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Communication is Tricky

April 18, 2010

It’s 4:20 am on Monday and I am wide awake.  I managed not to take a nap yesterday, mainly because we were out of room from 7:30 am until about 8 pm but then I totally collapsed in bed at 9.  But I have to say that adjusting to the time zone in Asia is 10X easier than in Europe. 

What remains a mystery is why Ali is still sleeping and has no trouble sleeping any time, any place.  I wish I had the ability to do that.

Yesterday started out with breakfast on the 24th floor of our hotel.  The view was amazing:

The presentation was stunning and the food was good.  I couldn’t wait to try the steamed rice in a lotus leaf but seconds before putting it in my mouth I found out it had pork in it.  So I stuck to eggs, potatoes, and fruit.  It was delicious.

The view was out of the this world and I could have sat there all day.  But Ali can’t sit for long so we took off to visit the Imperial Palace Gardens:

Excuse the fobby shoes…normally  I won’t wear my running shoes with pants but we walked about 20 miles yesterday so I had no choice.

After hopping on the subway to check out the stunning Park Hyatt Hotel, we took a cab to the impressive Roppongi Hills area for lunch and shopping.  We asked the information desk what a good vegetarian lunch place would be and she directed us to a very nice place where we sat down and actually ordered.  But then we found out that a “vegetarian place” only means they use vegetables in their meals – in addition to meat/pork. So we left, hit another place that looked promising and both had a pretty terrible meal.  The restaurant was very nice though and they agreed that miscommunication caused the problem and refused to let us pay for the meal.  Ali and I felt bad because we did eat it, but honestly, the food was just…wrong.  They refused to take a dime!  Customer service here rocks.

We were starving after lunch so we headed to Ginza for some coffee at Le Cafe Doutor which was absolutely awesome. 

I think it is so interesting how Japan has so much Parisian influence.  People here love the French.  This place had a line out the door and it was worth every minute of the wait.  We sat on the second floor with a killer view of the packed streets:

Afterwards we shopped some more but the crowds were pretty crazy and the lines to try things on were 10-12 people deep!  So I didn’t buy anything yesterday. 

We were famished at 6:30 and decided to try one of American Express’ recommendations for a 100%vegetarian Indian restaurant called Nataraj.  I know my brother is rolling his eyes right now…“Why are you eating Indian food in Japan?”  Because WE WERE STARVING!  And since I’d already cut into 2 things with pork yesterday, I decided not to leave things to chance again.

Ali and I couldn’t stop saying how amazing the restaurant was. 

I had brown rice and aloo gobi, Ali had spinach and naan.  There wasn’t an Indian in sight but somehow it was one of the most authentic Indian restaurants we’d been to.

Afterwards we hung out in the Ginza district…it felt a bit like New York City.

We left shortly after taking this picture because I told Ali I was about to keel over. 

I think we are going back to Ginza today because we barely made a dent there.  And later we are having afternoon tea in our hotel.  I can’t wait to bite into a scone after 6+ months being sconeless.  I might be doubled over in pain afterwards but I do believe it will be worth every bite.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2010 1:10 pm

    This post made me so happy! I loved our time in Japan, so now I’m reliving it through you 🙂 It is a bit confusing finding purely vegetarian food. I’m pretty sure I accidentally ate meat while I was there. It’s better further south because it’s more fish-oriented, but sounds like you’re doing just fine 🙂 Aren’t the hotel breakfasts great? Park Hyatt has a great breakfast, by the way, if you want to head up there for that and enjoy the view! I envy Ali’s ability to sleep anywhere. I was up at 4 or 5 am the first few days. Have a wonderful time! Love the pictures 🙂

  2. April 18, 2010 1:17 pm

    i have a guy friend who lives is japan. its so beautiful isnt it!!!

  3. April 18, 2010 1:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us. This is exactly why I love reading blogs, to get away from my hectic life for a while.

    I used to like eating that steamed rice wrapped with lotus leaf. I’d pick out all the pork though but now I find it too troublesome so I just stopped eating it all together.

    Keep the great posts coming. It’s so nice to see other parents enjoy kid-free vacations. Have a blast!

  4. April 18, 2010 2:48 pm

    I’ve never been to Japan, but I definitely want to go. I love seeing all of the photos from your travels.

  5. April 18, 2010 2:52 pm

    u and Ali are so gorgeous…no wonder Maya is so beautiful.
    I cannot believe u are in Japan…I barely move from my couch.

  6. April 18, 2010 3:04 pm

    So much good food! Yummm!

    Good job not napping — that’s important to getting over jet lag quickly, even though you’re still waking up early. Have fun. 😀

  7. April 18, 2010 3:05 pm

    you guys are totally living it up over there! looks like so much fun 🙂

  8. Caroline permalink
    April 18, 2010 3:07 pm

    Not to be a creeper, but you and Ali are a good lookin couple! Glad you found some good veg food!! Good luck with your sleep schedule too.. I would die without a nap

  9. traynharder23 permalink
    April 18, 2010 3:13 pm


    anyways, the buffet TOTALLY reminds me of the time i was there. me and my sisters used to toast bread in that awesome toaster all the time. nothing wrong with eating indian food in japan! i ate italian in japan! =D

    i think i went to that garden before! awesome. when you get back, WE MUST have coffee and talk. =D

  10. April 18, 2010 3:19 pm

    Your trip looks like it is so amazing! Jealous…

    I often rock out the tennis shoes with inappropriate outfits. You gotta do what you gotta do.

