Destination – Ginza. Challenge 1 – a better coffee. Challenge 2 – find a supermarket. Challenge 3 – Tokyo subway.
|Food Hall Staff and Pip|
The Ginza and the surrounding streets have the feel of Paris. Wide avenues. High fashion. A mix of older and modern architecture. Really quite stunning. There are more department stores, at least two or three big ones, each with mind-blowing food halls in their basements – these were more impressive than yesterdays – they had concessions for famous gourmet names like Paul Bocuse and Maxim’s. I should point out that none of these gourmet hot spots had more than glorified urns to dispense coffee. We visited the Sony building and spent time playing with PS3s and cameras and three-D demonstrations. Lunchtime saw us back on the pristine streets and on the lookout for a restaurant. We tend to steer away from the main streets and head down side streets when looking for food and again we were rewarded with a tiny Ramen Bar called Hot Pepper. Being our first such bar, we now know that you should pay by pressing a number of buttons on a machine inside the door that has pictures of food on it, then putting the money into the machine. The Ramen man did that for us as he brought us paper bibs as protection against noodle splash. Lordy, the ramen was good. Beef with shallots, mushroom and noodles with a half a soft-boiled egg and three sheets of nori on top. Slurpalicious!
|Eams bibbed and ready|
Following that roaring success, we headed back outside to marvel and oooh and aaah at the street life. The Ginza itself is chockers with with high-end fashion, like Hermes, Chanel and homegrown high end, like Mikimoto. Fascinating as this was, we found our way into side and back streets where we stumbled upon one of the city’s gems – an actual coffee bar with a coffee machine and (our) style. The tiny white shop was empty – apparently hardly anyone actually wants what we call coffee – it had grungy, hip-hop playing and Mr Cool- personified behind the counter. Mr Cool turned out to be a Japanese of hawaiian descent who arrived in Tokyo via LA and New York. He had really long hair, funked-to-the-max clothes, a tattooed chest and arms and was called Glen O and he did graffiti art. He and his girlfriend had opened this tiny bar to sell coffee, alcohol and vitamin supplements (of course). Pip opted for a couple of multi-vitamin pills, served in a tiny glass bowl with her coffee. I declined and Eamon was quiet. Our short blacks were so fabulous, I had to have a second. We left ‘Vita’ with a note listing two other Tokyo cafes of similar ilk and Glen offering to be on stand-by for any any questions we might phone through about Tokyo.
|Oriental Gem – Vita|
Invigorated by caffeine and vitamin supplements, we pushed on back to the Ginza station and were almost there when Pip spyed with her little eye, something beginning with ‘A’. I felt my little iPhone twitch in my pocket at the buzz of free internet. The giant silver and glass AppleStore – four floors of Appley fun and toys populated by hundreds of fan folk and red-shirted staff (we counted 27 staff on the ground floor alone). I let off a couple of quick tweets, then communed with the iPads and the Macbook Airs before riding the glass elevator to the iPhone floor. Harnessing every ounce of self-control in my bones, I eventually agreed to leave and continue home.
|New ‘Worst DressedMan on the Ginza.|
Rather than eat out tonight – Pip and Eams hit the local supermarket for a couple of bento boxes and some breadcrumbed delights, which we combined with the nine cherry tomatoes I had purchased in one of the food halls we visited earlier in the day, and the two large tomatoes bought in another (it was the taste testing that forced me to buy them – they just tasted unlike any tomatoes I had ever eaten.
Hope the Hilton folk don’t mind the multiple bags of rubbish we left for them…