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Japan Diary, 14/15 January 1983 to 23 January 1983

Anohito

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As I've stated elsewhere, for better of for worse, I was not a typical/average sailor, and my interests were quite different from them. The numbered comments and the comments in brackets [ ... ] are my recent comments. I have made no attempt to indicate long vowels in Japanese words. This system won't allow me to use macrons over vowels, and the alternatives strike me as generally ugly (e.g., "depaato").

14/15 Jan 1983: Takeoff at 1430W/0930I(1). I'm on my way! While still on the ground, the announcer said something about lunch. It hasn't been long since I ate lunch, but if they serve lunch, I suppose I'll eat, rather than wait until supper or a snack just before we land. I don't want to be too full to eat after I get into Tokyo. The pilot said that our flight time would be 9 hrs, 12 mins. That means it will be rather late by the time I get settled in at Hardy Barracks(2), If I see a locker big enough for my sea bag at Ueno Station, I'll have supper in Ueno. They served "lunch" a little after 1600W/1100I. That's about the time I would have eaten supper on-station [Travis AFB in CA or in Yokosuka?], so no problem eating a full meal. It was OK, although the fish didn't have much taste. Better fish awaits me in Tokyo! We will be in the air long enough for them to serve supper, but I think I'll skip it if they do. Something has occurred to me. Considering the time it will take to get from Narita to Ueno, I will probably arrive too late to try to eat supper. I could settle for a snack at a late-night place in Roppongi. On the other hand, I could forego eating anything at all, but that seems like passing up an opportunity to have something tasty my first night in Tokyo. The time consideration may mean that I won't actually have much opportunity to do so. How cute--they just distributed oshibori [small, warm, moist towels]. I gave up the idea of waiting until I get to Tokyo to eat and had the snack they served on the plane. I knew that if I didn't eat something I would be hungry by the time I checked in at Hardy Barracks and might not be able to find much or be too tired to look for someplace interesting. Landed at 2314W/1814I. I'm here! This was the fastest baggage/customs processing yet! I was in the outer lobby by 1846. I was away from the terminal on the shuttle bus at 1853 (the shuttle bus now costs 170 Yen--the July Tour Companion [an English-language newspaper published by the Japan National Tourist organization] said 130 Yen). Leaving Narita Kuko at 1920. This is far earlier than I had dared hope. I thought that I was due for a long wait for baggage & customs processing. That is the main reason I decided not to wait until I got to Tokyo before eating. I'm glad I was wrong. The cost for the Keisei Line Skyliner is still 1300 Yen. Well, I made it to Hardy Barracks (from Ueno) on the subway (Hibiya Line), but it was something of a strain (too much luggage). I checked in at Hardy Barracks [transient lodging, on the 3rd floor] and then went for an abbreviated version of my first-night-in-Tokyo stroll. I found Vakhos(3), which was the primary reason for the stroll. Vakhos is indeed near Hardy Barracks [must have learned about Vakhos from Tour Companion]. I also got a couple of goodies at Almond(4) (yes, I know other places have better selections, but they aren't open as late at Almond). The machine where I used to buy Suntory coffee is gone(5), so I bought a can of UCC [stands for Ueshima Coffee Company] (not excellent, but a safe choice) and a new brand, Mitsuya. When I returned to Hardy Barracks, I decided to live dangerously and have the Mitsuya. It's very good. I gave the Tour Companion [don't remember whether I had it with me or picked it up in Tokyo--they may have been available at Hardy Barracks] a quick look before going on my stroll, and there are some promising events listed. Reminder: buy a little notebook for recording daily expenses.

(1)Context at and after landing establishes that India (I) time is Tokyo time. Since Zulu (Z) time is Greenwich Mean Time, then Whiskey (W) time should be Eastern Standard Time, but I would have been departing from CA. I don't remember whether I departed from Travis AFB, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Probably SF.

