Last night, Ivon and I encoutered a first for Tokyo = spotty service.  And at one of the city’s purportedly premiere Italian restaurants no less.  Under normal circumstances (aka – back in North America) these hiccups would’ve barely registered but here in Tokyo where chefs walk you out the front door to your cab and bar staff race each other to pull away your stool when you get up, it’s hard not to notice.

Ivon and I had dinner at Ristorante Honda, a place recommended by several reputable dining sources (You know who you are).  When we sat down we were presented with the menu listing a couple of table d’hote choices on one side and the various course offerings on the left.  We were instructed to choose a table d’hote, and then select from  the various appetizers, pasta, and mains.  As I started to peruse the selection, I noticed he was still standing there, pen poised, awaiting our picks.  I suggested he give us a few minutes to decide, and ordered a campari (the closest you can get to the taste of poison without actually drinking poison) while Ivon ordered a bottle of sparkling water for the table.  Moments later, the waiter returned to take our order, set down our water glasses, poured Ivon some sparkling water, and walked off.  I had to reel him back to get him to fill my water glass as well.

Suave, no?
Amuse-bouche. A fantastic duo of whipped daikon and olive oil.
Hair crab salad. Very good.
Uni tagliolini. Great. I don't understand why the sea urchin/pasta combo hasn't found its way onto the menus of more North American restaurants.
Sea eel with foie gras and eggplant. Good but, to be honest, while I like all three elements, I'm not entirely convinced they work well together.

 The arrival of our dishes was somewhat erratic.  One plate would be set down and then, several minutes later, another would arrive.  We waited for our main to arrive while the couple beside us were served two successive courses, including THEIR main. 

Time flies when you're, uh, oh - we're not having fun?

We ordered coffee and were, again, in for a bit of a wait.  When the dessert arrived, Ivon requested his coffee.  Sure, sure.  We waited a while, then went ahead and started eating.  Our coffees arrived just as we finished up.

Chestnut mousse a la Honda.

The food was very good.  Just not quite sure what to make of the service.

After dinner, we made like your average Tokyoite and caught the metro back to our home turf.  On the way, I spotted this poster for what looks to be an awesome movie…

What's with the dude with the hat?

We walked off dinner with a stroll through Ginza and, eventually, coincidentally (?), found ourselves here…

We closed the place down.  Another Tokyo first.  We staggered back to the hotel, exhausted, and I crawled into bed – and spent the next two hours lying awake admiring the awesome (albeit ill-fitting) present Kanae had given me –
They're a little tight. But stylish!

I knew I shouldn’t have had that damn coffee!

Fortunately, I’m on vacation.  And I happen to be vacationing with someone who matched me (more to the point, I matched him) drink for drink on the previous night.  So it wasn’t until 11:00 p.m. that we touched base – and not until after 1:00 p.m. that we actually headed out for lunch.  On this day, it was Ivon’s call… 

We ate at this American Diner where we happened to be the lone non-Japanese customers in the place. Great burgers. Mine was called the Double Devil Somethingorother and was served with habanero sauce and jalapenos.

After lunch, Ivon headed right back to the hotel for some more R&R while I took in the sights and sounds of Ginza…

Check out the line-up outside this exclusive nightclub. No, wait. That's not a nightclub. That's Abercrombie & Fitch. Akemi is a fan. She tells me that during the summer, the male staff wander about shirtless.

Which brings me to one of the things that continues to baffle me about the Japanese: their obsession with standing in lines.  On my last visit, a Japanese friend pointed out two Starbucks within a block of each other.  “Both are exactly the same,”she told me, “except that one always has line-ups and one is always empty.”  Seems that nothing says quality like a good long queue.  On this trip, another Japanese friend confirmed this seemingly deep-rooted obsession.  On weekends, the cafe she works at sees line-ups that necessitate waits of up to an hour.  And, on several occasions, she’s had customers step into the shop after a lengthy wait and ask: “What is this shop?  What did I just wait an hour in line for?”  In some cases, just the line-up is enough to convince them to line-up! 

