September 11th back west but the 12th here.  This blog entry comes to you from the future!

So, the fallout from Friday night’s Dark Matter double-header continues to resonate.  I’ll hold off talking about it until our international fans have had a chance to catch up but, suffice it to say, if you found the ending of episode 212 shocking, you’ll be downright devastated by our season finale.

Meanwhile, I’m in Japan.  After a typical sleepless pre-flight night and a relatively sleepless eight hour flight, I arrived in Tokyo at 4:00 p.m. local time, about midnight my time.  Once Akemi and I had caught caught the shuttle bus from Narita, checked into our hotel, enjoyed a late night of yakitori –

September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Thigh, breast, meatball and, of course, chicken butt!

I forced myself to stay up until 9:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m. Vancouver time).  By 10 p.m. I was OUT.  Then, following a deep sleep, I roused awake in a panic, assuming I had slept in and wasted much of the afternoon.  I scrambled to check the time on my iPhone.  What was it?  8 a.m.?  9?!  10?!!!  Try 1:30 a.m.  I’d been asleep for all of three and a half hours.

I slept fitfully until 6 am when I woke up – much to Akemi’s relief as she had been up since 4 a.m. – then we got dressed and headed over to the Tsukiji Fish Market for our traditional Japanese breakfast –

September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Nikki-dofu (left) and “guts bowl” (right)

We walked around Ginza.  We walked around Omotesando.  I humored Akemi by agreeing to a vegetarian lunch where I enjoyed was served about a dozen dish small dishes.  The overarching theme of the lunch was bitter-goopy.

September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
My review: Bleeergh!

Then, it was off to La Maison de Chocolat for second-lunch.

September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Iced chocolate, two chocolate macaroons, a chocolate eclair, a couple of chocolate almonds, and a chocolate square. And an iced tea for Akemi.

Well, my Snow Monkeys are off to a horrendous start in fantasy football league play, putting up an abysmal 64.14 points.  It’s going to be a looong season!

September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Akemi is thrilled to be here.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Ah, Japanese toilets – how I’ve missed you!
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Check out the window cleaner waaaay up on top.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
A surprisingly uncrowded Ginza dori – at 7 a.m.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Rule #1 of traveling with Akemi: Stop to take a picture with every street corner mascot.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Welcome to Tsukiji
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Imagine the size of the plate!
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Two types of sea urchin in charcoal bun.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
7:00 a.m. lineup for sushi breakfast.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Akemi – super bummed the Sanrio shop was closed.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Who needs menus? Just pick and point.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Okay, okay. Akemi has been talking about this for years. I promise to try it before I head back home.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
According to Akemi, it’s a specially designed spoon attuned to the vibrations of your hand that makes the ice cream melt faster. Hmmm.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Despondent robot.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
A Jean-Paul Hevin chocolate macaron.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Akemi misses the dogs so badly, she’s taken to bonding with the animatronic ones.
September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!
Uh oh. Sad rabbit. The memory card in Akemi’s camera conks out.

Sushi tonight, then we’re off to a chocolate-making class tomorrow before catching the bullet train to Osaka.  Akemi had me call the shop last month to find out if the class was offered in English.  Sadly, the answer was no – but, undeterred, Akemi signed us up anyway.  “It’s only one class,”she said.  Right.  Only one FOUR HOUR class!

27 thoughts on “September 12, 2016: Tokyo Day #1!

  1. This is my ‘first trip’ to Japan and I’m liking (most) of the food already! I’ve just finished my bowl of porridge (it’s 6.30am here) and I’m hungry again! (Only another 6hrs til lunchtime😞) Loving that giant macaroon!

    Chocolate class …. Mmmm.
    I look forward to hearing about that. Who needs to know another language when there’s a bowl/plate of chocolate in front of you …..

  2. I have experience with the toilets in Japan as well, Joe. It was on a three week trip in August of 93, shortly before my 17th birthday. I’d label it “Curiosity killed the cat”, or in my case, shocked the cat. Parents and host family were definitely amused by my surprised reaction.

