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Japan Diary 16 November 1983 - 30 November 1983

16 Nov 1983 (Wed): I stayed on base at lunch so I could put a uniform in the laundry and get my hair cut. I had time for lunch in my room afterward–"Gypsy salami" sandwiches and the cream wafers I bought at Mt. Takao. I considered eating a fish meal at Shindo (after two beef/pork meals), so I could eat kaki su, but I just wasn't hungry for fish. I decided to have fowl at Shi Sen. They have a small portion of smoked duck and I ordered that, along with shrimp fried rice. The duck was pretty good even with the strange taste on the skin. After the meal, I realized that was the "smoked" part. I suspect they used liquid smoke flavoring. That is cheating. I might not return there even though they have the best fried rice in town. After supper, I bought blueberry muffins and cinnamon "cruller" at Dunkin' Donuts. Mr. Donut's cinnamon whatevers are a little better. So far, only the blueberry muffins are first-rate at Dunkin' Donuts.
17 Nov 1983 (Thu): Today, I was in the mood for fish. Despite the confusion about their hours, I went to Shindo, figuring I would go to Bistrot de Jeunesse for an oyster fry set if Shindo was closed. It was open, though, and the oyster fry set was delicious. On my way back to the office, it occurred to me that I could check the soy milk at Saikaya. They have Morinaga in small cartons. I bought a pack of plain and one of coffee to try them. Then, on my way past the little shop near the pet store(1) I saw that they carry Kibun in small cartons. War is hell. I changed clothes a little early to make certain I would get out of the office in time to catch the 1658 kaiso tokkyu. I'm now on it. If for some reason I'm not able to attend the concert I can have supper in Shinjuku. I found Shinjuku Bunka Center(2) easily enough. A sign along the way helped. I got a great seat. The concert (Dvorak Requiem) was outstanding. All the soloists had vine voices, especially the bass, who had one of those rich, resonant voices that rolls out. The chorus was impressive and the orchestra did a fine job. Afterward, I headed for the station. There was some sort of festival along the way, but I didn't have time to investigate it. All the shops in the Subnade were closed, but My City was still open. I had the "Spain set" at Meiji Daisy restaurant. It was very good. The beef was odd at first taste, but I realized that it had simply been marinated. I finished supper in plenty of time to get back to Yokosuka.
(1) I think this was on one of the short, narrow streets off Chuo Odori, south of Dobuita dori.
(2) http://www.shinjukubunka.or.jp/ (Nearly all in Japanese)
http://www.artindex.metro.tokyo.jp/contents/museum_details?lang=en&id=ins2-00087 (in English)
18 Nov 1983 (Fri): Lunch at Giraud, just for the hell of it. I was able to eat a mostly fish lunch (the salad had a little roast pork on it). On the way back to the office, I bought some Yen at the Club Alliance to make up for yesterday's deficit. By surreptitious reading at work I managed to finish The One Tree(1), so I don't have to carry it to Tokyo. I made the 1658 kaiso tokkyu. On the way, I was wondering if I should stop in Shibuya for supper before checking in at Hardy Barracks. I eventually decided not to do so. Then I remembered Harajuku. There are plenty of restaurants in Harajuku, including an Indian restaurant if I remember(ed) correctly. There was a small bank of coin lockers in Harajuku Station, but they were all full. I didn't remember whether or not there were coin lockers in Meijijungumae Station, but I went down there and there were. Even an empty one. Having stashed my bag, I set out to look for the Indian restaurant. I looked carefully for it in the location where I thought it was, but couldn't find it. So, I set off down a side street that had plenty of signs. I hadn't gone far when I noticed a sign for an Indian restaurant, Jamona, at the back of a building fronting on the main street [Meiji Dori?] . I didn't see anything that looked like a proper entrance, so I returned to the front of the building. This time, I saw the rather small sign. This is not the restaurant I remember seeing. That one had a much more obvious sign "out front", wherever it is (perhaps Omote Sando Dori). Anyway, I went up (2F) to Jyamona, which is stuck in the back of the building. The sign on the door says Jamuna in Romaji(2). The food was great! While I was there, though, only a party of two came in besides me. I hope they stay in business. For goodies I tried the Olympia supermarket. They have some interesting things (large cartons of Kagome red grape juice), but they didn't have anything I wanted, so I went to the nearby Colombin. Then to Hardy Barracks to check in. After finishing the newspaper, I went out again, for a can of coffee. I didn't buy milk at the little store by the sushi-ya because I didn't want to go over my budget. However, it was all for naught, as I had forgotten to include the 200 Yen I had used for a coin locker. Oh well, the goodies from Colombin didn't require milk. They were delicious!
