Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tokyo in April

Another Lao New Year and another chance to have a short break without using up too much annual leave.  Cherry blossom season had just finished but there was still plenty of spring growth and blossoms to see.  Being spring it was also relatively cool and we spent most of the trip in our puffer vests.

The journey between Bangkok and Tokyo was relatively painless and only a couple of 'Andrew incidents' the 1st when he got a little confused in the lounge and followed me into the ladies toilets instead of heading in the other direction to the Gents. 

Arriving in Tokyo we made a beginners error and left the airport without activating our sim card and without having a clear idea how to get from A to B.  On the Tokyo metro you REALLY need clarity because it can be more than just a little confusing.   As a result we arrived at 9:30pm and got to our destination just before midnight having taken a couple of random trains back and forth before we got sorted.  The journey should really have taken about 30 minutes, not 2 hours.  It was the only time we were truly lost during the trip and the only time no one went out of their way to help us.  For the rest of the trip if we stopped for more than 20 seconds to look at the maps on our phones, someone would volunteer to help us - people were unbelievably helpful.

Maybe the travel pressure was why Andrew forced his way through the metro turnstile in the wrong direction?  The station worker looked a bit panicked at the thought of having to explain in English what the problem was.  But together we got him turned around and through the correct turnstile.  Then there was the time in the coffee shop when Andrew looked around and threw his sugar packets in the 'rubbish tin' I had to point out to him it was an umbrella stand as we quickly exited the shop with our heads down.

This trip we based ourselves in an apartment that was a 12 minute walk to the Tokyo central station.  We only had 2 days in Tokyo and walked around the imperial palace and other gardens and checked out a few stores.  The main focus of our time seemed to center around food and we did eat very well.

We had been recommended a restaurant near to the apartment.  Crumbed and briefly deep fried, the beef was brought to the table where you could heat the small strips as you like them.  The beef was unbelievably tender, and the dipping sauces were delicious.  We both could have ordered another set, but that would have been a bit piggy Smile
beef restaurant
The absolute dining highlight of the whole trip was lunch at Le Sputnik, a 1* Michellen French/Japanese restaurant.  When you book you are asked if you have any food allergies etc, and then the menu is 100% chef’s choice.  And it was a delightful 8 course lunch, together with wine pairings, delivered in a relaxed manner over 2.5 hours.  Andrew rates it as one of his best meals ever.  The wines were eclectic, but every single one was outstanding and they came from France, Portugal, Greece and a surprisingly good Japanese red.  The food included sashimi, foie gras, fish on burdock (pictured below), and a ‘main’of Venison.  It was fantastic and highly recommend it to anyone. 
Le Sputnik

After the meal we wandered away, well-fed and very happy.  We determined this was our wedding anniversary meal as tomorrow (the actual 9th anniversary) we would be travelling. 

In the nearby neighbourhood we spotted a restaurant selling wines from Georgia and took a look at the famous Louis Bourgeois sculpture, “Maman” a 30 foot high spider.
In the evenings we used our local supermarket to produce quick meals – generally we ate rather well during the day we only needed a small top up at night.

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