Equally odd is the Japanese predilection for snapping photos of Christmas trees. 

Hell, the Christmas tree in our hotel see so much action, it’s impossible to walk through the lobby without ruining a half-dozen snapshots –

   Still, there are certian Japanese passions I do share…

A pre-dinner snack.

Only two more days left!  Tomorrow, Ivon wants to go to the zoo!  For real!

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woody woodward

Love the footies bro! Just 2 more days? Awwww. That’s gotta suck. Sounds like you two are having a great time. But at least you’ll be back for the last minute Christmas rush ‘eh? lol Thanks for the blog. Can you give us a couple more videos before you leave? TIA
woody

Kevin
Kevin

Love the form fitting socks. But since I have webbed toes..i’m thinking they’d be even more awkward on someone like myself,lol.

Lisa R
Lisa R

Loved all the pictures; especially of the food and Christmas trees. Oh, yes, the pictures of the suave and handsome gentlemen were appreciated too. smile

Ivon wants to go to the zoo, really? I’ll look forward to hopefully seeing pictures if you do go.

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Joe, how’s it that women are always giving you presents? What’s your secret??

das

Sean D.

…habanero sauce? You must have some serious taste-buds.

I can only handle a teeny-tiny bit of that stuff at a time.

I haven’t had it on a burger, though I might give it a try. Sounds interesting.

chevron7
chevron7

Aww I love the zoo… planned on being a zookeeper when I was a kid but ended up overqualified for the job. Maybe you could have a game w/ tomorrow’s photos – who’s cuter Ivon or a baby animal? LOL

Anyhoo I’ll repost what I posted on the last post (you don’t have to approve that one Joe):

OK I feel a bit better now I realise I’ve been the subject of a month long PUNKING!!! It’s been doing my head in how twitter keeps unfollowing BamBam. I checked Twitter early this morning only to find I wasn’t following him again. I refollowed only to get a blocked message. Of course I won’t lie, there were tears. Then this morning I checked my email to find a Twitter follow notification from BamBam for yesterday afternoon and it all fell into place.

Well we’ve chatted and he’s soooo going down. Prepare for a bit of fun…I’m going to put a hold on The Art of War wink

Cheers, Chev

chevron7
chevron7

OMG that pic of Ivon is identical to the one from the wrap party a year ago…is that like his drunk pick up move? Does it work?

Cheers, Chev

p.s. I really love the Ivon photo in front of that pink think but man does that pink bleed through the photo

JeffW

Hi Joe,

Are your toes really that crooked or did you not pull the socks on all the way?

Your picture left me wondering about Camera-Boom Counterweights and if they fall off a lot…;-)

chevron7
chevron7

Super cute socks Joe…you must have big toes or something.

Big thumbs up for that burger…looks sooooo good right now and I don’t have a hangover.

Just wondering when you get bad service like that how do you tip? Do you let them know at the end, or is that really rude?

Cheers, Chev

JYS
JYS

Le Bernardin in NYC has a Sea Urchin-Caviar Angel hair pasta dish. Not sure if its on the current menu or not, but it was featured in the Food Porn episode of No Reservations

Brandon Williford

Dear Joe;

How in the hell have you not exploded like the character who had one too many after-dinner mints in “The Meaning of Life”?

Seriously? Wtf is up with that? How? I eat half a pizza and I put on like 84,324.45384875 pounts.

– Brandon

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

@ Sparrowhawk – I’ve only been able to read a couple or three chapters tonight – this book is giving me anxiety attacks!!! Just when I thought it couldn’t get ANY worse…

Ugh.

Forget Pendergast. I need a hug. razz

das

Cody
Cody

I just have to say that I find it odd that I encounter the word “amuse-bouche” twice in one day. It’s just fun to say.

Happy eating/sight-seeing!

paloosa
paloosa

How can you eat all of Tokyo and not get fat?

Sorry to hear about SGU. I think my heart actually stuttered when I read it on Twitter. Considering where I work, I wanted to run upstairs and smack someone upside the head. Syfy is killing sci-fi.