(1) Book 2 of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson.
(2) I derived the name Jamona from the Japanese phonetic symbols (katakana) on the previous signs.
19 Nov 1983 (Sat): I started the day with a cup of Kilimanjaro at Coffee Club Roppongi. Then to the Tourist Information Center for a Tour Companion. I didn't find any more concert listings for Sunday, but I did learn that the performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony is a "youth concert". From there to the National Theater to buy a kabuki ticket for the evening. The ticket office opens at 1030. Then to Shinjuku. Lunch was the first order of business. It was nasu gratin and salada verde at Renown Milano. After lunch, directly to te exhibition (Isetan, 8F New Building), which was excellent. Many more fine works with which I was not familiar. Catalog & postcards, naturally. After the exhibition, I should have stopped for a dessert, or at least coffee and a rest, but I continued to Shinjuku Station to buy a ticket for the Trevor Pinnock concert Sunday. Not only was my ankle bothering me (I had hit against something at the performance of the Dvorak Requiem), but I was unable to find the Shinjuku Station Building Ticket Bureau. I did far more walking around on my sore ankle than I should have. Finally, a Japanese person asked me if he could be of assistance. He found out for me (he had to ask at a bus ticket window–if there had been an information desk, I would have been able to ask there) that it was a place in My City that I had seen and rejected. Evidently, there is no particular entity known as the Shinjuku Station Buildnig. The flyer should have mentioned My City and/or the ticket bureau should have been better marked. To top it off, they didn't have any tickets for the concert. From there I went to Takano and had a fruit salad & Darjeeling tea in the "fruit saloon" (their word, not mine). Then I bought smoe pastries in the bakery, for a pre-kabuki snack. From there to Hardy Barracks for a too-short rest. The pastries were delicious. I got to the National Theater in plenty of time. The kabuki was excellent. The last act doesn't have a lot of dramatic value (after Omiwa's scenes in the previous , what would?)(1)., but it was a fitting "grand conclusion". The buses to Shibuya go by way of Aoyama Itchome, so I took the subway to Roppongi. After some uncertainty (caused partially by the fact that Ginza Cozy Corner was full) I had supper in the downstairs part of Kohian. The serving of fried rice noodles was not very large, but with the harumaki it amde a delicious supper. Their food is very good, even if the portions aren't large. Then, finally, back to hardy Barracks.
(1) http://www.kabuki21.com/iot.php This web site does not indicate a scene or act after Act 4, scene 2, which is where Omiwa's famous tribulations take place. Perhaps there is some sort of summary scene or act that kabuki21 does not describe.
20 Nov 1983 (Sun): Since it was Sunday, I didn't stop for coffee in Roppongi, but did buy newspapers at Seishido. Then, to ginza to stash my bag in a coin locker. Lunch was the "panir ..." at Maharajah. I forgot to switch Tour Companions and the old one didn't mention 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, I was sure it was at the Yurakuza. I set out to find it, but didn't at first, having misread the map in Tour Companion. I should have remembered that it's behind the Tourist Information Center. I eventually found it. It was an interesting movie and I'm glad I saw it, but the ending was more than a little obscure. After the movie I stopped at Toa for coffee. Then to Mitsukoshi for food (duty Monday), coffee, and chocolate. (Before going over to Maharajah I had taken a quick look around B1 and saw a couple kinds of Mary chocolate bars that I hadnツ't seen in Isetan.) By then it was time to be returning to Yokosuka, which I did by the normal means. Once in Yokosuka, it was late enough for supper, for which I went to Firebird (lamb steak service set). After supper, I finally headed back to base, buying a carton of milk on the way.
