Well, after being up for twenty-four hours straight, traveling halfway across the world, suffering two sleepless nights and two early wake-ups, and experiencing the most splendiferous sugar-high, I came crashing down last night halfway between the Pierre Herme pistachio macaroni and the Margherita pizza.

But I get ahead of myself.

I’m not much of a drinker, preferring to focus on the food, but I did have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner at Le Bourguignon followed by a couple of drinks at Star Bar the night before last.  The result?  Lots of tossing and turning and a seven a.m. wake-up.  I had a hell of a blog update to work on and so, rather than hit Tsukiji for breakfast, I uploaded photos and had breakfast in my hotel room:

Our favorite chocolate bar of the trip so smooth - an ultra-smooth white chocolate and green tea.
The Oriol Balaguer assortment included truffle and pop rocks! Wasn't a fan of the saffron. Never understood the attraction. To me, it tastes like public pool water.
A selection from Le Pommier: Frederic's chocolates are incredibly delicate, their shells remarkably thin yet nevertheless possessed of a satisfying snap. Tiny textural wonders!

 I had so much to cover from Day #2 that I didn’t have time to upload my blog that morning.  We had to be in Daikanyama for our 10:00 a.m. head spa appointment.  Yes, you heard correctly.  Akemi booked us a head spa appointment, assuring me I’d love it and that she was sure they got plenty of male gaijin customers.  So, we hopped on the metro (I can’t believe I took all those cabs the first couple of times I came to Tokyo) and headed west of the city.

This is how I would be feeling in about eight hours.

Akemi turned out to be right.  While I’m not exactly sure they get a lot of gaijin male customers, the head masseuse (masseur for Akemi) at ZACC Copain (ZACC copain(ザック コパン) 美容室ZACCの代官山店) provided exceptional service.  And a damn fine head massage.  Akemi and I were in separate rooms and only later was I informed that spa etiquette requires the customer to relax and sleep through the session – instead of yammering away like she could hear me doing.  I would later come to regret my missed opportunity at sleep but, at the time, I enjoyed a great hour chatting with my masseuse, Ikegami Yuka who spoke fluent English after spending a year and a half in what (Carl hates it when) some refer to it as “the O.C.”.  Anyway, she was wonderful company – and incredibly strong.  I had to request a lighter touch on massage as I come from a line of notoriously weak-skullled men.

Yuka! She's very busy, so book now to avoid disappointment!

Following the massage, we enjoyed some tea while one of the salon’s top stylists touched up Akemi’s hair, then headed off to explore the Daikanyama neighborhood.  It’s a really quaint little area, obviously popular with the young people – and their dogs!  For lunch, we ended up hitting some place called Aloha Table where we enjoyed  ate some Hawaiian(?)-themed dishes: a hamburg on rice with sauce for Akemi (she took two bites and left the rest) and the crispy fried chicken for me in habanero spice.

Yep. That about sums it up.
Only later did I learn that the heat simply masked the lingering aftertaste of bad oil.

We checked out an enormous bookstore, then headed back to Ginza where Akemi could shop while I finished updating my blog.

Later that afternoon, we met up for a stroll through the Mitsukoshi department store basement/food section where I made a mental note to pick up and sample about two dozen food items before my departure.  My buddy Ivon will be pleased to hear that the white strawberries are apparently in season!

From there, it was off to Omotesando for some more walking around .  It was at this point that I began to (as your hardcore gym rats like Carl like to say) “feel the burn”.  I got a pistachio macaron from Pierre Herme, figuring that would give me the energy to get through the rest of the night but, surprisingly, even that exquisite little treat wasn’t enough to stop my downward descent.

We ended up meeting our friend Keiko at an Italian restaurant called Napule.  I was ready for bed before our menus had even hit the table.  Still, I persevered.  After all, food WAS involved.  We ordered two pizzas and two pastas.

Simple is best. The Margherita was very good, topped with fresh tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella. I was most impressed with the tomatoes. They were sweet and bursting with flavor, quite unlike the relatively tasteless version back in Canada. "Because we are in Japan,"Akemi offered by way of an explanation.
Also very good, this pizza was topped with spinach, spicy salami, and egg yolk. I think that more pizzerias need to start offering the egg yolk option!

