We made the most of our final day in Tokyo, sleeping in late and lounging about the hotel until early afternoon before finally heading out.  We headed over to Roppongi where we enjoyed a double lunch.  Ramen –

Not sure what they mean by "painful". I assume it's spicy as opposed to containing, say, ground glass or coming with a complimentary thug who kidney punches you whenever you take a slurp. Anyway, I tried to convince Ivon to try it, but he elected to join me in going tonkatsu.
And a side of melt in your mouth pork cheek. Could've used about ten of these last night.
When I have ramen, I always go tonkotsu with its hearty, rich pork bone soup base flavors.

Thumbs up from both us.  Not as great as Hokkaido Ramen Toro in Shinjuku, but still pretty damn good.

We took a break to head on back to the shop at the Mori Arts Museum where we both picked up multiple copies of a book highlighting Odani Motohiko’s recent Phantom Limb exhibition (which was one of the high points of this trip).  It offers a terrific overview of the his works, in both Japanese and English, and includes photos of almost the entire collection.  My only minor quibble is that it should have included a DVD of the bizarre and bewildering Rompers video.

Pleased with our purchases, we headed back out for lunch#2 and R Burger’s weirdly white offerings –

The chicken burger with ume. We both liked the burger and bun, but found the ume chotto suppai.

After that, it was back to the hotel for some R&R.  We had a big night ahead of us!  An okay yakitori and then, the main event:

Star Bar! Our home away from home!
Our new buddy Vincent from Malaysia. Done in by the one-two-three-four-five punch of scotch, Dark Manhatten, sherry, Milky Way, and Stueben. Lights OUT!
Yamasaki-san works a little magic of his own.
One of the Master's award-winning cocktails: The Milky Way. I wasn't sure at first became a quick convert. Damn tasty drink!

The master at work:

We closed down the bar and then, as a farewell gift, presented themwith ice wine we’d brought with us from Canada.

They honored us by allowing us behind the bar for a photo!

In typically grand Tokyo host fashion, they saw us off –

And Ivon and I bid Star Bar – and Tokyo – a fond farewell.

An awesome trip!  I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion!

47 thoughts on “December 21, 2010 (again): Back home! Tokyo Travel Day #16!

  1. Is that bacon and a hard boiled egg in your ramen? Interesting.

    What’s in a Milky Way?

    Welcome home, Joe! Tonight you can sleep in your own cozy bed.

    @maggiemayday: I just love your stories about when you lived in Japan!

  2. My take on the painful soup: if they just put “very spicy”, someone might think, “maybe it’s a mistranslation …”. “Painful” isn’t so precise, but it makes a better point.

  3. welcome home, and hope the apocolyptic weather hitting California doesn’t extend that far north. Just one question. How much will it cost to get the unedited version of your trip, the one with compromising, or at least embarassing pictures of Ivon, descriptions of things seen and done not suitable for a pg audience, etc.?

  4. Oooh, ramen and tonkatsu. I skipped supper and now the tummy is growling at me.

    @Sparrowhawk, yes an egg. I almost always put one in mine now. I like quail eggs in mine, but it is hard to find fresh ones here in the hinterland. And thanks for the compliment. Too bad I have to tone the stories down to a PG-13 level.

    Tangent ramble: going through dad’s things, I have found more and more pictures of his time in Iwakuni in the late 50s during the Korean War. Mostly Navy guys hanging out or working, a lot of very beautiful scenic photos, and assorted local scenes. Dad was an excellent photographer. Many of the photos do not have mom’s lovely handwriting on the back, some do. One, definitely not. The Japanese lady dancer wearing only sparkling pasties and a flowing scarf, performing barefoot on tatami? Uh, dad? I never saw that photo until now, and he isn’t here to tell me about it. I can only wonder at the male musicians, the child in a kimono watching the dance, the cut out window in the wall with the lady ticket taker in Western make-up. The interior of the building looks so traditional, she is made up to appear so Western. Was it a brothel? Just a racy nightclub? A bar with progressive entertainment? Did dad go by choice or was he dragged out with friends? Was this the bar mentioned in the caption in teh cruise book, “Chief, what bar?” Knowing what I experienced in the 80s and 90s, I wonder what dad saw and did back then. I will never know for sure. But hey, he sure loved Japan…

  5. Welcome home!!!

    Hope no one broke in and you had to roust a homeless person or two. We actually send ours out your way. It’s too cold for them here, and they like to winter in Van.

