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Japan Diary, 16 May 1983 - 31 May 1983


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24 Dec 2006
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As before, no marks indicating long vowels and certain names have been changed to protect the innocent and to protect me from the guilty.

16 May 1983 (Mon): Wretched weather! The rain is worse than usual. After some indecision, I settled on Pinocchio for lunch. However, it was full (1205 by the time I arrived), so I ate at the old Korean barbecue restaurant after all. I didn’t feel like cooking (especially not in my whites), so I took this opportunity to try kalbi kuppa. It was excellent. I also had namuru [various seasoned vegetables, not over rice–bibinba is the same vegetables over rice]. Then I went to Seiyu to shop for supper. I bought more of the tako/wakame salad and some katsuo tataki [bonito with the outside seared, served cold], which I think is what I had at hageten. The taste is less delicate than that of other types of sashimi, but itツ’s tasty. I also bought a loaf of pain de noix, which isn’t nutbread, so to speak, but a small loaf of bread (it looks slightly richer than regular bread) containing nuts. On the way back to the barracks, I had to stop by Operations for my paycheck and mail, so the bottoms of my pants (and my shoes) got good and wet and dirty.
17 May 1983 (Tue): I was able to store my stereo packing case with no difficulty. Then I put my dirty uniform into the laundry (for actual laundering–itツ’s too dirty for dry cleaning) and went to the bank to cash my check and buy Yen. Itツ’s a beautiful day and I was having trouble deciding how to spend it. Not until I stopped for lunch did I decide to go to Jogashima and Aburatsubo. Lunch was at Chuka Hanten. Their fried noodles aren’t as good as their soup noodles. Still, they were fair and I got a cheap, filling lunch. They would probably have been better without the bean sprouts. Iツ’ll wait until I get to Jogashima to have some sort of dessert. I went directly to Chuo Station (bought a newspaper) and am now on the train. There was a wait at Kurihama for the kaiso tokkyu. At first I thought it might be passing us, going to Misakiguchi (supposedly, there are kaiso tokkyu that go that far), but it ended at Kurihama. The tokkyu I’m riding was just waiting for ongoing passengers. I had no trouble getting to Jogashima from Misakiguchi. Once in Jogashima I had an iced coffee in a snack shop near the bus terminal. After looking around for a while I was unable to find the "infield" route along the outer coast. I did search carefully. Since I couldn’t find that route, I thought Iツ’d try the inner coast. The way I took let do a skimpy track along the beach, where I had to avoid the "beach bugs" [no idea what the actual name was] On the far end of the island I decided that continuing along the coast would be too arduous and availed myself of a path up the hill. I then went along the regular sightseeing road to the center of the island. Once again, I missed the trail, because the road led to the inside of the island. Well, I puttered around the end of the ilsnad for a while. It seemed that I shouldn’t leave without some sort of souvenir, so I bought some kind of ika/tako puff cracker and a wood/shell sailing ship that Iツ’ll send to Mother. Itツ’s just a tacky little souvenir, but she may find it amusing. Oh yes, while puttering around, I saw a restaurant where I might like to eat lunch the next time I go to Jogashima. On the way back to the bus terminal end of the island, I located the pier where the sightseeing boat docks. However, I decided that it was too late in the day to go to Aburatsubo. Anyway, after buying the souvenirs, I got a bus. The bus was going to Yokosuka Station, but I figured Iツ’d save money by getting off at Misakiguchi Station and taking the train to Chuo Station. The train trip is 190 Yen. The shorter bus trip between Misakiguchi Station and Jogashima is 260 Yen. The bus trip from Jogashima to Yokosuka Station is probably more than 450 Yen. Well! The 50 Yen place, where I had intended to have supper, is closed today. I hope I can remember that it is closed on Tuesdays. After looking around a bit and cogitating, I chose Itosha [tonkatsu-ya on same street as Centraza Hotel, near Chuo Station], only to remember that it is also closed on Tuesdays. So, I looked around and cogitated some more. Finally, I settled on a restaurant that advertised a jo tenpura teishoku for 1350 yen. It would have been excellent except that the sauce was downright cold. This had an undesired chilling effect on everything I put in it. Iツ’ll probably return at least once, since the dinner was otherwise fine. After supper, it was only about 1830, so I went to Seiyu to buy tomorrowツ’s lunch. It appears that they are getting ready to remodel or something, because they were down to nearly nothing on many perishable items. I did pick up a bunch of asparagus and a box of strawberry Pocky, but the checkout lines were so long that I decided to go elsewhere. II bought a bunch of asparagus at the fruit and vegetable shop I had seen while wandering around wondering where I should have supper. I had intended to have dessert in town, but some ugly clouds were approaching, the wind had risen, and the temperature had dropped, so I canceled that plan. On the way back to the base, I stopped at the arcade bento shop and bought a bento. It was a 680 Yen bento, but I bought it for 500 Yen. Perhaps they wanted to get rid of stock because they are closed tomorrow. Perhaps he was out of change or had closed out the cash register (he saw the 500 Yen bill in my wallet). Perhaps it was a combination of both reasons. Anyway, I bought my bento and hurried back to the barracks. Although I had sufficient money left in the daily budget, I didn’t take a taxi. Lucky for me, I didn’t need one.
