What other attractions do you love? Something else that tripped me out at the time was this indoor, man-made beach in Miyazaki, which is about a 90-minute flight from Tokyo. It's called the Miyazaki Ocean Dome. It's the world's biggest indoor water park. There are palm trees and sand and this huge retractable roof. It was basically an indoor beach with sand and then this kind of created wave. You can surf and hang out. There are rides and this water track where you can get an inner tube and just play in the surf. You can also go to the Tsukiji fish market, where they have the tuna auctions and where you can eat the world's freshest sushi for breakfast. It's just the craziest thing to go and hear the language, everybody selling and buying and peddling his or her wares. I was just getting introduced to sushi and all of that when I went there the first time. I played it pretty safe, but upon visiting, I started to enjoy it.
Where would you go to experience the great outdoors in the city? Ueno Park is where you would go to see the cherry blossoms in cherry-blossom season. It's one of the biggest public parks in Tokyo and has the Tokyo National Museum, the largest museum of Japanese art in the world, as well as a zoo and a shrine. The museum is amazing. I was so used to museums in the States. It was quite interesting to be there and to have everything in the context of Japan. Most of the artwork there was about the history of Japan and Asia. But Ueno Park is famous for its more than 1,000 cherry trees. It's beautiful during cherry-blossom season. There is a parade and festival and the whole nine yards.
What about lunch? Kitazawa Club is a sushi restaurant close to the Park Hyatt Tokyo. It has two levels: One is more formal, sit-down, traditional Japanese; the other, where we ate, is a sushi bar with a very cool, casual dining level. The sushi was the best I've ever eaten - so fresh. No one in the restaurant spoke English, so we had to point to the menu and hope for the best. We definitely ordered things that were mysterious, but it was all fantastic. The sushi chef was sort of like the Soup Nazi, as he was not welcoming of our attempt to speak the language, but he warmed up to us by the end of the meal. The club also has the best sake in Tokyo.
What can you buy in Tokyo that you can't buy anywhere else? Ariba is the area where you go specifically for electronics. There are stores there where you can buy Japanese-made electronics that have not reached America yet - video cameras, computers, and things of that nature. That was kind of cool to know that. It's a huge community with a bunch of different electronics stores all together, one after the other. Ginza is another incredible shopping area in the city; it's the most expensive part, as is Shibuya. The biggest department store is called Tobu, in the area called Ikebukuro. It's a city in itself. Harajuku is where you go for the trendy shopping. They have some really good restaurants as well. Roppongi is the shopping, restaurant, and nightclub district for the young people. That's where you can see whatever the latest trends are. Everybody is into the crazy outfits and cutting-edge style.
Where would you go for a quintessential Japanese experience? Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a Japanese spa that you should try for the experience. It's a spa and theme park all in one, which is unlike anything you could ever experience here with a robe on.
Now that we're mellow, what do you suggest for dinner? To this day, one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo is a spot called Capricciosa. It's an Italian spot. I don't know what they do, but it's some of the best-tasting Italian food. I don't know if they mix it with an Asian flair or what. They have huge portions, and the taste of this food was unlike any Italian food I had ever tasted. I can only attribute it to the fact that it was Japanese-made. They have tons of different kinds of pastas and pizzas; you would assume it was just a normal Italian joint. I remember they had these rice balls with cheese and tomato sauce that were unbelievably delicious. Any spare time I had, I was always at Capricciosa - if I had time and an empty stomach.