21 Nov 1983 (Mon): I didn't go out for lunch for a variety of reasons. First, I didn't want to walk that far on my bad ankle. Second, I wanted to vacuum the rug in my room so it wouldn't be necessary to do it between message runs (or after both). Third, I wanted to cash my birthday check. Fourth, I wanted to get my uniform out of the laundry. The eggplant salad was pretty good. It might have been even better as a hot vegetable. The marinated octopus was delicious. The pink turnips are okay. The ones from Saikaya were better, though. I took a taxi to the communication center for the 2100 message run. I probably should have done the same for the morning run.
22 Nov 1983 (Tue): I did go out for lunch today. I wanted sushi, but Genroku Sushi was full, even before 1100. Instead of having fish, I had pork, yakiniku don, at Gurabatei. There was a little time left for shopping afterward. I went down to Saikaya, but it was closed (on Tuesday?!). I returned to Seiyu, but the checkout lines were too crowded. So it wouldn't be a wasted trip, I bought a couple of "muffins" at the Bunmeido counter. On the way back to the office I bought some Kibun Tonyu and a Glico Yogurt Sofle at the little snack shop. The "sofle" turned out to be a dessert yogurt. It's very tasty. After work, I stayed on base. There were too many things I wanted to buy on base, I needed to do laundry, and my ankle was still hurting. In the Commissary, I bought Buitoni eggplant parmegiana for supper. It's decent enough. The sauce is more "Italian" than eggplant gratin, but it's less "eggplanty" than eggplant gratin. I also managed to finish the "Gypsy salami". Good stuff. I'll try to remember that Lecherwald brand. The little bean/marron buns are good, but they should probably be eaten fresh.
23 Nov 1983 (Wed): Today, I did have sushi for lunch, at Genroku Sushi. I had a 60 Yen kobanyaki for dessert. On the way back to the office, I had intended to buy fruit, but both Mizumoto and Honcho Hanaju were closed. After work, I did buy a few things in Seiyu–bagged tea, the one remaining can of Delmonte vegetable juice, and a persimmon. Then to the Central Mall soba-ya for supper. Afterward, I decided I was a bit too full for dessert at Four Seasons. On the way back to base, I bought a couple calendars for Mother and milk. The persimmon was tasty. I walked back to the barracks, which was risky, considering that my ankle is still sore.
24 Nov 1983 (Thu): It rained during the night, but the weather had improved by lunch. My first choice for lunch was Pinocchio, to try their spaghetti. However, it was closed. Eventually, I wound up at Natori. I've had their spaghetti, but haven't been there for lunch. The lunch special (well, 1100-1700) nasu [eggplant] no spaghetti was excellent. Then to Saikaya for tenugui. What I bought aren't called tenugui, but they are of the size and type that I want. Next, a little pastry at Pompadour. For fruit I stopped at Mizumoto. Instead of buying two individual persimmons for 150 Yen each, I bought a "bunch" of five for 400 Yen. It's a good fruit shop, so I took a chance on their bananas. Not bad, but not yet ripe. I had an idea. I cut up the rest of the banana, added to it some of the lemon marmalade, and cooked it in the microwave. Tasty! I may have something here. For my Thanksgiving meal I went to Ryu-En. None of the duck dishes were practical for one person, so I had sauteed abalone with chicken. Delicious! Not cheap, but why skimp on a special (in theory) occasion. I even took a taxi from the Main Gate.
