My feet hurt.  I figured this trip would be a great opportunity to break in those new shoes but, instead, they seem to be breaking me.  We’ve been doing a fair amount of walking these past couple of days and if it weren’t for the endless array of desserts that have given me the much-needed energy boosts I required to complete these seemingly endless strolls, I don’t know what I’d do.  Probably do less walking for one.

Yesterday, we had lunch at Butagumi, a tiny refurbished house turned tonkatsu restaurant serving up the most unbelievable array of crispy-fried pork goodness.  The great thing about traveling with a friend is that it allows you to rely on one another’s strengths and weaknesses to get around.  I, for instance, lend my experience and expertise on the city’s food, subway system, and strict rules and regulations ranging from not eating in public to not sleeping on the subway platforms.  Ivon, on the other hand, can actually read a map.  And so, it was mainly thanks to Ivon that we finally arrived at our lunch destination in Nishi Azabu.

It was cool outside but inside was a pleasant tropical temperature.  Pleasant when you initially walked in to the place, then really freakin’ hot as the meal progressed.  Since we wanted to sample a variety of porkly offerings, we decided to go with the Butagumi-Zen platter comprised of five kinds of pork, three sirloins and two filets (Iwachuu, Ryuuka-ton from Okinawa, Imobuta from Chiba, Eishow-ton which hails from China and is 80% fat, and the grand-daddy of pork – Iberico from Spain).  To further hedge our bets, we also ordered a katsu curry of Matsuzaka pork from Mie.

Matsuzaka pork
Butagumi-Zen sampler platter.

 A good time and a great meal. I very much enjoyed sampling the various offerings and sussing out their porkly nuances.  For his part, Ivon enjoyed the meal as well but wished at least some of the variations had been grilled rather than deep-fried.  But then, that’s tonkatsu.

Afterwards, we took a walk up to Roppongi station where we caught the metro to Omotesando…

I wish to hire this dog to investigate a case on my behalf.
As far as great pants go, this pair stood out on Day #3.
More awesome architecture.
More low-grade bad vacation karma. Ivon loses his passmo and must buy a new one in order to ride the subway.
We stop by Pierre Herme for some of a plate of my favorite macarons (and a couple of other desserts). They were, as always, terrific - in stark contrast to the dry, chewy macarons I picked up the previous night at the Shiseido Buildling. Awful.
This one's for Akemi. Her favorite dessert: the Isphahan.
After dessert, we crossed the street to sample more dessert - the popular Tomonama Doughnut.
Ivon marveled at closely they resembled their lurid plastic display counterparts. I took a bite of one and discovered it was partially frozen. Ivon claimed it was their way of dissuading consumers from eating on the go, ensuring they would have to return home and eat the doughnuts once they'd thoroughly thawed. I did upon my return to my hotel room. I was less than impressed. These doughnuts were the biggest disappointment since my failed marriage.
Tokyo out-Christmases Vancouver. And it aint even close.
Platform for Women Only subway car. To be fair, the gropers get their own car too.
An awesome assortment of Jean-Paul Hevin chocolate macarons. My midnight snack.

Next blog entry: Prison-style izakaya!  Star Bar!  Electric Town!

41 thoughts on “December 10, 2010: Tokyo Trip Day #4! Butagumi pork-out! Omotesando dessert run! Izakaya Tofuro!

  1. DAY 4!

    Have I really been gone that long? :p School has kept me busy. Good to know your having fun though. Don’t get too fat. 😉

    Thanks so much,
    Major D

    @das Mom says its ok. IM the official pervert now. 😉

  2. Hey, Joe!

    When you get back you need to make a Top 10 list w/ pictures of your favorite Tokyo dishes

  3. Lucious feeding goodness…Yum.
    Hope your feet hold up. You can always buy a more comfy pair to ensure you make it to all the feeding places.

    The isphahan looks yummy…what is it? ingredients?
    The red things look like raspberrys – is it?