I’m hoping that MGM can pick up the movies now that they’re out of bankruptcy. If so, I hope that you’ll still be involved. I can’t imagine you not working in TV or film.

On the other hand, you’re Tokyo trip is pretty damn entertaining. But it’s ending too soon. Between Jelly and SGU, I think you need a few more days of de-stressing.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

matched Ivon drink for drink? AND managed to go sightseeing after lunch when he had to crawl back to the hotel? Outstanding job. You’ve proven who the more macho male is this go round. Loved your comments on the Japanese and lines. Though i’d point out the British seem to have the same prediliction, and even Americans show an odd affinity for spending inordinate amounts of time blindly following others for generally trivial reasons.
Do enjoy the remainder of the trip,and look forward to the zoo report. Thanks for putting up the post in between your adventures.

Nate Muench
Nate Muench

The Guy in the Hat is Kamen Rider Skull. You should see it, some people (who live in Japan) said it’s pretty good.

susan the tartan turtle
susan the tartan turtle

I love going to the Zoo, I still have the urge to cuddle all the animals though. Alas they don’t let you do that!

smile

ganymede
ganymede

Linear Shopping…

You have to wonder, do they also line up for ONLINE stores..?

Lloyd67
Lloyd67

Hello joseph…

I am really sorry for this cancellation … pfff
This series is very important to me … and many others …
Will we still have an end?

And other films? Extinction and Revolution?

Many of us are really disappointed with this new … : (

Airelle
Airelle

I understand the socks, I was gifted a pair,,I think they are only for decoration, my feet are of normal size and it wasn’t very pretty. So just hang them on a tree as decoration, or hey, the dogs have a new toy, its the thought that counts.
The macarons looks delicious, how many can you stuff in your carry on? Overnight mail?? Could be worth it!
@das, glad to see you back on blog. Take care and sending {{hugs}} if it helps!
And the trees, ooohhh pretty lights. I can see their point. Maybe there is a picture contest of who can take the most pictures of trees lit up…
Maybe you got a new waiter at the restaurant, or were they just messin’ with you. If it was here, of course it would reflect in their tip, but there is different I believe you have said…so whadda ya do?
I don’t really like to wait in line for anything, call ahead reservations is great for restaurants, and not sure there is anything in a store I want that bad. That is funny they sometimes don’t even know what it is they are in line for. Hope you are having another wonderful day as you read this and hangover is long gone,plop plop fizz fizz(commercial for remedy)(although i couldn’t drink it) Eat lots and tell us all about it. thanks for sharing.

maggiemayday
maggiemayday

The Tokyo Zoo? Not a favorite. But then, I spent years in San Diego with a zoo membership.

Man, no more SGU? Syfy sucks ass-water. Idiots. Syfy, where television goes to die. Farewell Destiny. Farewell to one of the coolest crews ever.

Catching up.. Tokyo Tower is evil. I got puking shaky sick at the top, and I am not afraid of heights. Must be the proximity of the radiowaves they beam into our heads. I forgot my tin foil hat that day.

So far, the tempura looks to be the tastiest. There is an excellent place tucked behind the train station in Yokosuka; I adore the sweet potato.

Go Jelly girl, go!

paddy
paddy

pictures from the Tokyo zoo please!

Lis

YUM. I love watching Joe’s Adventures in Japan.

When you get to sit down and answer questions again, what can you tell a macaroon newbie? They look divine, but I want to make sure my first time is done right. Should I make them or buy them? Best flavour for a skeptical sort? Best place to buy them online? I’ve noticed some in my various grocery and they never look as amazing as I think they should. (Like your picture)

Joan001
Joan001

maggiemayday

…Man, no more SGU? Syfy sucks ass-water. Idiots. Syfy, where television goes to die. Farewell Destiny. Farewell to one of the coolest crews ever.

SyFy- a potentially good network run by wannabe non-professionals.

Joan001
Joan001

Joe, how popular is SGU in Japan?

Is there any possibility that an onslaught of queries and complaints from networks of foreign lands would cause a second look at the cancellation and reverse it? Get on it, you guys from Europe and beyond…