(2) Across the street from the south tip of Aoyama Cemetery, in the Pacific Stars & Stripes compound. I thought that the term "Hardy Barracks" simply referred to the barracks building (aka "The Stars & Stripes Hotel" in the Pacific Stars & Stripes compound in Roppongi 7-Chome across the street from Aoyama Cemetery. However, it seems that the U.S. military compound in question is named Hardy Barracks. Here are a few relevant URLs:
http://www.estripes.com/
http://www.jpri.org/members/mcneill_JT_05-09-06.html/
http://roxanne.typepad.com/rantrave/2005/11/during_my_3year.html


(3)A Greek restaurant. I don't remember the exact location, but it must have been near the tip of the corner formed by Roppongi Dori and Gaien-Nishi Dori in Nishi-Azabu 2-Chome.

(4) Something of a Tokyo landmark very near "Roppongi Crossing", the intersection of Roppongi Dori and Gaien-Higashi Dori. Almond is actually on the "west" corner of Roppongi Dori & Imoarai-Zaka. The sidewalk outside of Almond is a very popular meeting place. "Imoarai-Zaka" must mean "potato-washing slope". I had tried their coffee and baked goods and was not impressed with either.

(5) Either I had looked in the wrong place, or the one I couldn't find on this day was one I don't remember. The one I remember is at the corner of Roppongi Dori (coming from Roppongi Crossing) and the smaller street that leads up to Hardy Barracks. References to the one I remember are made in later diary entries.

16 Jan 1983 (Sun): The desk clerk said last night that they needed to have me change rooms today, and as I suspected it's because they want the adjoining rooms for a family [every 2 rooms share a bathroom]. I will change rooms after lunch, and so probably won't be able to attend the 1400 concert at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan [Ueno]. My, my, I do get cold after wandering around in the cold for a while. Mikado(1) still closes on Sunday, so I'm having a cup of Colombian at Quartier Roppongi (they have three kinds of "straight" coffee). Castle Praha [Czech food–moderately pricey] still has the "Holiday Viking" [buffet] on Sunday, so I will warm my innards and give them time to get going before having lunch. The fruit stand isn't there anymore (near Roppongi Crossing [Roppongi 4-9?]), which is a slight disappointment, but to balance it, there are some interesting new places (a Singaporean restaurant!). The buffet at Castle Praha is still excellent, even if they only have one dessert. From There, I went to Meidi-ya to shop for groceries. It was all I could do to keep from going berserk. I managed to keep my purchases to a reasonable amount, though. By the time I moved and perused the new Tour Companion, it has become too late to go to a museum before going to the Kabukiza (2), so I shall wander around Ginza for a while. I suppose this is as good a time as any to catch up on my notes. Upon arriving in Ginza, I got a couple of kanji subway diagrams at the subway office and checked the Sapporo beer hall (Ginza Lion) to see if they had kaki furai [oyster fry] (they do). Then I went to Yamano Music (3) to investigate the classical records. They have lots of goodies. From there I wandered around the basement in Mitsukoshi. I considered buying a bento, but decided to order dinner at the Kabukiza. I did buy a cup of Morozoff custard and some manju. I also noticed that one of their restaurants has kaki furai. For refreshment, I had an ichigo jyusu (I had noticed that fresh strawberries were available)(4). Then to the Kabukiza to buy a ticket. The doors opened, at 1600, as I thought they would, so I didn't go far after buying my ticket. The program was most enjoyable. The first item turned out to be something I had seen on public TV, but it was well worth seeing on stage. The "earphone guide" was an excellent investment. For supper (at the Kabukiza), I had unagi. True, the Kabukiza doesn't have the best broiled eel in town, but it was so much better than anything available in Hawai'i that it wasn't even funny. I came back to Hardy Barracks afterwards, to eat some goodies

(1) Where I often had coffee on trips to Tokyo during the 1975-77 tour of duty. It and Quartier Roppongi, mentioned soon, are very close to each other on the Roppongi Crossing side of the To-Nichi Bldg. on Roppongi Dori, just "west" of Roppongi Station.

(2) Main Tokyo kabuki theater, in Higashi Ginza http://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/kabukiza/theater/

(3) In Ginza 4-5-? between Wako and Mikimoto Pearl, directly across from Ginza Mitsukoshi department store. www.yamano-music.co.jp/docs/2006images/top01.swf Japanese only–Flash required

(4) In January?! They must have been from Australia or Japanese greenhouses.