    Now to go look for a snack…all the food snaps made me hungry again.

  4. Oh man, that’s some fine lookin’ tonkatsu!

    I have a friend who loses stuff incessantly. Must be related to Ivon. We gave Boy-toy a pair of bondage pants, which ar3e covered with chains, and a crapload of carbiners. Fastening everything to his body seemed to curb his losses. Perhaps you could buy a roll of duct tape, you could stick everything to Ivon so he’d not lose small items.

    Try Tokyu Hands for the duct tape. One of my favorite stores in the universe. And trip to Japan for me would include an entire day there. Hobby, craft, games, gifts and art supplies. Heaven.

  5. Hi Joe and Ivon-

    Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us. I am really loving the pics of all the yummy food and treats you have enjoyed (some, not so much) along the way.
    I wonder if there are any shops in SF that make good macarons? Have a craving now… thanks!

    Any more reports on Jelly and her status? Please pass along a huge hug and kiss for her. I hope she is doing great!

    Can hardly wait to see what you post next.


  6. Maybe the guy in the green jacket lost his luggage too. The macarons looks delicious, I hope you enjoyed your midnight snack, yum. That dessert Akemi likes looks wonderful also. thanks for sharing all the pictures,

  7. Ivon’s so precious. Assigns such positive intent. It’s really so you can’t eat them until you’re across town and it’s not worth getting your money back.

    Call in a credit card dispute just to thwart them. Don’t let anyone out-dastard you.

  8. Hi Joe, no further word on Jelly? I’m assuming all is well 🙂 Those macarons literally made my mouth water. I guess I’ll just have to settle for my green tea Kit Kats! As far as your shoes are concerned, ever consider wearing jeans and sneakers if you’re just being touristy? Yeah, right, never mind 😉

  9. Prison-style izakaya? That doesn’t sound good. I can’t wait to hear about that one.

    Yum. Tonkatsu. I may have to whip up a batch this weekend. Or better yet, katsu kare. Double yum.

  10. Your doughnut-disappointment comparison made me laugh out loud, then clap my hand over my mouth, because I thought I probably shouldn’t laugh at that. Then I laughed again.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper macaroon. I did have a couple of really wonderful macaroons made at the local culinary school, but they looked nothing like the ones you always show. These were big and browned on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. Bigger and much, much better versions of the ones you buy in a plastic clamshell at the grocery store bakery.

  11. 1. You bought Akemi somefin’, so what about me?? 🙁 Aren’t I your FAVORITE???! 😀



    Nevermind…you’d probably send me a box of spiders. 😛

    2. Ivon needs a personal assistant. Now.

    3. Major D. Davis is now your blog’s official pervert. I can get away with murder now. 😈

    4. You took the groper’s car, didn’t you?? 😀

    5. Speaking of which, how did you like the airport patdown?? 😉

    6. The pork looks AMAZING!

    7. Last, but certainly not least, any news on Jelly? Hope all is well!

    Have a good one, Joe! Staple Ivon’s passmo to his forehead! And remember, no drunk cuddlin’!



  12. The macarons look so good, yet again! They always remind me of my mom’s egg white frosting.

    Lots of tasty food yet again, sorry to hear about the sore feet. Hope you can get some gel inserts for your shoes so that you can walk happy again. And bandaids in assorted sizes to protect the toes from the horrors of new shoes.

    Good luck tomorrow (or is it today?), I hope Ivon finds his metro pass; if it turns up later it’ll make a cool bookmark on he’s back home.

  13. My culinary news: after five years of avoiding egg dishes due to food sensitivity, I tried cooked egg whites a few days ago. Happily, no noticeable symptoms resulted.

    I’m thrilled, as I plan to order a pavlova for my birthday. It’s a meringue and fruit dessert I sampled in Ireland last summer. There’s only one place in town that makes this Aussie treat. Which reminds me, I should order soon, since my natal day is just before Christmas.

