Thanks to Mom and her incredible generosity with her Marriott points, instead of the flea bag hostel that I was planning on staying in, I spent the weekend in the Ritz Carlton, on the 48th floor overlooking downtown
I came in on the overnight from
Hypothesis 1: Everything wrapped in seaweed and rice tastes good. A couple times I couldn’t tell you if I was eating a plant, fish or animal, but I knew that I never wanted to do it again.
Hypothesis 2: I will eat anything. There was one place whose walls were plastered with pictures of goldfish, and then there were little tempura’ed things which you held and ate by the little fishtail sticking out of the batter. I was thinking about ordering one when the oft-ignored voice in the back of my head screamed “don’t eat that!” For once I listened. Maybe it was out of loyalty to my dearly departed fish Olive, but I just couldn’t do it.
That afternoon I poked around the gardens of the imperial palace (which were suitably imperial), and then headed up to Suidobashi for the highlight of my day. A Yomiuri Giants game! There are six baseball teams that play in
I arrived to the “Big Egg” to find out that there were only standing room seats left. Apparently the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are a big draw when they are in town. (Japanese baseball teams are mostly named after the company that sponsors them. Nippon Ham sponsors the Fighters. I later discovered from Wiki that the Ham Fighters used to have a mascot called “Fighty” which was, and I quote, “a bright pink pterodactyl, whose head resembled a giant leg of ham, and who sometimes rode a bicycle around the pitch.” That made me happy.
The game itself was basically the same. You sort of spent part of the time thinking “cut-off man… cut-off man.” “play it on the hop... play it on the hop…” And the fans of the different teams sat in different sections, all color coordinated, with a brass section, choreographed cheers, and flags. But, in case you got homesick, the beers where still eight bucks and watery.
The next day I got up at 5 am to visit the famous Tsujiki Fish Market. It was an enormous warehouse the guide book tells me 15.5 million dollars worth of fish are sold *daily*. It certainly smelled like it, but I got some cool pictures. Then I waited on line for 1.5 hours with tourists from all over the
Then I did some warm-up stretching and went on a tourism sprint. I hit neighborhoods all over the city. For the sake of identifying the pictures, I will list them: Hama Rikyu Onshi-Teien (Detached Palace Garden in the middle of downtown Tokyo), water ferry to Asakusa, Senso-ji and the Five Story Pagoda, Chingodo-ji (which is dedicated to mischievous shape-shifting hedonistic raccoon-dogs who use their giant testicles to fly), Meiji-Jingu (peace Shinto shrine with very nice outdoor lamps), Omote-Sando (the Japanese teenage shopping district. They were selling beat up vintage Vans sneakers, identical to the ones on my feet, for $200. If I could communicate in anything more articulate that grunts and hand gestures, I would have sold those puppies and come home barefoot), and the red-light district of Hanazono-jinja (eh, nice, but nothing compared to
And finally… Hypothesis 3: I can eat sushi breakfast, lunch and dinner. True that.