The view from my hotel is the train station. Makes it that much more humiliating that I couldn't find it when I arrived by train...

The view from my hotel is the train station. Makes it that much more humiliating that I couldn’t find it when I arrived by train…

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Japanese-Cook-in-Front-of-You-Food. I’ve also started experimenting with sushi. So, when I found out I’d be in Tokyo for a night-or-two, my belly got excited. Count me in for raw fish and Teppanyaki in Tokyo!

On my first night in the City, I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep and a bit of anger-fueled adrenaline resulting from the difficult time I had finding my hotel. To relax, I set out for some real Japanese food. The first place I saw was in the Shangri-La. I traveled up to the 29th floor where I ordered Teppanyaki Beef and an assortment of 8 pieces of “Yuki” sushi.

The beef was explosively good. There is no doubt that the best beef on earth is in Japan.

Seven of the pieces of sushi were spectacular. Truly.



The eighth piece, however, is worthy of its own paragraph. It was whelk, I think. But what it was doesn’t matter as much as how truly repulsive it was. It was as rubbery as rubber and equally disgusting. But, of course, I didn’t know that before trying it.

As I gripped it in my chopsticks, I smiled at the happy Japanese family who were in the restaurant to celebrate their son’s eighth or ninth birthday. How happy they looked as they enjoyed a special meal! Just as the mother passed a gift to her son, that blasted eighth piece made its way to my mouth. In it went. With the first chew, I knew something was wrong. Really wrong. A California Roll it was not. Uncooked whelk tastes like something that should never pass one’s lips. There is really nothing redeeming I can say about it. Except, I suppose, that it provided fodder for this blog post.

I began retching uncontrollably when I experienced what I can only describe as an out-of-body experience. I saw myself vomiting all over the restaurant when, suddenly, I snapped back to reality. My first thought was of the happy Japanese family. What would they think if I re-shared my meal all over this table? My second thought was you, dear readers. What would you think of me if I lost control? I would become “that” ugly American we all fear so much.

I regret to say there is no exaggeration in this post.

So, somehow with every fiber of my being, I held it together. For you. The feeling I experienced will last for the rest of my life. It has certainly played a role that’s not worth sharing in the rest of my trip to Tokyo.

The worst part of the whole thing was the waitress who saw what was happening and pounced.

“Would you like another glass of wine?”

Anything to get rid of this godawful taste. “Yes.”

By the way, I had some octopus today and it was pleasant compared to the whelk.

When in Rome…