ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS TOKYO, GOTH VERSION! SHIBUYA PIANO BAR, ISHINOHANA, TSUKIJI CHEAP SUSHI.
If you watch my Twitter (for the sake of anthropological research… yikes!) then you’ll know I am a tiny bit obsessed with Anthony Bourdain’s food travel show, No Reservations. Tony did an especially kick-ass episode about Tokyo, so the J-Goths and I decided to visit the exact same places he hit on his show.
Since we’re all kind of cash-strapped, our alcohol usually comes in cans from the convenience store. But that night, we splurged on hand-crafted cocktails at Ishinohana, a woodsy bar in Shibuya. The wasabi, ginger, and award-winning Claudia (which Bourdain ordered, top left) were out of this world! Unless your goal is to get thoroughly trashed, it really is worth paying a bit more ($15-18 a drink) to have a cocktail properly made.
We were on our way to Sukiyabashi Jiro, rumored to have the best sushi in the world (Bourdain raved about it) when we realized it was in ritzy Ginza. How much was this going to set us back? A quick look at the website… $300 a head? We immediately switched to the train for Tsukiji.
There are many sushi restaurants surrounding the market (remember my video tour of Tsukiji?). As soon as he spotted us, this fellow ran up and gave us the used car salesman hard-sell: “One, two, three, let’s go!” 64 yen (64 cents) for market-fresh tuna nigiri? Sold!
The restaurant is a little coarse and spans several floors, but my meal of market-fresh fish and sake came to under $20. It may not have been Bourdain’s ritzy joint, but it was one of my best Tokyo sushi experiences so far.
Back to Shibuya for drinks at Piano Bar, one of the many cramped dive bars near the train tracks. Like Bourdain, we marveled at the red walls and gilded bric-a-brac. (The design is similar to Trump Room, which you may recall from Fashion Ramone’s “Horror Vacui” party.) I ordered the rosewater and wine cocktail. The stairs were so narrow that most of the American population could not get to the upper level.
Tank top: Black Peace Now, from Closet Child Shinjuku
Skirt: Westmend, a Chinese Lolita brand
We listened to the roar of the trains and pondered our fate if there were suddenly an earthquake. (Head bashed in by a gold chandelier and birdcage? Impaled by deer antlers?) Some Australians on the other bench made some rather ignorant comments. “Do you guys drink blood?” “You’re Goth so you aren’t supposed to smile in photos.” So we gave them this pose.
Thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, we discovered some new Tokyo gems and had ourselves a righteous adventure. Might any of you have food or shopping recommendations for me? There’s always something new to discover in this city!
Song of the Day #152: Gackt – Jesus (Also in my head after hearing Gackt perform this live at Saitama Arena… it was the opening number.)