Foreign Affairs: A Weekend

I had to say goodbye to Racquel yesterday. Major bummer. I intended to post on RV after meeting her for a goodbye coffee...but coffee ended up taking 6 hours and I now have zero motivation to finish the original post. However, B and I had an incredible weekend, so I'll substitute my previously scheduled programming for some Foreign Affairs.

Monday was Marine Day, so Boz had a 3-day weekend. We had separate plans on Friday night and mine involved a little Godzilla photography:

The movie, Godzilla, will be released this weekend. The town is stoked.

We then spent a couple spontaneous hours hanging at the Cube on Saturday morning, joking around and discussing our feelings about the bactrian vs. dromedary camel. (Having a captive audience at 9am is a seriously underrated marital perk. At least for one of us...)

Saturday afternoon, we hit up the World Press Photo exhibit in Ebisu. If you are unfamiliar with the World Press Awards (, it is a photojournalism contest designed to blow your mind. The impact of the pictures is fairly muted when viewed online, but it's still worth checking out if you have any interest in anything.

After the exhibit, we stopped for a drink at one of Tokyo's prolific (albeit temporary, as they will all disappear in September) beer gardens to attempt to unwind. I had seen the winning picture ( online before heading to Ebisu, but I was still completely spellbound while viewing it 'live.' Setting aside all the heart-wrenching issues the picture illustrates, I found it so perfectly emblematic of the positive impacts of technology (specifically, the iPhone). While it is no match for the phones that provide a lifeline on the shores of Djibouti, I do know of an iPhone that has done a first-rate job of providing emotional support to a Vegetable in Tokyo. I hate to even imagine what the past 6 months would have been like without Google maps by my side, not to mention the Convert, Translate, and Hyperdia apps. Of course there are times when I regret checking Facebook on the bus rather than enjoying the scenery, but I never regret watching Vine videos of my cousin's son when I need to cheer myself up as I wander (utterly lost) through an unfamiliar neighborhood. It's just inspiring to see technology soften the hardships (ever so slightly) of people faced with incredibly challenging circumstances...both African migrants and Tokyo housewives alike. Wait... was a lovely Saturday afternoon and we assumed the tone had been set for a relaxing weekend.

And then the wheels fell off.

Boz and I had dinner reservations with a spirited American visitor on Saturday night.  Our friend was scheduled to leave Tokyo Sunday morning, so we, along with another buddy, met for an early 7pm meal at a teppanyaki restaurant on the 37th floor of a downtown building. Let's just say: it didn't disappoint.


                                       Our four seats circled the chef and his cooking surface.
I love Japanese place-settings. Always so elegant.

These are abalone. They arrived at our table ALIVE...and then the chef murdered them and we ate them.
I still feel really bad about this.
Abalone and dipping sauces

Crispy garlic rice
The dinner was simply indescribable (which is why I presented it in pictures). We left the restaurant "Japanese full", i.e., not at all hungry but not full in the need-to-lie-down sort of way. So, in true expat fashion, we donned our bad idea jeans and collectively vowed to bring Roppongi to its knees.

Let's just say : We didn't disappoint.

Because this is the internet, I will skip over 90% of the details here and just tell you about the first spot on our nightlife agenda. The victim was a music venue called the Bauhaus. Boz and I generally save the Bauhaus for super-special occasions such as our birthdays or Saturday nights. The all-Japanese band plays (and sings) cover songs in English (think Bon Jovi, the Stones, G n' R, Skynyrd, etc.).

The lead guitar player and vocalist is the Japanese version of Animal, which is quite fortuitous as Animal is both my idol and my favorite Muppet.

These aren't great pictures of him...but let's call a spade a spade:
There will never be any great pictures of him.

Animal doesn't speak a lick of English...and truth be told, I'm not entirely convinced he speaks Japanese as it seems apparent he has done 1 too many hits of at least 5 too many things. Regardless, he rocks and Boz and I love watching him jam.

After the Bauhaus, we descended upon several additional unsuspecting establishments where we partook in much dancing and drinking of champagne (simultaneously, of course), along with numerous exceedingly insightful and intelligent conversations. 

Roppongi is universally regarded as Tokyo's iconic nightlife district, and after Saturday night, I can confidently state that Republican Vegetables has done its part to further that reputation. No need to thank us though. Really. We enjoy being of service to our community. 

Peace in the Middle East, folks.

ps. Animal looks about 45% crazier when he has his eyes wide open. I'll try to get a better shot next time.