October 11, 2012

Pet Shop Boys

Today got off to a very ominous start: Taylor burned some toast. Apparently the microwave oven was too hard for him to figure out:
It clearly says "toast" right below that yellow button.
Much like the Oracle reads bones, so too do I read burnt bread.
It was not the way we wanted to start our day so we quickly gathered our things and left the apartment. Every moment spent in the presence of this foreboding loaf was time wasted.

When exploring a city, there are many different ways to discover new places. Some people like guide books while others prefer asking friends for advice, but the mystery is lost when you've read or heard about your destination. So instead, Taylor and I got on the Yamamote line (which is a giant circle around Tokyo) and picked our target. We decided that wherever that person got off, so too would we.

What we first found was a very quiet area of the city, shielded from the noise and bustle of some of the other districts (though there were still plenty of people). We walked through beautiful little neighborhoods with streets barely big enough for a Mini. We passed school children, community gardens and the site of one of the lesser known Ernest films:
In this film, Ernest must battle ninjas.
By far the best part of the day was discovering a small pet store in
the neighborhood. We were drawn in by the puppies in the window, but the real treat was learning that for a small fee, we could be the owners of a monkey, owl, bat, turtle or even a hawk! In Japan, it is customary to get your host a present, so soon Kelly will have a baby monkey pet!
I nearly stepped on this little guy! 

I may have gotten my money's worth out of my shoes today since we decided to walk from our random destination all the way around Yoyogi park (which I can now officially check off on my list) through Harajuku to Shibuya, where we were meeting friends for dinner. We again walked through a quiet little neighborhood that bordered the park. I got the feeling that this is where wealthier Tokyoites call home, despite the small houses. I think great wealth in this country does not equate to high-rise living the way it does in NYC.

The 4 hour dinner experience was something else and I am now well on my way to embracing sushi. We were invited by Frank and Anna to join them for dinner in Shibuya. The restaurant is located on the 14th floor and has brilliant views of the city. For whatever reason, I did not mention that I don't eat seafood the night earlier when we had made plans to meet at the sushi restaurant. And then again, when the ordering began, I didn't mention that if it's in the sea, it's not in my mouth. I knew that the worst thing that could happen would be projectile vomiting on Frank, who was sitting across from me, but what a story that would have been! Blog title: Ralphing on Frank.

Fortunately there was no vomiting, just spicy tuna rolls and some sort of of tuna belly sushi. I liked it! Well, I liked that I didn't puke. I would have preferred teriyaki chicken, but I can no longer say that I do not eat sushi. But seriously, why can't we have chicken sushi? Keep the fish in the ocean, that's what I say. Sushi should be defined by one man, one chicken roll.

Two wonderful things to come out of dinner: 
An invitation  to join Anna at the karaoke bar from Lost in Translation.
Knowledge of a place in Roppongi Hills where there are incredible Beatles impersonators (number 27).

It's nearly 2am here in Tokyo and Taylor and I plan on getting up early tomorrow to go see the second largest Buddha in Japan (the largest being the one I saw last trip in Nara). I purchased stamps (Sumimasen, anata wa kite ga imasuka?) from the post office down the street, so if you would like a postcard, please get me your mailing address.