We checked into our standard room around 3p and marveled at all the technology. In true Japanese fashion, the hotel is a contradiction of traditional Japanese design juxtaposed with high end design and technology. Case in point, our bedroom area was separated from the closet and bathroom by a sliding piece of rough cut wood. It was like a giant slice of exotic tree. Yet next to the bed, the toilet and the bathtub were electronic panels that controlled everything except Russell's mood.
We started by taking a dip in the pool. The pool is located on the six floor and has a commanding view of the Imperial Palace and gardens. To our horror they don't serve cocktails at the pool. How can this be?!! Not only that, they make you wear a bathing cap, and goggles. I haven't worn a bathing cap since the 60s. The pool is basically used for fitness only. It reminded me of the pool at the Tokyo America's Club, aka TAC. At TAC they have a sign posted which illustrates how many days they've gone without having to close the pool due to various catastrophes including fecal emissions, or as we like to call it, "the baby ruth effect".
Russell and I felt like we were the baby ruth effect here. When we got into the pool all the Japanese got out. I guess the good news is we had it all to ourselves. We took a moment to steal a poolside kiss and hug. I waited for the alarms to go off. I'm sure publicly displayed affection is one of the unallowable activities here in the pool. They should add it to the TAC list too. Thankfully the alarm didn't go off and too soon the Japanese guests ventured back into the water to swim their laps.
We decided to try the "vitality" pool which is basically a giant jacuzzi with a metal bench in it. I wonder how many guests have racked their shin while getting vitalized. After a few minutes I wasn't feeling any more revitalized, must have been the lack of alcohol, so we decided to go back to our room for a nap before dinner.
After the nap I made good use of the bathtub and electronic controls. I've decided I need to redo my bathroom in California this way. Soaking in the tub I dimmed the lights and waded through the TV channels, then the music stations. Yes there was a TV in the bathroom. I thought about calling room service from the in-wall intercom phone, just because I could, but I didn't want to spoil my dinner. Just imagine this system attached to Apple TV and my entire music library. Oh yes, it will be mine.
Since we couldn't get a drink at the bar we decided to just sit down early for dinner. We're glad we did because twilight over the Imperial Palace was beautiful. The restaurant is decorated very avant garde. It's high drama which in L.A. usually means the food is mediocre. The tables are black and accentuated with hand blown glass candle holders and silvery place mats. The space is dramatized with sparkling sculptures that look like silver trees and one side of the restaurant showcases a projection wall which transforms from an underwater scene resplendent with bubbles, can you say Nemo, to crowds of seductively moving dancers.
I really don't think the name "Peter" does it justice. I thought maybe the chef's name was Peter. It isn't. Russell informed me this is the Peninsula thing, their mascot is a bear and his name is "Peter." Oh, that explains it, not. But I would like one of those hand made chocolate "Peter" bears they make in the Wonka-esque bakery downstairs, if you please.
Damn him. Thankfully he shared.
Meanwhile twilight had turned to thunderstorm and the twinkling landscape of the city flashed brilliantly from time to time. At first we thought it was the wine, but finally we concluded it was in fact lightening, not mental lapses.
In the morning we had an American style breakfast in the lobby. It had been so long since I'd eaten toast I had to have two orders, one for my eggs and ham, and one for my butter and jelly. While we dined the first wedding of the day entered the lobby for pictures. Some of the guests wore traditional kimonos which I always enjoy seeing. The bride and groom were dressed in modern style. She wore a beautiful white gown and he wore a black morning coat. The lobby pianist played "Here Comes the Bride" and everyone in the lobby applauded.
It was a brief and enjoyable stay but I never did get the chocolate bear, Peter. Next time Peter, next time.