I’m up before most things here except the ducks, which they call kamo. Taking the Shinkansen to Tokyo before noon, and then a string of appointments in Shinjuku and Ginza.
Last night we were invited to Hoshinoya’s French restaurant. The chef is Japan’s nominee for the Bocuse d’Or competition in January, which is a huge deal, even just to be nominated, and it was all delicious, from a root vegetable custard to trout to local chicken. The country is working on local wines, and is not quite there yet, but hints of greatness are evident. Plus, 28-year old sake, a kind of radical concept, but it works. The result tastes like sherry.
Some cities, starting with then letter “B,” the chefs use second rate ingredients, stuff I wouldn’t have at home–Bell & Evans chickens, DeCecco pasta, Captain Marden fish, etc–and then trumpet their creativity. Who needs creativity? I’m in Japan now: The focus is on ingredients.
Prior to the dining, it was hot baths, books, and dozing. It all takes getting used to, and before you know it you forget what it was like before.