    I did sample some of the Japanese food while I was there, but my parents knew of my distaste of seafood and had me on an 85/15 chicken diet (Thank God). Iced coffee and a few Japanese sweets did make the menu, though. Of course, there was a Japanese pepper involved in there too that tasted like pure wasabi laced with habanero in there. Your reaction to the vegetarian lunch was nearly the same as mine. Mine would be more “diplomatic”, but essentially the same. Then there’s the irresistible chocoholic in me that has me like a dog willing to do tricks for a chocolate dessert platter.

    Akemi’s reaction to the camera going out of charge is good. The fact that the dogs are missed is a sure sign that these will be a loooooong two weeks, as the dogs are probably pining away for you too.

    On a more somber note, today was the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Many memorials were played out, tributes done, etc., football played (both English and American). It was a good day. Dogs miss you (yours, not my stuffed ones, although they do say hi.)

  3. I’ve done a couple of chocolatier courses. I’m sure Akemi can translate the important parts. Tempering is, funnily enough, all about controlling the temperature of the chocolate to ensure correct cocoa butter crystal formation. Ironically, the chocolate component of chocolates is only a minor part of the process. Most of the flavour and texture comes from the ganache in the centre.


  4. Loving all the food porn thus so far.
    Animatronic pets are definitely a whole lot of fun to mess with too.
    – But OMG! is that a real fish head?!!!
    Yikes! That thing is even more freaky! scary!
    and shocking!
    than the horrifying WTF conclusion of episode 212!!

    Not sure what’s going on with WP at this point?
    When i was composing my last comment
    on the previous days blog
    I was so thrilled to see my old crabby avatar returned.
    Albeit once it published
    it simply reverted to the new avatar ????

    Oh well. Bummer.
    Now I kinda feel like that despondent robot.

    I wonder if that’s how my new student Happy feels when people
    become impatient and criticise it
    for not being as sophisticated in its base programming
    or as fast a learner as its A.I. peers?

    I think I need to go grab myself a sweet slice of tiramisu to console myself.

    Hope you & Akemi are having fun today! 🙂 XO

  5. Hey Everyone!

    Come Join us in celebrating Joe’s 10 year blog anniversary! XO
    Email me via for details!

    (and no, – it doesn’t include having to travel anywhere. Albeit hurry!
    Space is limited and RSVPS are due soon!)

  6. Looks like you guys are having great (if tired) fun already! Not that I think that the ice cream spoon works like that, but why would you want your ice cream to melt faster?

    Keep those food pics coming – it’s always fascinating to see what’s on the menu there.

    Heading back home from Vanc tonight, so I’ll have my own jet lag to deal with tomorrow, but then it’s back to work on Wednesday. 🙁 I’m actually kind of ready to go back. Well, I’ll say that until about Thursday. 🙂

  7. I love the despondent robot! I may have to build one; sort of a more size-manageable version of Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  8. Cool food, it’s 10 am and I’m now starving after checking out these pics! I’m scarfing down caramel corn and dark chocolate to tide me over to lunch. Akemi’s hair looks amazing, I love the side swept bangs.

    I deserve all the angst I had over the double header; I was chortling with glee when Four went rogue on the royal court, but then…! No spoilers but I was with Two yelling Nooooo! at my screen.
    I loved the scenes with Three and Five running from the law, anytime you get Lemke in a cabin with a wrong to avenge wonderful things happen.

  9. Episode 11: 742k viewers, 0.18 18-49
    Episode 12: 538k viewers, 0.11 18-49

    It’d be easy to say WTF to Episode 12s numbers, but the scheduling really killed Episode 12s numbers. That’s a series low right there. But what do you expect airing it at 11pm though? No one wants to stay up until Midnight watching any show.

    Let’s hope the network, through all its wisdom realizes the stupidity of the scheduling and next season when we see the inevitable double episode, airs at 9 & 10pm instead.

  10. Glad you made it safe and sound! Hope the food gets better for you.

    As for the ice cream scoop, I have one that has gel in the handle, that warms up form the heat of your hand. Supposed to make scooping easier. I think it does…

    My New York Comic Con passes arrived today; wish Dark Matter was coming. Sigh.

  11. I always love reading about your trips to Japan. Very entertaining, and educational…where else can you read about fish heads, guts and chicken butt in a blog post?!