17 Jan 1983 (Mon): My, my, I had forgotten how good Tokyo coffee shop coffee can be. I went past Coffee Club Roppongi(1) (CCR) again this morning. It was open, so of course I had my morning coffee there (Kilimanjaro). Then to Ginza where Mitsukoshi is closed today & tomorrow for some reason. I took a look around Ginza Core, going to the upper floors for, I think, the first time. There are some attractive restaurants, but no place to have a kaki furai lunch. From there I went to Matsuya. I saw some interesting things in the coffee/tea section, including a 100g jar of instant coffee for 500 Yen (special introductory price?). I had a delicious kaki furai teishoku [oyster fry set meal] at the katsu-ya [cutlet "shop"] in the basement restaurant plaza. Now to get a notebook to record expenditures! I did that, as well as get postcards and a pen. What gives? Wako is closed, and it's not their usual closing day. So, I went to the Playguide [in the San-Ai Bldg.?]. I was able to buy tickets for the showing of Napoleon [silent film] and for the Borodin String Quartet concert of 25 Jan, but they were out of tickets for the BSQ concert of the 17th (today). I called Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. The operator spoke some English, but the woman she connected me with didn't. I was able to determine that they had tickets for today's concert, but not if they were on sale now. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," I decided and took the subway to Ueno.It turns out that they do have a ticket office open during the day, and I'm glad I went, because they only had about eight tickets left for tonight's Borodin String Quartet concert. I'm now in Arcadia for a marron pancake. Whew! After that, I doubt that I'll want supper before the concert. I returned to Ginza to check a camera store. I didn't find the expected one, but did find a "tax free/discount" store. However, it didn't have a Yashica FX-7. I returned to Matsuya for a jar of that 500 Yen instant coffee and some coffee sugar. On the way out I noticed some cut fresh pineapple. After determining that it was from the Philippines, I of course bought a half(2). Then I returned to Hardy Barracks. I tried the coffee. Not great, but decent. Whaddaya want for only 500 Yen? Then, to the Exchange [over in the actual Pacific Stars & Stripes, if I remember correctly] for some necessaries. Afterward, I wrote a couple of post cards (I bought stamps in Roppongi) and then a shower. I just had a couple slices of the pineapple, and it's delicious. The mikan I bought yesterday are also delicious. Before catching a subway, I took a quick look around part of Roppongi Crossing. I saw a few likely places to have supper. There is a new place called Jack & Betty's which doesn't have a fascinating selection, but the prices are reasonable(3). Also, it will definitely be open after the concert. Then there is Ginza Cozy Corner, which has higher prices, but slightly more interesting selections. If I feel like "eating cheap", there is a rice & noodles emporium(4) I remember from "back when" [my tour of duty aboard the Midway]. The concert was outstanding! (Borodin String Quartet #2, Shostakovitch String Quartet #8, and Brahms String Quartet Op. 51, #1) It's so good to be back where I can get to concerts. I returned to Roppongi in plenty of time to have supper at Rasa Singapura. The menu seems to be substantially Indonesian. Questions of ethnic derivation aside, the food is great! I'll to back!

(1) On Gaien-Higashi Dori, Roppongi 7-8, just beyond the first side street "north" of the Ibis Hotel.

(2) Fresh Hawai'ian pineapple tends to burn the inside of my mouth. Philippine pineapple doesn't do that, or at worst to a much lesser extent.

(3) As I recall, the menu was very much "American home cooking"--having just come from the U.S., that wouldn't have been a high priority for me.

(4) This was probably a small Chinese place, much like a vendor in a present-day American "food court", on Higashi Gaien Dori in Roppongi 6-1.

