So after our rather disappointing visit to the Ueno Zoo, we returned to Ginza for a little stroll and what turned out to be not one but TWO disappointing dinners…

Leaving Ueno
Hey, it's that guy again! This was the third time I spotted him - in three different outfits no less. He's even got the boy pigeon-toed stance down pat.
Love the architecture in this city.
A theater neighboring the hotel features all female productions of everything from The Wedding Singer and An Officer and Gentleman to Japanese originals. Every night, female fans line the streets to catch a glimpse of the various actresses as they arrive for the evening's performance.

Back at the hotel, we enjoy our pre-dinnner snacks –

We finally tried the $10 white strawberry. Meh. I mean, it was good, but for $10 I was expecting spectacular. And a follow up card thanking me for the experience.
Strawberry and chocolate champagne macarons from that place in Mitsukoshi with all the line-ups. Girotte, I believe. The chocolate champagnes were a chewy disappointment, but the strawberry champagnes were awesome. I'm going to pick up a dozen for the gals at Pierre Marcolini as a going away present.
Oh, yeah. The Pierre Herme seasonal special. Flavors from left to right: black truffle, foie gras, and balsamic. I loved them and, surprisingly, so did Ivon - although he did feel the black truffle was lacking in true black truffle flavor.

Rather than rely on the suggestions of the concierge, we headed out determined to find a suitable restaurant on our own.  As we walked around, we were, as usual, approached by guys trying to hustle into one of the multitude of hostess clubs in the area.  One memorable guy attempted to a novel approach, attempting to win us over by promising “G cup model!”.  Not sure what that translates to in Japanese bra size but given what he mimed, suffice it to say it would be a healthy set in any culture.  We, as always, politely declined, but I made I made a show of noting the location for future reference.  You know, to be polite and all.  We eventually settled on a place called Tomoru Fine Dining.  There was nothing even remotely fine about it.  A terrible amuse bouche, tasteless cheese fondue, bland beef sashimi, and a horrific deep-fried foie gras…thing.

Bon Appetit!

To top things off, there was some loud mouth Westerner seated some four tables over whose voice carried all the way across the room.  We had to listen to this jerk give his expert opinion on everything from the quality of Asian restaurants to the suspect fashion tastes of the Japanese.

Stereotypical Western lout. His Japanese host no doubt did a lot of drinking.

We left our meal unfinished and headed out in search of a more promising restaurant.  Eventually, we found this place under the tracks –

Things start promisingly enough…

Then, we ordered an assortment of skewers and kicked back –

Apparently, it was our guy’s first night on skewer station.  Throughout the grilling process, he’d cast anxious glances back at his co-workers, madly turning the meats and continually soliciting opinions on their levels of doneness.  In the end, these were our plates once we’d finished our meal –

Clockwise from bottom: undercooked pork, undercooked chicken, pork fat and gristle.

We cut our losses and shifted our focus from food to sake.  Terrific call.   A few more drinks under our belts and we were feeling great!

  And thoughtful –

Then we capped off our evening with a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and four successive visits to Seven Eleven where I purchased four chocolate eclairs so Ivon could film me eating them in my drunken stupor. 

Man, I’m gonna miss this town.

Travel Day!  See you on the other side of Tuesday with my final Tokyo report including our final farewell to Star Bar!

33 thoughts on “December 21, 2010: Tokyo Travel Day #15! More Ginza sights! A double disastrous dinner! And Seven Eleven chocolate eclairs!

  1. You guys are too funny. Sorry about the bad dinners. I wouldn’t have touched any of that skewer stuff. I would have gotten sake too. And now, you’ve made me want chocolate eclairs. I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I go to the store.

  2. Hello Joe.

    Sorry to hear that the last two days were difficult… But remember this about your trip to the Zoo:

    Snow Monkeys!!! 😉

    Best wishes as your vacation winds down,


  3. Okay, the “Bon Appetit” dish looks like some kind of alien parasite discovered on a planet that you gated to! The skewers just look awful. What crappy luck to hit two places that were terrible. The questions is, how were the eclairs?

    Good luck on the remainder of your trip and have a safe journey home!

  4. Chocolate eclairs at a Seven Eleven? Wow, that’s pretty desperate. But Ivon filming you in a drunkard stupor sounds like fun–and potential blackmail stuff.

    That dinner made me nauseous.

    You’ll be traveling, I’ll be in surgery (yes, again, 3rd on the left, 1st on the right). Have a very safe flight. Glad you didn’t ever need the phone numbers to the embassy. You know, I care, so I worry.

  5. Well I guess you know where not to go on your next trip. Maybe you could have checked your friend Jons blog to see if he had a suggestion for you. I hope Ivon had a great trip and has lots of stories to tell about his adventure as well, Carl is probably waiting to hear and see the rest of the pictures and ok, maybe whatever present you brought him. The dogs are anxious to see you if only for a while. Mom is probably cooking up a storm,(yummy), so rest up while you can. The adventure continues back home.
    Safe journey and thanks for sharing your fun and not so fun moments.