18 May 1983 (Wed): The asparagus was good, but not great. The bento was very tasty. My lunch was hhurried because I waited longer to start them than I should have. The Ariake plum jelly was delicious! I had been slightly disappointed by the blueberry jelly. After my afternoon shift, I tried the main Jurakuen for supper. Great! I had two small servings of two dishes rather than a medium serving of one. I had steamed pork with spinach and spicy sliced chicken with shelf fungus ("tree ears"). There was some momentary hesitation about where I should have dessert, but I eventually followed my original inclination to go to Wien, which I had noticed last night. Itツ’s larger than I had expected. Also, surprisingly plush. The pancakes in the blueberry pancake were ready-made, but it was a tasty dish even so. The Wiener coffee is also good. Iツ’ll be coming back. Iツ’ll definitely be returning to the main Kujakuen. After my dessert at Wien, I had intended to buy juice, etc., at Fujiya. I don’t recall that it has been closed on past Wednesdays, but it was closed tonight. I settled for a grape Fanta from a machine. As I recall, Japanese grape Fanta is a decent soft drink, different from US Fanta. I still haven’t seen the "golden grape" Fanta anywhere. And so, back to the barracks to relax for my 0000-0600 shift.
19 May 1983 (Thu): The status of the prisoner/patient is still not clear. The doctor didn’t sign discharge papers during morning rounds. Itツ’s possible that he could return later today, but I doubt it. Iツ’ll probably work at least part of the morning shift tomorrow. I was set to go exploring in Kannonzaki today when I realized that the reason my forehead felt warm was undoubtedly sunburn. That precluded a trip to Kannonzaki and more walking around in the sun. As I left the base, I did check the nearby bus stop and learned that there are plenty of buses to Kannonzaki and that they start early and run until late. I thought it would be advisable to fortify myself with a lunch high in protein, so I went to Itosha for a fillet jumbo cutlet meal. The service seemed slow, but their katsu is excellent, no matter what Sakamoto-san says. I’m now on my way to Tokyp to buy coffee, pick up a Tour Companion, and just maybe Tootsie At Shinagawa, Iツ’ll transfer to the Tokaido Line (for Yurakucho) to see how that works. It will be cheaper, I’m sure. What was I thinking? The Yamanote Line stops at Yurakucho. I realized this on my way through the wicket to the JNR side at Shinagawa. Once in Yurakucho, I went to the Tourist Information Center, got a Tour Companion, and took a quick look at it. I was surprised to note that the Bunraku only plays until 22 May. I also learned that there is no earphone guide for the Bunraku. Tsk, tsk. I also saw that it wasn’t long until the next showing of Tootsie at one of the nearby theaters, the Marunouchi Picadilly. That seemed like a good opportunity, so here I am, waiting for the show to begin. Excellent movie! I’m glad I finally got to see Tootsie. After the movie it wasn’t yet time for supper, but since I didn’t have any clear idea of where I might go, I didn’t want to travel out of the district for supper. Since I wanted coffee anyway, I went to Mitsukoshi thinking I might buy some of the "Antique Blend." They were having a special sale on UCC coffee, so I tried the "Golden Ice" coffee. At the regular coffee section, they didn’t have "Antique Blend," but Mandehling was on sale, so I bought that. By then it was late enough that I could go to Maharajah for supper. I momentarily considered going elsewhere to try something new, but I didn’t want to make a decision. At Maharajah I finally tried the sag paneer, which was delicious. The sambosas were also tasty, as were the mango & ice cream. Since I had spent enough money for the day, I set out for Yokosuka. I took the Keihin Kyuko (KHK), which was a big mistake. I should have gone to Tokyo Station to get a Yokosuka Line train. I would probably have gotten a seat on the JNR. I had to stand until Kanagawa Bunko on the KHK. I did stop to pick up my mail, but otherwise didn’t dawdle on my way back to the barracks.

