Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back in Tokyo

I am back in Tokyo on business and am remembering how fun and exciting this city is. The road here was not as exciting. After a 10 hour flight, another 45 minute in customs, and then an hour and fifteen minute bus ride, followed by a 20 minute cab ride - we finally arrived at our hotel. Where are single (twin size) beds were awaiting us.

Being the hotel snobs that we are, we requested upgrades to queen size beds and unfortunately only have those for two nights, after which we have to switch to single rooms (but we are planning on just not leaving our rooms). Like last year, the rooms are very nice and the detail attended to everything is pretty amazing. I have my own little toothbrush, and hair brush, a toilet that has more settings than anyone needs (it can really clean you up afterwards - although I haven't tried). The room even comes with a computer, although the Japanese keyboard layout has me typing li$e thi$ (I am on my laptop now).

All said and done we (my coworker and I) got to our room at around 7:45 which was about 3:45 am San Francisco time. We knew we needed to rally to reset our clocks so we headed down to dinner at the sushi bar in our hotel.

After being seated we browsed the menu. I really didn't feel like spending 8,500 Yen (roughly 70$) for 10 pieces of maguro sashimi, so we got up and left. By leaving we probably broke about 50 different rules of etiquette to the Japanese, but I thought we left fairly politely.

From there we headed outside of the hotel - it is possible to find a well priced meal in Japan - I had done it last time around.

We are staying in the Ginza district which is full of tall buildings with flashing signs and lights. Perhaps something like Times Square (but I wouldn't know because I have never been).

After walking by numerous restaurants and seeing pictures of very exotic looking food we came upon a place that was serving blowfish. Blowfish is the fish where the chef has to learn to cut it properly to remove the poisonous parts - that didn't seem to promising and I didn't want to risk anything on my first night here (maybe tonight though :)). The chances of eating the poisonous part is probably very slim, but still ....

Anyhow, as we are walking by after perusing the menu, a hostess runs out and asks us to come in. We walk back over and start to blankly look at the menu. She says, "English menu, English menu" ... we say yes and she runs in side and bustles back out with two English menus. They didn't read any better:

  • Blowfish soup with egg
  • Raw bits of blowfish on rice
  • Fried blowfish skin
  • etc.

We just wanted some gloriously fresh sushi!!

We kept walking, took in the bright lights of Ginza found no more restaurants and walked back along the same road we were on. This whole time there was a light drizzle, but the air remained warm. I was just in a t-shirt, knowing that the rest of my trip I would probably be in my suit.

We came back to the blowfish restaurant, but decided to just take a chance and blindly walk into the restaurant across the street. We are seated, handed menus and find out that it is the exact same restaurant, just on the other side of the street.

Suffice to say, we did not eat blowfish, but ordered some maguro and tako sashimi, a great eel roll (Unagi Con Bo???), an interesting green salad (all of the ingredients were left un-cut and not mixed together - it was good), and miso soup (which never tastes like it does at home, but is probably much more authentic and true to the taste here).

The sashimi was amazing - I think later this week I will be more adventurous and try the blowfish...

After that we walked back to the hotel and promptly crashed. Now, we are about to head into the office and setup for the Customer Design Validations that are taking place Tuesday to Thursday.

More updates later ...

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