Woke up to some very good news.  From the government no less!  Akemi’s application for permanent residency has been approved, meaning she won’t have to leave Canada when her visitor’s visa expires (on her birthday!) this April.  According to the letter I received, the paperwork has been sent to Tokyo for processing – whatever that means.  I think we’ll celebrate today by going out for a very nice meal!

Speaking of which – yesterday, we went out for two very nice meals with a whole bunch of Akemi’s friends.

For lunch, we headed over to Le Chat Souriant, what Akemi described as “casual French”.

Le Chat Souriant in Ginza

As it turned out, the first floor IS casual french (bright, open, bistro-style) while the upstairs, where we ate dinner, was actually formal style (the servers in tuxes were a dead giveaway).  We were joined by Akemi’s friends Maki and Masa and enjoyed a terrific multi-course meal.  They all went for the lighter selection while I opted for the, er, heartier choice…

The Amuse Bouche. Maguro in the spoon, eggplant mousse with a eggplant chips in the bowl, and a crispy-fried foie grass and apple fritter. Small bites with huge flavor!
The lobster terrine, cucumber terrine, and lobster with a vanilla foam. I was uncertain about this one when I read it on the menu but it actually worked.
Seasonal vegetables in aioli. At the center, incredibly airy, whipped potatoes. Despite being more of a meat eater, I loved this dish. The vegetables were perfectly prepared and utterly delicious.
Greenling with spinach and roasted endive. I've yet to have a bad fish dish in Tokyo.
The beef cheek with Chinese vegetables. Melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Akemi, Maki, and Masa's dessert: The Strawberry Festival (strawberry and coconut panna cotta, strawberry sorbet, and fresh strawberries in strawberry sauce topped with a yogurt foam). Akemi and co. were VERY happy.
My dessert: fresh fruit topped with delicious liquor-laced cream and home made honey ice cream. I usually don't enjoy fruit with my dessert but this combination was a home run.
Chef Koji Watanabe, Chef de Cuisine - Le Chat Souriant!

A magnificent meal.  We all left, extremely satisfied.

While we didn’t try the main floor menu, the fact that both kitchens are presided over by the same chef (Chef de Cuisine Koji Watanabe) gives me confidence that, while the dining experience may be more relaxed, the food would be just as wonderful.  Highly recommended.

We decided to walk off lunch by hopping on the metro and heading over to Omotesando for a stroll through Harajuku and a visit to Kiddyland.

On our way to the station, I noticed a huge crowd had gathered. I went over to investigate and discovered everyone snapping photos of these three adorable cats. I couldn't resist snapping my own pic of these adorable photographers photographing those adorable cats.
Maki and Masa say hi.
The Streets of Harujuku
Nanu Nanu?
Came across this amusing character in Kiddyland. According to Akemi who played the accompanying video, he's a gay egg eggsercise instructor. Didn't catch the name.
"Hey, it's a rose donkey!"I said. "What's a rose donkey?"asked Akemi. I pointed. "Aah!"she nodded knowingly. "A rose donkey!"

Alas, I didn’t pick up anything at Kiddyland (although I was tempted by a pair of Neon Genesis Evangelion Shinji chopsticks).

We headed back to the hotel for some R&R, then out again, this time for dinner at Jojoen for top-rated yakiniku with a bunch of Akemi’s friends.  It was me and five women.  Sadly, it would have been six women but Megumi had to bow out at the last minute…

Girls' (+ 1 guy not pictured) Night Out!

They left the ordering to me.  I tried to strike a balance between familiar fare and daring selections…

The ox-tail. I had to eat most of these myself.
Tonsoku (boneless pig's feet). I had to eat most of these myself.
The beef tongue with (hidden) chopped green onions. I got a lot of help on these.

We drank sake.  I grilled meats.  They chatted away in Japanese.  Then, following dessert (ice cream), we headed over to Laduree for more desserts (pastries and macarons) and more Japanese conversation.  Akemi offered the occasional translation and her friends would sometimes stop and direct a comment or question my way – iiiinnnn slooooow preeeciiise Jaaaapaaaaneeese.  Surprisingly, I was able to keep up for the most part and, when I wasn’t keeping up, I was certainly entertained.  I mean, come on.  I was out with five beautiful women!

The previous day, my friend Moro-san gifted me a box of Laderach Swiss chocolates.  Then, last night, Ayaka-san gifted me a box of Debailleul darks!  I am spoiled!

