20th May 2019: we find a Valencian bar near our hotel, fabric shopping in Nippori, sake tasting, tonkatsu for lunch, and beer with old friends

On this day we went totally off the beaten path and spent the time doing somewhat non-touristy things鈥攑lus we found a Valencian (!) bar just a few blocks away from our hotel! Of all the places!

Bullicio valenciana bar

We were looking for a post office to buy stamps and to send an old-fashioned postcard, and whilst we navigated the maze of levels, passageways, terraces and escalators in Ark Hills we stumbled on this bar. I think it was the BAT on an orange background that caught my eye鈥攊t looked so much like the Valencia FC brand!

I was also amused by the imagery used. They really were going for the Valencia theme!

I can’t read the Japanese in the chalk board (yet), but I enjoyed the multiple hand-drawn bats on the menu; the one on the top left is even batting the wings (look at the motion lines!!!)

Bullicio has a website, and the menu only lists one type of paella, although it’s not clear to me what the ingredients are!

It was too early to find out if they really dressed up as Valencianas or not, so we moved on.

Nippori

If you’re interested in fabric shopping, this is a really good area to go to, as there is a big cluster of shops selling all sorts of fabric, from very cheap to more expensive. There are also other specialised shops selling items such as second-hand kimonos, accessories, buttons! I love button shops, and novelty button shops even more!

We didn’t consume any food or drink in the area, but look at this impressively brutal road bridge! There are structures like this all around Tokyo and I find them quite distinctive.

What we did do is finding another Spanish restaurant, called Alhambra. We were walking towards the metro station when I noticed the sign.

It wasn’t themed as anything in particular, and we were trying to get into the station or under cover before it started pouring with rain, so we didn’t stop to investigate, but I am still amused with all these Spanish restaurants and bars in Japan 馃檪

Sake Plaza

Our next stop was this sake information centre… which happens to be hosted at the headquarters for the Japanese Sake and Sochu makers association!

In addition to learning about sake through video documentaries and leaflets, they also offer the option to do some sake tasting. And you can buy sake there as well, of course.

It was a really calm and quiet place. Apart from us there were just a couple more patrons sipping and enjoying a glass of sake. We watched a documentary about the sake process (and with that I mean that I watched it, as Devvers is already a sake expert and didn’t watch as intently as I did 馃槀).

We then did a couple of sake testing rounds…

We walked back towards our hotel area; it was all really business-y with lots of ‘monoliths’ such as this one:

Kanazawa Katsuzo (閲戞并 銇嬨仱銇炪亞)

We had lunch at this tonkatsu restaurant also near our hotel; it was a really functional place, providing everything you’d expect from a Japanese restaurant: good food, speedy service, and more importantly, smooth background music i.e. muzak 馃槒

I enjoyed this lots!

Later on the day, we met old friends in Kagurazaka for a beer and snacks. They had booked a table at… a Yebisu bar! Of all the places, what a funny coincidence.

We were so absorbed in the conversation, I didn’t take any picture, so there’s only the memory of having a nice time talking at length about all sorts of topics, and learning about our respective countries鈥攊t’s always very insightful to hear about a country from the people who live in there!

My other memory is of later, travelling on a really packed metro to and from the place, walking on the busy streets, and wondering why was everything still so busy so late at night! 馃

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