  11. April 18, 2010 3:50 pm

    Beautiful pictures!!! You look great!

  12. April 18, 2010 4:39 pm

    Oh wow, everything looks so beautiful. You’re absolutely right about the view from your hotel being stunning, and the food looks to. die. for.

    I’m trying hard not to be extremely jealous, and it’s working… barely. Hope you’re having a great time!

  13. Med permalink
    April 18, 2010 5:03 pm

    How cool! The hotel looks so nice. I am glad you guys are having a nice time, it makes me really want to go now. You should have my mom add a post to update on Maya’s antics.

  14. April 18, 2010 5:22 pm

    I absolutely want to visit Japan now…everything is really lovely! The buffet spread at the hotel looks gorgeous. I agree, the scone will absolutely be worth it. 😉

  15. April 18, 2010 5:35 pm

    What an incredible experience!! The breakfast buffet looks quite amazing. I would be in foodie heaven there!! 🙂

  16. April 18, 2010 6:52 pm

    Indian food in Japan….*head thud*
    I know, I know…but I think I would have been one obstinate pig, dragging my companion all over the streets looking for something more “local”, lol.

    YAY scone! Stop saying you’re gonna have pains…pretend it doesn’t even exist! Maybe your mind can trick your body!

  17. April 18, 2010 6:54 pm

    sorry you are having sleep issues but it looks like you are having a great start to your vacation!

    love how sweet they are to their guests!

  18. actorsdiet permalink
    April 18, 2010 7:44 pm

    holy crap i just got back from vacation and i’m INSANELY jealous of your trip so far!

  19. highonhealthy permalink
    April 18, 2010 8:04 pm

    Ahhhh! You’re trip is looking amazing so far! Makes me want to visit Japan one day. 😀 That’s kind of weird how the vegetarian food still has meat.. I would have just gone to a traditional restaurant too.

  20. nadia permalink
    April 18, 2010 8:12 pm

    ameena, soooooo excited for you guys!! what an amazing hotel and place so far…so glad i’m all caught up on your posts..can’t wait for the rest! any good sushi yet?? the coffee looked awesome, keep those pics comin;) love ya!

  21. April 18, 2010 8:53 pm

    i think I’d be spending my time all day in that buffet. hahaha…

  22. April 18, 2010 9:44 pm

    Oh my goodness I want a monster bowl of coffee with an art piece in the foam!

    How crazy is it that you found a great indian resturant?!

    Looks like yall are having a great time!

  23. April 19, 2010 2:03 am

    Wow, your pictures look amazing! I totally wan to go there 🙂

  24. April 19, 2010 4:34 am

    Looks like you’re having so much fun (OK, minus the bad food experience). Since I’ve wanted to go to Japan for a while, I’m going to live vicariously through you this week. Can’t wait to see what you did today!

  25. April 19, 2010 5:14 am

    I just ran across your blog, and I love it!! I will be bookmarking it! Great to hear about your travels… it’s been so long since I’ve taken a trip myself that it’s nice to live vicariously through others’ blogs! 😀

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  26. April 19, 2010 5:40 am

    Some things in life, like scones, are just worth it 🙂
    Sounds like you are having fun but I can imagine that the communication would be an issue! I’d be so lost!!! Hence why I stick to traveling to countries that speak a lot of English..haha
    Have fun!!!

  27. April 19, 2010 6:45 am

    Wow, what a great spread of food! Too bad about the miscommunication at the restaurant, but yay for good customer service!

  28. fitandfortysomething permalink
    April 19, 2010 6:46 am

    what a gorgeous trip….never been to japan you are making me want to go 🙂 you are just stunning and you and ali make such a gorgeous couple!

  29. April 19, 2010 7:10 am

    “excuse the fobby shoes…” Haha!! love it.

    You look so pretty in all of these pictures! And the places you are visiting sound amazing! Did you shop?
    The Indian food looks awesome too!

  30. whydeprive permalink
    April 19, 2010 8:30 am

    Ooohhh Im so jealous!!

  31. April 19, 2010 9:27 am

    damn, do all men possess the sleep-anywhere gene? so unfair!

    sorry you had such a rough time finding some decent food. hopefully things will get better the longer you are there.

  32. April 19, 2010 9:31 am

    Looks like you are enjoying the vacation! You guys are having a wickedly good time. Too bad about the pork in the rice 😦
    I thought you wouldn’t be blogging since you are on vacation. I simply check out your site and you’ve posted 4 or 5! 😀

  33. April 19, 2010 10:08 am

    Such wonderful photos!
    I´m sure you and Ali are having a BLAST 🙂
    Have a terrific day, Ameena!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

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