Today, we’re doing dim sum at Fook Lam Moon (I visited the one in Hong Kong many years ago) and dinner at Satoyousuke for Akita-style (countryside) cuisine with Akemi’s friends.  In between, I think I’ll make the trip to Ueno and check out the strange sights.

38 thoughts on “February 5, 2012: Tokyo Day #9! Good news! A formal lunch at a casual restaurant! A gay egg! A rose-donkey! And a night out with the gals!

  1. Loved all the food pictures once more–especially the fruit and ice cream one. And yeah for Akemi getting to stay in Canada!!!!

    Hope you have a great night!!!!

  2. Hi to Maki and Masa.! Yes Joe you are very fortunate in being out escorted by 5 lovely women,Hugh H would be jealous. What a fun time! Even if you had to cook. Congrats to Akemi for the permanent status, Yippee!!! My bd is also in April, a great month. And I think if you were to move to Tokyo, the friends gifting you would cease some since you would be not on vacation. well maybe it would… , Any more tremors of note? Are you going to watch the super bowl anywhere tomorrow(today) The gay egg looks like the book cover we read for the BOTM, The Big Over Easy,(maybe just a littie.) or a superhero egg of sorts, not sure who would choose that for a super hero. Enjoy your vacation. thanks for sharing.

  3. That is GREAT news about Akemi’s residency status! Quite a bit of a relief to get that cleared up, I’m sure.

    That French restaurant food looks amazing. I would love to try some of that stuff. Not sure about those grilled animal parts at the second place, though.

    Could you call that egg thing a “domineggstrix”? Okay, never mind…

  4. Congratulations, Akemi (and Joe)! So, wait a minute…you’ve just gotten Akemi’s residency in Canada and you’re moving to Japan? Shazbat.

    I want the strawberry and coconut panna cotta.

  5. Just read that a 5.7 quake hit about 100 miles off the BC coast. You can run, but you can’t hide, hey? 🙂

  6. I thought the gay egg and rose donkey were a joke in the title.

    I get the rose donkey, I really do. Please inquire on my behalf regarding a rose donkey franchise.

    But the gay egg, I mean…uh… I’m a big fan of creative thinking, but isn’t there some point where it’s not a genuine thought anymore?

  7. Congratulations to Akemi and Joe on Akemi’s permanent residency approval! Good for her, you Joe, and us! Hi Maki and Masa! I see the 5 beautiful women, but I don’t see you. Hand the camera to someone else… Did you buy Akemi a rose from the donkey? What were the cats doing to attract so much attention? Great pictures! Thanks for letting us tag along.

  8. *hugs for Joe and Akemi* Yaaaaaaay!! Akemi gets to stay in Canada! 🙂

    Rose donkey! LOL! That made me giggle! 😀

    Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of my anime.

  9. On our way to the station, I noticed a huge crowd had gathered. I went over to investigate and discovered everyone snapping photos of these three adorable cats. I couldn’t resist snapping my own pic of these adorable photographers photographing those adorable cats.
    were they special cats? or just some random cats hanging out together?

    and good news about akemi’s residency status!

  10. So pleased about Akemi’s approved application!! One less thing for you to stress over. ^__^Y

    I’ve been meaning to ask, when you capture the details of the meals, how do you do so? Do you take pics of the menu so you can refer to the info later, or do you have a food journal where you jot down all the details as the plates arrive? There’s so much detail I can’t imagine you just recall them when you post the pics.

  11. Hey Joe,
    I have a question that probably many also have:
    Do you see around you anything different from your previous trip in 2010/2011 ?
    I mean what has the unfortunate and terrible earthquake of march 2011 changed ? Do you personally see the differences ? Are Japanese people open to talk about it ?

    And when i am asking the questions I do not mean any disrespect. I actually do admire that country a lot and I know and had this happened any where else in the world, the numbers would have been in the hundreds of thousands. Just wanted to know what you see first hand.
    Thank you and have a great trip.
    Iom

  12. Joe! Hisashiburi! I used to read your blog when I watched SGA in the old days but since moving to Japan, I’ve been out of the loop of scifi stuff and English movies stuff… so imagine my surprise when I browsed your blog to see photos of Tokyo! Great to hear that you’re having a good holiday and enjoying your visit. And as per usual, posting pictures of food. The Japanese do do a lot of great desserts… where is Fook Lam Moon? I’m always looking for good Chinese food in Japan and especially Tokyo since I’m there often.

  13. Looks like common sense has prevailed for a refreshing change with Akemi’s successful residency application.

    Also, gotta say I’m thankful that Humpty Dumpty never looked liked that in nursery rhymes when I was a kid!

