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One Crazy Night in Shinjuku

JAPAN | Tuesday, 30 March 2010 | Views [5893]

The tiny tiny space this very scary meal came from. Asadachi Restaurant, Shinjuku.

The tiny tiny space this very scary meal came from. Asadachi Restaurant, Shinjuku.

For my last weekend in Tokyo, Simon organised a mystery dinner and drinks adventure in Shinjuku that I think showcases both the diversity of activities a travel writer like Simon engages in, and the randomness of Tokyo quite well (Simon aptly called it ‘an offbeat gourmet safari’ in his blog post about our adventures that night).  In just one night across a few city blocks, we got a taste of the old school pre-war days, the modern and ultra kitsch and the très suave and cool of Tokyo. 

We began the night at the Asadachi restaurant in Shinjuku’s Piss Alley.  Apparently ‘Asadachi’ means something along the lines of ‘morning wood’, which is appropriate given the restaurant’s claims that it’s dishes improve virility.  And, as I alluded to in an earlier post, these dishes also improve my gag reflex and desire to become a vegetarian… eating whole grilled lizards on a stick and a bowl of codfish sperm will do that to a person.  A crazy Tokyo adventure in gastronomy, yes.  A place to discover my new favourite dish, no.  I’m just glad that one of Asadachi’s signature dishes wasn’t available that night given that it was the reason Simon took me there… I think eating a still beating frog’s heart may have tipped me over the edge.

After this hilarious and slightly traumatising meal, we headed around the corner for part two of our dinner extravaganza. Alice in Fantasy Book is an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant in Shinjuku that is certainly up there in the weird stakes, however, as Simon and I discovered, it left a lot to be desired in the food deliciousness ratings and really could have used the Alice theme a lot better than it has. So instead of being wowed by the restaurant we nibbled on our too sweet Cheshire cat pizza and sipped on theme named cocktails while we amused ourselves watching horrified men who’d obviously been dragged to Alice on a date and were stunned into silence by love-heart shaped portions of meat and pink pasta dishes… now that was funny.

The final instalment of the night saw us in La Jetée bar in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai district – a few laneway blocks packed with some 200 bars, each so tiny they would struggle to hold my immediate family. The Frenchy La Jetée bar is one of few bars in the Golden Gai that is tourist friendly and it boasts a rather famous clientele with big film industry names like Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino keeping a bottle of behind the bar there. Kicking back with a few Japanese whiskeys and some French movie talk with the owner and her French clientele was a perfect way to wrap up the night.

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