I walk into our destination and my expression probably gave away my initial thoughts: what in the world? The interior looks like a thrift store threw up and spat out the leftover items. Blood red carpets cover the floors. The windows are lined with dingy red velvet curtains. Bizarre Medieval objects are stuck to the decrepit brick walls. Stone statues that only suit 15th century gardens are placed throughout the restaurant. I am almost positive the lighting choice is florescent spotlights. The decor is so tacky I was a bit afraid for the dinner.
We sit down, the menu arrives and it is sparse: à la carte or tasting. I look closer and notice the tiers. A3. A4. A5. I immediately feel a rush of excitement. Omg it’s Kobe beef. I look over towards him with a smile of appreciation. He smiles back, acknowledging my silent gratitude. His expression is kind — how I adore seeing him relaxed and happy. I let him order and without hesitation he chooses the A5 course, a bottle of champagne. There’s a part of me that wondered if this was another over priced restaurant that are a dime a dozen in cities like Tokyo, NY and London.
Once the food started coming, my doubts were immediately put to rest. The meal starts with slices of seared wagyu, eaten like sashimi, followed by an ox tail consommé. As the salad arrives, the chef starts heating the grill to cook the foie gras or scallops (I choose the latter — not a fan of foie). Then the meat. Oh the heavenly meat. The chef grills the meat and serves the steak in squares of three to ensure the meat stays warm. There are sauces but this steak needs zero garnishing. True A5 beef is a treat for your senses — perhaps even a once in a lifetime experience.
This was hands down, the best meal I’ve had in 5 or so years — Tokyo, New York, SF and LA included. I will probably be in bliss for the next year just thinking about this euphoric experience.
I am a lucky girl… though I make sure to replay my best friend’s words multiple times a day: ”Be careful” she warned when I first told her about him, ”he is a man who gets what he wants when he wants it.”
Don’t I know it.
“How are you? Are you back in Tokyo?” came the text.
“I’m fantastic - still traveling. Back soon.”
“Great. I extended my trip too. Will be back on the 27th. You?”
…and I didn’t respond. Somehow, he figured out my itinerary. Upon arrival, I am greeted by a car and driver. “Ms. Nomura? _____-san sends you his regards” the English speaking driver says. His smile is a little too friendly. My heart is pounding so hard the beating vibrates through my ear drums.
I am nervous. There are a million things running through my head at once. Oh god. What if he’s in the car. I’m not mentally prepared to see him.
I climb into the car and the only thing there, is a bucket of chilled champagne and exhale a sigh of relief.
“Would you like to be dropped home, or where ______-san is?” the driver asks.
“Home” I say with zero hesitation, “please drop me home.” And home I went.
God. He is making it so hard to stay far, far, away.
Kobe Beef Biftec Kawamura
6-5-1 Ginza, 8th floor
"I'm from Libya," he said. I don't know what to say. It's as if he'd told me he'd just come from his father's funeral.
The first specialty coffee shop in Ikebukuro and Junkudo (bookstore) resonate.
Editing is interpreting.
The Riddle of Steel.
The man stands motionless in a crush of white-shirted salarymen, as they swarm past him, toward the single escalator.
Rêve de centre commercial-piscine
Birthday walk home