If there’s one thing the Japanese love, it’s a line-up.  And this fact was reinforced as we strolled through Ometasando yesterday where we noted not one, not two, but THREE line-ups.  The first for a newly opened popcorn shop (?), the second for some other presumably new shop of indeterminate nature, and the third…for a Shakey’s Pizza!  I mean, come on!  Shakey’s Pizza?

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Line-up for the popcorn shop.  Really?  Popcorn?
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Line-up for…something else.  I suspect that half these people didn’t even know what they were lining up for.
Okay, come on now.  When there's even a line outside Shakey's Pizza, then you know someone is screwing with you.
Okay, come on now. When there’s even a line outside Shakey’s Pizza, then you know someone is screwing with you.

We had lunch at a yasai-ya (vegetable restaurant) where we enjoyed a very healthy-tasting meal after which Akemi headed off to a head spa while I caught the subway to Akihabara, Geek central:

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My future apartment building?
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Customers line up to input their orders outside a ramen restaurant.
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Akihabara – an anime enthusiast’s dream.
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Pillows of your favorite anime characters!  Never sleep alone again!
A little artwork for Carl's new office perhaps?
A little artwork for Carl’s new office perhaps?
My guess is...Box Man?
My guess is…Box Man?
An ad for Akihabara's many maid cafes.
An ad for Akihabara’s many maid cafes.

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A maid rustles up a customer for the cafe.
A maid rustles up a customer for the cafe.

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The doorman at the Gundam Cafe - Akihabara (Tokyo, Japan)
The doorman at the Gundam Cafe – Akihabara (Tokyo, Japan)

And, this time, I didn’t return empty-handed.  My new purchases:

New cell phone covers.
New cell phone covers.
New t-shirt.  Bonus points if you can guess the anime.  Randomness, you got this!
New t-shirt. Bonus points if you can guess the anime. Randomness, you got this!

For dinner, we met up with my friend Koji, man about town and Tokyo expert, who took us to one of the most happening yakitori restaurants in town: Morimoto in Shibuya.

The master of ceremonies: Koji.  He paces himself at one skewer per glass of sake.
The master of ceremonies: Koji. He paces himself at one skewer per glass of sake.

It was an excellent meal, highlighted by some noteworthy menu selections, among them the house tsukune (minced chicken), the crispy bonjiri chicken butt), chicken heart and even some chicken sashimi…

The chicken breast, served medium-alive.
The chicken breast, served medium-alive.
And the sashi trio: breast, liver, and gizzard.  Koji assured me they had been blanched in boiling water before serving...in case you were worried for me.
And the sashimi trio: breast, liver, and gizzard. Koji assured me they had been blanched in boiling water before serving…in case you were worried for me.

The verdict?  I preferred the chicken butts.  Overall, a terrific meal.

1Morimoto: Hamanokami building 1F, 2-7-4, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

From there, our host, Koji, took us to Nombei Yokocho.  Located down a side alley, it’s a block made up of a host of tiny stand-up bars and eateries evocative of old Edo.  As we walked down the street, Koji gave me the rundown of the various establishments.  “This place is owned by an old high school friend who serves up excellent meguro.  That one is owned by a very nice Russian woman who tends the bar.  This one is run by a former French chef and serves some amazing cheeses and wines.”

1We ended up at Saya, a tiny bar belonging to an old friend of Koji’s. And I do mean tiny.  About the size of my bathroom, it has counter seating for four and standing room for another three.  Still, the cramped confines are conducive to a real get-to-know-you atmosphere.

Our friendly bartender.
Our friendly bartender.

Four sakes in and I was ready for bed.  At approximately 8:00 p.m.  I felt like THIS guy –

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AND I had the munchies.  So I stopped off at McDonalds and grabbed an ebi (shrimp) burger.  Then, a mini tonkatsu (fried pork) burger at some other place.  Oh, and a chocolate eclair.  To help soak up the alcohol and prevent hangovers.  Works like a charm.  You should try it some time!

An early night as as I have  big day ahead of me.  Details to come!

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gforce
gforce

Liver sashimi? I just… can’t.