  14. Am I the only one who finds the snow falling/jumping screen annoying? I can’t find a way to block it.
    Glad Jelly is doing good!
    Ahem…comparing donuts to failed marriage, okay then. Either you haven’t had quite enough disappointments for comparison or you REALLY set high expectations on those donuts.
    TMI on Ivan and clean undies. But now that you mention it, he could simply have gone commando like C Judge.

  15. Hey Joe,

    Your blog page doesn’t seem to remember I exist. My LONG comment just went into a black hole. *sigh* I will REMEMBER to hit ctrl A ctrl C before I hit “Post Comment” this time. I know…it is just a comment, but I hate even reading what I have written…let alone writing it a second time.

    Your show-n-tell today is FABULOUS. Could be one of your best. Must be nice having Ivon along to poke fun at. I am beginning to feel like the title should be.. “The Adventures of Joey and Ivon”

    Awww, I am so NOT writing everything again. I am still sending good thoughts your way for Jelly. *hugs for your both*

    Best to you Joe…and Ivon of course,
    Cheryl 🙂 🙂

    I added the second smile for Ivon. Ha…have I been banned…was it something I said yesterday. ooops

  16. Coucou!

    Comment ça va ? Moi bien, enfin le week end et dans une semaine les vacances!

    Alalala marcher c’est sûr qu’à un moment ça ne fait pas que du bien =S ..mais bon quand c’est pour visiter et profiter on est plus motivé^^!

    Miame tout ces plats!

    Alalala je me demande toujours pourquoi vous n’avez pas prévu de voyage en France, vous y trouverez pleins de choses qui vous plairez.

    Bon week end!
    Gros bisou!!

  17. Gilder: pavlova is pretty easy to make. I could look the recipe up for ya?

    Mr. M.: I’m adding my good wishes to Jelly’s recovery.
    Last year’s trip you ate a lot of cod sperm. I haven’t seen any pictures of that dish yet. What gives?

  18. When you were chatting about your travel strengths and weaknesses it made me think of The Amazing Race. Joe, you and Ivon would be the power couple…maybe just for fun you could treat one day like a leg on TAR. Ride through the streets of Tokyo following a map that’s in Japanese. Then one of you has to play sushi roulette. OK so the concept needs some work but you can’t deny it’d be fun. Joe, can you ride a bike?

    Are they definitely pants not pyjamas, cos sometimes when i go to the supermarket I see people wearing pyjama pants. I haven’t figured it out yet.

    What’s with the bit cut out of that building? Almost looks like a diving platform…probably not a good ideafor that on a building.

    Joe, what’s your fave flavour macaron?

    Cheers, Chev

    p.s. still no blog dedication? *sigh*

    Cheers, Chev

  19. I’m still thinking about The Amazing Race….I wonder who would be the first to lose it on screen…I’ll put my money on Ivon ‘cos he loses everything else…haha

    Cheers. Chev

  20. Dasndanger said:

    2. Ivon needs a personal assistant. Now.

    Ivon, here’s my resume:

    * I’m amazing at spelling
    * I make an awesome cup of coffee
    * I love wearing clothes with pockets
    * I’ve picked up the game of hockey in just a few months, one day I’ll even learn to skate
    * I design websites
    * I’ve got a curious nature so I’m fantastic at research
    * On occasion I make certain guys laugh
    * I’m creative
    * I have an iPad with Plants vs Zombies loaded
    * I probably run slower than you in the event of a zombie outbreak
    * I could figure out IMDB

    Cheers, Chev

  21. [i]These doughnuts were the biggest disappointment since my failed marriage.[/i]


  22. @chevron7

    Dang it, you got me beat. The only way I can up you is that I can double as a body guard. If Ivon has a lot of enemies, I’m a shoe in. (As long as he doesn’t mind a personal assistant who is pretty bad at personal assisting.)

  23. My feet hurt. I figured this trip would be a great opportunity to break in those new shoes but, instead, they seem to be breaking me.