20 May 1983 (Fri): The prisoner/patient left during my first shift (thereby making it my only shift of the day). By stretching a point, I managed to avoid returning to work today. I didn’t leave base until lunch time–no sense in being flagrant about it. A day or two ago I examined the wares in Giraudツ’s display case (it was closed, or I probably would have eaten there) and concluded that it would be worth a try. While wondering where I might have lunch today, I remembered Giraud and went there. I had a doria set (chicken & mushroom) which included a mini lasagna, a macaroni/Vienna sausage on lettuce) salad, and a cream cheese-flavored dessert with fruit chunks. It was all quite good. They don’t have any cheap lunch specials, but it will be a good alternative for a slightly more expensive lunch or for supper. While looking out the window I saw a sign pointing the way to a pizza house. It was on the way to the train station, but I didn’t see it. Anyway, I’m once again on the train to Tokyo. In Shinagawa Station I perused my Tour Companion to help me decide where to go from there. Considering the ticket prices for the London Symphony Orchestra, it seemed a bit much to pay to hear a work I had heard earlier this year. It wasn’t yet time to make a decision about the bunraku. The two major choices for this afternoon were the exhibits at the Bridgestone and the Ota Memorial Museum. The deciding factor was exhibit catalogs. I expect the Aoki exhibit to be interesting and if a catalog is offered there I would buy it. I already have the catalog for the three-part Hiroshige exhibit. Considering that Iツ’ll probably see the bunraku play tonight, it would be better to send less money this afternoon. Of course, if I want to attend the concert tomorrow, the same considerations will apply, but Iツ’ll worry about that tomorrow ["tomorrow is another day!"]. Before going to the museum, I checked to see if Central Cafe is still there–it is–and stopped at Yaro Compa for a Wiener coffee. The exhibit was excellent. Now Iツ’ve seen all three parts of the exhibit. All in all, it gave me a much more complete picture of Hiroshigeツ’s art. After seeing the exhibit, I had kuzumochi in Takemura, the snack shop downstairs. From there to the National Theater. After I bought my ticket, I had plenty of time, so I thought I should have a substantial snack before the performance. The first area in which I looked (NW of the theater) had nothing, so I wound up in back of the theater, an area familiar to me. There was a brand new snack shop called Wood House and it looked nice, so I tried it. Well, I don’t really know what a croque monsieur is supposed to be, but what I got was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It was nicely grilled, but contained cheap grocery store ham and processed cheese. I won’t be returning. Neither will I try Coffee Shop Kana. The two are connected somehow, because the menus have the same basic design (the menu for Kana was out front). The next time that situation occurs, Iツ’ll try coffee shop Plantain. Anyway, the bunraku performance was most enjoyable. A fascinating display of puppet artistry (and joruri artistry as well, I suppose I should add). After the performance, I tried something different. I had been intending to take the Yokosuka Line back to Yokosuka. In the parking lot in front of the theater, I noticed a bus going to Tokyo Station. I knew I could get the Yokosuka Line there, so I took the bus rather than the subway to Yurakucho and then the Yamanote Line to Shinbashi. Using the bus roved to be a very easy way to return. At 870 Yen, it does cost more, though. I wonder if Iツ’ll find any restaurants open between Yokosuka Station and the base. There were one or two ramen shops open, but where I ate was a hole-in-the-wall place selling curry, udon, and soba. I had curry rice. It was commercial Japanese curry, but it was tasty, filling, and cheap (300 Yen). And so, back to the base.
21 May 1983 (Sat): I nearly went running off to Tokyo today. However, I remembered (fortunately, before I left the barracks) that if I went to Tokyo today, I wouldn’t be able to buy food for tomorrowツ’s duty day(1). It wasn’t necessary to consider the matter for a long time before deciding to see Tsukayama Park with the Will Adams monument. First came lunch. I had considered trying the small sushi-ya near the new Korean barbecue restaurant, but it wasn’t open (yet? The time was nearly 1200). The old sushi-ya wasn’t open, either. I went to Sennichi-Dori (there is some sort of carnival in Yokosuka today, and Chuo-Dori is lined with street vendors–on the sidewalk–perhaps I should have said sidewalk vendors) and decided to try a small restaurant Iツ’ve seen many times. The sushi bar (they also serve cooked food) is very small and doesn’t have a wide variety of items. However, it does have a couple items I can’t get at Genroku Sushi–shako [mantis shrimp] and a shellfish I can’t identify until I look in my book(2). The shellfish was very good and the shako was excellent. From there I went to Kangaroo to see if I could get a refill for my clock pen. No go. For dessert I looked at the wares offered by the vendors and chose a crepe, almond/choco. Quite good and only 250 Yen. Then to Chuo Station. The trip up to and through Tsukayama was most enjoyable. There is an excellent viewe from the top of the hill, and I finally saw the Will Adams monument (yes, Virginia, there really was an Anjin) [http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=William Adams], and got a taste of Mother Nature. Itツ’s surprising how quickly you can get back in the woods and yet be so close to the city and town. I didn’t take the route out prescribed by HRMD [Human Resources ... Detachment] , but went down to Hemi(3). That was also interesting. Hemi is a pleasant town. On my way to the station I passed a fruit & vegetable store that had some asparagus that looked fresh, so I bought some for tomorrow. Right now I’m in Sun Coffee Shop near the station. Decent coffee. Once back in Yokosuka proper, it was time for shopping. As long as I was right there, it seemed to be a good idea to at least look through the Keihin store. I found the ready-made tenpura items I wanted, so I bought them and other things to eat tomorrow. Then over to Yajima for a few records. By then, I had accumulated a fair amount and wanted to get my uniform out of the laundry, so I returned to the base. The laundry was too crowded, so I settled for going to the barracks and relaxing a bit before going out again. For supper, I went to the 50 Yen place for unaju. It was very good. Not as good as the place in Zushi, but better than Bon Chi. For dessert I went to the place above Kujakuen. The name is Aka Tonbo, or Red Dragonfly. The blueberry crepe was not cheap, but it was delicious. After that I made stops for juice, etc., and then back to the barracks.