18 Jan 1983 (Tue): Rain?! In January? Oh well. I went directly to Shinjuku. I looked around B1 of Odakyu(1) for a few minutes looking for a coffee bar. I asked in the coffee/tea section and was directed to a nearby shop that may or may not have been a part of the store. I'll still have plenty of time before lunch, so I guess I'll wander around the subway tunnels looking for the shopping center that I've read is on the west side of Shinjuku Station. I looked through Odakyu HALC [a sort of annex across the street] and saw some interesting things (they seem to have a larger coffee/tea section than the main building). There are some attractive restaurants in the basement. I came up to the 8th floor to look at Gohka, the Chinese restaurant. It seems to have "northern" food and I was expecting Mandarin Palace [the original tentative lunch destination] to be pricey, So I don't mind that Gohka is also pricey. The weather was still cruddy and "A bird in the hand ...," so I'm having lunch in Gohka. Whee! This is delicious! (pork stew w/ spinach) On the way out of Odakyu I stopped and bought a bottle of Sapporo "The Coffee". In order to give the lunch time crowd time to die down, I took a spin through the Subnade(2) [east side of Shinjuku Station]. The coffee shop on the west end isn't there anymore, but there are a couple of other shops which serve straight coffee [a Japanese term, as opposed to "blend coffee"] (one uses Caravan, the brand Coffee Club Roppongi (CCR) uses). Then to the 11th floor gallery in Odakyu to see the Taikan Yokoyama exhibition, which was impressive. The catalog is one of the best I've ever seen (of course I bought one--as well as postcards). After a look through a couple of the upper restaurant floors, I'm having a strawberry pancake (better than Arcadia's [Ueno]) at Parlour Green Shadow (the pancake narrowly won out over a coffee float). From there I returned to Hardy Barracks, where I called the ARS (Alcohol Rehabilitation something-or-other at the Yokosuka naval base hospital) and was told that the Tokyo Group now meets at 2030 on Tuesdays [St. Alban's Church--Anglican--in Shiba Koen 3-Chome near Tokyo Tower]. This put a small crimp in my plans, but not to worry. I had a cup of coffee, watched a little sumo, and investigated events for future doings. I became restless, and since the rain had stopped, I decided to wander around Roppongi. I found a Chinese restaurant that has tenshin don [crab omelette w/ sauce atop rice in a bowl] for \650 and the Tokyo Swiss Inn, which has a turtle soup. I am now in a serious coffee shop(3) I saw while wandering around. It appears that I'll be able to kill time before the meeting. In hiragana the name of this place is Ro Poro(4). From the menu and decor, I'd say it was owned by the same people who own the coffee shop under Sukiyabashi Crossing, Toa(5). Very interesting. It's a good thing I went a little early because the meeting still starts at 1930. I got dates and times for the other meetings in Tokyo. There were several worthwhile possibilities for supper near the meeting, but I decided to get back to Roppongi in case the weather turns cruddy. I'm now having a nigiri [Tokyo style sushi--individual pieces] course in the small underground area under the To-Nichi Bldg. Very tasty. On the way back to Hardy Barracks I had a bean-flavored (?) drink [can from a vending machine] that was interesting, but a bit too rich.

(1) http://www.odakyu-dept.co.jp/shinjuku/ The Yahoo translation function doesn’t work so well here–“The male be completed the guide of information ? service”

(2) http://www.subnade.co.jp/english/

(3) This is my term for a coffee shop that mainly features unblended, “varietal” coffees, such as Kilimanjaro, Mandehling, Colombian, etc.

(4) I was never able to determine what this was supposed to mean--despite the name being in hiragana, the name appears to be of foreign origin--the first word looks like a Japanese rendering of the Italian article "lo".

(5) probably a coincidence--I soon realized that the extensive use of dark wood paneling in serious coffee shops is common--it's probably supposed to be symbolic of the color of roasted coffee beans

