The second issue of my comic book series, Dark Matter, hits the shelves soon (February 8th last I heard). If you haven’t picked up the first issue yet, I strongly urge you to do so as reports have it selling out. This, of course, means it is a sought-after collectible no doubt destined to be worth A LOT some day. Squirrel away a few copies under your mattress now and the lie back on your nest egg and prepare to enjoy your early retirement later!
In Dark Matter-related news…
My full podcast interview with SciFiTalk is up. You can find it here: Joe Mallozzi | Sci-Fi Talk Podcast
Also up is an early, spoiler-free review of Dark Matter #2 here: Dark Matter #2 Spoiler Free Review by Ryan Porter – The Pop …
One of the main reasons we’re here in Japan is so that Akemi can visit with her mother who has made the trip over from Osaka. Yesterday, they had a girl’s night out. Today, all three of us hit Tokyo. We had a big day ahead of us so we wasted no time gathering down in the lobby (after I’d finished updating my blog of course) and headed out to brave the blustery late January weather. For a single block anyway after which we ducked into the entrance to the Hibiya subway station and made the underground walk over to the Peninsula Hotel where Akemi and her mother intended to pick up some treats. Unfortunately, the shops wouldn’t be open for another hour, so we had to settle for what may have been…
I’ve been toying with the idea of making the move to Tokyo. Of course, there are things to consider (ie. getting the dogs over and what the hell I’ll actually be doing here beside browsing that big anime complex in Akihabara) before I pull the trigger. First and foremost however – I’ll have to decide where I want to live. I’ve narrowed it down to Roppongi or Aoyama, but am leaning toward the latter because the former, while a beautiful neighborhood, is full of henna gaijin (translation: weird foreigners. “Like you,”Akemi helpfully reminded me.). Well, it just so happens that we were in Roppongi today, strolling the streets of my potential future hood.
I’ve been meaning to check out local chocolate shop Le Chocolate De H for a while now, always missing out on my previous visits. Well, not this time. We were there when the doors open, snapped up some outstanding yuzu macarons and a chocolate assortment. Akemi was especially satisfied as she has been trying to track this place down since our arrival.
For lunch, we headed over to Roppongi Hills for lunch at L’Atelier de Robuchon. Akemi was a little leery after our last Robuchon experience – a stupendous feast comprised of 16 courses at the Joel Robuchon in Vegas (where we were joined by Golden Boy Martin Gero). Yes, it was a lot and it’s understandable that Akemi felt stuffed – especially when you consider that, upon our return to our hotel room at the Venetian, she also polished off the entire top of the complimentary pistachio cake we were gifted after our meal.
Anyway, I’m pleased to report that – for Akemi’s sake – our lunch was comparatively modest…yet just as wonderful. And the restaurant itself…absolutely gorgeous.
We were seated at the long counter that runs the length of the room…
The lunch at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a terrific deal. Head on over and try one of the set menus.
We skipped the dessert at Robuchon so we could head on over to the famed Toshi Yoroizuka instead. In retrospect, I should have gone with Robuchon.
For some reason, they were only offering a scaled-down version of the dessert menu. The varied cakes, normally on display, were not to be seen. And so, we ordered from the menu.
Not bad. Good. But all I could think of was heading over to Jean-Paul Hevin and sampling about a half-dozen of their chocolate desserts.
Which, by the way, I fully intend to do before week’s end.
Then, we were off for a little more strolling in another neighborhood…
We stopped by the Isetan (sight of the Salon de Chocolat) where I picked up a couple of treats from the Sebastien Bouillet boutique: pistachio and cotton candy macarons for me, and a chocolate lipstick for Akemi. Yes, you heard correctly.
We returned to the hotel for some R&R, then headed over to the big seven-floor toy store in Ginza where I tried, in vain, to locate a new Evangelion phone cover for my new 4S, and some anime t-shirts. Maybe I’ll have better success at Kiddyland.
We took the metro over to Kagurazaka and, for the third time in as many years, I enjoyed a memorable kaiseki dinner at Ishikawa…
We had a private room.
Our nine course meal was designed to show off Japanese seasonal offerings, from fish and veggies to fresh fruit and herbs….
We enjoyed two bottles of sake with our meal and Akemi was absolutely toasted by her second glass. The service was top-notch – professional and pleasant. No sooner did we finish one course than the door to our private room would slide open and our server would sweep in and clear away the dishes. In less than a minute, she would return with our next course. It was a nicely paced meal that covered a quick two and a half hours.
We returned to our hotel room where I uploaded by blog pictures and watched a tipsy Akemi struggle to dry her hair after her shower.