At this point, I was ready for bed.  My fellow diners kept noting my increasingly narrowed eyes.  I was ready for bed.  Unfortunately, it took them about an hour to serve us our pasta from the time when we ordered them.  And, when they arrived, they weren’t even very good.  I’m betting people don’t go to Napule for the pasta.  After the pastas arrived – and after Akemi and Keiko had enjoyed their coffees – we headed back the hotel.

As we were heading into the metro, I couldn't resist stopping to say hi to this little Frenchie being pushed around in a stroller. HIs name, Umejiro translates into something like first born sour plum. Anyway, I can see why the owner would have wanted to keep him under wraps. He went nuts when we approached, happily squirming about and snatching the glove right off my hand. He was in a constant state of motion so this was the best snap I could get.

 Finally, back at the hotel, I turned in for the night.  At a little after 9:30 p.m.  But not before having a quick snack –

Akemi picked up these chocolates from the Shiseido Parlor. They were phenomenal and gave me the energy I would need to sleep through the night.

Well, I’m feeling much better following ten hours of sleep.  And, with this blog entry behind me, I’m now getting ready to meet my friend, Moro-san, for a play-it-by-ear lunch, perhaps a return visit to the Salon du Chocolat on its final day, maybe a trip to the Kiddyland toy store in Omotesando, a little Akihabara, and then we cap things off with sushi dinner at Harutaka.  Will have the full report for you in the morning!

33 thoughts on “January 30, 2012: Tokyo Day #3! Testing my cranial limits, pizza over pasta, and feeling the burn!

  1. Heya, I think the Hawaiian themed dish is what is known as the Loco Moko.
    Hamburger patty served over rice with a fried egg on top and lots of gravy. It is enjoyable – depends on the burger and seasoning and gravy. Hey, not any worser than poutine (sp). And, I enjoyed both!

    Can’t comment on the old oil fried chicken…except to say that the hint is in the wording – Local Style Pupus. Pupus – normally consumed while drinking. So the oil will coat your tummy so you don’t get too sloshed. My preference would be real Hawaiian stuff like poke – Hawaiian style raw ahi with seasoning.

    Marveling at the apparent size of the macarons. The ones we got in Hawaii were small but not tiny. The ones from Le Village via Amazon mail order are smaller, but, these were quite tasty – even given they were frozen and shipped. The ones sold in Trader Joe’s are a bit smaller and seem to only be chocolate and vanilla.

    Yep….hungry again. Now to go forage for snacks.
    Looking forward to more of your reports.
    DO SLEEP WELL, DUDE – ya need yer energy to do all the foodie things and very important – share your adventures with us.

  2. I’d like to think Japan is my spiritual home, even though it’s doubtful that I’d ever go there. Even if I had the Money Mr Joe, I’m almost mortified for the oddest reason, of getting there via plane ride, and since by boat is equally as mortifying due to the Pacific Ocean’s proclivities of doing dastardly things to mortal flesh, I’m going to have to pass.

    I’ve been away for a while Mr Joe, and it’s because I’ve become disillusioned with all things in Entertainment, especially as it pertained to my most favorite show ever. This $#!+ Master Joe is as bad as having withdrawal symptoms. All the best brother.

  3. You usually crash and burn toward the end of your Tokyo visit. You better slow down and take it easy. More awesome pictures! Thanks for that! Well, guess I’ll go eat my bologna sandwich now. 😐

  4. Heyla, sleepyhead! Not surprising after the whirlwind of recent events and, of course, all . . . that . . . Chocolate ! ! ! Glad Akemi got you in to the Spa, you need a little down time, even if you didn’t nap I’m sure it did you good. As a hapa haole myself, I do NOT believe that was Hawaiian food – I agree with Sylvia, poke and rice, some lomi salmon and some kalua pig for me!! Ommnomnom! The pizza looked great, though I tend to avoid egg yolks – had salmonella once and that was one time too many!

    Smiles, Julie

  5. Can’t believe it was a year ago you were on the last Tokyo trip, and, wasn’t it two years ago that you were writing Awakening in Tokyo (holy cow time has flown).

    Was season 2 of SGU really in 2010??… were the fan campaigns ended about a year ago??? Holy crap, time is flying. 😛

    Hope time in Tokyo moves super slow and hope you are having an enjoyable and restful time. 🙂

  6. When we were in Tokyo our hotel restaurant served our lasagna with an egg on top, but it was cooked through so if it looked and tasted as if it had been fried. In keeping with the theme of Italian food in Japan, there was a Shaky’s Pizza in Ginza where we ate lunch one day. At one point we did manage to squeeze in a meal that included Kobe beef and sake, so it wasn’t all about the familiar.