19 Jan 1983 (Wed): I have made my plans for the day, although they could change at any moment, as I realize. I stopped at the post office (handy place!) near Hardy Barracks(1) to buy stamps and mail post cards. From there to Ginza Sukiyabashi Crossing, where I'm having an Arabian Mocha in the station coffee shop, Toa(2). Another blast from the past! Lunch was unaju at the Mitsukoshi Ginza dining room. On my way to a bank to cash (in Yen) my paycheck I saw a restaurant plaza, so I just had to investigate. I'm having a coffee float (no filling solid snacks this afternoon) at Cafe Toyosaki [the name is vaguely familiar, but the location forgotten]. High time to catch up [diary notes?]. After my tasty coffee float I tried to cash my paycheck for Yen. I tried two banks, but was unable to cash it. I suspect it simply isn't possible to convert the paycheck to Yen in a bank. I thought I had done so in the past, but could be wrong. I gave up on the paycheck and went to the Playguide. The Budapest Philharmonic was sold out, drat the luck. I was able to get tickets for a couple of other concerts, though. Then to Wako [ http://shop.wako.co.jp/ecvm?cmd=init ]. I had badly underestimated the price of Steuben glass [naively considered as a possible gift for Mother]. In fact, all of Wako's goods are either overpriced or out of reach. I saw the two exhibits on the 6th floor. There were some interesting photos in the UNESCO exhibit, but I especially enjoyed the oshie (cloth collages, pictures) exhibit. Next to Yamaha Music [ http://www.yamaha-ginza.co.jp ] to see if they had the recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #2 that I want (Yamano Music is closed) [I forget which recording this was]. No luck. On the way to the Tourist Information Center (TIC) (3), I stopped in another camera store, but still no Yashica FX-7. The TIC told me where Ishibashi Memorial Hall is. Then I went looking for "Corregidor-Gai", to see another exhibit. Couldn't find it! As long as I was in the vicinity, it seemed reasonable to check Hunter Records for the Tchaikovsky concerto. No luck there, either. So here I am, having a Columbia in a coffee shop under Sukiyabashi Shopping Center. I checked my map and I may not have gone far enough under the International Arcade(4) in looking for Corregidor-Gai. On going out again, I found the gallery. I nearly went past it. It isn't underground. The paintings were nice, some better than others. I didn't like the sculpture. The visit to the gallery was also successful in that I found the new location of Indonesia Raya and also found a Szechuan Chinese restaurant! Then to Ueno Station. Huzzah! I found the Ishibashi Memorial Hall(5). It was where the TIC said it would be, but on first going past there, you couldn't get at it and I didn't see the (small) sign. It's the building I thought it was, but when I first went past, the gate to the grounds wasn't open--the entrance isn't on the street. This is not an area rich in restaurants. The next time I come here [in actuality, I don't recall that there was a next time], I will eat in the vicinity of Ueno Station. However, I've found a little restaurant where I'm having katsudon. That was a tasty morsel. More interesting pickles with the meal than you usually get. I must remember that place. When I got back to the hall, about 1815, they hadn't yet started selling tickets (for a 1900 performance). Therefore, I went across the street to have a Kilimanjaro. Well, that was only fair by Tokyo standards. The coffee in the shop under Sukiyabashi Shopping Centre was very good. Afterward (Ueno), I was able to get a ticket for the concert (Thomas Pinchof, flute and Jochen Schubert, guitar, with the Tokyo Flute Ensemble Academy). If these tickets have seat numbers on them, the numbers are hidden where I can't find them. This hall has an impressive-looking organ. All the tickets are the same price, so it must be "festival seating." I don't think I need to worry about crowd control at this sort of concert(6). The first half of the concert was interesting, but I have my doubts about the compatibility of flute & guitar as a duo. The Bach sonata gave the impression of two simultaneous monologues rather than a duet. The "Pinchofon," used in the last work, seems to be a cross between a bass flute and a saxophone. Either the music stand was resonating with its upper register or Pinchof needs to go back to the drawing board. The second half was delightful. "Tokyo Flute Ensemble Academy" isn't a bad translation, but an actual ensemble of flutes. It makes a very successful chamber orchestra. After the concert, back to Hardy Barracks.

(1) Evidently a Japanese post office rather than one in the Pacific Stars & Stripes Bldg.--the Kodansha atlas printed in the late 1990s does not show a post office near Hardy Barracks or the one near Roppongi Station on Roppongi Dori–it shows the Roppongi P.O. as being on Imoarai-Zaka.

(2) This shop did not have an entrance off the station, it was literally contained within the station, w/ walls & roof, in the short arm of the Marunouchi Line part, under Sotobori Dori, near exits C-1 & C-2.