  6. Not that guy’s first day pouring drinks. He knew he’d spill it so he took precautions.

    You’re supposed to be having nothing but out of this world restaurant experiences. You’re doing it wrong.

    Still, some of those things blew my mind.

  7. oh, if only someone had been videotaping you through the day…. looking forward to the roundup post and how it feels to be back with your “kids”.

  8. Did you have a chance to see the newest Kamen Rider movie?

    It is called Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider OOO & W Featuring Skull: Movie War Core

    (仮面ライダー×仮面ライダーオーズ&ダブル feat.スカル MOVIE大戦CORE)

    I wish I had told you sooner, because I think you might have enjoyed it a lot. I remember you showing a picture of a Kamen Rider BLACK action figure.

  9. Huh. I never had you pegged as a boob man. 😉

    @ Tammy Dixon – Sparrow and I just finished up Dance of Death, and I am completely exhausted. Also, I hate Viola. 😀


  10. A bit sad to see SGU go. But it was foreshadowed by the “put on the ice floe” new time slot. Along with paucity of Ad support from Skiffy (AKA SyFy) to confirm it. At least SGU didn’t suffer the fate of Caprica with a marathon broadcast to burn off the remaining un-aired episodes.

    Mr M. Is there time to developed and pitch a new Stargate series or mini-series to somebody for a Fall or Winter launch? Or is the SG1 and SGA movies more likely to happened?

    Or wait for some direction from the new MGM management?

  11. Your horrific deep-fried foie gras…thing. I saw that picture and for some reason felt sorry for it. It looks so sad. It looks like they killed it – whatever it was. Ivon did lose his glasses, didn’t he. Where at? Ya’ll have a safe trip home. Looking forward to a report on the dogs. I bet they are going to be mad at you for being away.

  12. Yech. Your dinners look dreadful. However, a night that ends with eclairs can’t be all bad. Unless the don’t sit well with the sake.

    Can’t wait to hear about your farewell to the Star Bar!

    I went out for sushi tonight. I’ve had sushi four times while you’ve been on vacation, Joe. Just thought you should know.

  13. I wonder if the guy in the pink skirt reminds me of a guy I met in Santa Cruz, CA… no street theatre just liked to walk the streets dressed in a pink dress, pink umbrella, white make-up, with pink lights around said umbrella.

    The bad luck on dining choices sucks, but hey ya can’t win ’em all, right? I’m sure that next year every where you go will be great. Though I must say that nothing topped my “isn’t that something” factor (looks wise) than the ratatouille from your visit to a place during last year’s Tokyo trip. It was ratatouille in square form, how awesome is that!!!

    May your flight be wonderful… or at least uneventful

  14. Wow….I’m jealous lol I was in Japan, about ……12(?) years ago (when I did my concerts there – I’m a concert pianist and actor).
    My favorite place was the Shogun castle…hell, everything there was my favorite! Teenage audience members treated me like I was Liberace! hah!
    Anyway I wanted to get in contact with you about Stargate Universe. Perhaps if you saw the work we have been doing all over the place you could maybe help us; either overtly or covertly. My SGU site is written in the box above. We have also spread the word on Twitter ( @SaveSGU ), on Facebook (!/SaveSGU?v=app_4949752878 ), on Digg and Mixx, etc..
    Please take a look, and send us/me a message when you get the chance!
    Thank you!

    Sincerely, Johnny M.

  15. I like little eyes at the end lol.
    And where are éclair au chocolat pics????

    Anyway always fun to follow your trip and great food pics miam miam!!

  16. So, when you say “eclairs” from 7-Eleven, do you mean those marginal doughnuts with the filling in them? Just how much sake did you HAVE??

  17. @ Sparrowhawk – You sound like me when Joe throws those chocolate parties and I end up eating a pound of chocolate myself while scrolling through the pictures. 😛 Methinks we’re living vicariously through Joe, and saving a hellava lot of money doing so! 😀

    @ Joe – A request (if you read this soon enough): How’s about a doggy reunion video when you get home?? Especially Jelly, if possible…we’re all still anxious to see how she’s doing.

    Have a good one!


  18. @PBMom…. good thoughts with you.

    Don’t knock the food in Japanese 7-11s, they are Not Like Us. I was addicted to cheap 7-11 sushi. The candy variety was strange and interesting. The fresh foods were even fresh at times.

    Joe, the problem is you fell for the “fine dining” line. Ha! You need to go somewhere with the wax dishes in the window and try the pointing form of ordering. Always exciting in case your server is near-sighted. I swear I’ll have to drag you to Yokosuka for a round of cheap Japanese food. The dark, smoky little kushiage place where the menu was strips of paper, one for each dish, tacked to the wall, working my hiragana/katakana skills to the limit. Not one word in English, not even Romanji. Loved that place. Only have the vaguest idea what I was eating half the time.

