Monday, December 03, 2007

roppongi crossing

Roppongi Hills is not a place I've the occasion to visit often, but I'm not sorry when I do. Like it does for many people, Roppongi leaves a bad taste in my mouth - trashy expat bars like Gas Panic come to mind, as does some of the only crime to be overtly found in Japan. Seems like you're more likely to get hustled or pickpocketed in Roppongi than in any other part of Tokyo, especially if you're hitting up the club scene.

And fine, the Roppongi Hills complex is a swanky monolith, with too-expensive bullshit, difficult to navigate corridors, and uncomfy, uncosy, impersonal design.

Still, there are a few highlights here.

The first is the Tofu Café Fujino. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be serving their tofu cheesecake with black sesame crust any longer, which was to die for. However, the soy milk soft cream parfaits are excellent, and the soy milk doughnuts ain't bad, either.

When I need something a little more filling, I always stop in to The Pantry by Homework's, which is a stupid name. They have an excellent selection of vegetarian sandwiches, including a delicious veggie burger as well as a rotating cast of others, a true rarity in Tokyo. Their fries are good too. The staff is always a bit snotty, but I ignore them and bite into heaven.

Up above, the Mori Art Museum is pretty respectable, showing often good art in a fantastic setting. We recently saw Roppongi Crossing, which highlighted young and contemporary Japanese artists; and last year checked out the Berlin to Tokyo show, which examined the artistic relationship between the two cities. It's a good place to take visiting art aficionados who are interested in checking out something local that's not your mama's ikebana. It doesn't hurt that included in the ticket price is admission to the Tokyo City View, the 360º look at Tokyo's skyline. I like this view better than crappy old Tokyo Tower's, and it's higher, too. Bring your old student ID - it's good for about 500¥ off the adult ticket price.

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