  12. Until I can plan another trip to Japan, I’ll live vicariously through you.
    But I really do need to go back. I miss the toilets. And the noodles – udon just isn’t the same here.

    Akemi, did you enjoy the vegetarian food? Or was it just bad vegetarian food?

  13. Back in Japan already? or #Joepan. Bring something back from Joepan to put in an ep of DM, something that we fan will only know. Like the pineapple.
    Have fun, be safe.

  14. I was so shocked over the ending of episode 12 that I then got angry. I really was starting to like “4”. But what a vicious person he turned out to be! I would not have been surprised if it had been revealed that he did have something to do with his fathers death.

    I think I have figured out how your 5 year plan for the show is going to go.

    Each year you’ll kill off or turn evil, any character we had any thoughts of falling in love with or liking.

    When, at the end of five years, no one is left alive and it’s the end of the last episode, the Android will wake from her dream cycle and say, “Well, that was an interesting dream. I wonder what it means.” Fade to black.

    Not sure I want to “be downright devastated by our season finale.” I will watch of course. I always see things through to the end. But I may be too angry or sad by the end of it. {{double sigh}}

  15. That first picture looked pretty good… until you ruined it… “chicken butt”.

    In that second picture I was trying to pick which one I would try… until you ruined it… “guts bowl”.

    I’m just going to skip right past that third picture.

    I think I would like to try the omelet rice.

    @ TheOtherOne – That is not a giant macaroon. That is Joe and his trick photography making it look huge. It is probably really bite size.

    Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing so much!

  16. According to Akemi, it’s a specially designed spoon attuned to the vibrations of your hand that makes the ice cream melt faster.
    not sure why you’d want that.

    and does that particular japanese toilet have a music option to cover the noise of a person….um, “going?”

  17. Yep. Us UK’ers only got the one episode, so I’m going to have to wear my spoiler-blinkers for the next couple of weeks!
    Bah, and it was going so well, too!!

    Not sure where else these “Extras” are available, but if you’ve bought the Season Pass on iTunes, you get little bonus videos with every episode. They’ve been fun to watch!

  18. Okay, if @Peggy’s theory is correct….

    “I think I have figured out how your 5 year plan for the show is going to go.
    Each year you’ll kill off or turn evil, any character we had any thoughts of falling in love with or liking.”

    …. I just want to say how much I hate Three, and Five, and Two. Hate, hate, hate! And hate the Android too! And oh my goodness I hated One so much! I hated One with a passion! Couldn’t stand the sight of him! So I guess now that means you have to bring him back. Right? 🙂

  19. I think I’d starve to death in Japan unless I could eat sushi for all meals and then mostly rice, tuna and eel, maybe yellowtail. I do love me some seafood so maybe shrimp & scallops would be okay too. I’m drawing the line at the giant fish head, chicken butt & gut bowl!!

    What happens in a Japanese toilet when you take the water pressure to 5 dots? Does it eject you off the seat? I know you’ve tried it.

    I like the idea of just pointing to my selection of food but first you gotta figure out what it is!

    I’m loving the despondent robot & animatronic dog, surely there is a tie in there somewhere. Android & Five need a pet and doesn’t the Raza need a service bot to assist Android?

    Doesn’t look like you are getting much rest or relaxation….maybe in the next leg of your trip. Have fun!!

  20. Om-rice was one of my favorite things as a kid. I have a rice mold to make it, and the right omelet pan from the Hundred Yen shop, but since I can no longer have tomatoes, it doesn’t taste quite right to me. That splash of Japanese ketchup is essential.

    Yakitori, such great street food. Also the only thing in Japan I ever got food poisoning from. Guy set up in our neighborhood with his little cart and three stools, everyone was there. I think everyone may have regretted that evening snack.

    Mmmm, eclairs ….

    I’m doing a backwards blog catch up review. Whew!

  21. You can still get omurice in Vancouver! Let’s go someday. Such good comfort food!

  22. Does the bidet spray have one for power-jet (you know, like the concrete around your house)? Poor despondent robot, Come home to me….I have lots of love to give. That’s kind of a calm demeanor when one’s memory card one’s camera goes BESERK!!! Hope it turned out okay.

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