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Report: A week in Tokyo

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Yakichi: There might be several branches of this restaurant, judging from the phone numbers on the matchbook. We ate dinner at the one near Hamamatsucho station. A Japanese friend had arranged it as many restaurants were closed for the December 23 holiday, and Tofu-ya Ukai closed too early for us that night, a big regret as it was booked all week after that. Yakichi was an excellent meal all in all. For a main course we had fish, one grilled and one deep-fried. I wish I could tell you what kind, but basically we just pointed to what was on the cart wheeled to our table. (I think one translated as "sierra.") The sashimi and salad, which was accented by tofu, were both excellent starters.

Tofuro: We ate tofu, yakitori, tempura and minced chicken skewers with various garnishes at this restaurant in Ginza. The tofu, made fresh throughout the day, was a revelation. The rest was good, not great.

Rangetsu: We had a guide one day who took us to this restaurant for lunch, across from Matsuya department store in Ginza. My husband had very good unagi, I enjoyed the shabu shabu and my cousin liked his a basket of many small treats, most of which we could not identify.

Kaikaiya: We had the dishes recommend by Chowhounds and by the wonderful proprietor, who seemed to be channeling John Belushi. Love the tuna spareribs and the fish carpaccio; the prawns in prawn sauce tasted too much like mayonnaise for our liking, and the crab spring rolls were okay. Wonderful atmosphere. Tried shochu for the first time.

Kozue: We had lunch here and were blown away by the view. Not so much by the food -- we had expected better. We got the 4000-yen lunch sets, which included soup, side dishes, sashimi ... I am forgetting what else. We were trying to save money by going there for lunch instead of dinner, but perhaps that was a mistake.

Inakaya: Our favorite meal. Perhaps it was touristy, but we were tourists, and loved every minute. A whole lot of fun watching the food get skewered and grilled. The staff was very friendly and the cook grilled every piece of food perfectly. Beef and snapper melted in our mouths; prawns were large and amazing; vegetables were great and I have never had better potatoes.

Tsukiji Sushi Sen: After a morning at the fish market, we had breakfast here. The books all warned about long lines; we were the only customers. This just happened to be the first place we hungrily stumbled upon. We had an excellent clam combo, a tuna plate, and various other pieces, all delicious.

We also had good nabe at a restaurant near the entrance to Daimon station (it was on the corner of the main street and an alley, brightly lit), perfect tonkatsu in Kamakura, a fantastic meal on our hotel bed made up of a dozen treats from the depachika at Matsuya, oden at a teahouse at a shrine in Kamakura, decent soba in the department store next to the Bunkamura Museum (great M.C. Escher exhibit, by the way), yummy treats along the street in Yokohama's Chinatown, and delicious fatty toro at a mall in Odaiba (which otherwise was not worth the trip).

Not a bad meal anywhere, though unfortunately my traveling partners had no interest in okonomiyaki or Okinawan food and generally weren't as adventurous as I. I can't wait to go back.

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