    Hope you’ll have lots of energy for the rest of the trip! Looking forward to reading all about it.

  7. I really enjoy the blog entries during your Japan visits. I appreciate all the extra effort you put in to keep them up to date. I have visited Japan and the time change can sure be killer.

  8. Hi Joe,

    I just saw your posts about Maximus and wanted to express my condolences. It’s always so hard to lose a pet. I remember when I was about halfway through Air Force Officer Training School, my parents told me they’d had to put our family dog Ralph down. Being in the middle of the hardest three months of my life, I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on his loss, which was both a blessing and a curse, but I had some great flight mates to help pick me up when I was down.

    I’m sure you’re conflicted, but I hope you enjoy your Tokyo trip. Maximus would want you to enjoy yourselves!


  9. Just finished the SG1/Atlantis novel “Transitions” by Sabine C. Bauer. Excellent read. One of the better Stargate novels I have read in a while. Liked the crossover element, although there were seperate stories for each side as well.

  10. Hey, Joe!

    Just watched the season finale of “Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook Off” starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

    Did you ever get a chance to sample any of LDP’s food during SGU?

  11. Ooooh…that head spa sounds wonderful! I wish I could get me one of those. 🙂 I could use a good head massage.

    That pizza looks scrumptious! I like the margherita pizza.

    As much as I would to go to Japan, there is no way in my lifetime will I ever afford to go. You make it look like so much fun and fascinating. I’m glad that I’m able live my Japan fantasy trip through your blog because this is probably as close as I’m gonna get to a trip to Japan. 🙂

  12. Glad you caught up on SOME sleep though not enough yet. I agree with Ponytail, rest up so you don’t burn out. Eww on the bad oil.

  13. I’m confused…did I miss a day somewhere?

    Only three days into your Japanese adventure and already I have indigestion. I really don’t know how you eat all that stuff without puking in your shoes. Tonight Mr. Das had leftovers, so I didn’t have to cook. I just smashed up two small avocados with onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, cumin, and tomatoes, and that was my ‘dinner’ – 5 hours ago – and I’m still stuffed. And FAT! It’s just not fair that you eat all that stuff and never gain a pound! 😡 I swear, you must have worms, or something. Really BIG ones.

    Nothing new here in Jersey. Beautiful weather the last two days. I cleaned my house yesterday, and today we went down to the beach with the metal detector and found all sorts of crap – nothing valuable, but it felt good getting some of this garbage off the beach. We can scrap some of it and toss a lot of it, but we did find two fishing weights and two nut picks (one made in West Germany), so those might come in handy (the picks are good tools, wouldn’t use them to actually pick nuts, of course).


    I also found a really nice fossil of shell impressions (loxonema, mebbe?) – a nice change from the coral I usually find (very blurry cell pic, but you get the idea):


    I know, I know…it’s not an egg yoke pizza or a box of chocolates, but it won’t make me any fatter, either! 🙂


  14. Later that afternoon, we met up for a stroll through the Mitsukoshi department store basement/food section where I made a mental note to pick up and sample about two dozen food items before my departure.
    any possible future weird food purchase video material?

  15. Yeah, loco moco isn’t always right off the island. Larry’s breakfast before the flight was a three meat loco moco, with Portuguese sausage, chicken katsu and roast pork, plus the standard two eggs and brown gravy over rice. He finished most of it except the last of the rice (and I stole an egg to go with my majorly thick coconut French Toast).
    I’m not big on poke, I never have gotten the hang of raw fish, but I do love me some kalua pork!

    Chocolate for breakfast is perfectly acceptable.

    Our neighbor, Usui-san, used to massage our necks and shoulders as we all stood around in the yard, chatting, as friendly neighbors do for their gaijin buddies (my husband and I). The woman had hands of steel, and when she stopped, it felt so very good. The stopping, more so than the excruciating ezquisite massages. I think it was how she fended off sailors back when she was a bar hostess in the 60s. Shiatsu as a martial art!

  16. Also, speaking of head massages…

    My dad used to make us massage his head. I hated it! He also used to make us rub his feet. I hated that more! Just…just…gross!

