Toothbrush?  Check!  Clean socks?  Check!  Bubba?  Check!  Okay, we’re good to go!

One of the things I’m reminded about Tokyo every time I catch the shuttle bus from Narita airport into the city are the highways and how truly high they are.  So high, in fact, that one will occasionally find oneself eye-level with the top floor of some extremely tall buildings.  Not a great ride for someone who suffers from acrophobia. “Imagine if there was an earthquake?”says Akemi.  I need no prompting for I have, in fact, already imagined – the roadway shaking, buckling, and collapsing beneath us…the long plunge down to the ground – long enough for me to scream my lungs out, take a nice deep breath, and loosen one more lustful cry before we land.

Fortunately, no earthquakes on this trip.  Close though.  It’s kind of ironic that we left rainy Vancouver for earthquake-prone Japan yesterday, only to touch down to a rainy Tokyo and hear word that we missed an earthquake back home in Vancouver. Well, according to reports (my dog-sitter, Christine) it really wasn’t felt much in the lower mainland.

Akemi came prepared for the long flight with slippers and slimming socks (“The socks are very warm and make your legs thin like chopsticks!”).

Our flight left on time, we actually got in early, while immigration and baggage pick-up was a breeze.  I actually thought we’d make excellent time – until we discovered a 40 minute wait for the shuttle bus to the hotel.  Fortunately, our driver was a bit of a (much-appreciated) maniac and we got in at about 7:45 p.m local time 3:45 a.m. west coast time.  And, of course, you know what that meant…dinner time!

We met up with John and Nancy, two of our Toronto friends, who happened to be in town for a conference.  They’re leaving today but were kind enough to come down to the hotel and join us for a late-night meal.

Recent newlyweds John and Nancy brave the rain to say hi. And eat grilled chicken butt.

We went to the hotel restaurant, Applause, and ordered – oh, two of everything on the menu.  Highlights included the aforementioned bonjiri (grilled chicken butts – what my father used to refer to as “The Pope’s nose”) and –

Sea urchin jelly.

We unpacked, showered, and I was in bed by 11:oo p.m.  Then up again at 1:30 a.m. to make line-up changes for my fantasy football team (The Snow Monkeys), then back to sleep again, then up again at 4:30 a.m. where I followed the late game action (Don’t judge me.  It was 12:30 p.m. Vancouver time.).  Doug Martin got us off to a fantastic start on Thursday night and my Snow Monkeys have ridden that momentum to a week 8 win, evening our record to 4-4 and the #4 rank in our 14 team league.

Akemi and I took an early morning stroll through Ginza, making a point to check out the amazing conveniences stores with their wide and wild array of offerings:

Banana milk
Caramel waffle. check out the image in the top right-hand corner. The waffle can also be used as a substitute cap for your coffee.

Today, I was approached by a homeless man who offered me a handful of cash AND his false teeth!  Who says the Japanese aren’t friendly?

We hit my favorite department store in the universe (yes, including Galactashop on Omicron 5!).

For lunch, today, we went to Akatsukian on the 12th floor of the Mitsukoshi building. There we enjoyed an excellent lunch set highlighted by some silky soba noodles in a rich and immensely flavorful duck broth.

Udon. The duck meatballs were outstanding.
One of the sides was a spoon of grilled miso paste. A first for me and surprisingly good.

We then headed downstairs to the Mitsukoshi basement for a dessert run.  Akemi limited me to a mere five choices.  We picked them up, then headed back to the hotel for an early afternoon wind-down.  My favorites:

The cheesecake from Sweet of Oregon. Oregon?
The custard, whipped cream, and cheesecake-stuffed crepe from Mon Cher Patisserie Osaka Dojima.
And the Creme Caramel Custard Dome from Morozoff.

It was tough to limit myself, but I’m trying to pace myself.  Even at 5 different desserts a day from now until my departure, I won’t get anywhere near sampling a wide enough cross-section of the available dessert.

Oof, what a day.  I’m ready for bed.

Except that it’s only 1:30 p.m.!

24 thoughts on “October 28, 2012 (here in Tokyo): Arrival! Applause! Soba at Akatsukian! And Mitsukoshi desserts!

  1. Wait a minute. Shouldn’t YOU have offered the homeless man a handful of cash and your false teeth?? 😕

  2. You’re going to miss out on all the fun we’re going to have from Sandy’s direct hit. Now don’t you wish you had flown here instead of Tokyo? 🙂

  3. Glad you made it safe, and are off to a running start. Nice new on the Snow Monkeys too. Thanks for taking the time to share and please keep the posts coming!

  4. awwwwww, Bubba wants to travel.
    Food looks yummy. Akemi looks like she is all set for major shopping!

    The waffle coffee cup cap is perfect. Can you imaging the junk that can fall into a cup that is not capped/or watched. Bugs, dust, dirt….
    But, I’d rather eat the waffle crisp.

    Hope you recover from jetlag quickly – there are restaurants to visit, pictures to take, food to devour….

  5. Did I miss it… the news that Akemi WOULD be able to travel. I mean obviously she did, but I had been worried and forgot to ask. WOHOO, enjoy your trip.

    Yes, earthquake on west coast and east coast getting horrific storm. 🙁

    Incredible food. Yum. LOL on the only 5 a day desserts.

    Oy, 2 am here… time for bed.

  6. Ahh…poor Bubba. His sad, pleading eyes were saying don’t leave me!

    Chicken butts? Really? Yuck! But glad you had a safe trip and the deserts look delicious!

