Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


This side of Nagasaki (day 2)


????????!ticket machine

First customer visit. After three train rides, four tickets (costing an average of 8 million yen) and about a thousand miles, Australian Jeff, Polish Mirek, Japanese Yukio and English I arrived at our destination (late) and rushed in to give my first presentation with Yukio translating for me.

I have no idea how it went but, from the deathly silence, I assume it wasn’t too bad. The best bit was the intermission where our host led us in synchronized stretching to the strains of classical music from a huge ghetto blaster brought in for that precise purpose.

The thousand-mile train ride(s) back to the hotel was uneventful but, man! There are a lot of people in Tokyo and most of them were on our train. I even got the hang of buying my own ticket(s) from the machines with the little squiggles instead of proper words and didn’t have to stare at every coin counting the zeros like a tourist.

I had a couple of hours to spare before dinner. Both American Jeff and Polish Mirek had told me to go to Ginza but, since I didn’t know what a Ginza was or where to find one, I just wandered around Shiodome City Centre to see all the millions of beautiful restaurants that I could have gone to the night before instead of drinking crap beer at the Rose and Crown.

yakitoriThe Japanese have a wonderful eye for design and all their best designers are tasked with making every restaurant look like a work of art. Even the crappy little cafés look like they were designed for Zen Homes and Gardens. Made me hungry! …which was handy since we had reservations for our team dinner at 5:00 pm.

Australian Jeff had been teasing me that I would be eating chicken hearts washed down with sake. Yeah right thought I but, sure enough, that’s what we had.

yakitoriWe went to a Yakitori place that was quite magnificent. If they ever made a romantic movie about a Yakitori restaurant, they would make it here. The soft-focus, opening shot would zoom gently out from the swirling, sizzling clouds of steam rising from the cooking-as-performance-artists chefs work to catch the Mistress d’, greeting the next customer with a loud


yukio menuYakitori means leftover bits of chicken on a stick. It wasn’t just leftover bits of chicken though – they had leftover bits of other things too. The leftover bits were barbecued to perfection by the performing chefs and delivered on an endless stream of little plates, tapas-style. The waitress just kept bringing them while we just keep eating them in between sips of silky sake poured from bamboo bottles into little bamboo sake cups. Until…

Hearts and Livers!

sakewhich I thought was a Japanese toast until the waitress put down the next plate containing, yes, little sticks with little chicken hearts and little chicken livers. The hearts were actually pretty good but am not in any rush to have chicken livers any time soon. The non-chicken bits were fantastic too.

to be continued because it’s time for tonight’s adventure. I think we are having deep-fried sea creatures tonight.