Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tiny, tiny Tokyo trip

Neither Roland nor I are what one would call Romantic. I have been presented with One-piece puzzles for birthdays and Doctor Who/Startrek crossover comics for valentine`s day while Roland is lucky enough to receive books for damn near every occasion. We periodically forget any and all anniversaries and have been known to skip a date in order to fight a virtual villain instead. But this last weekend, Roland broke the bell curve a bit and took me on a lovely outing to our new nation`s capital. 
More appropriate than chocolate I reckon
I knew the `who` and the `when` but was still in the dark about the `where` as I sat on Oita airport`s uncomfortable benches on Thursday evening. It is however hard to keep a surprise going if the staff hand you a ticket with Tokyo printed at the top as you are checking in. Now while I have spent at least a month in Tokyo in total, I cannot tell you how excited I am every time I get to go back.

As our flight arrived in Narita at too late an hour to take the train into the city, the two of us stayed over at our favorite business hotel. I cannot recommend a better place to stay than the Richmond if like us your money usually prefers to land in the pockets of restaurants and Geeky merchandise vendors rather than on expensive accommodation. They are all over Japan and a firm favorite of the German and mine. Roland even took the time to look online for a sushi restaurant that offered western style sushi (don`t get me wrong I love Japanese sushi but every now and then I crave a little avocado or cream cheese incorporated into the kind of sushi that proper Japanese chefs would be fired over). Sadly as luck would have it, the restaurant had just run out of cream cheese as we sat down.           

All crying over cream-cheese-less sushi was quickly forgotten though when we arrived at our breakfast destination the next day. Not only was Lauderdale voted as the best western breakfast in all of Tokyo, the atmosphere of this coffee shop is pure, smooth, relaxation. I was melted halfway into my chair when my bacon, buttermilk pancakes arrived and I had long since forgotten that I was actually in the busy Roppongi part of Tokyo when the friendly waitress placed my soufflé in front of me. The rest of the day was spent being too intimidated to go into the fancy fashion shops owned by Stella McCarthy and Giorgio Armani but spending an hour in the Lego shop playing with all the toys. 

What we bought instead of an Armani suit
After all the Roppongi action it was time to check in to our Tokyo hotel and it should go a long way to prove how infrequently Roland and I stay at fancy hotels that when the Hilton shuttle bus arrived to take us to our destination, my immediate thought was that Roland was scamming a free ride to the area we would be staying in. When the bus stopped I even moved to the side so that the people actually staying at the Hilton could get off the bus first. Roland could not stop laughing as I walked with obvious embarrassment straight past the hotel doors on my way to some dodgier part of Shinjuku where our hotel was sure to be. 

Not only had my usually unromantic partner chosen the Hilton but we were staying in the executive area, the same area that Han Solo, the Dalai Lama and the Beatles all respectively chilled in. The view from the room was fantastic and Roland and I showed how `niks gewoond` we are by being surprised every time we were handed a free umbrella on our way out the door or gasping at the fact that you can just drink champagne at breakfast for no extra cost. 

Ringo being as fancy as we were at the Hilton
It would however not be a Freda/Roland road trip if I were not at least irrationally angry about something inconsequential and so it was that when we went to dinner that night I wholehearted blamed Roland for making me walk way further to the train station, in super high heels, than I had expected. On the way back my feet were in so much pain that I just clung onto Roland and pretended that I was tipsy from too much enkai (work party) indulgence. I fit right into the late night Tokyo train crowd. The restaurant
Roland`s dessert
Apart from my blistered feet the evening spent at the Eki bar and grill, situated at the top of the Four Seasons hotel was magnificent. Damn you rich people for getting to eat so well! Everything was ridiculously tasty and even my lettuce tasted better than any I had, had before, how do you improve the taste of lettuce!!! Not to mention that I got to eat lamb chops which are as rare to find in Japan, as a chocolate I will not eat.
`Dat dessert menu!
I know that next time I make my way to Tokyo it will be done on the cheap and I know that it will not take away any of the fun at all but at the same time I will remember this trip and all the effort Roland put in to make it perfect, for the rest of my days. 

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