    New shoes?? Man, I’d never go for long walks with new shoes.. think of the blisters!!! Always the good ol’ standards for me.. ones that are worn in, know my feet… like my old Nikes. 🙂

    Oh that pork looks gooooooooooood..

    Hope Jelly-kins is ok.. got an update???

  24. From yesterday, in Ivon’s defense, he was reluctant about eating the raw chicken until you, Joe, reassured him nothing could happen. Don’t eat the raw chicken or the skin. That’s living a little too much on the edge.

    Glad to hear the great news on Jelly! Now you can relax and enjoy torturing Ivon in Tokyo. (Yes, I know you’ve already been torturing him, but since you no longer have to worry about Jelly, you can enjoy it now.)

    Given your adventures with astronaut food, did you sample some of the selections?

    Midnight snack, huh? Did they survive till midnight? If it’s usually 5 o’clock somewhere, guess it must be midnight somewhere too. 😉

    Joe, you can’t fool us. We all know you are jealous of those pants and wish you had a pair. 😛

  25. If Ivon’s bad karma mojo is presenting itself in only minor ways (i mean, he made it safe and sound enough, even if his luggage didn’t) than perhaps your good vacation karma is helping balance him out. 🙂

  26. @das from yesterday : “hot urethral lavage” is an awesome name for a band.

  27. Poor Ivon. He seems to be getting the rookie treatment on this trip. 😉 Hope he’s truly enjoying himself despite the mishaps. 🙂 You and Ivon should go on Amazing Race. That would be hilraious! LOL! 😀

    Love it when tease us with food. 🙂 That pork look delicious! Those macarons looks yummy! That isphahan looks yummy too! 😀

  28. Wow that is an incredibly unfair comparison for your ex-wife. Those donuts look literally look like shit, even that white one has bits of corn in it. How could you be excited about those?

  29. New shoes on vacation – tsk tsk. I thought you were traveler-hardened enough to know better! 🙂 Hopefully Ivon’s being nicer to you than I was to my Mom when she did that. (Shudders at memory of blisters, bandages and bleeding feet.)

    Um, on another note, why is the pork furry?

  30. Playing catch up on your travels. Looks like you and Ivan are having fun despite the minor set backs. But what could be better than Jelly doing so well. OMG that wittle face! She’s missing you ,Joe, awww.
    Safe travels.

  31. @Das — As soon as you said Ivon needs a personal assistant, @Chevron7 immediately came to mind. 🙂

    How’s Jelly, Joe?

    So far, no major disasters. Whew.

    And who ever told you buying new shoes and breaking them in on vacation was a smart thing? Hmm… Must be a “guy” thing. Women know better.

  32. Hey Joe

    What is a Isphahan? From the looks of it I’d say it was a large macaron with raspberries in it. Are they related?


  33. DP said:


    Dang it, you got me beat. The only way I can up you is that I can double as a body guard. If Ivon has a lot of enemies, I’m a shoe in. (As long as he doesn’t mind a personal assistant who is pretty bad at personal assisting.)

    Nope I’ll beat you there too. My friend James would school me in the art of the ninja and his Batman ways. I’d be like the Secret Service…not that there’d be bullets to fly in front of…Ivon doesn’t have enemies, do you Ivon? Unless you count DHL, Air Canada….hmmmm

    Cheers, Chev

  34. PBMom said:

    @Das — As soon as you said Ivon needs a personal assistant, @Chevron7 immediately came to mind. 🙂

    Awww…thanks for thinking of me buddy…I would rock that job…hehe

    Cheers, Chev

  35. Quote “These doughnuts were the biggest disappointment since my failed marriage” Unquote.

    o0o0o I have been away for a long time, I had no idea you were now single.

    I am shortly on my way out to my Works Christmas function. We are going to a Chinese restaurant. I am so hoping that we all get to order one dish each. I’m all for Szchuan beef, at least I will get to eat something as I dont think the kids would like all the spices 😀 Well, I hoping they dont like the spices

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