



  5. Hey, welcome back! It was fun reading about all your culinary adventures abroad. How’s the jet lag?

  6. Yep, Joe, das is queen of the snappy comeback. 😉 But you already knew that. Congratulations on making it back wearing the same pants size you wore when you left. I think Fuel’s new name is quite clever, and the food looks great.

    Hey, das, how is your dad doing?

    So the actual book discussion is the week of Dec. 14 not Dec. 8 as it says in the side bar… Good. I will have my thoughts composed by then and maybe even have a question or two.

  7. I simply cannot resist…

    After revisiting your menu over the last week, I’ve come to the conclusion that cod sperm should be advertised as a new weight loss solution, with you as it’s spokesman. 😉

  8. Did Fondy and the hounds miss you?

    Are you going to stay with your mother at Christmas or stay at home with the pack (and Fondy)?

    I have the choice of putting my little furrybabies in the cattery over Christmas, travelling six (l-o-n-g) hours by train to spend the time with my brother, his wife and their three young children (5yrs, 3yrs and 6months) . I adore all of them but …
    I am not very good with human children.
    staying at home with the feline thugs – watching TV when I want and eating what I want. Santa Kittie will bring them some nice toys to kill and some nice food – which they will refuse to eat!

    Tough decision! 😉


  9. Joe wrote:

    Hey, while in Japan, I kept on seeing this trailer for a movie called Assault Girls.…

    I want to see this movie.

    And date all three actresses.

    Joe…? You’ve been dropping hints like chocolate sprinkles for the past couple months. Something you need to tell us?

  10. Yay for Re-Fuel! The buttermilk fried chicken is going to be my first thing I try, should I ever happen to visit… chicken is one of my five food groups, yanno!

    @ArcticGoddess Yeah, Alaina’s named her daughter Charley-Jane, prolly thinking along the lines of Bobby-Jo. I think Charley alone is a great name for a girl, but she added the Jane to make it more feminine (and I’m the sort of person who’s gonna name my future daughters things like “Barue” and “Dylan” so I don’t know how much my opinion counts! 😉 ).

  11. @ Sparrowhawk – I’m only snappy in type. 😛

    Dad’s doing much better, thanks for asking! I hope he continues to improve – we have a lot of work this winter, and most of it is up in his head (he’s so old school, ya know…never writes anything down).

    @ Gilder – I dunno – my dad is the funny one, and he’s from Council Bluffs, Iowa. Have you ever been to Iowa? There’s absolutely nothing funny about that place. It’s just…corn. And tractors. And more corn. Even Canada is funnier than Iowa (but only just 😉 ).


  12. Oh, and Joe…what’s up with the Richard Nixon impersonation in that first picture?


  13. Welcome back Joe!

    Did you like this years trip better than last years? And why?

    Are the Piggy Puffs crunchy? We had a big debate about that at the store. I like the ones that crumble in your mouth while most of the customers like the threat of chipping a tooth. What do you think? I never pictured you to be one who would enjoy a good pork rind.

  14. Hm.. so for 3800 yen you get the ice cream tower and they take a picture of it and the purchaser.. curious place.

  15. Smaller portions, the lack of fried goods, the fact that most of what you ate was fresh and preservative free would attribute to your weight loss. The digestive system, metabolism etc, etc is much happier with that kind of dietary setup.

    Hope all and sundry were happy to see you home.

  16. So, I don’t understand a single word of your friend’s blog, but the pictures are amazing. I am really craving ice cream right now. WOW.

    Also, that movie trailer made me crack up. Reminded me of that movie (and its sequels) where the worms burst out of the ground (can’t remember the title right now for the life of me, of course), but Japanese style. I like wings on the one character. Everything else looks pretty lulzy.

    And congrats on losing weight! Note to self: go to Japan, eat a lot, come home skinny!

  17. You lost weight? How? Never happen with anyone else but you. If you start eating too much of that buttermilk fried chicken, I bet you won’t lose weight. OMG, I need some of that right now. But where’s the mashed potatoes?

    I think Fondy would have something to say about the dating of those actresses.

  18. So, I’ve been looking online for other Tokyo Metro etiquette posters…funny stuff. And informative.

    Also, thanks for the dedication. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  19. Joe, I’m in awe of you. Amazing -5lbs, after all that!!!

    Re-Fuel looks wonderful, next time we’re up in your neck of the woods, will have to check it out. I recognise is it Ted? the chef, from our visit, back in May.

    I bet Bubba, Jelly, Maximus and Lulu were pleased to see you? Have a great weekend, and stay warm! Actually, how much of a temperature change is it from Tokyo to Canada, it can’t be too different? Are saying this because we couldn’t believe how cold Vancouver was when we were there – was colder there than in our winter!We were rugged up in thermals and all the locals were in t-shirts and jackets, can’t imagine how cold it must be now! I know I know, soft Antipodeans – harden up, (well, in my defence I was at the beach today)!!

    Have a good one!

  20. Buttermilk fried chicken…… droooooooooooooool..

    You LOST 5 lbs?? (2 kgs )

    Holy sushi!!

    I bet it was all that walking around and the smaller portions.

    Lucky bastard.

  21. You are surprised you lost 5 pounds. I’m not. You ate a lot right, but what did you eat? Seafood, beef, foie gras, and veggies. Tempura, desserts, rice and some other carbexplosions. Well… Compare the meal above with the food you had in Japan and the answer is right in front of you I’m afraid.

    There were less carbs in the Japanese food. That’s the answer to your weight loss.

    So, if you want to keep the pounds off and continue to see your toes and “something in between” when you look down, reduce the carb consumption. Say bye, bye to sugar, pasta, rice, potatoes, oatmeal, bread, cereals, and other grains one a regular basis.