    I was at a friend’s house on Sunday. Her brother is a fisherman and had given her a sockeye salmon fresh frozen off the boat. It was my first salmon dinner. She had BBQ’ed it outside (during the pouring rain!) with her homegrown herbs and other seasonings.

    Four of us were gleefully stuffing our faces with salmon, roasted potatoes, green beans, caesar salad, and for desert, a homemade banana cream pie. Several annoying phone calls were justifiably ignored. She is such a great cook. Seriously, the best meal ever!

    Except, it was said brother frantically calling from Prince Rupert, who had been tossed around during the quake and was trying to find out what the heck was going on. They had no electricity and limited information. Poor guy! We felt nothing in New West, and I doubt that anything could have pried the forks from our fingers.

    Weirdly and thankfully, this big quake did little damage, and no reported injuries near the epicenter. So lucky! It would have been catastrophic if it had been near Vancouver or any other big city.

    And my thoughts are with all the folks who are facing the mega-storm Sandy. I can’t believe what I’m hearing about this combination of storms. Please, please take shelter and be safe!

  7. Great to hear that everything is going well and tasty! My Dad used to cal that part of the chicken and turkey the “Pope’s Nose” as well. I remember it actually being a fairly tender part of the bird.

    Regarding the jet lag, I know exactly how you feel. Whatever you do, don’t nap through the day! That only prolongs the problem. When I went to Australia back in the Spring, I did my best to stay awake through the whole day until as late local time as I could. I did find I was able to convert to the new time within a day or two. It’s always harder coming back East though it seems, but in this case it’s on the way home, so who cares then? 🙂

  8. Lovely pics of Akemi and dessert! Nervous wreck here, must shower and get Cody to the vet for his surgery. Will catch up later. xo

  9. Take little practice naps to keep yourself refreshed. Enjoy your desserts! Have a fun trip, looks like you already have that under control. Don’t forget doggy presents( Bubba said to remind you). Eat a dessert for me, or 2.
    @das, hope you are safe, as well as everyone in this weather related crap.

  10. Glad your trip went well. I’ll be showing your pictures to my older son who is enjoying his Japanese studies thus far this year. The desserts look yummy!

    Have a great day!!!!

  11. I bet we have banana milk somewhere around here. Strawberry milk was in the schools. It’s a disgustingly artificial take on the classic fruit/dairy combo. Oh, I can’t stand the smell of banana extract. That would be gross.

    An offering of false teeth seems insincere unless there’s gold in them. He redeems himself by offering the cash, though.

  12. Glad to hear your trip got off to a smooth start so you could truly enjoy your first meal. And those desserts look delicious–now I want that crepe for breakfast!

  13. Only five desserts a day! Travesty! Here in DC it is wet and breezy, but so far not the Frankenstorm the weather forecasters have been predicting. The wind is supposed to pick up after lunch time. I am trying to limit myself to ONE piece of chocolate a day. We’ll see how that goes with being stuck inside and hearing it call me all day long from the pantry.

  14. Ahhhh yes the Tokyo trip, for some reason I thought you took it in Nov, then I realized Holy Hanna it’s almost Nov. Who stole Oct??? Well, safe travels to you both can’t wait to see the pics.

    To those of you in the Northeast in Sandy’s path, be safe, my prayers are with you.

  15. I’m glad you both had a safe trip.

    I don’t like heights either, so I completely understand.

    Oregon cheesecake? It looks very good 😉 .

    When you ate sushi the whole trip, you lost five pounds. It will be interesting to see what the weight differences are this trip.

    Homeless people in Memphis are A LOT different than the ones in Japan!

    Sending prayers for all those on the east coast!

    I love your socks Akemi. 😀

  16. Don’t knock the caramel waffle until you’ve tried it. The steam from the coffee (or hot chocolate in my case. Don’t like coffee.) warms the caramel and makes it soft and gooey. Yum! Gonna have to go and buy some tomorrow now! At least they’re something I can get here in the UK.

  17. Oof, what a day. I’m ready for bed.

    Except that it’s only 1:30 p.m.!
    clearly, a short nap is called for.
    glad you made it there safe and already had some good dessert.
    about that caramel waffle; that picture is probably a serving suggestion. you put the caramel waffle on top of the coffee to warm it up & you get a warm, gooey caramel waffle to eat with your coffee.

    if you’re looking for stuff for the weird food purchase of the day (other than the ice cream) i had my brother ask about possibilities on an anime bboard he goes to;
    someone recommended ramune that comes in different flavors, like curry or wasabi. it’s usually available at village/vanguard (that’s the name, it’s not 2 places) and there’s the chance to find a strange soft drink or 2 (like that banana milk) at 7-11 or family mart type places.
    brief research on ramune brings up more odd flavors;
    kimchi, octopus, chocolate, flaming, sour, sweet & mystery. the wasabi flavor is available at tokyu hands. there’s a store in the ginza area (marronnier gate), shibuya, shinjuku, ikebukuro, lalaport toyosu, ktasenju and machida. not sure where you are in tokyo this time.
    also, there’s a bunch of odd kit kat flavors; ginger ale, soy sauce, creme brulee, banana & others. (i don’t know what’s available now)

  18. So, what’s the Vancouver earthquake version of the Gangnam Style as just a giant rain dance meme? I think we’d be onto a better reason why Gangnam style isn’t as popular in Japan than the ones I’ve heard.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.