(1) Strictly speaking, there were plenty of places in Tokyo where I could have bought something for the next day, but I just didn’t want to limit my choices to what might be easy to carry back on the train.
(2) This may be a restaurant just off Chuo-Dori on the first small cross street on the base side of the "arcade" on the same side as the arcade.
(3) Hemi Station is a small station on the Keihin Kyuko Line that is only served by local trains. It is the next station from Shioiri toward Tokyo.
22 May 1983 (Sun): Duty day notes about the food I bought yesterday. The Satsuma yaki imo are sweet potatoes and were completely, rather than just barely, cooked, so I don’t care for them. The aji tasted okay, but became tough on reheating. Try shrimp or something else next time(1). The nasu were soggy, as expected, but good. The pickled (?) turnips weren’t what I expected and I didn’t care for them. The asparagus was excellent [blanching asparagus in my hot pot was quite easy]. The gyoza were okay. The soy sauce tended to hide the flavor, so they are best without the sauce. The skin on the smoked tongue was rind-like, but it tasted good [the smoked tongue]. Horseradish would have gone well with it, but I hadn’t thought of that. From my store of canned fruit, the mandarin oranges were good and maybe would be even better chilled. The gyoza should probably have at least a little water put on them before being cooked in the microwave(2). Why is there a JN jurisdiction report to do every time I have duty(3)?
(1) I’m sure the problem was that I only had a microwave available in the barracks (down on the 1st floor) and the hot pot in my room. A regular oven or a toaster oven would have produced better results.
(2) Gyoza should really be either sauteed or steamed. If itツ’s necessary to heat them in the microwave, in addition to a little water, they should probably be cooked at half power.
(3) An unnecessarily complicated report done when Japanese authorities take custody of/jurisdiction over US nationals.
23 May 1983 (Mon): Back at the regular job. Lunch was at Genroku Sushi. It was good, but I wonder a bit about the freshness of the fish during the hot summer months. The sushi could "wilt" quickly as it goes around on the conveyor belt. After work, I got to Chuo Station in time for the 1704 train to Yokohama. Supper was at Tops & Saxon. I was a little worried that the service wouldn’t be fast enough for me to catch my bus, because they were fairly busy, even before 1800. As it turned out, though, I had no trouble catching the bus, I had the deluxe curry dinner, with fillet beef, Indian (!)(1). It was quite good–spicy, but not at all uncomfortable. From there, the only variation in my normal Monday routine was that I stopped at the Monteyamazaki shop outside Byobugaura Station for pastry.
(1) The food at Tops & Saxon is definitely in the "Japanese curry" category. Nevertheless, at their restaurants (and many other "Japanese curry" restaurants) you can get curry with a Japanese treatment of what they consider a more "Indian" spice mix.
24 May 1983 (Tue): For lunch I tried something I had seen the last time I was at San-Ei, The "San-Ei special rice." Itツ’s a semi-fried rice "butter rice" with grilled pork pieces, a couple of tomato wedges, and a fried egg. Itツ’s quite good. No time afterward for shopping. After work, I somewhat reluctantly went to Kamakura. I was inclined to stay in Yokosuka, but I decided that there was no sense in wasting good weather [the rainy season was approaching]. So, I grumbled a bit about it, but set out for Kamakura. Rather than look in the area around the station, where I had been before, although not recently, I headed for the beach area. There is a little bit more along the beach at Kamakura than there is at Zushi, but not a great deal more. I had rejected the idea of having coffee near the station because it was past 1730. Along the beach, I eventually was a place called Quicksilver which had "seafood" in katakana. It didn’t look like a place that would have Japanese food, looking more like a Florida fish house, but it was time for supper, so I went in. It isn’t actually a "seafood" restaurant by any realistic definition, serving spaghetti, salads, and miscellaneous Western a la carte items. The writing on the menu was difficult to read. The food was excellent, which was fortunate, considering that it wasn’t what I was looking for. I had the hotate/ebi [large scallops/shrimp] spaghetti with "green sauce," french bread, and tomato salad. The bread was buttered and very slightly toasted. Itツ’s a pleasant place, but I probably wouldn’t go all the way to the beach just to eat there. Not too far from Hase Sation(1) there is a large Japanese restaurant and a small German restaurant on the beach. They might be worth a try. On considering the matter, I decided to go directly to Yokosuka from Hase (I could get a transfer ticket). The train I took at Kamakura ended at Zushi. Then in Zushi, I nearly tried to get on the train where the front four cards are removed (after first going to the wrong track). Oh well, at least I know from which end of the train the cars are removed (the end toward Yokosuka). And so, back to the barracks.