I received a call this morning informing me that Maximus’s ashes were ready to be picked up. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and merely having him come up in conversation is enough to start me tearing up (as was the case at dinner last night when I had to use the “I’ve got something in my eyes – both of them” dodge). While I appreciate everyone’s support concerning my decision, I’ll always have my doubts about certain things.
Last night, I dreamt that I was grocery shopping with my late father who bought me an enormous bag of ripe persimmons. Okay all you dream analysts, what does it mean?
35 thoughts on “February 1, 2012: Tokyo Day #5! Catching up with my old friends Joel Robuchon and Ishikawa-san,”
Don’t be worry….we all have something in our eyes – both of them, frequently when we think of him or in conversation. I was telling a good friend about you and your escapades and Max…and had, guess what, I had something in my eyes – both of them. Of course I can also use the I wear contacts excuse too.
FOOD IS EXQUISITE.
Mrs. Aota, I am honored to meet you through Joe san’s blog.
Very Best Regards
I honestly am not sure what doubts you could have– you did everything and beyond, and when he reached a point where he might be really suffering you let him go. We should all have such love and care.
Your dinner looked nice but really that lunch– I am going to look for a cauliflower soup with pork chips.. looks fantastic as does the other lunch foods.
LOL I am sure I will associate you with food forever. This is one heck of a football treat, but you could class it up:
No idea how you can eat like this, but I’d sure like to try! I see where Akemi gets her good looks! 🙂
Re Max, we all second-guess ourselves and it sucks. Eventually, we learn to live with it and make peace with our decision, at least to some degree. When Flannery died, I decided to cremate her and have her ashes returned to me. To this day, I regret that decision. I put the box on top of my dresser, but then decided she wasn’t a tchochtke. I then put the box in a drawer and decided she wasn’t socks, or sweaters or pjs. The box is sealed, so opening it could be tricky (and messy), but I still think I’ll try it one of these days and let her ashes fly somewhere she’d like. I’ve buried our other dogs at the pet cemetery, and that’s not any easier. Please don’t beat yourself up over any of it, Joe. It’s pointless and I know that Max wouldn’t want that. Like we say in Spanish, dale tiempo al tiempo. Give time, time.
Haven’t been reading your blog in a while because the tone of the entries about Maximus were too painful for me, considering I had just gone through this with one of my cats for the first time. Now I’m all caught up and what strikes me the most is what you said about his open eyes. Nowhere in my far-off nightmares of putting a pet to sleep did I imagine my cat’s eyes would remain open. That made it so hard to leave the room, like if I looked back, I’d think he was still watching me, waiting for me to return. My cat’s brother has been more clingy ever since, but I suppose that’s to be expected after 15 years of being curled around each other. I hope your other dogs are getting by and that your trip allows to enjoy happy memories of Maximus before you return home to start anew. Best wishes, have a safe trip!
1. *Waves at Mrs. Aota*
‘by’ blog pictures? And who was the drunk one again? 😉
3. Will get back to you on the persimmons, though I’m pretty sure dad is tellin’ ya it’s time to grow a pair. 😉
4. Chocolate lipstick? Joe, please don’t go all zombi on us and eat Akemi’s face off, k?
Gotta run! Have a great day!
So much food , so little time, thanks for the wonderful pictures. Mrs Aota is a pretty lady, like her daughter. very nice to meet her.
I wish I were able to cook fish in all those different ways, I might eat it a lot more. Why do you think it is the fruit in North America is so sour, what are they doing different? Find out the secret please.
And about the persimmon dream, maybe your dad wants to to eat some, since it may be the only food you have not tried yet>?? maybe it has some magical medicinal power to work miracles. I am just guessing here..
~Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.
I too have something in my eyes, both of them.
Hi Mrs.Aota! It is very nice to finally meet you. We love your daughter Akemi. She is very beautiful and keeps us entertained with her many talents. I hope you enjoy your visit with Akemi and Joe.
I think your dream means you are coping with a current situation in life and coming to terms with Maximus’ death and it is causing you to remember another loved one, your dad, and when you lost him. You miss them both.
Just reading one of the message to you about Max makes me tear up. If you want to actually talk about him, I would be a puddle on the floor.
Ah, Grasshopper – you ask about the persimmon. Allow me to enlighten you:
In Buddhism, the persimmon is used as a symbol of transformation. The green persimmon is acrid and bitter, but the fruit becomes very sweet as it ripens.
Persimmon can also symbolize joy, due to its red color.
Knowing that, the meaning is obvious.
Or maybe you and your dad just liked persimmons.
By the way, all of today’s food looks delightful! It was so nice of Aota-san to come from Osaka to spend time with you and Akemi. You are very fortunate to get to dine with two such charming ladies!