    I bet the dogs got lots of hugs…

    Now please weigh yourself, did you gain, lose or stay the same. Sorry is that too impolite to ask?

    Have a good one!!

    P.S. – I’m sure Star Bar is going to miss you too, as they will have seen a surge in 4th quarter earnings.

  6. Welcome home Traveler! Thanks for the ride along. It was awesome from this view too. If you feel up to it, and have the time, can you answer a few burning questions?

    1. Day 3, the man in the pajama style pants, blue bag, green coat, leads me to ask…are there any homeless street people living in Tokyo?

    2. With your dark hair, you might blend in. Did you notice anyone staring at Ivon?

    3. What (or why) exactly is the purpose of those “maids”?

    4. How many times now have you visited Tokyo?

    5. Day 12, that stunning picture of the enormous city of Tokyo, how do they keep a city that big so orderly and everyone so well behaved?

  7. Welcome back Joe! I’m glad you made it home safely and hope all the luggage arrived too. Thank you for all the pictures and commentary. Love the Star Bar gentlemen. Thanks to Ivon for being a great sport and posing for you.

  8. I’m glad you two had a wonderful trip. You look great in that long coat. I love long coats on men. I live in subtropical USA , so I only get to see that on tv and movies.

    Please tell me how you manage to please so many dogs . I only have two and they take my full time. Sometimes I try to pet two at once with one arm, but I can only give two belly rubs at a time. I wonder if you have some insight to petting many dogs at a time.


  9. “Painful” ramen, LOL. Yeah ramen tonkotsu is really good. But then I just love noodle soups. Thinking of it is starting to make me hungry.

    That Star Bar place looked like a lot of fun, and that milky way drink looked tasty.
    Well… it’s too late for food, but in honor of great bars across the world I’m going to get a drink (at home).


  10. Sorry to hear about SGU cancellation Joe.
    From what I’ve seen, looks as though Tokyo was a good chance to unwind a bit.
    Hope the furry kids were all well when you got home.
    Take care.

    @sparrow_hawk. Thanks for your message 🙂 Will be in touch soon. Where has the year gone?

  11. Am I wrong or has this been THE BEST Tokyo trip EVER!!!!!

    You guys have been brill! I miss the trip already…I have been amazed by your stamina…what’s your secret?

    Cheers Chev

  12. what was the best memory for you Joe? For me it has to be the cod sperm video

    cheers, Chev

  13. Reposted from yesterday…

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


  14. When you have a minute, some Q’s from various (and beginning to get aggressive) forum posts around the world (or the internet):
    1) Do you believe that the recharging plate on Destiny is a forerunner to the way the Puddle Jumpers on Atlantis recharge and how DHD’s are connected to the Stargates?
    2) If Anubis had learned of the location of Atlantis, could and would he be able to get there using the technology at his disposal?
    3) In The Last Man, McKay said to General Lorne: “Just cut to the chase. You saw what happened in Pegasus; you know what’s happening here. Do you really think this is the way it’s supposed to be?” What was happening? Did Michael find a way to get the Milky Way? Or did the Ori never get defeated?
    4) Were the Asgard and the Goa’uld always called names such as Ra, Apophis, Thor etc. Or did they adopt those names when they interacted with humans?
    5) Did Eli ever get some pants?
    6) Did the Ori create Stargates in the Ori galaxy? Or was there some other means of sending the Priors to our galaxy aka Super-Ascended-Wormhole-Without-a-Gate…amatic?

    Thanks muchly! 😀

  15. Welcome home Joe. How did you get the ice wine from Canada? lucky they didnt take it from your luggage. Bet the pups are glad you are home, and ready to go out and pee. Get some sleep if you can, time change and jet lag or maybe not. Anyway, Glad you had a Star Bar to go to on your trip, a good place to regroup.(drink) 😉 . I think Ivon would be a fun travel companion also, glad he got to share in all your fun stuff.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Santa is due to come sliding down your chimney soon, wherever you will be. And I know you have been good, so you will get lots of macarons. and I got another pair of those socks with the toes already in case you need a spare pair!! Joy, have fun!