(3) In 1983-84 the Tourist Information Office was located in the first floor of the Toho Twin Tower Building (Yurakucho 1-5-?) on Harumi Dori above the Hibiya Line part of Hibiya Station (exits A4 & 5). In the late 1990s it was moved to B1 of the Tokyo International Forum Building (Marunouchi 3-5-?). That office has evidently been moved (according to the Japan National Tourist Organization web site) to the 10th floor of the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Building at Yurakucho 2-10-1.

(4) Under the Tokyo Expressway, just outside the Yamanote, etc., train tracks, if I remember correctly. The current Kodansha Atlas doesn't indicate any shops or building there, though.

(5) At the Ueno end of Denboin Dori, on the Higashi Ueno 5 & 6-Chome side of the street.

(6) A reference to the disaster at a Who concert in Cincinnati in the 1970s.

20 Jan 1983 (Thu): And another good day begins. I'm not out for the afternoon. I mainly came out to do some shopping at Meidi-ya. I also intend to peruse the offerings at Koami (tonkatsu-ya) on the way to Meidi-ya. Right now I'm having a Mandehling in Coffee Club Roppongi (CCR). I didn't see anything about a kaki furai outside Koami. I'm in the mood for seafood, so if they don't have it, I'll order ebi [shrimp] furai. While in Meidi-ya, I noticed that they had little jars of the "house brand" peanut butter, so I decided to try some. I bought blueberry jam and a buckwheat mini-loaf to go with the peanut butter. I also bought red currant juice. Back in Hardy Barracks (to change pants), I couldn't resist tasting the peanut butter. It's pretty good. I'll be moving again tomorrow to make way for another family. Koami doesn't have kaki furai. The ebi furai was very tasty, but tomorrow I get a kaki furai even if I must go out of my way to do so. Now to the Ohta Memorial Museum. The exhibit (it's Ota, regardless of what Tour Companion (TC) says) was excellent. Not many museums show late woodblock prints. Most don't go farther than early Meiji era prints, but the exhibit has some interesting early 20th century works. After some indecision, I decided to have dessert at the tea room downstairs. I'm glad I did, because it gave me an opportunity to try something new, kuzumochi(1), which is quite tasty. When you come in, they give you a cup of a cherry blossom tea (?)--interesting. Afterward, I had enough time to explore the nearby Crossing(2). I saw a serious coffee shop featuring Caravan coffee, so I just had to try it. It's always useful to know where to find a good coffee shop. It appears that the name of this place actually is Cafe Donkey. The area is interesting. Rather westernized, although it is possible to get simple Japanese food (and probably more complex things if you know where to go and speak the language well). From there to the National Museum of Western Art(3). The exhibit was most interesting. The catalog doesn't have my favorite picture in color, but that's a situation I've encountered before and it doesn't stop me from buying a catalog as long as there are other good pictures in color. I had toyed with the idea of going to Ginza Sapporo Lion for a rice-less kaki furai. On my way to Takebashi Station, I saw a building ["Palace Side Bldg."] across the street with shops in the first floor and B1. I decided to look for a kaki furai there and am now in Tonkatsu Takebashi having one. I left this notebook there, but one of the employees came running after me with it. It's good to be in Japan. I bought a newspaper at a kiosk in the station and went back to Hardy Barracks to read it and relax a bit before the meeting. Somewhat to my surprise, "Bob"(4) was at the meeting. He wants to do something Saturday. I couldn't think of a single thing at the time (well, I had some ideas, but nothing I could put into concrete form right away). I'll look at Tour Companion (TC) and think about the matter before calling him tomorrow night. Supper at Moti in Roppongi (mutton w/ cashews & raisins [mutton korma], nan, and butter rice) was excellent. And so back to Hardy Barracks.

(1) A Japanese dessert which is hard to describe and hard to eat with chopsticks, but which I liked very much. It consists of firm, semi-gelatinous triangles made with a starch, possibly derived from the vine knows as kudzu in the U.S., sitting in a sweetish brown liquid, with a semi-sweet brown powder on top.

