Never a dull moment. Today’s close encounter was with the Iron Chef Masahara Morimoto, of television fame (that’s him in the hat). Eight of us when to what I gather was one of his restaurants, Atelier XEX, and he happened to be at the restaurant, which is very rare, so he stopped by our table to say hi. Just one of several noteworthy experiences today.
We began with a visit to the amazing Tsukiji Fish Market, where our guide led us through throngs of people carrying umbrellas in the rain, along narrow corridors lined with fish merchants. Lots of sights and sounds – massive chunks of tuna that looked almost like beef, huge tuna heads, dried bonita fish flakes used to make a salty broth (dashi) for miso soup. Then we were ushered into a tasting room to try like all kinds of sushi (I loved the tuna varieties but not the octopus or squid).
This afternoon I went by myself to Ooedo Onsen Monogatari, a hot springs bath theme park of sorts that was pretty crazy, packed with kids, families, very thin women. I joined dozens of naked women in the women’s bath area, sitting in hot water, cold water, lukewarm water, a steam room and sauna. Met a nice young woman from Austria in one pool of water. I paid extra to have “fish therapy” which was bizarre, with fish feasting on the dead skin on my feet. They made some head way but needed more than the 15 minutes I was willing to pay for. I also got a Japanese body and foot massage, which was different – lots of pressure points work. I could have spent longer at the onsen. There were other treatments, plus food, some sort of live floor show, God knows what else.
Tonight’s dinner featured all kinds of delicious food cooked on a hot grill in front of us: shrimp tartar, “sautéed use” lobster, oyster foie gras, waygu beef. Wow.