(1) On the Enoden Line running from Kamakura to Odawara. This is the stop to use if you are going to see the Great Buddha and/or the Hase Kannon temple.
25 May 1983 (Wed): I finally tried the dry curry at Hippo. Itツ’s good & tasty, but the soup was a shade salty. Afterward, I went in to Seiyu (they only removed a couple of counters–not a major remodeling) to look for Kagome 100% apple juice. Still no large bottles. It occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to go out for supper tomorrow, since I have duty rather than a supernumerary. I selected a good bunch of asparagus and bought a package of namuru (special item–not standard there). It is best to buy the meat or fish on the day it will be eaten. On the way back to work, I bought a cup of Fujiya melon sherbet. Itツ’s only fair. After work, I didn’t go anywhere [out of town] because of the rain and because I’m tired. I went to the Sasaya coffee shop for filters, but it was closed. I considered sushi at the 50 Yen place, but I didn’t have my book with me and was more in the mood for cooked food. I was going to try the tenpura at Yanase, but it was closed. So, I decided to try the general Japanese restaurant next to it, ShindoÎ. I had jo tenpura with rice & misoshiru. It was excellent, I’m glad to say. It was better than the place where the dip was cold. Only 1350 Yen. The place itself is a typical older-style Japanese cuisine restaurant. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted dessert out or to buy pastry or whatever and wait until later. When I thought of Mister Donut, I decided that I would definitely have dessert later. I bought a couple of kinds of the fruit jam-topped pastries (very tasty) as well as donuts. And so, back to the barracks.
(1) Wakamatsu-cho 1-2, in the alley next door to Yanase.
26 May 1983 (Thu): I wanted Chinese food for lunch today, but the branch Kujakuen was closed, so I went to Ryu-En for a delicious tori yakisoba. Following lunch, I went to Seiyu to buy the "entree" for tonightツ’s supper. After I got the hamachi, I wondered if it was fresh enough (it was). They also had the Australian muscats again, so I bought another package of them. On the way back to work, I stopped at the little shop for more orange juice, etc. the namuru I bought yesterday was very good.
27 May 1983 (Fri): Once again I was in a mood for Chinese food. This time I went to Chuka Hanten for tenshindon. It was very tasty. Before too long, Iツ’ll try to go there for noodles other than tenshinmen. The other place (I forget the name) up near Chuo Stationwhere I get tenshinmen may serve a marginally larger portion, but it takes at least several extra minutes one way to get to & from there. No shopping this time, except that on the way back to work I bought stamps and post cards. I got off work early but didn’t immediately head for Tokyo. A tape from Mother arrived in the mail today, so I went to the barracks (via the laundry with my other uniform) to listen to it and take a shower. I would rather have caught an earlier train, but I suppose the 1718 is good enough. I have reservations (made before lunch through the tours office) at the Kayabacho Pearl Hotel and am now on my way to Tokyo for a tree-day weekend! After checking in at the hotel, I took a few minutes to consider where I would have supper. Maharajah seemed the most likely prospect–a known quantity and Indian food sounded good. Being tired, I decided not to experiment tonight. On the way to the subway station, I checked a place I had seen earlier, but it is a stand noodle shop. Maharajah it was for a navratna thali. Theirs is a little better than the Yokohama branchツ’s. It was necessary to wait a few minutes for a table, but I wasn’t in a hurry. After supper, I wanted to buy pastry. The only two places that I knew were open in the evening were Morozoff and Fujiya (Kimuraya (1) is open, but I wanted western pastry). I didn’t have the energy to run around Ginza looking for pastry shops, so I tried Morozoff. They didn’t have a large selection left, but I bought three items that I thought might be tasty. On the way back to the hotel, I noticed a neighborhood tenpura-ya nearby. It might be worth a try if I’m hungry for tenpura and am at the hotel before supper. [As it turned out, I never did eat at that restaurant.]
(1) In Ginza 4-5-? between Wako and Mikimoto Pearl, below Yamano Music.

