I think I actually put on some weight on this trip.  No.  Really.  Upon my arrival in Tokyo, I had a choice between two notches on my belt – the first, a little tight; the second, a little loose.  I opted for the latter and, fourteen days later, that loose notch is actually kind of snug. Wha- happened?!  I thought all the walking I was doing would burn off the extra calories.  Okay, granted, I have been eating a lot – but no more than on previous visits.  I even took a bit of a break today, not so much out of a desire to curtail my culinary spree as it was the fact that I just wasn’t hungry after “the ramen debacle”.  I was up most of the night and into this morning nursing a sore stomach and I simply couldn’t do it today.

But that didn’t stop me from trying.

For lunch, we went out for oden, a traditional Japanese “comfort food” consisting of daikon radish, fish cake, boiled eggs, and konyakku, a flavorless potato noodle with a consistency like jelly.  It’s all served in a dashi broth and is beloved by many here, including Akemi.  Me, not so much, but I didn’t mind.  If Akemi was willing to eat deep-fried pork tonkatsu with me, I was certainly willing to eat a giant steamed radish for her.   True love, huh?

Following the line of customers into the restaurant.  The joint is jumping.
Following the line of customers into the restaurant. The joint is jumping.
Akemi's oden lunch setto, minus the daikon that has yet to arrive.
Akemi’s oden lunch setto, minus the daikon that has yet to arrive.
Karashi, a Japanese mustard that is about a thousand times hotter than what we have back home.  I'm going to have to pick up a jar to bring back with me.
Karashi, a Japanese mustard that is about a thousand times hotter than what we have back home. I’m going to have to pick up a jar to bring back with me.

Otakou: 2-2-3 Nihombashi, Tokyo

After lunch, I was feeling surprisingly “not terrible”, so rather than head back to the hotel, I accompanied Akemi on a stroll through Nihombashi.


I wonder how hot it gets in there in the summer.
I wonder how hot it gets in there in the summer.

Although I still wasn’t hungry by the time we returned to Ginza, I figured I had to get back on the horse, just like a real athlete plays through pain.  With only days to go before my departure, I have a lot of ground to cover after all!  So we started off easy, sharing a meager two dessert snacks that we picked up at the Peninsula Hotel and brought back to our room:

Chocolate hazelnut cream cake and a mango pudding.
Chocolate hazelnut cream cake and a mango pudding.

One of the desserts Akemi was dying to tru was the famed Peninsula Hotel mango pudding, purportedly THE BEST mango pudding ever. So, I had to try it as well.  And the verdict?  It was pretty damn good mango pudding!  I never thought I’d ever say those words.

1Akemi also surprised me with a box of assorted chocolates from Madame Setsuko, an Osaka legend.  She gifted me a similar box after our first date way back in 2009, dropping them off at my hotel on her way to work the next morning.  Sweet, no?

Well, with time winding down on our trip, we’re making the most of our last few days by paying second visits to some of our favorite haunts. Last night, it was L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for another excellent dinner:

111Followed by a romantic night-time stroll through Roppongi:



P.S. In retrospect, that Hattendo fresh cream bun before bedtime was huge mistake.  I was up all night!

21 thoughts on “November 19, 2013: Tokyo Day #14! Back on the horse! Oden! A return to an old favorite! And, of course, desserts!

  1. i love pudding, but i’m not sure about mango pudding.

    i bet it’s tempting to cram in as many restaurant visits as possible, considering you only get over there once a year. but at the risk of sounding rude, forget getting back on the horse & get on a treadmill.

  2. Wow it’s been 14 days already??? Looks like you are having fun as always. Chocolate looks yummy!

  3. I admire your ability to eat so many exotic meals. I am not anywhere near as adventurous. I suppose that it is bound to catch up to you eventually. No matter how careful people are with food preparation, mistakes can happen and the food can end up not so healthy. Also, there have been some articles on the internet that radiation levels in foods in Japan are higher due to the Fukishima disaster. I hope that does not turn into a real problem.

  4. You were up AGAIN all night feeling ill? Dude. Never let it be said that you’re not dedicated to your craft (of eating), but it may be a sign that you need to pace yourself a bit. And I hate to say it, but from sad experience I know that as you get older you can’t quite eat as much as you used to at the same activity level without changing your belt notches.

    That said, all that food looks great! Well, except maybe the idea of the giant steamed radish. That IS true love.

  5. Bring on the mango pudding. Mango anything. 🙂 Feel better, Joecito!

    @Das: “Maybe you have worms…” Hmmm, you are what you eat, no?

