Romping Through Roppongi

It’s 2:30 am and a 5.3 magnitude earthquake slams Fukushima then rockets to Tokyo—and my bedroom—scaring the living crap out of me. My dream of waking to a glorious Japanese sunrise dissolves in chaos and bolting upright, I pray my Shinjuku apartment will not come crashing down around me. It’s my first earthquake and after a few breathless moments, I suspect I may, just possibly, have overreacted. Confirming with the Twitter world that it indeed is an earthquake, but not a serious threat, I manage to go back to sleep.

At dawn, as I did in Santa Barbara, I quickly assemble my camera and from the balcony, capture the sunrise. Looking through the viewfinder, I put thoughts of my shaky morning behind me, grateful for the beautiful day that lay ahead.

First breakfast—then Roppongi and the Tokyo Tower. Many expats call Roppongi home but it‘s also home to the Tokyo Tower and some of the best sushi in town; it’s also the least Japanese part of Tokyo. From Roppongi Station, it’s a fifteen-minute walk to Tokyo Tower. I notice the consulates along the way are heavily guarded, but the uniformed police politely offer a nod and a smile as I pass by. Admission to Tokyo Tower’s main observation deck with its sweeping vistas is 820 yen, $8 (US).

Lunch is at Fukuzushi, a trendy cafe situated in an alley off of Gaien-higashi-dor in the center of Roppongi. 2,600 yen, $25 (US) bought me a set nigiri lunch. Not too bad for the area. Capping my dining experience, I sat at the bar and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the Itamae-san. Between my sub-par Japanese and his broken English, we managed just fine.

The sushi was divine. As this was my first official sushi in Japan, I had high expectations, and they were surpassed.  The unagi (eel) subtly flavored, the tako (octopus) delicately tender, the ebi (shrimp) the sweetest I have ever tasted but undeniably, the akami (lean tuna) was by far my favorite.

Dessert and tea were served in a separate part of the restaurant; dessert was something like ‘coffee-jello’ topped with a dab of chocolate sauce. I sat, tea in hand, and read for about an hour before heading back to Shinjuku and my first Friday night in Japan.

It’s off to Omotesando for cocktails at Den Aquaroom. then home. Here’s to sleeping earthquakes and peaceful dreams.

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