Nine-Dollar Cup of Coffee
$9 Cup of Coffee Les comptoirs de La Tour D'Argent Tokyo, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
$9 Cup of Coffee
Les comptoirs de La Tour D'Argent
Tokyo, Japan

Fumie and I made a day trip up to Tokyo yesterday for a birthday party for singer Kousuke Atari (中孝介), whom we've seen in concert many times. It was attended by 85 of his closest friends fans.

We ran into a lady we met at his Roppongi Hills, Tokyo concert in January, whom Fumie had really clicked with, so after yesterday's event, we all stopped by a nearby cafe so that they could chat.

The cafe had a nice – although somewhat pretentious – atmosphere. One of the workers was a “non-Japanese looking” guy who greeted me in French, to which I made the mistake of replying in French. I know exactly one French phrase, and I can deliver it with a convincing Parisian accent: Je ne parle pas français (“I don't speak French”). Apparently, he didn't believe that I didn't speak French, because he continued to use French with me the whole time I was there, resisting my efforts to communicate in Japanese. I ended up having to use hand gestures. He seemed to have no trouble understanding everyone else's Japanese, so perhaps it was just me.

I'm proud of myself, at least, for not trying to use English with him. Why, after all, should I expect someone to speak English just because they're white? Frankly, past experience indicates that there's a very good chance that any white men you run into in Japan does speak English, but I try not to prejudice.

Anyway, it turns out that the cafe was a branch of the appropriately-named 400-year-old Paris restaurant La Tour D'Argent (“Tower of Money”).

The coffee was okay.

Comments so far....

That would be the The Silver Tower, rather. The building is made of stones that have mica in it, making it glitter — supposedly. Hence the name — it is a “silvery” tower. Or course, considering the prices they charge — and their fabulous wine cellar, the building might just as well be made of real silver, or of money [same word in French...]

— comment by dda on July 14th, 2008 at 5:55pm JST (6 years ago) comment permalink

My first time ever in Tokyo, I stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Hibiya. I was tired an hungry after a long flight, although the food was quite good on JAL business class, there wasn’t enough of it… Mari (my girlfriend) suggested we just eat in the hotel and keep it simple. I was fine with that but she picked a Chinese restaurant, I didn’t travel to the other side of the planet to eat chuka! It was my first night in Tokyo and I wanted to eat a real Nihon meal! So being tired and pissy, I refused to eat any chuka and ordered a melon, I got a little slice. That slice was $18.00 It was my first taste of things to come in as far as spending a pot of gold on food in Tokyo. I didn’t really mind prices, it’s all part of travel. However, spending $18.00 on a tiny slice of melon is not something you readily forget either.

— comment by Michael Menichetti on July 15th, 2008 at 2:58am JST (6 years ago) comment permalink

Nice blue.

(By the way, it is possible to eat cheaply and well in Tokyo. Just not near the Imperial Hotel!)

— comment by Zak on July 15th, 2008 at 4:32pm JST (6 years ago) comment permalink

Depends what you like… Yakitori in piss alley in Shinjuku is very cheap and super yummy! Ramen is reasonably priced. There is tons of stuff to graze on in tsukiji fish market. But for a nice sit dinner your are gonna pay a LOT!

BTW Katsugen in Ginza is my favorite tonkatsu in all of Japan, well at least all I have been to. About 3000 yen per person and all you can eat cabbage and rice!!!

The good news is no matter what you pay, just about everything is yummy!

— comment by Michael Menichetti on July 15th, 2008 at 4:54pm JST (6 years ago) comment permalink

I’m proud of myself, at least, for not trying to use English with him. Why, after all, should I expect someone to speak English just because they’re white?

Funny how that kicks in. I had a similar reaction in Germany, where I realised that I assumed anyone who was black was an American GI.

— comment by Sylvia on August 4th, 2008 at 6:59am JST (6 years ago) comment permalink
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