Day Four: Tokyo Metropolis

After two baths and a memorably delicious breakfast, which involved one of us speaking again of princes and the short term effects of drinking large amounts of alcohol, we boarded the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  Fuji-san was hiding, brushing perhaps, and no snow was evident, only clouds.

Having helped the chef at The Peninsula on a project to get U.S. chefs to the hotel for an annual food event, we stayed there.  Nice, big place.  Near Hibuya Koan and Ginza.  Not nearly as ooo-la-lah as Park Hyatt, but the location made up for that.  We could walk everywhere.

Under the JR tracks just down the street are dozens of mom and pop joints: Literally holes in the walls where good, greasy food is served 24/7.  From there it’s a short distance to mad Ginza and if you’re energetic, Tsukiji market is nearby.

We ran, we biked, we took the train to Mandarin Oriental for drinks.  A very good French-informed meal followed and was followed, in its turn, by a second dinner with a friend who also writes about food.

His place was an izakaya: Salt, vegetables, meat.  Lots of sake.  Too much sake.  My friend doesn’t like sake.  He loves sake.

He took us then to little, tiny places where beer was served by inebriated bartenders and Coltrane played long into the night.  These were filled with dissolute, alienated characters, disenfranchised, corrupted by their environs.  Once young, no longer.  You know the type, I’m certain.  Allen said it best: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,: dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.”

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