25 Nov 1983 (Fri): Writing on the train, what fun. The lunch at the office wasn't too bad. There was gyoza and sushi, and the desserts were tasty. A tape came in the mail, so when we closed the office afterward, I went to the barracks to listen to it rather than go directly to Tokyo. On my way out I bought some Yen at the bank, so I wouldn't need to buy any on Saturday (or Sunday at the Club Alliance). To avoid wear & tear on my ankle I took a taxi to Chuo Station. I also forgot to mail the note to Mother. I hope I remember it at Hardy Barracks. I finally realized that there is a button on the ticket machines for transfer to the Yamanote Line. That way, it won't be necessary to buy a ticket in Shinagawa. After much self-debate, I went to the concert in Ueno rather than just going out for supper. My ankle hurts a little all the time, but it doesn't get too bad. Still, I'm reluctant to do a great deal of walking on it. On the way, I thought I had found someplace to have supper after the concert, a "bibinba house" open 24 hours. However, on examining the menu, I learned that they don't put meat with the bibinba (why "bibinba" in some places and "bibinpa" in others?). It's basically vegetables & rice. The concert was excellent. I was impressed enough that I bought a record. Not only is he an outstanding violinist, but the record doesn't duplicate anything already in my library. While there, I was engaged in conversation by a Japanese person. He's heard Haitink & the Concertgebouw(1), lucky devil! Not Karajan, et al., because it is too difficult to get tickets. He gave me his business card. I returned to Roppongi for supper, at Ginza Cozy Corner. The bouillabaisse was pretty good. The "insides" were excellent; the broth was decent. I prefer the broth at "e.a.t.". I bought goodies afterward. Their pumpkin custard is the best I've tasted. The Suntory machine was empty, so I bought UCC instead. When I returned, I was offered another room by the clerk. Even if the other room hadn't been empty, it would have been preferable to the first one, which the other occupant had pretty well torn up.
(1) http://www.concertgebouworkest.nl/en/
26 Nov 1983 (Sat): I still don't know what I will do today. I would like to stay late enough for the concert, but I don't know how I can do that without spending all afternoon on my feet. Since the weather seems to be good, perhaps will do that since I will be able to stay off my feet most of the day tomorrow. Right now, I'm finishing a cup of Mandehling at Coffee Club Roppongi. Then to the Tourist Information Center for a Tour Companion. While wondering where to have lunch, the yum cha-ya occurred to me. They don't like to give you much time to look at the menu, but all my choices arrived promptly. After lunch to Ueno for the Japanese metalwork exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum. I thought is was in the "new" building an so put my bag in a coin locker there. However, the exhibition was in the central building. As always, with exhibitions there, it was well worth seeing. I didn't put my jacket in the coin locker, which was a fortunate decision, as they don't try to heat the buildings. I can't blame them, though. The exhibition was cheap–500 Yen for admission and 800 Yen for catalogs. No postcards, though. From there, I went to the new building, but was too footsore to look at much, so I got my bags and went to the restaurant for a cup of coffee (good! I might have lunch there some time). After that, I couldn't decide what to do. I was wandering toward Ueno Station and passed the National Museum of Western Art on the way. The Fuseli(1) exhibition had slipped my mind and had not been mentioned in Tour Companion. Even though there was only an hour until closing I went in. That was perhaps an error, as the catalog/poster/postcard section was closed by the time I came out. That was most disappointing, but I had been afraid that the exhibition would slip my mind again if I had delayed seeing it. Perhaps I can get in later just for postcards and a catalog. From there, I went in to Tokyo Bunka Kaikan to check the piano competition. Tickets were available, but I decided not to hear three renditions of Beethoven's Piano Concerto #4. That was another error. Tired and out of sorts from not being able to buy a catalog at the NMWA, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for someplace to eat supper. I would have eaten much sooner had the Chinese restaurant I went into not been full. They thought I was with the Japanese woman who entered ahead of me, which didn't improve my disposition. The supper I eventually did have was delicious, which was again fortunate. It was at a Japanese restaurant whose name I didn't catch, but which will be easy enough to find again. I had unaju. I asked about hamachi sashimi, but they only had a large moriawase [assortment], so i was content with the unaju. From there, I went to the bakery part of Nagafuji for goodies. Then up to the restaurant section for pancakes, but they were out of pancakes. So, I went to Mozart for coffee and cake. The ambience, music (the Concertone was playing), cake, and coffee were all excellent, but the service was terrible. I was brought an oshibori and glass of water as soon as I sat down, but then the all proceeded to ignore me. I had to demand attention. Nagafuji also sells fancy cakes, so I may not have any particular reason to return to Mozart. Anyway, I was well enough fortified for the return trip to Yokosuka. And so, back to the barracks.
