Confused and on the cheap in Tokyo

I’m struggling with time zones a bit. I know this, because I just got an email from Oracle inviting me to a business breakfast at the Gherkin, and the first thing that crossed my mind wasn’t why can’t anyone call 1 Bishopsgate by its proper name?” but “cor, I think I’ll pop down for that” despite being in Roppongi right now. Which is actually fortunate, because the Gherkin isn’t 1 Bishopsgate, it’s 30 St Mary Axe. Hurray for the internet allowing me to not be as malinformed a pedant as I’d otherwise be.

This dislocation is hardly my fault. It’s a consequence of my cosmopolitan lifestyle, and no, I don’t mean that I spend all day reading a women’s magazine about how to combine fashionable clothes, weird diets and 100 Things He Wants To Do In Bed. No, it’s because I woke up this morning and rushed to a call with a man in San Francisco, hammered through the day until eight this evening, then went back to the hotel, phoned my wife and kids in Singapore, and then went for a run, before finishing off the day with another delicious phone call to San Francisco, London and Singapore all at once. No wonder I don’t know where I am.

The run was a lot of fun though. I was worried I would be too cold, but Tokyo by night (if it’s not raining) is perfect for running. I went down Roppongi-dori, then up the hill past the Tokyo government buildings, and then almost ran straight into a demo.

It wasn’t a very good demo. There were about eight people, mostly with loudspeakers, and some very bright lights, and a crane. Actually, the crane seemed to just be adjacent to the demonstration, and quite possibly irrelevant. (My Japanese isn’t good enough to determine if they were protesting against construction equipment or not.) There were a few cops around, looking bored. The demo itself was a bit boring. One guy would shout at great length, and then everyone else would yell a bit, but it all sounded a bit ridiculous. To the untrained ear it was very much “dewa arimasen arigato gozaimasu abunai shinjo abe” and then the “mob” grunting at high volume a few times. Not really something to be amazed or intimidated by, but just in case they were protesting against gaijin joggers I swapped to the other side of the road.

I ran all the way to Pizza Strada, almost not getting lost at all. Pizza Strada is a bit like the legendary t-shirt stall in the Shilin night market in Taiwan, which again you only ever find just after you’ve given up all hope of finding it and are about to turn tail and go home. (Last night I found Pizza Strada much too easily, which cannot be a coincidence with the fact that it was shut. Perhaps they run a pizza-powered cloaking device.)

Sadly, it took almost half an hour to get a pizza, which is not up there with the rapid expectation I have of Pizza Strada. I shouldn’t complain, because it’s one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, and it costs about the same as a medium Meat Feast at Pizza Hut or similar, so it’s not like I’m paying over the odds for it. However, I was started to cool down, and getting worried that I’d miss my exciting phone call this evening. It’s not like I often get to have calls late at night that go on for hours, after all.

Oh, yes it is. Damn it all to hell!

I did at least get exercise today. I woke up this morning at 6am, planning to go running, and then woke up again at 8:30, and the only running I did was to get out the door and go to my first meeting. Balanced against that, I also got breakfast at Joel Robuchon this morning (the greatest croissants in this hemisphere, in one of the most expensive cities, and still only 259 yen). So perhaps this blog should be a record of cheap high end eats in Tokyo. There has to be a market for that somehow.

Oh, and I think this has to be my next bedtime book for La Serpiente. The things you find in a cafe called Eggsellent…

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