We stayed one night at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo. Wow, what an amazing place! Their premier restuarant is Le Tour d’Argent, that I know only as one of the few restaurants that defeated the French Iron Chef. Their orange duck menu is close to $200 for two. Obviously, we didn’t eat there. Instead, we wandered the surrounding streets, filled with pachincko parlors, and found this restaurant called An An, which specialized in dishes made with home-made tofu. Menu: Fresh yuzu (tofu skins), shashimi, roast beef medallion and asparagus appertizer, fried tofu, house salad with crumbled tofu, chicken skewers. Their food was amazing, and we were stuffed at US$30 a person.
The next day was the mad dash to make it to meet up with Anthony Bianchi. His name is in full despite the house rules because he’s an elected city councilman in the city of Inuyama. He is originally from Brooklyn and had gone to my high school. Sunday he was hosting the high school’s band and chorus at Meiji Mura, an architecture theme park; as landmarking is virtually impossible in Japan, the alternative has been to bring these old buildings to this park where they can be cared for. Bianchi hosted Easter Sunday service at the moved St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, followed by a musical and choral performance. Afterwards, there was a party held at the Inuyama International Center, aka “Freude”, where we ate our fill of homemade Japanese foods made by the group’s host families.
Trains: we took the red circle “M” line to Tokyo station. Took the Shinkensen Bullet Train to Nagoya. The bento boxes on board were great. Took the regional railroad to Inuyama. Took a bus to the theme park. Took a tour trolley to Area 51 where the church was. It was pretty amazing what kind of efficiency is required to make public transport work here.
We’re going to the Expo 2005 aka the World’s Fair tomorrow. I’ve been calling my mom daily using Skype; it works very well when you have a good Internet connection.