With our 100 000 yen dinners behind us, Ivon and I decided to shift focus to more casual eats, simpler drinks, and putting a little something aside for retirement. And so, rather than have the concierge recommend something for us (the last “casual” lunch spot they suggested ended up costing us about $150 a head), we elected to go for a stroll and just go where the mood took us. On this night, it too us to Bangkok Kitchen, a bustling Thai restaurant on a restaurant row just under the train tracks near The Imperial. There, we enjoyed some pretty good pork skewers and fried fish, a less sweet version of pad thai than the one I’m used to back home (according to Ivon who worked at a restaurant back in the day, many North American places prepare pad thai with ketchup), and a very good green chicken curry with sticky rice. Then, for dessert, we had two Moscow Mules and a couple of Kishi-san’s special cocktails at Star Bar.
We wandered about the streets of Ginza for a while and, as usual, were approached by guys trying to hustle us into some of the local clubs.
“For five thousand yen each, you can go to the club,”one guy explained on our first night. “In the club, a girl will talk to you.”
Naturally, the prospect of a real live girl talking to me for only fifty bucks sounded great, but in the end I figured I’d put the money to more practical use. Like booze and macarons. Anyway, we ended up declining – as we always do – and the hustlers always react – like they always do. No, they don’t continue their hard sell. Nor do they curse you. Nor do they quickly move on to their next mark. That would be so un-Japanese. Instead, the moment you say not thanks, they immediately apologize and bow as though they’ve done something to offend, continuing to to mutter whispered apologies as you walk off into the night. Half the time I feel so bad, I want to run back and tell them all is forgiven and, hell, you only live once so why not spend five thousand yen on some girl to feign interest in what you have to say.
The next morning, we had a sushi lunch near the hotel (the same chain restaurant we’d enjoyed previously but far inferior to their Tsukiji Market counterpart), then headed off to Ivon’s chosen “Destination of the Day”: the Ueno Zoo!
Eventually, we reached the zoo. Ivon could hardly contain his excitement at the prospect of seeing that giant panda. We bought our tickets and – uh…oh…
Anyway, we walked around. Saw a bunch of animals. Snapped a bunch of pictures. I found it all rather depressing. Until I saw the snow monkeys!
After which I got all bummed out again. Not even a bunch of belligerent kangaroos could cheer me up.
Ultimately, our outing proved equally depressing for Ivon once he discovered that there would be no polar bears either. Nevertheless, my buddy made do –
Tomorrow = our worst meal yet!
Followed by one even worse!