  6. @das: I just saw your “glutton intolerant” comment from yesterday. 😀

    @Joe: slow down, dang it! Give your poor tummy a break and skip the fats tomorrow.

    But… mmm mango pudding. Love mangoes!

  7. @ Deni – 😆

    If I recall correctly, Joe, you developed tummy troubles the last time (or the time before that) you were in Tokyo. Didn’t you switch things up after that, taking lighter meals or something?

    Whatever you do, feel better and enjoy the rest of your trip! (Those lights are beautiful, btw!)


  8. “I think I actually put on some weight on this trip. No. Really.”

    I hope not! I’m still betting you remain the same or actually lose weight. Hopefully you are just bloated or it’s water weight gain due to too many ramen noodles. Or maybe it is worms like Das says. 😉 Just pick up the walking pace.

    Those lights are sensational!

  9. i'[ve found as i get older that i can’t eat anything too spicy. especially if it’s combined with greasy/oily. since you had the spicy ramen followed not too much later by an oily one, that could be the one, two punch that knocked your digestive system for a loop. maybe ease up on the spices for a day or two & see if that helps.

  10. Have to catch up on a few blog posts (later). Patrick had an MRI/MRA of the brain under anesthesia and it’s been an all-day ordeal. He’s fine. But it would be just like as if he had had a surgery with the anesthesia part. I wanted to post a new cancellation of a TV show for those of you still playing:

    “ABC has just released their mid-season schedule, and as expected, Betrayal will not be returning after it’s currently ordered 13 episodes finish airing.”

    The scoring system was this, just in case you need a refresher: “So +1 for a correct choice. -1 for a wrong choice. -2 if you bet against a show that get’s an early pickup. +2 if your correctly choose a show will get cancelled and has it’s airing cut short.”

  11. Ahhhh… Good to have this soothing light display of wonderment to distract me from the frustrations of Facebook today. Together with a bunch of former law school classmates and their spouses/family members, I’m in a Facebook group dedicated to discussing movies and television. It all started with one of them running a tournament of “The Best Movie of All Time,” which took nominations from every year of filmmaking, all the way back to the early 1930s. People would have several days to vote on each matchup, and there was even a losers’ bracket, the winner of which would have a chance to go up against the victor in the winners’ bracket. The thing lasted 18 months!

    Now, we’re just beginning a tournament of the “Best TV Drama of All Time.” Starting with a field of 66, we had the four bottom seeds face off against each other to get it down to 64, and now the first two matchups of the round of 64 are St. Elsewhere vs. Veronica Mars, and Doctor Who vs. Quantum Leap. The voting on these two is going on simultaneously, in an effort to NOT have this tournament last forever. I originally voted St. Elsewhere and Doctor Who, but Doctor Who was losing to Quantum Leap, and I couldn’t have that. So I offered to switch to Veronica Mars in exchange for a VM fan’s switch from QL to Who. Which worked! But now someone else who hadn’t voted in the Elsewhere vs. Mars matchup before now (because he hadn’t seen either of the shows) has just voted St. Elsewhere and then offered to switch to Mars, if someone else who voted Who changes their vote to Quantum Leap. (This is the cutthroat cunning of lawyers, on full, ugly display…)

    It’s fun to see the depths to which people (including myself) will sink to get their favourites that much closer to the prize, and it’s even more fun to read nominators’ impassioned defenses of the shows they’ve nominated (it was a requirement of nominating, that you had to be able and willing to write a defense of whatever shows you nominated, when they came up for a vote), but it can be very frustrating too — especially when people are voting against a show you like, which they have never even seen. I’ll be glad when we’ve moved on to shows I don’t care as much about.

    This is all a really long way of saying thanks to Joe and all commenters for providing a welcome respite of humour and escapism from my supposed “pastime”.

  12. I’m not sure about mango pudding. Probably would at least try that one though. The hazelnut cream cake looks outstanding.

    Awwww. Akemi is so thoughtful. A gift like that after a first date? Wow! That must have been SOME FIRST DATE! So was the new box an anniversary gift to you from her? Perhaps your 1st wedding anniversary present? LOL (Come on…it’s been a week since I inquired! Gotta give me an “A” for effort, yes?).

    Those videos at the end were beautiful. Sounded very windy on that first one or was that part of the sound effects?

  13. Oh and sorry you are feeling unwell again. About the belt notch — you do know that the metabolism slows down a bit as we age. I bet, though, it is no worse than what happens to people on a cruise ship. I’m confident you’ll be able to get any weight you might have gained off once you get back.

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