    I do like having my head massaged, and my feet rubbed, though. Hubby will do my feet, but I can take care of my own head, thankyouverymuch. 🙂



    Okay…creepy true confession time. I am a habitual hair twirler/tugger. It was the first thing I did after I was born, mom says – they put me in her arms and I reached up and started rubbing the fine hair on my head. I still twirl my hair, though mostly only when I get nervous or anxious, or if I’m concentrating…or bored. Yeah, I still do it a lot. I tug it, too, but I don’t pull it out. It’s probably one reason I love long hair, especially on guys…I just wanna play with it! But, alas, no one ever lets me play. 🙁

    And no, before anyone says it, I would have made a terrible hairdresser because I would have ended up just petting all my clients, instead of styling their hair. “You want HOW many inches cut off??! Are you sure? Um…why don’t you just take a few minutes to think about it while I just stand here…touching…and stroking…and ‘I will love him and hug him and pet him and squeeze him…’ ”

    Yeah. SUPER creepy. 😛


  17. Ditto what JulieAloha said.
    Need to get more lomi, laulau, kalua, and not to discriminate dim sum and sushi.

    Julie, are you familiar with Ala Moana Center – the main food court?
    I could have every meal there, all the varieties, and be a very happy camper.
    Well, would have to venture up to the 3rd level where the Pacific Tea Court is for their macarons.
    sigh…..still hungry.

  18. Amazon finally has actual listing of Dark Matter #1 – but sold by outside sellers. At least they now have it on their website. and have 2 sellers.

  19. You’re a machine… but I fear your lack of walk-training prior to leaving might slow you down over the next week.

    This might help: (Source: The walking site.)

    “Prevention and treatment of walking pain”

    Warm up by walking at a slower pace at the beginning of each walk. Then perform ankle circles (rotate ankle ten times in one direction, then ten times in opposite direction) and toe points (point toes, then flex foot – ten times on each foot) to get your muscles loosened up. Do the ankle circles and toes points several times each day, or write the alphabet in the air with your toes.

    Stretch your calves, shins, and achilles tendon after every walk. Tight muscles make the shin work harder to lift your foot.

    I suggest you walk slowly out of the hotel, and get to the subway entrance… once there, perform the circles etc. (also, put down a hat, you may garner some change from the locals)

    Good luck!

  20. Hey, nothing wrong with the taste of public pool water! I’m in the YMCA pool nearly every day and….ok, it sucks ;( .
    All the food pics look good but the pizza is my favorite. Simple is good but JeffW‘s pizza look pretty yummy too.
    Anything chocolate looks delicious. Keep having a good time!

  21. Ivon, you forgot to suggest that Joe post pics and/or video of his walking warm-up routine. Purely for education’s sake.

    Joe, LDP won the Rachel vs Guy competition. And he deserved it.

    So what are the odds you’ll lose weight this trip, like you did last?

  22. I liked the food pictures especially the pizzas. Glad you recovered from the flight and time change. Have a good time!!!

    Take care!

  23. The pizza ingredients look crazy fresh and tasty. Are you still thinking about a year in Japan? Sunrise Studios could do a wicked animated Dark Matter. I love the Tokyo metro, even with the scary white gloved pushers. My am bus ride involved a crowded bus, a sneezing hacking bus driver and a hacking coffee lady in the seat next to me. The pop rocks chocolate sounds terrific; is it anything like the Jacques Torres champagne truffles?

  24. They gave you bad cooking oil to give you more of an excuse to eat dark chocolate, for the anti-oxidants.

  25. Fantastic Photos! Now I wish I had a giant chocolate lunch than the giant salad lunch I’m currently eating… 🙁

  26. Joe,

    I just wanted to say, “Thank You” for allowing me a glimpse into your life. Similar to the SG-1 episode Citizen Joe, I find reading your blog calming and enjoyable.

    Even if I don’t post often, be assured that I support you 100% through your ups and downs. It helps me take my mind off of my own dull (by comparison) existance.

    Have a wonderful day.

    (Then, blog about it.) 🙂

  27. @Joe:

    Ohhhh! White Chocolate and Green Tea! I’ve got to see if I can find this in the US…

    @Tam Dixon:

    Simple is good but JeffW‘s pizza look pretty yummy too.

    Thanks! 😀

    On your recommendation I watched Rachael vs. Guy on Sunday and since JimFromJersey already gave it away, I’ll say I’m glad LDP won. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I’d watch such a show regularly; I’m more about trying to do new things and there weren’t enough details to really build anything on (at least in Sunday’s shows).

  28. Joe, that picture of the creepy baby display on Day 1 (I think), was the doll made of chocolate, and was it sold out 😀

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