Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shabu shabu = yummo yummo

After a three-hour bus ride from Lake Kawaguchiko and a trek through the subway to our hotel with our luggage, Gina and I were STARVING. Yes, imagine that.

We rifled through all my piles of notes for each city on our trip and decided to go to Shabusen in Ginza, a shabu shabu restaurant, which is like a Japanese version of fondue, but with boiling water for cooking thin slices of meats and veggies.

Because the addresses in Tokyo are so jacked up, we gave ourselves a 25 percent chance of actually finding the restaurant.

To our surprise, we found it after only three times of asking for directions along the way. It's on the second floor of a department store, Ginza Core...lots of restaurants in Tokyo are apparently tucked away in stores and office buildings on floors not at ground level.

We were seated at a large round counter with lots of hustle and bustle along with about 15 or so other people. There was a giant meat slicer at the center of the hubbub. Each of us got our own steaming pot of water.

Gina and I ordered a meal that includes two appetizers, thinly sliced beef and pork, veggies, noodles and dessert, a plum in some clear Jell-O type substance. It was so fun!

We got lots of stares for countless breaches of etiquette, I'm sure, but our server was really friendly and completely amused by us. He didn't speak any English, so at times, all I heard was, "sha-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta." During this trip, I've learned that when in doubt, just nod and things usually work out.'s worth noting that apparently it's a big deal for two American women to order a second round of beer. There was LOTS of chatter at the counter when we asked for ni (2) more.

Tomorrow, I have a meeting with a reporter for work and then we'll probably visit the Imperial Palace and maybe a shrine or two. We leave Friday for home.

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