The line up phenomenon never ceases to amaze me. I suppose they think if there’s a line-up, it must be something worth lining up for, which in itself causes the line up? As I mentioned before, I hate queues unless it’s something I REALLY want, so that is particularly bewildering.

LOL at the Carl art.

Looking forward to more updates!

JeffW

@Joe and @gforce on the liver sashimi:

I think I would give that a try. I grew up with ground-chuck tar tar; we would make sandwiches and mix the ground chuck with salt and pepper. Of course this was back when we knew the butcher personally and he knew which farm the beef had come from and how fresh it was.

I don’t know that I would do it now, given the last time I visited the local butcher, I had to describe what fat back was. The butchering profession seems to have lost a large portion of their skill set.

archersangel

Line-up for the popcorn shop. Really? Popcorn?

they have fancy popcorn these days. if i recall, there was a kiosk at the mall years ago that had popcorn with different flavorings (chocolate, caramel, garlic, spicy, etc.)

detanfy
detanfy

The anime on that shirt is definitely Attack on Titan. I can see the characters using their 3D Maneuver Gear.

glowyzoey

When we were in Tokyo many years ago we ate a Shakey’s Pizza in the Ginza. It seemed a popular place. Somehow we missed all of the classier joints. wink

glowyzoey

At. We ate at a Shakey’s. We didn’t eat the whole place. Not that hungry. lol

Ponytail
Ponytail

I’d like to give Randomness a run for the money and take a stab at that anime T-shirt ( after all, you talk about it enough). I’m gonna go with Neon Genesis Evangelion. Well?

I’d also like to put in my bid for Guess How Much Weight Joe Gains While in Tokyo and pull a Price Is Right fast one (when they say “I’ll bid $1, Drew!” when they think everyone has over bid), and say I think Joe will either remain the same or actually lose weight. You have walked off everything you have eaten on this trip.

This has got to be the most action packed trip EVER! I can feel the vibes!

Ponytail
Ponytail

Wait a minute!! Is the name of that anime T-shirt on the sleeve?!! Crap! detanfy is correct. It’s Attack on Titan. Well, at least I tried. When I see you walking down the street with that shirt on I’m going to think, “cute flowers!” anyway… wink

archersangel

So I stopped off at McDonalds and grabbed an ebi (shrimp) burger.

that’s one of the things i’d like to try if i went over there. and one of things that mcdonald’s should bring to the US (or north america in general) market for a limited time.

Maggiemayday
Maggiemayday

I like a MOS teriyaki burger to ward off hangovers. The grease lines the tummy, preventing alcohol from being absorbed too quickly. I used to live around the corner from one which was open 24 hours. Oh my.

I must admit, our shop would go to Shakey’s for lunch buffet on Friday afternoons in Yokosuka. I lost my appetite for it when I caught a little kid spitting in the dressing bucket… little American kid. I embarrassed him and his parents to no end… very vocally. If I’d been a guy, his dad would have taken a swing at me. I do miss the corn and squid pizza, best combo ever.

JimFromJersey
JimFromJersey

Joe, I’ve got to give you props for two things:

1) Old Man’s War. – This is the best book I’ve read in years…and I’m only about 60% through it. John Scalzi is a genius. Thank you for recommending it!

2) Yamazaki – My local purveyor only carries the 12yr, so I made do. What a fantastic whiskey! I can’t wait to get home tonight to have another go at the bottle.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

I would have gone with Akemi but I’m glad you had fun. Thanks for the pictures. Fascinating!

sylvia
sylvia

Love the shirt – nice BLACK shirt and with very nice red design or “flowers.” LOL. YES….I want one….

Shawna
Shawna

Looks like Attack on Titan. The internet has been going a little gaga for that anime lately. I watched the first episode, but I’m not sure if I want to watch more, because it was kind of gross and looks like it might be kind of depressing too.

Airelle
Airelle

I am not crazy about waiting in line for stuff. Its got to be super fantabulous for me to wait. And did I tell you, that you have some nice looking friends, thanks for sharing them with us. More dessert!. Enjoy!!

PBMom

What is a “head spa?” I’m afraid to ask.

Mike from Canada
Mike from Canada

Interesting anime store. It reminds me of the anime Welcome to NHK.

Kathode
Kathode

Yeah, I was wondering what a “head spa” is too.