(1) http://artchive.com/artchive/F/fuseli.html He is known by three (!) names, John Henry Fuseli, Henry Fuseli, and Johann Heinrich Fuseli.
27 Nov 1983 (Sun): this time when I went out for lunch at Pinocchio, it was open. They don't have a "Napolitan", so I had the "Pinocchio" spaghetti (with fried chicken)–excellent. After lunch I bought a few things at Seiyu–a couple of sodas and a couple of apples. I also bought "prune" drops at Fujiya and Kibun Tonyu at another little snack place (this one has coffee). I wasn't eager to go out for supper because I didn't feel well, but there wasn't much for supper in the room. I took a taxi out to Saikaya to buy the coffee sugar I had forgotten to buy earlier. Genroku Sushi was full. I didn't want to go any farther away from base, so I tried the little sushi-ya (in actuality, it is a bit larger than it looks from the outside) near Han Il Kwan. Their sushi is quite tasty. Then, back to the barracks (another taxi to favor my ankle).
28 Nov 1983 (Mon): I didn't go out for lunch. I had some fruit and wafers (Yamano Yobigoe) in my room and rested prior to going to sick call. That proved to be a waste of time, as I thought it would. Being out of goodies, aside from bread and jam, I wanted something for this evening, figuring that if I couldn't feel well, I could eat well. It seemed time to sample the wares at Ariake, so I bought a selection of their goodies. Then I headed for Shindo, which was closed, however. Since I knew that the 3F Chinese restaurant had relatively small portions, I thought I could eat there and have cha han [fried rice] with an entree portion. I'm not sure I got what ordered. It didn't look much like what the menu described. It was the same price, though. It made a very good meal. The seats by the window are cold, so a seat farther inside would be more appropriate during winter. Then to Alte Stadt to buy lunch meat for tomorrow. I couldn't resist the pastrami, even though I'll have to take it down to the microwave to heat it. Then, back to the barracks, via taxi, buying milk on the way.
29 Nov 1983 (Tue): After having eaten pork last night and having bought beef for supper tomorrow, I thought I should have fish until then. Even though I may want to eat sushi for lunch tomorrow, I had lunch today at Genroku Sushi. Afterward I went to Saikaya to shop. In addition to my favorite red pickled eggplant, I finally bought some of the [pink] pickled garlic. On the way back to the office I bought apples and mikan at Mizumoto. The shiso garlic was quite tasty. As planned, supper was a kaki furai teishoku at Shindo and dessert was pancakes (chocolate almond) at Four Seasons. After supper I bought a few sodas at Seiyu and then headed back to the barracks.
30 Nov 1983 (Wed): As I thought it would be, lunch was at Genroku Sushi. They didn't have much of a selection, but I was able to get three plates of kohada ["a kind of large sardine"]. There was no reason for me to go to Saikaya, so I didn't. I did buy a couple of apples at Honcho Hanaju, though. The "king of the forest" apple [Orin?] was delicious. The microwave was out of order, so I had an uncooked pastrami sandwich at supper. It was still very good. The pickles were excellent.


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