28 May 1983 (Sat): My first destination this morning was the Tourist Information Center. As usual for Saturday, they had tomorrowツ’s issue of Tour Companion out, but they also had the previous issue (which is actually good until and including tomorrow). From there to Toa for the morningツ’s hot coffee. I was trying to decide where to have lunch while there, but didn’t make a firm decision before I left. The kanto-style oden shop described in my restaurant guide is still there. However, it doesn’t open until 1200 and I didn’t want to wait. I set off for Hageten. At first I thought it was no longer there, but I was on the wrong street. I did find it and I’m glad I did. The tenpura is marvelously fresh. From there toward the Bridgestone Museum of Art. Itツ’s a substantial walk, so I stopped for dessert before actually going to the museum. Where I stopped was Sembikiya (their romanization), which is a fruit store & parlour. The prices weren’t cheap, but the papaya melba was excellent. Then, to the museum for the Aoki/Late Victorian exhibit. Aoki (Shigeru) strikes me as being a talented, but undisciplined & erratic artist. In general, the late Victorian works were more interesting. In particular, I was impressed by the three works by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, an artist hitherto unknown to me. On leaving the museum, I checked my newspapers and saw that there was an exhibi9t worth investigating at Takashimaya. Prior to seeing it, though, Iツ’ve stopped at a coffee shop (Geruboa?) Across the street. Itツ’s not as new inside as it is outside, but the coffee was good. Well, the Showa era Nihonga exhibit was indeed worth seeing, even though I didn’t like some of the paintings. There were enough that I did like that it was worthwhile to buy a catolog. That raised my expenses for the day to a rather high level. After the Nihonga exhibit, I went over to the Japanese handicraft exhibit. There was so much to see that I probably didn’t do it justice, what with the crowds. I couldn’t begin to describe all I saw. There were some home altars running as high as 7.5 million Yen. There were also the hand-woven belts (?) made on a small open-ended loom (?) by moving around colored thread on spools. Also, I found that Takashimaya isn’t confused by my lack of a passport for buying Yen. Once outside, I decided to go directly to supper rather than go to the meeting. I didn’t feel like explaining to Bob why I haven’t called and then going out for supper, and then making plans to do something and either letting him pay (not acceptable) or paying for it myself (dangerous, being so close to my daily limit). I was tired. I realized this when I had so much difficulty deciding where to have supper. It wasn’t a pressing matter because the time allowed for some delay. Eventually, I went to Shinjuku. Since I wasn’t going to the meeting, I might as well make some production of supper. My first destination, Balkan, no longer exists. My second choice was Pechka and I knew that it still existed. I had an excellent meal (large lamb shashlik, piroshiki, pelmeni soup, and yogurt mousse). I don’t know how authentic it was, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterward, I went looking for a pastry shop (department stores were closed). I wasn’t having any success above ground, so I went underground into My City near Shinjuku Station. They have a variety of places from which to choose, and I chose some fruit pies from Takano. Then, back to the hotel.
29 May 1983 (Sun): I never did decide for sure last night what I would do today or where I would have lunch. Eventually this morning I thought it would be a good idea to investigate the Yaesu underground shopping center. The entry for Hiranoya [in one of my Tokyo restaurant guides from the 1975-77 period] says it is open daily, so that tells me the rest of the shopping center is also open. It is. However, Hiranoya is no longer a tonkatsuya, but is a coffee shop. I looked around the area and decided on a place called Meiwa. Itツ’s near Hiranoya. I had a very good meal of Mexican rice with shrimp & scallop, wakame salad, and French toast w/ bavarois(1). I noticed that many places here are open for lunch at 1000. I may have been looking in the wrong shopping center! While looking for a rest room, I discovered a whole separate, but connected, shopping center in addition to the one in which I had been looking. The one I’m now in is, if I (finally) read the floor plan correctly, the Tokyo Station Meitengai. I’m not even in the Yaesu shopping center. The coffee shop in which I’m now having a kilimanjaro is definitely named Hiranoya, even if it isn’t the former tonkatsuya. Problems. I didn’t bring the May 22nd Tour Companion with me. It has the name of the pianist playing tonight at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. If it isn’t raining hard, I can go there and even if I can’t get a ticket for tonight, I’m sure I can get one for tomorrowツ’s Tokyo Symphony concert. The coffee here is excellent. I must remember it. Well, far from contracting, Hiranoya has expanded quite a bit. First, I found a coffee shop/tonkatsuya duo. Then, by careful examination of a floor plan, I determined that what I had found was the "new" Hiranoya and that the original Hiranoya still existed (also as a duo) and further, that where I had the kilimanjaro was indeed in a shopping center "separate" from the Yaesu one. I looked around in the Yaesu part. The vertical part of the "T" has fewer food and drink places than the horizontal part(2). Then to Daimaru for a quick look through the food section. They have Welchツ’s white grape juice. Also, I bought a pack of Melitta coffee filters. They didn’t cost much and are light. Thence to Ueno for a concert ticket. The pianist played last night, so I bought a ticket for tomorrowツ’s concert. I haven’t been to a concert for far too long. Now, to Akasaka Mitsuke for an exhibit at the Suntory Museum of Art. Perhaps I can decide where Iツ’ll have supper tonight. Probably not, though. The exhibit was excellent and I bought a catalog. Afterward, I checked to see if Kushi no Bo and Akasaka Stew Kettle are stil there. They are, although I doubt that the former will be of much use to me. I was thirsty, but Ginza Cozy Corner was too crowded, so I started walking down that street. I saw a Chinese restaurant that serves dim sum. That is useful information. After a few blocks, I saw a vending machine which had a plum soda and there was a retaining wall nearby on which to sit, so I had a plum soda to assuage my thirst. Thence, to Ginza. Yamano Music had some interesting bosed sets of chamber music. I couldn’t find any Furtwaengler albums, though. On leaving Yamano, I saw some tasty things at Kimuraya. Upon considering the matter, it seemed that I shouldn’t wait until after supper to buy pastry. Also, since I frequently stay in Roppongi, I thought I should go elsewhere for supper. I eventually decided to try Shanghai-En in Gotanda. On arriving there, I was relieved to find it still in business, but then disconcerted because it didn’t seem to be open. I stepped away to ponder the situation, and the went back for a closer look (I couldn’t figure a Chinese restaurant not being open by 1745). Once more, I was relieved , this time to see that it was open. I thought I should try a dish not available in Yokosuka (itツ’s not like I can’t get good Chinese food in Yokosuka), and found one–shredded pork & cuttlefish. It was delicious! Iツ’ll be returning there. Following supper, I wandered around Gotanda for a little bit, looking for goodies. Tokyu was still open, but they didn’t have a lot. I did buy a couple of fruit & pudding (mousse?) Desserts at Jucheim. I bought a couple other things at Ginza Cozy Corner (yes, there is one in Gotanda). Once again, it was necessary to go to the 10th floor (at the hotel) to get coffee, but I did get it. The desserts were very good.
(1) CREME BAVAROIS (Bavarian Cream): A cream dessert made from creme anglaise or fruit purees bound with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. Can be served as an unmolded dessert or as fillings for cakes, charlottes and other pastry lines.
(2) From Frommer: Underground shopping arcades are found around several of Tokyo's train and subway stations; the biggest are at Tokyo Station (the Yaesu side) and Shinjuku Station (the east side). They often have great sales and bargains on clothing, accessories, and electronics. My only complaint is that once you're in them, it sometimes seems as if you'll never find your way out again.
30 May 1983 (Mon): This time I managed to check out on time. I stashed my bag in Ginza Station, as usual. The exhibit at Matsuzakaya described in the paper, modern figurative art, has been replaced by an ikebana exhibit. I was able to see some of it from outside, and there was too much use of non-living material for my taste. I would probably have taken a look at the exhibit if it had been free, but I wasn’t willing to pay 700 Yen to see it. So, I went to Matsuya for some minor exhibits. They weren’t particularly impressive, but were worth a look. Also, I learned that Matsuya, in its regular stock, has print reproductions at decent prices. I thought I would have lunch at the Barn, since it was near and I had a good meal there the first time I tried it. They didn’t seem to be open, so I walked around for a few minutes. On my return, I still wasn’t certain if they wee open, but as it turned out, they just removed the "closed" sign without putting up an "open" sign. I had another good meal. I somewhat reluctantly tried the turkey salad, but it was very good, as was the pumpkin soup. The "cottage potato" wasn’t bad, but would have been better if it had been thoroughly heated. The "Hawaiian coconut drink" was okay. On checking Tour Companion, there are things that may be worth a look at Shibuya main Tokyu. That gave me an opportunity to see if Tama-Kyu and Reiko still existed. I wasn’t surprised to see that Reiko is still there, but I was surprised to see Tama-Kyu, in its original tacky building nestled next to Fashion Community 109 (itツ’s owned by Tokyu–10, to and 9, kyu)(1). Right now, I’m having a mocha [coffee] at the Melitta coffee shop. The Nihonga by Kato were undistinguished, the dyed works (kimono and "paintings") by Morita were very good. Since I was in the area and had time, I thought Iツ’d get a floor guide to Shibuya Station Tokyu. I did, but I’m not too keen on shopping there frequently. Itツ’s a bit complex. For lack of anything more promising I set out toward harajuku to sit and read in the park by the tracks. While there (the park, not the tracks), it occurred to me, after checking the movie section, that I might see "Letツ’s Spend the Night Together"(2) this afternoon. I could