How We Got Lost, Then Spent $200

Before we had even set foot in Japan, I had compiled a list of things that we needed to do and see in our quick, 3-day stopover in Tokyo. Predictably, I listed things like “eat sushi” and “visit Imperial Palace” but the item that ended up being my favourite was “have drinks at Park Hyatt”.

The background here is that the bar in which the movie “Lost in Translation” was filmed is the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. I love that movie and so, in the same way that I insisted on visiting James Bond-related venues, I really wanted to see that bar. Plus, it has a great view of the city.

In order to cross this item off our list, we first needed to address the wardrobe situation. Being that we continue to travel exceedingly light (though I am now loathe to admit that we have had to purchase an extra bag to accommodate some newly acquired hiking boots required for South American treks), our wardrobe is limited, to say the least. My best clothes, my very best, are a skirt and black T-shirt. But I have no nice shoes and so the best clothes are downgraded even further to black pants, black T-shirt, black runners. Marc has a nice, collared shirt, but one pair of pants he has doesn’t match and the other pair is too small… Friends had told us that when they visited, they were asked to change into some clothes lent to them by the bar. We really didn’t relish being embarrassed by our clothes so did what we could to appear as stylish as possible and hoped for the best.

Then we set out on the journey to get to the hotel. The subway, including transfers, took nearly two hours to get across the city. By the time we got off the train, we knew we weren’t going to beat the 8 o’clock deadline, the point at which they start charging a $20 cover per person. Having already resigned ourselves to the extra charge, we started walking what we figured would be about a kilometer to the hotel. About a kilometer and a half later, we were lost. With some map checking and back-tracking, we finally found the hotel but had to further wend our way through the first floor to find the escalator to the lobby on the second floor, to catch the elevator to the 41st floor, to connect to a different elevator to the 52nd floor. One really has to want to get to this bar.

We arrived and were greeted without so much as a glance at our attire (whew!) and then were seated at the end of the long, high table near the back of the room (the one at which Bill Murray sits after he films “It’s Suntory time”, in the film). There was a live jazz quartet, a beautiful menu and a great cocktail and wine list. Marc veritably swooned when he had his glass of La Crema Pinot Nior and I was exceedingly pleased with my mangosteen martini. Midway through our drinks, we couldn’t resist ordering Crispy Veal Sweetbreads on Risotto and Fire Roasted Sardines with White Asparagus Salad.

cimg4865-320.jpgAccording to the menus, those were just appetizers but even in our alcohol infused state, we could not justify spending $80 for a rib eye steak or – perish the thought – $190 for the Kobe beef steak. We did have one more glass of wine, though. In total, for two people, two drinks each, two appetizers: $200CAD. Obscene, opulent, delicious, exquisite. Unrepeatable.

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