31 Dec JAPAN! Food! Old Classmates! Dancing!
Happy New Year everyone! I might do another “best of” blog…I dunno. I’m still debating. Until then…
I can’t really remember what we did during the day…maybe we went shopping? probably we got lost somewhere…
But, the real mission for the day was meeting up with an old classmate of mine from SFSU…Hiro.
I had emailed him when I realized I was coming to Japan…I had no idea where he lived, what he was doing, or if his email address still worked. A couple days later he responded and gave me his number. A few calls back and forth and we had a plan.
He was working as an AD on an indy feature and was wrapping production in the middle of the week. It worked out great, we made plans to hang out on Thursday, grab some dinner, and catch up.
Micah and I waited in the 2-level Starbucks in Shibuya. The Baristas did this really cool sing-song
thing when the cashiers gave them an order. I think Micah drank his mocha-frappacino in like 17 seconds.
We met up with his friend Ryoko. She had gone to university with him before he came to SFSU. Now she was working as a radio producer. Her show was translated into 17 languages. She was well spoken, funny, polite, attentive.
The first thing they did was teach us how to use PASMO. Which is probably about the coolest thing in subway technology. It’s a RFID card that you just wave over sensor’s when you enter and exit ANY OF THE SUBWAYS. It works on every one of the many train systems. It saved a lot of time. And Micah and I felt like big pimps. We stopped and held out our cards – Ace Ventura style. Hiro and Ryoko laughed and told us to stop. Silly Americans=)
We headed to Shinbashi which was, as Ryoko told us, the place to go to interview salary men.
Somewhere around there, a girl in a big puffy jacket and holding a menu started talking to Hiro.
She was like a sales person for a restaurant…I’d say “hostess,” but that means something different in Japan
than it does in the States. I’m not sure if they were just talking about food, or negotiating prices or what…
but we ended up following her down the street, up some stairs and into a restaurant.
We took off our shoes and entered the private both. They brought by a cart with whole fish that we could pick from…Hiro asked what we wanted to eat…Micah and I gave him and Ryoko carte-blanche to order whatever. It was a wise move.
One of the delacies in Japanese Cuisine is the fish eye. Micah and I didn’t know this…but Ryoko
offered the eye to Micah. And he ate it. But I guess you are just supposed to suck on the eye, not
chew it…there was something hard in the middle of it. She has a nice laugh.
It’s hard to really put into words how great the dinner was. I was warm from the sake,
I was full from one of the most incredible dinners..and I felt like I’d made real connections with some locals.
It was great to see Hiro again and in his home. Micah commented later that he this was when he first felt really at home in Tokyo…
I have to agree. I felt well taken care of and I was filled with happiness. That sounds a little weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it.
After much beer, much sake, and incredible food we went to an international bar. We met a Swiss friend of Ryoko’s. I talked to a Japanese helicopter pilot. (I think I have his card somewhere) we drank some more. And we danced.
It started to rain. Ryoko had to leave, she had an interview at 9am the next morning. I think it was probably about 2am…and we’d already convinced her to stay late. I walked her over to the nearest subway stop and said goodbye. Hiro, Micah and I head to Roppongi to a club Micah was familiar with. It was basically an American hiphop club…only it was filled with Japanese people wearing NY Yankees and LA Dodgers gear…all 3 sizes too big.
Next time…The Fish Market, Hangovers, Karokee…