fit it in before the concert. I read for a while and then set out for the theater. When I arrived, it was still playing Tootsie. Come to find out, I did have the correct theater, but Tour Companion was wrong. LstNT doesn’t begin until 25 June. I should have remembered that from the preview. Anyway, I wandered down to Ginza 4-Chome crossing and am having a lemon squash at Ginza Tricolore. Tjey are open, even though Mitsukoshi isn’t. The semon squash is actually made with lemon juice and club soda with sugar syrup on the side for sweetening. From here, I think Iツ’ll to to Ueno and read in the park until time for supper. If I can think of anything to investigate at Yamano Music, Iツ’ll stop there first. I did think of something to investigate. They have the Rolling Stones albums I want. I also looked for Tchaikovskyツ’s Piano Concerto #2 (none) and through the Mozart Piano Concertos (maybe Ashkenazy). Then, to Ueno. I didn’t sit long in the park. I looked for the little restaurant in the park (Karigoya Kazan) [?], but it isn’t there any more. I hadn’t intended to have supper there, but thought Iツ’d check as long as long as I was in the vicinity. Then, I did to looking for a place to have supper. I was in a mood for sushi, and so decided to eat at a likely looking sushi-ya if I came to one before U-Plaza (3), where I would try the tenpura-ya. As luck would have it, there was a sushi-ya un U-Plaza, so I had supper there (Oshinagaya). It was excellent sushi and even though I can get sushi in Yokosuka, I had things I haven’t yet had in Yokosuka. Then, I had dessert in a "parlour", name of nagafuji, I had seen on the way to supper. I didn’t catch on immediately that it is a "ticket" place. Anyway, the almond hotcake was very good. Then to the concert. The Schumann Symphony #3 was given no more than a competent run-through. Perhaps the orchestra didn’t have enough time to rehearse the conductorツ’s rather brisk approach to the music. I know the orchestra can play well, because the Beethoven Piano Concerto #3 and Bartokツ’s "Miraculous Mandarin" were given excellent performances. Impressive solo work from Denzo Ranki. I still haven’t decided whether to return to Yokosuka by Keihin Kyuko or JNR. I have time for the latter, but it will get me there later and I may have watch tomorrow. Crowded again! I wish I could remember what the trains were like on previous trips from Tokyo. I don’t know if they were less crowded earlier in the year or if I have just been tired more often these days. At least I don’t have a watch. I wonder if standing up on the way back is more counterproductive than arriving late in the evening.
(1) I never did go to Tama-Kyu. According to an 8 Dec 2000 article in Tokyo Q magazine, it finally did close in 2000 (or shortly before). It seems that I did not miss a noteworthy culinary experience, but it might have been worthwhile to be able to say that I had been there as a sort of socio-historical experience. From the magazine: "You didn't go there for the architecture or ambiance. Tamakyu was little more than a drafty wooden shack, framed beneath a spreading tree growing out of a yard the size of an oshibori. The sake was generic, the welcome less than overwhelming for those who were not regulars, and the prices (all unlisted) always higher than you expected. But that really didn't matter. To hoist a drink was to thumb your nose at the trashy modern consumerism that has taken over the area."
(2) A documentary/concert film of the Rolling Stonesツ’ 1981-82 tour. From reading comments about the film, there is considerable difference of opinion about the quality of the performances.
(3) On Chuo Dori on the Ueno 4-Chome side between the Ueno Station and Ueno Hirokoji Station.
31 May 1983 (Tue): Another lunch at Shindo. I had considered having lunch at the branch Kujakuen, but it is closed. It hardly needed remodeling, so I guess itツ’s closing. What I had for lunch where I actually had lunch was jo katsudon, which was very good. Tour Companion was right in that katsudon is an effective way of preparing the lesser cuts of pork. Because of my strenuous Monday, I stayed in Yokosuka on Tuesday. Still being in the need for Chinese food, I went to Kujakuen. Their small portions allowed me to try an abalone dish, something I wouldn’t ordinarily do because of the price. The abalone with sesame sauce was excellent, as was the chicken with bean sauce. I was wondering what to buy to replenish my stock of goodies in the refrigerator when I thought of the new Japanese dessert shop(1). The kuzumochi I saw in the display case wouldn’t set me back much and I could still buy goodies to take back to the base. He display case notwithstanding, they have something called kuzukiri rather than kuzumochi. It consists of very firm gelatinous noodles that you dip in a sauce that looks and tastes for all the world like molasses. It was interesting, but I doubt that Iツ’ll try it again. At the dessert counter on the first floor(2) I bought three of the exotic Japanese confections. Then at Fujiya I bought some more goodies including cream cheese ice cream, which was much better than the melon sherbet. I forgot I’m out of milk and didn’t buy any before returning to base. Dame! [Bad!]
(1) I think this was in the Mikasa Arcade on Chuo O-Dori.
(2) The main part of the shop is below street level.
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