  16. Welcome back home Joe! 🙂 I bet the first thing you did was see Jelly. How is she? Did all your doggies miss ya like crazy? Did they kiss ya all over? That’s what my doggie (had a yorkie name Perky but is now in doggie heaven) use to do when I would come home. He would wag his tail like mad and give me millions of kisses. 🙂

    Mmmmm….ramen! Love love ramen! 🙂 Looks like this lunch was much better than most of your dinners. You got my mouth watering again…Joe. Those pork thingies look scrumptious too. 😉

    Looks like you and Ivon have become quite the regulars at the Star Bar. Looks like you made friends there.

    I’m glad you and Ivon had a good time. 🙂

  17. Looks like you guys certainly had fun over in Japan. Too bad now you have to come home to being out of a job…

  18. Love the Painful Ramen; when you get back to your kitchen you absolutely have to invent your own version of this dish; noodles with tasty sweet and hot peppers of some sort and spicy fish or beef?

    West Indian hot pepper sauce is made from jabaneros but you spice it until the jabaneros have a sweetback; hard to describe but so tasty. You get that zing in the back of the tongue that you get from mango chutney. A few drops is enough to tang up a meal, but use too much and you’ll be crying into your Arroz con Pollo:


    I made the best Tilapia yesterday; baked in tinfoil with spices, onion, garlic, sweet potato wedges, lots of olive oil, mango chutney and the kicker was a smoked kielbasa link. The kielbasa juices gave the fish a crispy outer edge and loads of flavor.

  19. Joe – I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a while now, but just now decided to post for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed your daily blogs on Tokyo and have now put it on my “places to visit” list. Can’t wait to read more of your entries!

  20. I hope that some of the rumors that I’ve been
    hearing about SGU not exactly being “gone/done”
    turn out to be the real deal.

    The funny thing is that if some of the rumors are
    to be believed…this could all turn out to be the
    most/best PR that the company has *ever* put
    together for the show since day one.

    …fingers crossed…eyes crossed…and possibly just
    plain..double crossed?

  21. I forgot to say the trip looked like a blast and it was fun to follow Joe and Ivon on their Tokyo adventures, thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  22. And so ends the adventures of Joe and Ivon in Tokyo. 😉

    Looks like you two managed to have a bit of fun along the way. You’ll always have Tokyo.

    Welcome back! I’m sure the doggies were glad to see you return! Give Jelly lots of hugs.

  23. I have really enjoyed the adventures. But I noticed one glaring omission–The Pole Dancing Competition. Or was it too much to bare (snicker) to post pictures?

    I’m sure you are going to need a few days of rest to recover from all that, but aren’t you now needing to go to Toronto (like Ivon) for the holidays?

    Can’t imagine how excited the pups were to see you and for you to see them (especially Jelly). Post pics so we can see her progress. Tip Christine very well.

  24. @ Chev – Come on! All that booze?? It had to happen! Joe’s just in denial. 😀


  25. OK, now that you are back, I’ve got a few things to say, and I’m going to get straight to the point. First off, I am VERY, VERY disappointed about the cancellation of SGU. After the investment of my time and money watching the Stargate, including the original movie, and buying the iTunes and DVD’s, I feel betrayed by Syfy. The only reason I have cable is for SGU. I’ve cancelled my cable subscription because. I’ll buy my other 4 shows on iTunes. That being said, Is there any possible way to get some sort of mini series to finish off the story? Maybe some sort of 13 episode mini season to finish off the series? Maybe try to sell it to another network, possibly ABC… V pretty much sucks, and SGU is so much better. Seriously. I feel even worse than when Enterprise was cancelled, as there was always new Trek up to that time since I was 15. Maybe go the way of Farscape? Do a PeaceKeeper Wars.

    What about the movie route? Maybe do a movie or two? Anything to finish the story and get those guys home.

    I’m really pissed.

  26. LOL okay then.. no idea what these mean, but it is evidence you are alive and just going to post late. I tried to stay up for Jelly updates, but the bed is calling me 🙂

    Sho sho omachi kudasai.

    on December 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm josephmallozzi
    Chotto matte sumimasen.

  27. @PBMom – Whoa. Lookit that cake! Pure awesome.

    @Anthony – so totally agree. I just want the story finished off in some way. I wonder, do they ever get home? Do they all die and the aliens send them home to Earth for a final goodbye? Do they land on a planet in a galaxy far, far away and live there ever after? Anything to finish the story!

    Glad got home safely, Joe. What was the first thing you did? Roll around the floor with the dogs after flinging the luggage into your room?

  28. I should have got the painful Ramen… I miss Japan, and all that food. Damn it, Joe… look what you have done!

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