    Say hallo to seafood, organic beef, pork, poultry etc., foie gras, eggs, butter, olive oil, full fat cream, cheese, mayo, nuts, dark chocolate (min 70%) and veggies. Fruit is candy. Eat it as a treat. I think a foodie like you can make something edible out of the mentioned ingredients …

    Just follow these simple rules between your gourmet restaurant visits and you will stay fit.

  22. Want Croquette’s NOW! They look seriously YUM. Assault Girls looks like a winner. Maybe I can find it with subtitles.

    Joe, do yourself a favor and try the scrapple. You’ll love it. It’s big here on the East Coast. Most people whine about what it’s made from. You won’t.

    Good weekend everyone!

  23. Lets remind those whos Swedish is a bit rusty, that google offers machine translations (since that really requires a sentient computer, some of the results are a bit like hitting your head with a brick – but its better than nothing 😉 )

    I’ve made a shorter link so as not to scare unduly:

  24. Hi Mr M!

    Glad you had a safe journey back.

    Re-Fuel looks great! Have they kept the Sweet Corn Soup?

    Just caught “justice” on Tuesday night. Nice cliffhanger.

    Welcome home again!


  25. Welcome back! The king of the feeding table has returned to refuel at, where else…ReFuel.

    Das….damn, you are swift! Still laughing at your comment and at Joe’s comment back!

    YEah…Joe….Did they keep the Sweet Corn Soup as a possible item?

    Glad to hear they kept the crispy duck. Now to just get back there to try it.

  26. Welcome Back Joe!

    Just wanted to say thank you for taking us with you through the restaurants and streets of Tokyo! It’s not a trip that I think I would ever take, so it was very gracious of you to let me tag along on your trip. It was fun. What a ride!

    Now back to the hum drum life of a TV show producer. All the best for completing your script in a timely manner.

    Question: Why the peace sign from the people in Japan when getting their picture taken?

    Have a great weekend. It’s Friday and no SGU! I’ll have to pay attention to my family instead. Bummer. 🙂

    Have a great, relaxing weekend catching up on everything.

  27. Back to working on Stargate… 🙂

    I enjoyed the last ep. The ending shocked me, and I happily await what will happen next.

    The new Fuel looks good. I could sooooo go for the chicken!!!


  28. Welcome back to reality. Sucks don’t it?

    BTW Justice was totally WTF??! In the best possible way:)

  29. Welcome home!

    My husband cannot gain weight. He was in the hospital and the nutritionist decided he was underweight. Fed him 9000 calories a day, and since he was in isolation, very little exercise. 48 days later, he had not gained an ounce.

    I’m the opposite, high protein meals make me ill after a week, and reduced caloric intake makes me hang on the the weight. I can only lose weight if I keep moving. My Wii says I am obese and unbalanced. Guess who isn’t getting a holiday gift? That’s right, I’m looking at YOU Wii Fit!!!!

  30. I’ve got the cooking bug today. Rosemary Garlic chicken in the oven. Breakfast casserole, for hubby, in the fridge for tomorrow. Plus, a Texas Sheet Cake waiting to be baked. The house smells good today.

    It’s cold here, about 27-30 degrees F. That may be spring for you Canadians but my fingers are numb here in Mississippi. Once I pick up my son from school, I’m staying in and under my electric throw.

    I hope all of you are snug and eating fine tonight! Too bad there is no SGU.


  31. Congrats Joe!!!!

    I’ve Been sick so I’ve lost a bit of weight. Still, I haven’t worked out since Monday so probably some of it is muscle. Lol

    Oh by the way I read you interview about SGU. Now I have been liking SGU a lot but I’m ready for things to happen so your interview gave me hope.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  32. Welcome back, Joe. I think you not gaining weight in Japan, eating all that you, proves that the American diet is unhealthy. Between the portions that restaurants serve and the fact the meals are packed with fat and calories… proves that we Americans have an unhealthy lifestyle. ( I’m speaking generally).

    Yeah, you ate A LOT but is was healthy. And I’m sure that food was not processed like it is here.

    OK get back to work.

  33. Hello Joe,

    You sure do eat interesting things. Roasted bone marrow? Really? 🙂

    I want to see that movie too. Looks like my kind of thing. Reminds me of that movie with Kevin Bacon. It was called Tremors.

    I am loving SGU. I’ve seen a lot of critical remarks, and maybe some of them make a good argument, but you know, sometimes I think people just forgot how to enjoy a show. They watch a show with the sole intent of finding some kind of fault and spend so much time over analyzing every little thing that watching the show becomes a chore. Why do people do that?

    SGU started off a little slow for me, but once it got going, I was hooked. Time is my favorite episode so far.

    The ending of Justice floored me. Actually, the whole episode did. Certainly made me rethink my opinion of certain characters. I love how the characters are a bit darker than SG1 and SGA.

  34. Ahhh j’ai raté un article!!! O_O c’est pas possible!!!!

    honte à moi ==> -_-‘

    Yah, la photo de vous est génial! ça fait très plaisir de vous voir sourir 🙂

    ..> article suivant … ^^

  35. I went to re-fuel Monday the 7th and had the pork. It was alright, but was really hoping for more. For desert we had the apple and pear crostada and it was fantastic.

    While we were in Vancouver, we also went to NU which dinner was very good, but a bug was crawling around our table after our mains came out. Our waitress was thoroughly shocked and apologetic and was nice enough to give us a free desert which was really good.

    Glad you made it home safe.


  36. Man, I gotta stop reading these darned entries on an empty stomach! Everything looks “cho oishii”!!

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