@Aota-san: 始めまして. どうぞ宜しく.
*hugs for Joe* I know. It took me a long time to cope with loss of my doggie (Yorkie – “Perky”). I lost him a long time ago, but I still think about him. Even to this day…sometimes I shed a tear thinking about how I miss him. Then…I just remember all the good times I has with him, and I look at the pitcures of him. That helps me.
Oh…my! All that food looks scrumptious! 🙂 That grilled eel thing looks yummy.
Long time reader, first time poster. I’ve been living in Tokyo since 2006 working as a programmer at a jungle-themed internet retailer. I always pay attention to the Tokyo posts as fodder for interesting places to go eat (used to do more of that before our first baby last month.)
Roppongi and Aoyoma (of the two, Aoyama is the better by far) are so overplayed as foreign residences. I’m curious if you have checked out other places? I enjoyed Jiyugaoka (on the Toyoko line) and currently live at Shinagawa Seaside (but that is more of an out of the way area turning into a business park.) Since I ride a bike to work though, that hasn’t really been much of a problem (and the commute is in the reverse direction, so when I am on the train it isn’t all that busy.) If you check for places to live outside of the Yamanote circle the prices can drop pretty quickly, and there are some fun hipster type areas (kichijyouji, shimo-kitazawa) to check out too.
I’m sure you are getting better advice than random comments from strangers on a blog though. If it is any help in your decision, I have zero regrets about moving to Tokyo (after living in Dallas, New York, New Jersey, Los Angelos, and Seattle.) Well, New York I do miss sometimes, and I still get to sample good BBQ in Texas once a year, but no regrets.
I was amazed that you are thinking of moving to Japan. Have you mentioned it before? I’m thinking since you mentioned moving the dogs you were serious. Cool…
Your dream…maybe your Dad is telling you he’ll take good care of Maximus for you.
Best to you Joe,
Pictures were great as always.
Joe please please please post some video of tipsy akemi please please please.
make of this what you will.
To see the dead in your dream forewarns that you are being influenced by negative people and are hanging around the wrong crowd. This dream may also be a way for you to resolve your feelings with those who have passed on. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes material loss.
If you dream of a person who has died a long time ago, then it suggests that a current situation or relationship in your life resembles the quality of that deceased person. The dream may depict how you need to let this situation or relationship die and end it.
To see and talk with your dead parents in your dreams represent your fears of losing them or your way of coping with the loss. You are using your dream as a last opportunity to say your final good-byes to them.
To dream that you are shopping symbolizes your needs and desires. It also represents opportunities and options that you come across in life. Consider what you are shopping for and what needs you are try to fulfill. In particular, to dream that you are shopping for food and groceries signifies your hidden attempt to buy the attention of others. If you are shopping for clothes, then it suggests that you are trying to put forth a new image.
To see food in your dream represents physical and emotional nourishment and energies. The different types of food can symbolize a wide range of things. Generally, fruit is symbolic of sensuality, meat represents animalistic desires, and vegetables pertain to healthy pursuits. Frozen foods may imply your cold emotions and frigid ways. Eating certain foods also refer to qualities that you need to incorporate within your own self.
To see fruit in your dream signifies growth, abundance and financial gain. They also symbolize lust and sexuality. In particular, green fruit in your dream denotes your hastiness and disappointed efforts. You need to work harder and longer in order to achieve your goals. If the fruit is ripe, then it represents fertility and conception. You desire a child or you are ready to have a child.
You had to make such heartbreaking decisions in such a short period of time, it’s no wonder you feel regret. But I think you haven’t had the time to truly grieve, and you won’t until you’re home with the pups. Then I hope you can start replacing the regret with all the happy memories.
Last Saturday I went to my local shelter. I was taken to the back where many happy barking faces greeted me. How do you chose which one to sponsor? Then in the very back and separated by a gate were three more eager faces. But there one that just tugged on my heartstrings. I didn’t even know what breed of dog he was, and I couldn’t get close because he was in quarantine for another week to make sure he’s safe to adopt. So in memory of Max, I’m sponsoring Byron. Turns out, he’s a puggle.
I was finally reading through my local paper from last weekend and saw a familiar face. Johnny O’Callaghan! The article even mentioned Stargate Atlantis and his role as “Niam”.
Here’s the link to the theater, and a great trailer for the show:
You mentioned the possibly of moving to Tokyo, but I’m confused. How would you work as a writer or producer from so far away? Are you looking into a career change?
And wow, just wow! Stunningly beautiful chocolates, that I would have admired for about five seconds before I mawed them. What a great trip!
