Because of my travel reward obsession, one of the perks we get at the Hyatt is free breakfast. Which, at the Park Hyatt on the first morning was all of this:
|My favorite thing about japanese breakfast? Pickles!
|Robata with friends.
To date, the ramen bowl count is 2. Once as a shared late afternoon snack in the work hotel basement. And once for me with a friend in Shinatatsu (aka Shinagawa Ramen Alley). I wish I could have had more ramen, but then I would have had to have less other stuff...
Of course we had sashimi and sushi -- often just a small course in a meal. There was a very fancy sashimi and sushi business dinner at a historic restaurant in Roppongi, which was awesome. The next night, we went with friends to the local kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) and stuffed ourselves silly for less than $10 per person -- I'm probably a bad cultural appreciator, but I think I preferred the chaos, craziness, and fun of the conveyor belt experience to the traditional one (where the sushi was, of course, better, but it's not like the kaiten sushi was bad). One day, I treated myself to basement chirashi as a study break from work.
|If only chirashi was this reasonably priced at home (less than $10)
Japan is a great country for snacks, but we didn't really snack very much this trip. The one snack we did enjoy was sugar crystal coated rice heart crackers, a gift from my childhood Japanese exchange student (eaten on the Romance Car train from Tokyo to Hakone).
|Pickled Vegetables & Tako Wasabi.
|The ordering system and seared tako (E has a tako problem).
|Horse sashimi and sake. Yes. Horse.
|A fitting caption for the end of the night with the empties.
|The beautiful meal I enjoyed with my exchange student. Delicious!
For the afternoon, we braved the cultural craziness of a local public onsen to access a private bath we'd reserved. 2 hours of nothing but naked relaxation in hot running mineral water (and a couple of vending machine Asahi beers). We left the building more relaxed than we'd both been in a long time. The exit of the onsen caused you to walk through a local shrine, which was a perfect way to end the long soak.
For dinner, our hotel had made us reservations at a local teppanyaki joint. Teppanyaki is one of E's favorite styles of food, so we were looking forward to this (and hungry from our day's adventures).
We arrived and were very surprised to learn that the local teppanyaki joint was actually ITOH Dining by NOBU.
|Edamame with Truffle oil? Hell yes.
So, E decided to take advantage of the situation and actually ordered the Kobe beef (a first for both of us). I stuck with Wagyu so that we could compare. Guess what? I like Wagyu better than Kobe! Win for me.
|Wagyu on the left, Kobe on the right.
And with that, after today's free hotel breakfast, we're starting the long trip home where we'll just eat whatever the travel gods (and possibly vending machines) throw our way. Just a shuttle bus, a shinkansen, the Narita express, a trans-pacific flight, clearing customs and immigration, a 4 hour layover, and a local flight 'til home...