Roppongi: Midtown

When we first got to Yokota, we were instructed to steer clear of Roppongi. This area has such a bad rep, and I’m not sure why. Albeit our accommodations at the illustrious Hardy Barracks and its glamorous view of the cemetery wasn’t ideal, the accessibility amply makes up for it. We were always about a 10-minute walk from anything remotely interesting. And there were a lot!

Our first goal was lunch. Since Clint had been craving kebab sandwiches, I found Doner Kebab near the Roppongi Station. Its colossal size sated our appetites and prepared us for our expedition the rest of the day.

I wasn’t prepared in my research prior to the trip, but I knew I wanted to visit the Suntory Museum of Art. What we discovered was a designer’s delight! Midtown is modern, chic and epitomizes so much of Japan. Upon our entry point, we were greeted by the refreshingly green Hinokicho Park. I officially bid winter adieu, and fully embraced the viridescent scene! People were picnicking on the lawns, children ran around gleefully, paramours met for an afternoon rendezvous – all while a flute rendition of Zelda played in the background. I was particularly impressed by the modernly designed swings and slides. Leave it to Japan to juxtapose nature and contemporary design so perfectly.

The pathways finally led us into the shopping center, which Clint aptly describes: “This place smells expensive.” But one doesn’t have to spend money to enjoy the nice shops and sleek interiors. We finally reached our destination, and enjoyed the exhibition, “The Scientific Eye and Visual Wonders in Edo.” It was an interesting experience, and we got to see antique microscopes and telescopes among Edo’s historical works of art.

After all the cultural absorption, a nap was in order – followed by a well-deserved dinner. Our first choice, Ostrea Oyster Bar & Restaurant, was fully booked. Silly us for dismissing the idea of making reservations. We wandered around until we stumbled upon Gatten Sushi. Best stumble ever! I’m no sushi connoisseur by any means – I won’t even eat raw fish. But I can tell fresh seafood when I taste it, and this restaurant serves up such appetizing plates. Our chef, Miyamoto-san, was a joy to dine with. He was austere, and yet kept it playful in his own subtle ways. I took his photo and asked for a smile. His response, “Smile? No smile. Too busy.” This made me smile. Our friend tells us the bluefin tuna is the best he’s ever had. Clint really liked the seared wagyu and crunch roll. I loved the fried octopus and miso-marinated sablefish. I now truly feel spoiled when it comes to fresh fish. Clint was lured into the “Roll Challenge,” where he had to roll dice for a chance to either win a free/half-priced Highball or double size double price! Let’s just say the results of playing thrice left him well inebriated and the restaurant made its money fairly.

We want to return for the night view in the Mado Lounge of the Sky Deck. What a beautiful area!

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