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Friday, September 18, 2015

GAWA Day #3: Japan Rail Pass, Jindaiji and Victor's

To my shock and consternation, I learned today that Japan has a new four day holiday called Silver Week, an analog to May's Golden Week.  I know very well the problem of this period, and avoid traveling in that country during those days.  But Silver Week, to honor the elderly...meaning people like me...what irony.  This is a five-day holiday (which will not occur again until 2020) and, while Golden Week means people fly away, Silver Week overloads their train system.

I got my Japan Rail Pass (JRP), but, unfortunately, could not get to Sapporo, for Shinkansen (bullet train) seats were all taken on Sunday.  I had to completely adjust my schedule, and now, will skip Hokkaido, leave Tokyo a day later, and spend more time in Kansai (Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe).  This is one of the problems with JRP, for you can't make any advanced reservations until you get to Japan and validate the pass.

Anyway, the day began with my usual fabulous FREE Tokyo Westin breakfast:

I spent most of the day adjusting my schedule, but also found my way to Jindaiji Botanical Park, where I had lunch with Pearl's statue:

This is a Fall bento.  Note that orange leaf.  The green bottle is a shielded sake.  

I dropped by the office again, and they remembered me, indicating that nothing has yet been found about the name of the model.  The sculptor, Bussi, had passed away.

There is always something at peak here, and the dahlias were fabulous:

Just wanted to show that these flowers are huge.

And there were a few roses.  It was raining most of the day, except for the hour I spent there.  On my way back to the Tokyo Westin, I noticed there was a Beer Festival across the street:

My 17th floor Executive Floor staff tried to get me a reservation at L'Efflorescence (the only Japanese restaurant in the Pellegrino Best 50 I have yet to experience) and La Tour D'Argent, failed, but as a consolation, I'll be at this latter pinnacle of gustatory excellence on Sunday.

So, instead, I went to Victor's in the hotel.  I was able to have the restaurant bring from the next door Compass Rose my bottle of Nikka Yoichi 20-year old single malt, which, in 2008, was judged to be the #1 scotch in the world, sort of like when in that same year, Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay shocked the wine world.

I had a scallop salad, black and white truffle soup and wagyu beef from Hokkaido.  The sauce for the steak was overpowering, but matched the blandness of the salad and soup.

Today, I'm off on a ride from Tokyo to Kanazawa on a brand new Shinkansen line, then visit Pearl's Gold Koi at Matsumoto Castle.

Well, as predicted, Typhoon Krovanh, now down to 105 MPH, is moving northeast and parallel to Japan:


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