Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Japan for the Tokyo Marathon, and a breathless Travelife of a schedule



In Tokyo for a short stay, living a Travelife, I rediscovered the joys of cooking. I like cooking a lot, but I usually never have time to do so.

I just flew into Japan a couple of days ago  on a whim and the strong urgings of some friends from Manila who are also going to be in Tokyo from tomorrow for the big Tokyo Marathon this weekend.

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HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE

I have quite a number of friends arriving from Manila and other places to join the Tokyo Marathon, and this is basically why I'm here.

I wasn't planning to come to Japan until the cherry blossoms appear, but now it looks like I'm going to be somewhere really hot for cherry blossom season.

And then all these people were coming for Tokyo Marathon.



This is what prompted me to hie off and play host to all the visitors to my old "second home."

A NEVER-ENDING TRAVELIFE. TRULY.

Just to complicate a Travelife further, by the way, it looks like I'll be in Europe next weekend, and then in Vietnam the weekend after that for a foodie trip.

And just this morning I was looking at how to get to Ahmedabad from Manila, because that's where I'm thinking of heading at the end of the month.

And somewhere between all these in the next 30 days are cocktail parties, a big lunch I have to host somewhere in the world, a couple of dinners with friends, and, yes, something called work.

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The plans are still on the drawing board for Europe next weekend -- call it another whim and inspiration trip -- but I've just decided tonight that if the stars align, I definitely want to do this trip.

Even if it means jumping from plane to plane to plane, to try and fit this spur-of-the-moment trip halfway around the world into my already jampacked and finalized schedule for March.

FOUR TRIPS TO AFRICA. AND COUNTING.



And. Oh yes. It's looking like four trips to Africa this year, including three safari trips.

If I push through with everything, I'll actually be in Africa in August, September, October and November. And please don't even ask me what are the other destinations in between those Africa trips.

Too many to count. Spain, the Middle East and a couple of other places are basically going to all go into any extra days.



I've pretty much decided to do a specific safari trip either in October or November.

But now, suddenly, I've been mulling all day over whether to do another safari in August, as well, which is winter in that part of the world.

I hate the cold; but where I'm thinking of going won't be so bad and apparently it's easier to see the animals in the winter. The main draw for this August trip is actually the safari lodge. It's supposed to be out of this world.

36 HOURS IN TOKYO

Back to Tokyo first.

Lots of things to write about just in the last 36 hours or so. But let me start by this topic on what a joy it is to be cooking for friends in Tokyo.



Ironically, Tokyo has the most Michelin stars in the world so this isn't really the place to be slaving over a kitchen stove. And, yes, we've booked some pretty nice starry meals for after the Tokyo Marathon. All my friends from Manila always want to eat in famous restaurants when they're here. And understandably so.

TAKING THINGS FOR GRANTED

However, when you live in Tokyo -- in the same way that people who live in France feel, I guess -- you kind of take all these famous restaurants for granted because they're always there.



Sure I'll go when I'm up for a nice meal, or perhaps once a week or every two weeks. But I find that I'm always eating at these fine dining places when my friends from Manila are in town.

If I'm just having a meal with friends living in Tokyo, we really prefer to eat at more nondescript neighborhood joints that haven't made it to the foodie books and blogs.



There are lots of those in Japan, by the way, simply because every other restaurant here is really good and there's a language barrier that prevents lots of information from being shared with the outside world.

AN OLD FRENCH FAVORITE

My first meal in Tokyo this time, for instance, was at a really good French restaurant I've been going to for years. I don't think it even has a Michelin star, but it's got very loyal patrons among French and Japanese residents of Tokyo.



The Japanese who eat here tend to be of a certain elderly generation that dresses up in pearls and cashmere. They don't even look at the menu. Neither do I, by the way, as I always order the same things. Although I'd hate for anyone to lump me into that age category.

More on this, and the joys of cooking, in a later blog entry.

Good night from Tokyo, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife. And, for once, just a little bit breathless, thinking about where I'm headed in the next ten months...




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