I haven’t been around for a while and have just come back to see that Maximus has passed. So sorry, Joe. When you lose a member of your family it is really hard to come to terms with and resolve. The only thing that will reduce the pain is time.
Since you are on your Japan trip, have you ever had radish cake? I’ve been curious about the taste. I read a recipe for it, and it seems to be one of those dishes that takes lots of work to create. Not sure, under those circumstances, that I will ever taste it.
If you move to Japan, can I have your house? 🙂
It’s a pleasure to see Mrs. Aota aka Akemi’s mom. I hope you have a lovely time with Akemi and Joe.
Just listened to your interview…Pretty good interview, thought your views on why SGU got cancelled were spot on, I was going to say “why SGU failed” but it never failed infact, I think it was the most popular of the 3 especially near the end once all the crying faces A/Holes had stopped moaning and started enjoying. Your right though modern tech killed it which is a joke really when modern tech should infact be exploited by the networks and a show like SGU should have been used to do that. I’m still fekn stone mad!! I had near half my life invested in Stargate and although it couldn’t last forever ending 2 shows mid story is a joke…Dunno about anyone else but I still don’t subscribe to satellite TV in protest.
Japan looks ace man cool food and an awesome culture. Keep Enjoying!
I was getting my hair cut today, and the stylist and I started talking about pets. She mentioned she had a pug at home that was the result of a spontaneous visit to a pet store (which her sci-fi loving husband no longer lets her visit). It reminded me of your dogs, and of Max, and how I used to think little of pugs, but thanks to you and your blog (and my friends recently getting one), I find them to be on the list of breeds I’m considering when I can get a dog (I don’t feel right getting a dog when I have no yard for he/she to enjoy). Thanks for sharing your dogs with us, even the sad aspects.
Good grief, thats an awful lot of life-changing decisions! Still, a change is as good as a rest as long as you’re happy and still blogging I guess we don’t mind where you are 🙂
For the record its been three years since I lost my Sassie-girl and I still get something in both my eyes, it never goes away its just that sometimes you just can’t help it.
Funny you should mention persimmons. I just had one for breakfast. It’s really delicious. Maybe your brain is telling you to eat more fruits. I dunno. I rarely have dreams.
I really agree with : “fruits in Japan are nothing like the sour North American cousins”.
I don’t live in Japan, but I am lucky enough to be able to pick some fruits off their trees and the difference in aroma, texture and flavor, compared to imported fruits, is remarkable. I have access to fresh mangoes, lychees, papayas, coconuts, longans, avocados, bananas, pomegranates and guavas. All are grown without a hint of pesticide or any other nasty stuff. Mostly in my neighbors’ yards. I myself have a mango tree in my yard, so we have a friendly barter system.
You let Max go out with dignity. If you had waited until you got back he probably would have been extremely weak and you would not want to see him like that (trust me I know), or worse he could have died without you being there. He got in his final goodbyes (being back at home-new energy, got to see some kids-new energy, went for a long day walk-new energy and he got to spend a night in bed with his owner (pack-leader) one last time) and I think that colapse on the porch was his way of saying “Thank you. It’s time.”
Joe, I had a dream last night that tops yours. And not in a good way. 😛
First, I should explain that I have this thing about public restrooms – not a phobia, just an aversion. I suppose it’s for this reason that I often have ‘nightmares’ about public toilets. Last night I had another one. Maybe someone can analyze this one for me…
In my dream, the public toilets were at the beach. Everything was white, with stalls made out of plywood, also painted white. (They were, in fact, exactly like the restrooms at the PA Renaissance Faire.) I went with another person (I *think* it was my brother-in-law’s ex-wife), and we were going to change into our bathing suits in one of the stalls. She went first, and I looked for another stall in which to change my clothes. First, I looked into the handicap stall, and there was a girl in there throwing up. I looked into another stall and it had a load of poop in the toilet. So far the dream is progressing like all my other toilet dreams. There were two or three other locked stalls with people in them, and what I think was a bunny rabbit. Then I looked into the last stall, and in there was a live goat, covered in crispy fried panko flakes. I asked someone about the goat, and they said it was for the sacrifice.
Yeah, that’s when I woke up. 😛
Now, to your dream. In line with Sparrowhawk’s take on your persimmon dream, I found this on Wiki:
An enormous bag of ripe persimmons? I guess that means that in your old age, Joe, you have become a compassionate and sweet person -in abundance – despite your best efforts at supervillainy. I think recent events bear this out, and in your dream, your ‘subconsious father’ is just trying to tell you that you did the compassionate, and loving, thing. I know the conscious you wants to question that decision, maybe even question the person you are, but deep down inside there’s no escaping the fact that you have a big heart, compassionate heart and you acted out of love for Maximus, and not out of selfishness.