(2) Meiji-Dori and Omote-Sando (Dori), at the lower end of Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda Line), away from the Yamanote Line.

(3) West of Takebashi Station (Tozai Line), just north of the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

(4) Not a westerner, but a middle-aged Japanese man. For reasons he never really made clear, he went by "Bob" with foreigners.

21 Jan 1983 (Fri): I forgot to buy stamps at the post office. After lunch I'll decide if I want to go back or wait after having lunch. On the way to lunch I bought a good shopping bag at a shop selling all sorts of goods. I think the bag is reasonably appropriate for men [perhaps an even more important consideration in Japan than in the U.S.]. The lunch, a mixed grill at Pont Neuf, wasn't terribly exciting or original, but was quite tasty. I have enough time--I think I'll go back to the Post Office and then have a cup of coffee at Mikado. I haven’t been there yet. While returning to Roppongi Crossing from the Post Office, I saw a Bank of Tokyo and remembered to exchange my traveler's checks. Mikado was full both times I went past it, so I didn't go in. There wasn't any place very interesting in the little shopping center under the To-Nichi Bldg., so I decided to get started on my way to Heigenji (temple) at Kawasaki Daishi. In spite of taking the wrong train from Keihin Kawasaki (a local going toward Yokohama--it looked different and was on one of the tracks the Tour Companion (TC) [my source of information about the festival at the temple] said you should take--they should have said to use track 3 rather than 3 or 4) [Tour Companion was an extremely valuable resource, but it was not infallible]. I made it to Kawasaki Daishi easily enough. The route to the temple is lined with shops and stands selling all sorts of trinkets and goodies. I decided to wait until after having been to the temple before buying anything. I saw only one coffee shop along the way, and so decided to do that also after visiting the temple. The temple is impressive and worth a visit. I saw a stall selling bean buns, and so had a fresh warm one. It was a tasty morsel. I saw a stall selling daruma dolls that was run by a nice couple, and I bought one there(1). On the way out I took a quick look in another direction. I didn't see much (because there wasn't much to see), but there was a machine with Suntory coffee, and I bought a can in case the machine in Roppongi is out(2). On the way back to the station, I bought a box of interesting manju. I also stopped at the coffee shop "Coffee & Snack Jyugemu." It's a nice place and the coffee is very good. I considered going to Yokohama. However, I decided I would have a better chance to run around Yokohama on Monday, when there is supposed to be a meeting. I went to Higashi Ginza and walked up to Ginza to look for the Tchaikovsky concerto in Yamano Music. No luck. I did see some other interesting items, though. From there, I went to Roppongi to have supper at Tokyo Swiss inn. I had an onion/bacon/spinach tart, turtle-flavored consomme, and veal(3) topped with Gruyere cheese. Excellent. I didn't have dessert there, so on the way back to Hardy Barracks I bought some goodies at Belle(4) and a couple more cans of Suntory coffee (must stock up!) at the machine.

(1) The shape of the daruma doll is based on one of the legends about Bodhidharma (Japanese "Bodai Daruma"), who developed Zen meditation in the 6th century C.E. Later religious figures established Zen Buddhism as a specific sect.

(2) Either I was looking in the wrong place for the machine my first night in Tokyo or there was a different machine somewhere else.

(3) It wasn't until some time later that I learned how veal is produced and quit eating veal. Until then, the main reason I seldom ate veal was the cost.

(4) A baked goods shop not to be confused with Belle Vie Akasaka, a vertical mall.

22 Jan 1983 (Sat): Here I am, on my way again. On my way to Coffee Club Roppongi (CCR) I looked on two sides of the triangle wherein Inakaya Roppongi is supposed to be. I didn't see it. Inakaya is too pricey that I'd want to go there often, but I'm curious. I just looked at the map again and that's a 4-sided block. Oh well. I'm having Brazil in CCR. Their Brazil is a little better than Cafe Donkey's. Now to Ginza and a quick munch at Mitsukoshi. I had chashu-men at a noodle counter [chashu is Chinese roast pork]. They used small (saimen) noodles. I think they charge \50 extra for large noodles. Small noodles were fine with me. It was very tasty. From there I went to the National Theater, where I bought tickets and waited for "Bob". I didn't remember to head for the program desk as soon as we got inside and "Bob" got there first and bought the programs(1). The kabuki was excellent. "Bob" gave me information about several points in the action. The play lasted long enough that we didn't have time left to go to the meeting, so we went to supper. "Bob" took me to a very pleasant pub in Hibiya. I had a sliced onion salad, crab, grilled sea bream head (good!), and yakitori. We drank grapefruit juice(2). "Bob" paid for the supper, so I paid for the coffee afterward at Cycles in the Imperial Hotel(3), where we talked some more and then I came bach to Hardy Barracks for an extensive dessert.

