A couple of years on from our last trip, we took advantage of Claire staying in Osaka to make another visit. This time around, we had a real two week visit, arriving on Joey’s birthday. We made even the getting there part of the holiday: we went Virgin upper class for the flights to use up all of our about-to-expire airmiles and we spent the night before the flight at Crazy Bear hotel in Beaconsfield. The hotel stay was as decadent as we expected. We had a great night sampling gin and cocktails. The bartender introduced us to a great gin from Tanqueray called Malacca gin – limited numbers of really special gin that is worth sipping neat. I’ve yet to find out where to buy it from though – next time I’m downtown I’m on a mission!
We arrived into Tokyo on Joey’s birthday and with the plan that we’d meet up with our friends in the evening for a night of food and crazy. However it was serendipity that we literally bumped into Claire on the Tokyo subway while we were touristing around town. For a city that busy and that large, to simply bump into your friend on the subway is really weird. “It’s a small world after all…” starts tripping through my head. Anyhow, food and entertainment were organised by Richard and Chihiro, with Claire, Nick and Tom all joining in. We had a superb time munching through various things-on-a-stick, complete with Birthday dessert for Joey. And that wasn’t even the highlight. For extra giggles we spent the latter part of the evening at a show in Robot Restaurant in one of the odder experiences of my life. Theoretically there’s food involved, but we’d heard bad reviews of that before and so we’d laden up beforehand at the really good restaurant: we were just there for the show, and what a show it was.
It’s basically a combination of pole dancers, robots, music, pandas, dinosaurs and tanks. With lots of neon. After every act, we were turning to each saying “that was fantastic! But what the f…?”. Especially when the panda-on-a-cow saved the day from the teenage mutant ninja turtle man. Or something like that. I’m not really sure what happened. My eyes hurt!
Part 2 of this to come later…