Monday, March 7, 2016
Japan Diary #1: How about some pig's rectum with that?
TOKYO—It's been so long that I've sat among smokers at dinner that I forgot that, in Japan, it's still a thing. It didn't bother me before, so didn't bother me now at this Yakitori bar in the Kabukichan area of Tokyo. In fact, it sort of added to the I'm-in-a-foreign-place vibe, to be among young people puffing away. The food was still good, hot from the brazier, impaled on flimsy wooden stick.s. I had all sorts of skewers — tomatoes wrapped in bacon, grilled asparagas with chicken, pork belly—I drew the line at the more exotic fare, such as sparrow, or pig's rectum. The drink to the left is a Nippon soda, which comes with a clump of ginger, and I found it tasty, in a gingery kind of way.
The whole trip to Japan has been very low key. The flight, on a new American Airlines 787, was filled but not crowded or hellish. I slept for an hour, which gave me energy to last until ... well, it's nearly 10 p.m. now, or 7 a.m. Chicago time. I don't feel exhausted or jet lagged or anything. Maybe that's tomorrow.
If you look at the menu below, you'll see it's fairly cheap—110 yen make a dollar. The hotel is very small, but clean and modern and inviting, and also inexpensive; it set me back $80, a reminder that Japan has been in recession for a long, long time.
Okay, the last thoughts in my head have drained out. A shower and sleep.
If you want something to discuss, consider one reason the Japanese economy is in such trouble is their population is dwindling—the place looked empty on the train from Narita, though it got denser quickly as we approached central Tokyo. It has no border with Mexico and far fewer immigrants (though much more signage, not only in English, but Chinese and Korean than when last I was here, so the place is certainly more multi-cultural). Remember that being anti-immigrant is not only morally wrong, but it's economically disastrous too. G'night.