(1) This is part of what eventually caused me to avoid him. He was almost completely unwilling to have any reciprocation concerning who bought what. It definitely seemed like the old "buying friendship" syndrome.

(2) The pub was one of the Tengu chain. At first I had reservations about the onion salad (literally a salad consisting of thinly sliced onion), but it was remarkably mild, even more so than Vidalias. The sea bream head was a seasonal item, not available all year. A tengu is a sort of mountain goblin, usually harmful or at least mischievous, but they can be quite helpful if they take a liking to you.

(3) Although not stated in the diary, I remember thinking it odd that the coffee shop in such a prestigious hotel would be so mediocre by Japanese standards.

23 Jan 1983 (Sun): I had forgotten how many restaurants and things close on Sundays [and would forget again!]. Toa, in Ginza Station, doesn't open until 1100 (I didn't want to wait) and I'm not sure if the shop in Sukiyabashi Shopping Center (SCC) will open at all. I came to Matsuya to look around. They don't have any quickie meal counters, but the restaurants in B2 seem to open at 1030. I saw a good place to have tenpura if noplace in "Restaurant City" [8th fl.] strikes my fancy. The coffee bar in B1 doesn't have straight coffee, but the blend coffee is good and only \200. As it turned out, on the 8th floor I did find a tenpura-ya with a bigger selection, so I had lunch there. I had a dinner with a small casserole of shellfish. It was all very tasty. Instead of having coffee or dessert in Ginza, I came directly to Gotanda. Most of the area seems to be closed, but I did find a nice coffee shop [Dank] (and warm!) with excellent coffee. Now I know where I can get another filter holder. On the way out of Dank I noticed that they sell Melitta coffee-making supplies. I found Kan-i Hoken Hall(1) with no trouble and am now awaiting the concert. The concert, by an amateur orchestra, was most enjoyable. You wouldn't mistake them for a professional orchestra, but they did a most creditable job for an amateur orchestra(2). In the last movement of the Mahler [Symphony #9], the string section was especially impressive. During the intermission I bought some Morinaga Gold "Straight" (i.e., dark) chocolate that is yummy. After the concert, I decided to head for Shinjuku, upon cogitating for a few minutes. Central Park is still there. I decided to keep it in mind for a future date, though. I had been looking for a place to have supper and decided on a Korean barbeque restaurant, Moranbon, in Isetan Kaikan. I had an excellent meal (tongue, bibinba, pickled cucumbers). After supper, I went past the theater where _Victor/Victoria_ is playing. I'm still not sure I'll see it. For one thing, I still have plenty of time to kill. I decided to see it. I bought a reserved seat ticket (maybe I could have saved \500, but why take chances?). Now I'm having a Normandy Crepe at a Cafe Toyosaki nearby. I'm glad I saw _Victor/Victoria_. It was delightful(3). Afterward, I went directly to Roppongi. I decided to pig out tonight and have a banana pancake at Cafe Endless(4). The crepe I had at Cafe Toyosaki was quite light. And so, back to Hardy Barracks.

(1) Part of U-Port, a complex (incl. hotel) run by a postal insurance/savings organization.

(2) It probably helped a great deal to have a major Japanese conductor, Yamada, working with them.

(3) On the way out of the theater I saw two men, one Japanese, one western, who seemed to be a couple. Too bad I didn't have the nerve to try to strike up a conversation about the movie.

(4) On Imoarai-Zaka near the top (Roppongi Dori end), Roppongi 6-1
 
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