Friday, July 07, 2006

TOKYO TIPS

A few days ago, I met up with a friend, whom I shall call Y-N. Our itinerary included lunch at the hyped Beacon (where Royal Host used to be, across from Kodomo No Shiro) in Shibuya, after which we would catch the 14:50 showing of the hyped Warner Bros. offering, Death Note, at Shibuya Cine Palace (on the cobbled hill adjacent to Loft).

The Japan Times did a review on Beacon, in which the Beacon Burger was presented as the freaking apotheosis of all burgers. Of course, the lure of expertly grilled beef in a bun was impossible to ignore. Nothing else could possibly have convinced me to leave the dry comfort of my home for a trek through the torrential downpour. But in my defense, the way they put it, it was like the Holy Fucking Grail.

Okay, so the burger was good, but I didn't think it was the exalted food of the gods. For starters, it bled all over my plate. As a strictly medium-well kinda girl, it was the stuff horror movies are made of. The restaurant was slick, but in a superficial way. The staff were charming but sort of strange. For instance, we ordered a glass of sparkling water each, and yet somehow we ended up with 2 glasses of regular water, 1 glass of sparkling water, and 2 glasses of iced tea. All this and our lunches at a small table for two. But whatever, I was super thirsty.

When we got to the cinema, the place was packed to the hilt. We were told that we would have to watch standing. This is commonplace in Tokyo, although having done it once to see Ghost in junior high, I swore I would never do it again. Death Note has been playing for almost a month by now. I didn't expect it to be so crowded on a weekday.

Instead, Y-N and I went to HMV to take advantage of their sale (funny enough, every time they have a sale, it's their "biggest one ever"). Afterwards, she took me to a gem of a place to buy proper running shoes. And really, this is the point I wanted to make all along.

And since this post is called Tokyo Tips:

*Y-N has been running the Honolulu Marathon now for a couple of years and buys her marathon gear at Art Sports in Shibuya. People, if you need running, triathlon, or tennis gear, go here.

*Best place to run in Tokyo: along Tama River. For easy access, set your start line at the Futako Tamagawa station end. 17:00 ~ 19:00 is the best time to run in the summer; don't go any later as it attracts its fair share of perverts and wackos.

* Beacon was good but I much prefer its sister restaurant, which I hesitate to name as I'd like to keep it a secret. But who am I kidding? I'm probably the last person in Tokyo to have gone there anyway. It's Cicada in Nishi-azabu. Beautiful, inventive food in a relaxed yet luxuriant atmosphere. Beacon doesn't have a website yet, but you can read the review if you register at www.japantimes.co.jp.

* Wanna see Death Note? Sitting? Either catch the 09:30 or 12:10 showing at Shibuya Cine Palace, or wait til it comes out on DVD.

* Not sure when HMV's "Biggest Sale Ever" ends, but at any rate, this is a good season to go shopping in Tokyo. Everything is on sale and the weather's dreadful, anyway.

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