Monthly Archives: September 2013

Dinner time with Ninjas and the Dogs

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to meet up with a few friends from ICE who were in Tokyo for work, and another friend from the Kennel who happened to be vacationing in Tokyo at the same time. It was great getting to hang out; I definitely have moments of LA-homesickness (to differentiate from homesickness for my actual hometown), and hanging out with my former Naughty Dog coworkers definitely cured it that weekend.

On one of the nights, we had dinner at Ninja Akasaka, a ninja-themed restaurant located in Chiyoda-ku. It is built like a ninja fortress, a dimly-lit labyrinth of winding hallways, secret doors, and crumbling bridges. Even the entrance to the restaurant itself is somewhat concealed.

Ninja Akasaka

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a ninja (of course) and brought inside in separate groups of five, as the narrow, winding corridors could only accommodate a few people at a time.

The “fortress” ambiance was quite convincing. The cave-like walls, the torch lighting and the maze-like layout of the place really did make you feel like you were transported back to the Sengoku period, only an alternate-reality Sengoku period in which all the ninjas are happy and smiling and are more concerned with serving you really amazing food, rather than being immersed in endless war and political chaos.

Anyway, after our treacherous journey through the restaurant, we were all finally reunited with our group in a private dining room. Interestingly, the singer Bruno Mars had also, at one point, dined in the very same room, as evidenced by this scribble on the wall:

Clearly, this alternate-reality Sengoku period is one in which pop singers vandalize ninja property.

Clearly, this alternate-reality Sengoku period is one in which pop singers vandalized ninja property.

We each opted for the Yamato Spirit Course, an 11-course tasting menu, which included some ninja-themed items (e.g. Shuriken star blades grissini) and some creative takes on familiar dishes (e.g. Ninja-style cream puff, a savoury version of a cream puff).

Shuriken star-blades grissini

The shuriken crackers came with a foie gras star.

Our ninja server

Ninja-style cream puff

Turban shell bombs with garlic butter

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Sorry dudes, I forgot what this was called (I could never be a food blogger). But it was yummy!

Ninja korokke!


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The ninja server preparing the stone-boiled soup at our table

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We each had a choice of several dishes for our main course. I chose the beef with foie gras.

Ninja washroom! Because the restaurant is constructed like a maze, you need to ask a server to escort you to the washroom so you don’t get lost.

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Finally, dessert! This thing was so cute, I didn’t want to eat it!

But I eventually overcame my fears and CRUSHED IT. LIKE A NINJAAAAA.

After we cleaned off our plates, we were treated to a post-dinner ninja magic show, which consisted of standard card and coin tricks, but the fact that the ninja magician performed them while seated with us at our table was pretty neat.

One of the playing cards, touched by ninja magic! (We weren't allowed to film or photograph the magic show, but no one said anything about documenting the evidence afterwards.)

One of the playing cards, touched by ninja magic! (We weren’t allowed to film or photograph the magic show, but no one said anything about documenting the evidence afterwards.)

The damage at the end of the night. Thanks for buying me dinner, Sony!

The damage at the end of the night. Thanks for buying me dinner, Sony!

Overall, I very much enjoyed Ninja Akasaka (and even moreso because I didn’t have to pay :P). Tokyo is full of theme restaurants, and this one was pretty elaborate and well executed — I recommend going at least once, and definitely with a group of good friends to share in the experience.

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Blurry Photos from Tokyo Game Show 2013

Tokyo Game Show 2013

This year, I had the chance to attend Tokyo Game Show for the first time. It’s a four-day game convention, quite similar to E3although smaller in scale. The first two days are industry-only Business Days, while the last two days are open to the public. I originally wasn’t planning to go, as Business Day passes normally cost ¥5000 a piece, but Miyazaki-san came through in the nick of time with four pre-paid tickets, which meant that Edu, Bob, Kairi and I were able to indulge in a field trip to TGS this past Friday. The great thing about attending on Business Day was the lack of crowds! I hate line-ups that last more than an hour, so if I’m lucky, I’ll try out maybe one game at E3, but at TGS I was able to spend a considerable amount of time playing the RYSE multiplayer demo, the Knack demo (which actually had quite a long line), and check out a few on-stage demos as well. I won’t review any of these, because hey, why read reviews when you can look at blurry pictures I took with my phone instead!

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