November 14, 2013: Tokyo Day #9 Part Two! Studying robotics in Shinjuku!

Being a huge fan of science fiction, I have always been fascinated by the world of future tech: nanotechnology, faster than light travel and, of course, robotics.  Last night, I was afforded the chance to explore the latter at one of Tokyo's hottest night spots, the Robot Restaurant, a place where science and spectacle converge…

November 14, 2013: Tokyo Day #9! Wherein we check out Akemi’s old neighborhood and I eat way too much. Again!

Yesterday, we took a day trip to Akemi's old stomping grounds, catching the Chiyoda line from Hibiya station to Yoyogi Uehara where we transferred to the Odakyu line and finally arrived in Seijogakuen-mae.   In short, just a little easier to get there than it is to pronounce... Once we arrived the first thing we…

November 13, 2013: Tokyo Day #8! A day packed full of jam! And whisky!

Akemi: When I was a kid, I had big eyes.  Like everyone in my family. Me: Why? Akemi: I'm not sure.  Maybe because we eat a lot of meat. Well, just a little meat for me yesterday - but a lot of whisky. We joined Akemi's family for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants…

November 12, 2013: Tokyo Day #7! Noisy cell phones! Kamakura! Beware of Kites!

It would seem that my mother's opinion of Japan has taken a drastic u-turn after she watched the Tokyo episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown.  I assured her that not all - in fact, I'd venture to say very few - Japanese women choose careers as skimpily-clad performance artists in robot theater.  Also, I had no…

November 11, 2013: Tokyo Day #6! My Big Fat Japanese Wedding! Well, not “mine”, but darn close.

Poor white dress shirt planning.  That's what it came down to.  The occasion called for a black suit, white dress shirt, and white(ish) tie and I was ready.  I traveled with not one but TWO white dress shirts (I'm not an idiot after all).  Of course, it didn't dawn on me until this morning that…

November 10, 2013: Tokyo Day #5! Shaky shaky! Pork and promenades! Dinner at L’Effervesence!

We sure are experiencing a lot of turbulence, I thought to myself in my sleep-addled state.  Suddenly, I stopped brushing.  Wait a minute.  I'm in my hotel room. "Did you feel the earthquake?"asked Akemi as I stepped out of the bathroom.  The national news was already reporting on the 4.0 quake, a relatively minor that,…

November 9, 2013: Tokyo Day #4! Japanese convenience store breakfast! Kaiseki at Kurogi! Rustic and Raucous at Kabuto! Eel-gutting 101!

Yesterday, Akemi and I did breakfast Tokyo Convenience Style, sitting down to a lovely spread: spicy orange-hued chicken nuggets devoid of any real chicken taste or texture, a soggy pork bun, another much better barbecued pork bun we received instead of the actual pizza bun we had ordered, an alarmingly runny aloe yogurt (with the fruit…

November 8, 2013: Tokyo Day #2! Quest for the elusive Lawsons fried chicken! The Tokyo underground! Sushi Sawada! And more!

Our Tokyo trip got off to a rainy start.  But that didn't temper our enthusiasm.  We were up and out at 8:30 a.m., on a quest to track down some convenience store heat lamp spicy chicken nuggets for my breakfast.  We were in search of the ubiquitous Lawsons, the one stop shop for everything from…

November 7, 2013: Tokyo Day #1! Arrival! Sans Applause! Robot Girlfriend!

Hello, from the future!  November 7th here in Tokyo; November 6th back home for most of you.  Having advance knowledge of the day ahead, I wish I could tell you all what is in store for you but, alas, like most travelers to Asia, I had to sign a non-disclosure form while going through customs…

November 5, 2013: Things I’m most looking forward to on this Tokyo Trip!

Picked up my sister at the airport last night and was treated to this wondrous sight: And this was the surprise Akemi had waiting for my sister upon her arrival: Well, off today.  We're flying Japan Airlines and will be getting in at 4:30 p.m. Tokyo time - following an 11 hour flight and 90…

November 10, 2012: Sayanora Tokyo! Dai San Harumi!

There are a grand total of three possible sleeping positions on an airplane seat and I exhausted all three today. I quite like the timing of the flights both to and from Tokyo.  On the way there, the flight departs in the mid-afternoon, giving you plenty of time to sleep in and do your last…

November 9, 2012: Last full day in Tokyo! Restaurant Esquisse! Chez Tomo!

My friend Moro-san suggested we go to lunch at Restaurant Esquisse, a relatively new addition to the Ginza dining scene.  It has only been open for about four months now and yet, in that short time, garnered some great word of mouth. Always up to trying something new, I booked us a table. I arrived…

November 9, 2012: Tokyo Day….? I’ve lost count! Star Bar! Nodaiwa! Nakajima! Quintessence!

When I travel to Tokyo, I usually stay at The Imperial Hotel.  The service is great, the rooms very comfy, and I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather spending my nights. With the exception of Star Bar, a truly awesome basement bar Ivon Bartok and I discovered on our trip here a couple of…

November 8, 2012: The return of The Weird Food Purchase of the Day! Gyoza Stadium! Ice Cream City! Nodaiwa!

Today, Akemi and I headed over to Ikebukuro's Sunshine City Mall, home to Namco Namja Town's Gyoza Stadium and Ice Cream City.  It's been some five years since my last visit to Ice Cream City (I still flashback to the aftertaste of that squid ice cream) and I was looking forward to the return trip.…

November 8, 2012: The Osaka wrap-up! Back in Tokyo! Family dinner! Honkogetsu! Killer ramen!

On our final night in Osaka, I was invited to join Akemi's family for a grand kaiseki dinner at Honkogetsu.  It was a magnificent meal, due in large part to the food and company, but also in some small part because I made it through the meal without fumbling anything with my chopsticks or unwittingly…