2. Dining with a party of Japanese last night, I chose a place called Ajitome in Sangenjaya because I liked the look of it -- deep tatami patina, cheerful cross-legged guests, and a voluble old "mother" running it. My friends asked the chef for recommendations, and a stream of plates arrived at our table. Two of them -- they seemed like strips of chewy, leathery liver, and some sort of McNugget things -- turned out to be whale meat. Commercial whaling for food is banned in Japan, yet mysteriously the whales caught "for research" end up on tables in restaurants like this one. The International Whaling Commission talks now happening in Alaska may resolve things, but for the time being the Japanese are still eating whales, and still feeling pretty okay about it. I tasted both dishes, which must qualify as a political cock-up of monumental proportions. Please forgive me. (I also ate manbou and fugu.)
3. Later we went to our favourite Sangenjaya drinking bar, surf-splashed Sasurai, run by avid fisherman Nikki. We drank enormous amounts of sho-chu and this photo was somehow taken -- a photo which shows me groping the breast of the beautiful Rie, Hisae's friend Satoshi's girlfriend. It makes me look like the world's biggest letch. My only excuse is the alcohol -- and perhaps the fact that Satoshi was commanding us to do it, and demanded that I post the photo on my blog. Satoshi, this one's for you! Sorry for the cock-up!