Cold and wet with a touch of snow.
We managed to get from the airport to our hotel in the Ginza part of Tokyo. First an express train to Tokyo and then a short cab ride to the Monterey Hotel Ginza. Quite a nice room. Small yet it has enough room for us. About the size of a small hotel room in Paris. It even has the Starship Enterprise bridge command consol toilet. You don't want to push the wrong button by mistake or you get a jet of warm water up your hole. Oh, and we have broadband internet. Just plug in the tiny netbook and blog away. I almost forgot they supply pyjamas too. Now that is picture I will just have to post... eventually.
It was about 8 by the time we settled in and so it was time to eat. God it was time to eat. I wanted to get this over and done with fast especially after a 10 hour flight and a whole 20 minutes sleep the night before. Armed with a map and the Tokyo Michelin Guide we headed out into the cold. And boy it is cold. A huge neon sign even displayed how cold - 3 degrees C. I knew I didn't bring enough cold weather clothing. The hotel had to loan us a couple of umbrellas too. It is pretty miserable here at the moment.
A particular region of Ginza apparently has most of the Michelin starred sushi places so we wandered over there expecting to hit the motherlode of sushi. Frack it is hard finding an address in Tokyo. No readable street signs and a confusing numbering system were just leaving us frustrated, cold and hungry. After an hour or so of wandering up one back alley after another and asking locals to point out where we were on the map we were no closer to finding any of the recommended sushi joints. Finally we grabbed a cab and asked him to drive us to the place. He punched the phone number of the restaurant into his GPS (Japanese GPS' operate off phone numbers too) and we drove around the block to where the restaurant should have been.
You guessed it. Nothing there. Another friendly lass (attractive too) tried to help and offered to phone the restaurant to make a reservation but I though if we can't find the place there was no point in having a reservation. She was able to point us in another direction though. It lead us back to more or less where we'd begun thinking the place was. A 7-Eleven guy and Starbucks dude helped us narrow down the search even more but still no joy. Eventually I reckoned it was in a particular tiny alleyway we'd been up and down a couple of times but we could not tell which if any of the unlabled places was Sushi Iwa. A couple of hire car guys were having a smoke across the road so again I asked if either of them had heard of Sushi Iwa. Another guy, a young business type wearing what looked like Armani broke in and said "Sushiwa? He is a friend of mine follow me".
We followed him back up the alley and to a door way we hadn't even thought was a restaurant and he introduced us to Hisayoshi Iwa who in turn introduced us to real honest-to-god sushi that you just don't get back home. Albeit very expensive honest-to-god sushi.
More on this exquisite sushi and saki experience in the next post but let me first say Michelle and I were the only customers in Sushi Iwa. It couldn't seat more than 10 or 12 I guess. But more, including pictures, in the next post. Too tired to go on now - 1AM in Tokyo makes it about 3AM in Sydney.