I know it will take time for your mind to be put at ease, maybe even longer for your heart, but know that on this side of the computer screen no one questions your compassion, or your choice.
Don’t have any doubts about Max, Joe. He had gotten to the point where his life had become a struggle and chore. It would have been a terrible feeling if Max had passed on while you were away. He spent his final moments with the person he loved most in the world, and none of us can ask for better than that.
Hugs. Too soon to be at peace with Max’s departure, be gentle with yourself.
Wonderful food, although whale skin? Yeah, uh, no.
I adored living in Japan, even though I was working on base, and lived in the funkiest little house. It was bad for my health, that’s where I figured out I had asthma, the mildew and molds kicked it into high gear. But I miss Japan on a deep level, it gets into your heart and soul. Expensive to transport the dogs, and there is quite a process to get them in. Takes months of preplanning. Rentals which allow dogs can also be problematic, but that may have been Yokosuka and renting to military gaijins. One small dog is usually okay, a pack of four will mean $$$.
I’m going to try that sear/steam trick for fish. That sounds yummy. The rest sounds yummy, too, but I’d have no idea how to get the ingredients.
Fruit didn’t used to be sour in North America. Breeding new fruit varieties can go in the direction of sweeter or in the direction of durability. I’m beginning to hate that word durability. It just keeps getting worse.
It makes sense that you blog such a trip daily. I have a hard time getting my head around all that food being one day’s adventure. The photo evidence helps.
Persimmons are just a novelty encountered on hikes to me, so forgive me if my knowledge of store-bought ones is limited.
I’d think it would be hard to know you had a whole bag of ripe ones. There’s always that one you find bitter when the identical one next to it is sweet. Dream analysis based on my limited knowledge of persimmons? You were either skeptical of the gift as it was nearly impossible for it to not contain a few bitter ones, or you are really impressed with your dad’s ability to give you that much perfection.
@dasndanger A goat covered in crispy fried panko flakes? Not sure what panko flakes are, but I bet I’ll have a nightmare about that myself now! It really was a dream, right? 🙂
My first search for persimmons turned up Japanese Persimmon’s; perhaps your dream means your life will ripen if you move to Japan. Persimmon’s also boost your metabolism, so the dream could mean scheduling a few workouts at the hotel gym. Seeing or eating persimmons in dreams can also mean joy and success.
All the dishes look so tasty; took me a good long while to ooh and ahh over all of them.
Mrs. Aota is lovely, what a beautiful woman! Now we know where Akemi gets her beautiful eyes.
Joe in Japan sounds good to me; producing a cool anime series or live action joint Brit, Candadian or Korean-Japanese production like the very awesome IRIS.
PS sorry for the weird apostrophes, I seem to be apostrophe-crazy today.
Joe, what would all the restaurants do in Vancouver if you relocated to Japan? You may single-handedly cause an economic downturn for them! Keep an apartment as a vacation hub perhaps, but don’t completely leave Canada!
@das — your last two paragraphs: very well said, and I agree.
P.S. Stash, while still a bit skittish around others, has accepted me and Basil as his new family. When I picked him up to lather kisses, he scent marked me – BIG time, as his way of saying okay, now you’re mine. I subsequently required a shower. 😮
I would definitely eat the “Basil and lime sorbet top orange and grapefruit in syrup”.
Hello to Mrs. Aota!
My sincerest apologies if I mislead you in the euthanasia process. It really IS an anesthesia overdose. I’ve administered anesthesia drugs to many pets. If you have watched a pet being sedated for surgery, it is very similar. I suppose I’ve become more callous to this process after so many years working in the vet field. Plus, my communication skills are not as proficient as many on this blog. So in your own words: He seemed to consider it, even made a bit of an effort, then finally gave up and lay his chin down. He was waiting for my help. You gave Max a wonderful life. What more could you have done?
I’ll borrow Das’s words because they are so true! but know that on this side of the computer screen no one questions your compassion, or your choice. (I think I may just cut and paste other posts from now on because there are some gifted writers ont this blog. I’m just not one of them 😉 . )
On a brighter note: I love the food pictures. Akemi looks just like her mom, beautiful! Keep having fun!
That’s it! I received my copy of Dark Matter yesterday! Finally! I don’t know anything about comics but I loved the style of drawing, the story and it’s totally the science-fiction genre that I like. I can so much imagine it as a TV show. Good job! It’s just too short. I can’t wait for the continuation! I hope the delivery is going to be faster.
Have a nice day.
I could not resist commenting. Very well written!