Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Moving Day in Tokyo

Dawn again in Tokyo -- i wish I could sleep so this must be jetlag still. Another fabulous breakfast from room service at The Pen-- sublime French toast. We stuffed ourselves and will soon get organized to make our way back to the IC ANA and real life. Soon i must decide if i will dance under the rainforest showerhead in the shower stall, or soak in the giant tub that has TV controls built alongside the wall and a natural stone chimney which is actually the water pipe, delivering water right into te tub with a neat slosh.

The towels here are the largest and deepest pile of any we have tested. In the historical novels I read to learn Japanese culture and history I am learning that the country is famous for small towels. Peninsula has turned the world upside down.

We had a small party last night in our room -- we were expecting ten, but they never showed, so we were four: me and Sarah as well as Simon Johnson and his wife Reiko. Simon is my mentor's son and has lived in Tokyo for 18 years; I was at his wedding reception in Paris some ten years ago -- hard to imagine. It is a wonderful thing when your girlfriends have grown children whom you can enjoy and befriend as well as stare at for genetic similarities.

We were to all eat under the tracks at the famed (and inexpesive) yakatori stalls that few tourists visit, but when the rest of the group didn't show, we went for a more elaborate yakatori eatery in the same area-- although this one required Reiko to translate and query whether we wanted mini-kebabs of chicken hearts, livers and/or gizzards. (No thank you.) We had hot sake, some rice dishes in fish broth-- one with chopped up sour plums and the other with extra seaweed.

I love the somewhat tatty side street along the tracks, the dozens of little cafes and outdoor stalls and the banners and signs and the energy of the streets of Tokyo. I also like that it's all in the shadow of The Peninsula Hotel, so that you can feel and enjoy these contrasts of the town.

We had already planned the after yakatori-dessert party in our room -- Sarah had gone to much trouble as hostess to get goodies from the Pen's bakery and get room service to provide wine glasses. I had bought two bottles of Plum Wine so we could have a Pepsi challenge and blind tasting. Indeed, one more glass and i would have been blind. Plum wine is one of my weaknesses. Choya is my brand.

Without extra guests, it became a family night == we got to dish the elections, the town's architecture and residential 'hoods in Tokyo and then used the Skype phone to call Simon's mother in Paris. We sent the younger generation home with fresh and perfect persimmons (from the hotel General Manager) nand several Peninsula pastries (from Sarah), allgoodies wrapped in their individual cello packs.

They left us wth the glow that part of the wonder of travel is when you know people in a foreign city and they boost you up and stand by with offers to help.

Now we will soon move to the InterConti ANA and be the people our friends know in a strange and wonderful town.

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