Wednesday and Thursday in Tokyo

It’s Thursday early evening and we’ve been pretty busy! We’re currently relaxing at our new hotel and getting ready for dinner, which will be traditional. Turkey in Tokyo! Hooray!

Wednesday we slept in a bit and took our time getting ready. We had to change hotels cause we only booked three nights at the Sunroute Plaza. I think if we come back to Tokyo we’ll plan to stay there the whole time. The location is killer and the room is very nice.

Once we got ready and planted our luggage with the staff we head back out to Akihabara to hit some stuff we had missed on Monday and some stuff that was closed. I got a card reader I really liked and Courtney got an iPhone case. We were both feeling kinda run down from all the walking of the last few days and after a quick lunch at Yoshinoya we went back to the hotel to lounge around in the lobby till it was time to move.

Our next hotel was The Hotel Villa Fontaine Shiodome in same. So far it’s very nice! The staff speak excellent English and it’s even a little more swanky than the previous. The entrance to the hotel is an 11 story atrium which is really imposing and very cool. We checked in and lounged around for a while, being a little toured out. We finally decided on dinner at The Oregon Bar and Grill next door which was awesome. It’s on the 42nd floor of a high rise and had great views of Ginza and surrounds. We both had Japanese steak which was very tasty. Kinda fatty for me, but the fat was delicious and buttery so it was great. The Oregon was pretty funny. They had some kind of weird fetish with Oregon and everything was all about Oregon. Oregon approved beef, Oregon wines, a big American flag, a picture of the governor, etc. It was strange. I felt very under dressed and was a little uncomfortable, but they treated us well. One of my favorite memories will forever be the maître d’ helping Courtney into her hoody.

After dinner we were done in, so after a quick stop at the Am/Pm where I found a red colored cola in a bottle with a  logo that was clearly ripped off from Tabasco we headed back to the hotel and crashed. We had to be up very, very early this morning.

Which brings us today. We got up at 4am to make the pilgrimage to the Tsukiji fish market to see the tuna auction. The auction is where all the tuna caught the day before are bid on and purchased to fill the restaurants of Japan with the day’s fish. Courtney found a little trivia factoid that said 1 of every 5 fish caught in the WORLD pass through the Tsukiji fish market.

We eventually found our way to the market but it’s very tourist hostile and had a hard time finding our way. There are thousands of stalls, hundreds of people and hundreds of these little one man fish carrying carts that blast down little rows no more than 6 feet wide. You quickly learn to have eyes in the back of your head, the side of your head, the backs of your ankles and everywhere else. Frankly, it’s terrifying.

Since we had no idea where we were going, we made a mistake and entered the market just a few feet too early. If we had gone another 20 feet we would have seen a sign, a map and a info book. Instead we wandered into mass insanity and got totally lost. We eventually decided to just run for it and got out of there. As we were looking for the way back to the hotel I decided we should just cross the street and look down a road and there was the map and everything else. That helped us pretty quickly get to the tuna auction and we caught the last 15 minutes of it.

The tuna auction is pretty wild. There are hundreds of giant tuna fish laid all over the floor with their heads off and a cut in the tail that I assume shows the quality of the meat. A dude starts to ring a bell and everyone crowds around a fish and then everyone starts yelling. I had no idea how much they are selling for; I’d love to know. Finally, when you win your fish you grab it and drag it out the door. It’s all very, very low tech and visceral.

The long walk and the insane energy put us back at the hotel pretty quickly, and we cleaned up for breakfast and then a long, long nap. Finally, we headed back out to Roppongi to check out Roppongi Hills, which is a 56 story shopping mall. We skipped the shopping part and went right to the top and then the TOP called the Sky Deck. There is an observation deck at the 52nd floor which is enclosed but for another ¥300 you can go to the Sky Deck, level 56, which is actually the roof of the building. You are up there in the open air with the helipad and all the machinery that lives on the top of a modern skyscraper. It was a geek wet dream and I took lots of pictures of giant AC compressors and window cleaning cranes and machines.

And now we are back at the hotel resting up again before dinner. We’re having American Thanksgiving dinner at Roti Roppongi at 9pm. It’s going to be great. Roasted turkey and all the fixings. We’ll have to see how it compares to the last turkey Thanksgiving I had – at Ruth’s Chris in Seattle.