  14. Yay, Akemi! Happy Rabbit Day!!! 😀

    This means you won’t have to move to Japan, which means I can still drive to your house. Not that I’m going to do that or anything… *shifty eyes*

    Hey, no worries. I have so much going on here, I don’t even have time to drive to see my own sister. 😛 I just have way too many things I’m interested in (I think I need an intervention for interest/hobby ADD). Yes, still fossil hunting, yes, having fun with the metal detector, and yes…getting into something else now.

    Someone gave us a tank (we have trouble saying no to freebies). Not sure if it was for fish, or a lizard, or some other creepy crawly. It’s about 18″, and just sitting in our garage. We were going to toss it, and then I got a great idea – make a terrarium! I had a terrarium back in high school, and I love miniature plants* (*see struggling bonsai on my windowsill), so I figure it would be a good use for this tank. I just don’t know if I want to go with a wet terrarium, or a dry, desert terrarium. One needs a lid, the other doesn’t (and I don’t have a lid, so looking at an additional cost there). Cactus would be easier to care for, and I could add a lot of the interesting rocks I’ve found over the years (that are just sitting outside, doing nothing), buuuuut, I love moss, and I’m thinking of adding some rolypoly bugs (well, terrestrial crustaceans) because I just love those things.

    Ah, decisions, decisions.

    Also, Joey…I’m not seeing any hawt, waifish long-locked Japanese guys on your blog yet, so…like, what’s up with that? (They only count if I can see their face…chicken-livered shots from behind don’t count! 😉 )

    Have a good night, you two!

    das

  15. PS…Joe, about those pictures. Make sure the dudes are at least 18 years old…early 20s would be best. We don’t want to make this creepier than it already is. 😉

    das

  16. Yay Akemi gets to stay! I’m sure that is a load of your mind. Love the food pictures! Keep having fun!!!!

  17. @ TeesterX:

    Also, gotta say I’m thankful that Humpty Dumpty never looked liked that in nursery rhymes when I was a kid!

    I was thinking that too…it’s like Humpty Dumpty meets Rocky Horror Picture Show!

  18. Oh, yeah, and congrats to Akemi. If you guys are still even in Canada then. You might’ve moved to Tokyo by then.

  19. Congrats Akemi!!!

    I’m with das, the girls a SUUUUUUPERRRRR CUTEEE!! (I’m jealous!)
    But we neeed Japanese guys 😀

    Birdy

  20. That’s fantastic news for you and Akemi. I’m thinking you were considering a move to Japan as plan B, in case the application was not approved.

    Yeah, 5 women? I would adore having lunch with 5 handsome men, too.

    For those of you who do not yet know, my father-in-law did pass away about 4:45 a.m. eastern time on Saturday morning. Looks like we’ll be headed up to New Jersey on Wed for the Thur visitation and Fri funeral Mass, then we’re going to stay until Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, as the travel day for flying back. This will give us time to spend visiting with family after the chaos, and I can go visit my sister and aunt (one is an hour away from where we are staying, my sister is 1-1/2 hours). Might as well try to get the most out of the trip.

    And yes GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. @Akemi and Joe: congratulations! That’s great news! And it looks like you had more fabulous meals in wonderful company.

    @das: Awww. Asking Joe for pictures of waifish, hawt Japanese guys; you take such good care of me! (pssst. when you head over to Joe’s house swing by and pick me up. I’m right on the way).

    @Joe: you were in Harujuku and didn’t find any hawt guys to photograph for das and me? All you found to photograph was a donkey and a gay egg? Just ask Akemi to point some out for you on your next excursion. Better yet, give her the camera and have Akemi snap some pics for us!

  22. Congratulations, Akemi, on the approval of your residency application! Hurray! I’m glad that’s settled. Hi Maki and Masa! Oh, honey ice cream sounds delicious. The food photos look wonderful. The eggsercise instructor causes my mind to wander down strange paths. Eggy is rocking the thigh-high boots, though. I’m impressed with your linguistic skills, Joe. I have yet to grasp more than one language. I admire folks who can communicate in more than one language. I’m not sure if I could learn another language using immersion, or if my head would explode from frustration.

  23. It actually looks more like transvestite egg. Are you sure Akemi isn’t confusing them?
    Bad eyes, enlarged the donkey, lol ROSES in the cart. Old age and bad vision sucks.

  24. @das – you could get some albino frog(s) for your new terrarium/aquarium. They look cool! It’s says they can get fairly big, though.

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