Tokyo Temperanillo

Yes. Of all the things.

 

This goes under that category of there is a reason for everything. So although the official reason I was not allowed to join the regular 3pm class was that I was in Hombu's databse as third kyu and so probably not competent enough to join anything but the beginner classes, the real reason was so that I could stumble upon a hidden Tokyo gem!!

After being turned away at the door, I walked in an appropriate downpour, trying to find a place to kill two hours. That place wound up being a Japanese version of a Chinese restaurant, whose Chinese influence extended slightly past the decor into my pot of tea, but not the price of said pot. 

And here I just have to comment on the music. Not simply why someone would choose to add to the ambience of their restaurant with arrangements of Disney tunes played on what sounded like a celeste, but why there is an arranger on the planet who would agree to writing it, or what kind of person thought, " Hey! I know what would sell!"  Has the human race reached that point?

So I wasted an hour of sanity and 500 yen waiting out the rain before leaving the restaurant server to fold napkins in preparation for the dinner crowd (and from the set-upof the place, the music didn't seem to deter large groups) and heading back out into what had become a slight drizzle.

I walked past the metro station, thinking I would head down past Hombu and see what lie beyond. But then that building caught my eye again. It was situated behind the metro station and it didn't look like anything else. Now, in Japan, you will very often see buildings that don't resemble their neightbors and there is no planning whatsoever. On a walk down the street, a person could pass house house school house house shop house rice paddy house conenience store used car lot, etc. But this building was something else entirely.

Stucco walls and a green tile roof with a chimney. It was Spanish.

I'd already walked past it twice while getting lost and found on my way to the dojo, but for some reason I'd thought it might be some sort of church. I don' know but I didn't think it was anything I could get inside of. Then I noticed a group of well-dressed patrons on their way up to the door so I followed them. And that's when I saw the sign. Cafe and Bar.  Knowing Japan, as I too often assume I do, I figured the place would be the same stale smoke saturated coffee shop with a different front door.

And then I read the menu (in Spanish??). Jamon Iberico, jerez, acetunias, and other words I remember from my one and only trip to enchanting Spain. So I went in and almost wept when I saw the floor, beautiful, scuffed, dark wood. The tables were the same, and the chairs upholstered with green leather. The bar tender was, however, unmistakeably Japanese. He waited politely while I chose my sherry (which I chose based on price. It was cheaper than a cup of tea).

And the cafe is only the beginning. The rest of the building is actually a restaurant complete with outdoor courtyard, cigar room, and wine cellar. Though for now I have to go on pictures as only patrons with reservations are allowed inside the doors. Upon my attempt to enter, I was politely re-routed to their website (which actually doesn't say much about the history of the building itself though I was told it was 80 years old. The website, at least the English part, was rather useless. It said nothing about the history of the building and its refurbishment, or about the man who fell in love with Spain and brought this piece to Tokyo, or about whether they ever have live music or Flamenco). So I was correct, actually, in thinking that it wasn't anything I'd be allowed inside of.

I suppose I'll have to suck it up and make a reservation! But it will be for lunch and I will insist on hanging out in the wine cellar!

P.s. Yes, I did make it to class that day and after speaking with someone other than the reception staff, I was told I would be able to join the regular classes.

Андрей Минаков
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