    Hate loud mouthed Westerners. Rambling: I was on the train to Shinagawa and amazingly, had snagged a seat. At the next stop, tons of people poured into the car. Four sailors got on, and promptly proceeded to loudly discuss the physical attributes of one young lady standing near them, and what activities they would enjoy performing to/with/for her. I found it disgusting and I’m was a sailor myself. Finally, we stopped at Yokohama. As she exited, she turned and in a loud voice exclaimed, “You assholes, I’m an American. I understood everything you said.” The four guys looked stunned. The crowd thinned just enough for them to see me, sitting there laughing at them. I hope they learned to STFU.

  19. Hey Joe,

    I am sorry for the cancellation of SGU. I feel bad for
    all the cast and crew as well as for the people who loved
    the show. I was one of the people who just couldn’t get
    into the new format ( I don’t really matter since I’m in Canada)but hoped the new series did well for the sake of
    the franchise to continue. I had planned to maybe one day watch SGU DVD’s in a marathon session to see if maybe I could get into the show but I won’t even bother now.

    I honestly don’t think Stargate is dead. I believe it will
    be back in some format eventually and I will be the first
    one to line up for it. I hope it has more of the old school
    camaraderie and humor as well as the drama and angst.

    Look forward to your comments on the subject when you get back.

  20. So how did you drink that drink without spilling Joe? Looks like the cup is overflowing.

    A $10 strawberry? Never seen those before, though I guess if anything I’ve never really tried..

    Anyway I’m kinda dying here, had Appendix removed and the area in general is swelling. Horrible.

  21. Wow… Leave it up to the Japanese to take crossdressing to a whole n’other level. And a white strawberry??? Something tells me that thing hasn’t yet ripened *barf*

  22. Safe trip home. Sometimes wandering around and “grazing” eating places is more fun than planned meals, although you got some bad ones you could have easily ended up with a gem of a place as well, with first dib foodie bragging rights. Better luck next time.

  23. I second the Alien Parasite comparison on the first dish above. Shudder! So by now you are traveling and I hope you will avoid the huge weather delays and have a safe trip home!

    I do have a project suggestion for you, but by all means feel free to ignore any and all suggestions for what you should do next from anyone, including Shiny.

    I think you should write that live action Cowboy Bebop film project that has been long gestating; you’d kick ass at a script for that or a live action Ghost in the Shell as well. And you can also launch a US and/or Canadian version of IRIS from South Korea or MI5.

    But again, please feel free to ignore; my sis is a Libra and she hates-scratch that, loathes suggestions. But I hope I get credit for not suggesting a live action Mazinger Z with the girl robot who shoots cannons out of her size G bra.

    In weird news there are people who actually subscribe to my kitchen sink mess of a Youtube channel. I have four fans of my mix of old Sesame Street clips, reggae, Sheyla fan vids and Johnny Hallyday.

  24. Gee Guys! I’ve been noticing all of these major EARTHQUAKES off the Japanese Coast for the last few days… They must really be hating to see you and your wallets go!

    Or, did you just check your Online CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS? ;-]

  25. $10 for a frakkin’ white strawberry?? 😛 Now…that where I drawn the line. Looks like it would be bitter. Eh…I don’t think so. I rather have those yummy lookin’ macaroons!

    Mmmmm….fondu! 🙂 I have always wanted to try a fondu restaurant. But…I hear those places can be pretty pricey. But…everything always looks sooo yummy! 🙂

    That’s a guy in the pink girly outfit?? Looks kinda freaky. So…does the all female theater production. I dunno. Not my cup of tea.

    Joe…I knew you and Ivon would get yourselves drunk sometime on the trip. 🙂 How can go to Tokyo and not have sake? I knew you two knew how to party. 😉 It’s almost sounds like you two you’re on a date. LOL! 😀 You guys do look cute together. 😉

    Joe…I bet you can’t wait to get home and see your baby doggies…especially Jelly. 🙂 Any news on Jelly’s progress?

  26. @ PBMom – All the best!

    @ Joey – Are you home now? All settled in? Hope all is well!


  27. Why are pigeon toes a requirement for the poor-lost-soul-coy waif look? Just musing…

  28. Das I got up to The Wheel of Darkness. I really enjoyed the first books of the series. I may have to go back and reread them sometime soon.

    Jelly news? I hope your trip went well and your luggage traveled with you….

  29. @maggiemayday – hehehe God, I love your stories! One day we’ll have to meet just so I can hear your stories.


  30. I am struck by the way one of the actresses on the poster looks like my most favorite Thai singer Nicole.

  31. I’m planning all future work and travel around the availability of Pierre Herme macarons 🙂

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