Lunch in Tokyo

I could easily write a lot of stories extolling the pleasures of a trip to Japan. The culture, scenery, history, people and all that malarkey but really, come on, none of you actually expect such literary aspirations from this silly dog blog.


Burger with squid ink bun from Burger King Japan. (Not my photo.)

Nah, you’re here for the weird stuff and when you talk about Japan, there’s no shortage of things strange and wonderful. Just look at the AJF. Oh wait, that didn’t come out quite right.

Japan offers it all: Maid Cafes or love hotels, fancy toilets or “crying rooms” which you can rent by the hour for an uninterrupted cry, tissues included. I’m not joking about this stuff. But let’s keep to tamer fare…

Let’s talk food! Or, more precisely, the lunch menu we encountered on our recent trip.

Chicken & Joy

The chow halls on the Ginza are all white table cloth establishments. It’s certainly no place for an Itchy Butt franchise.

Japanese menus are probably works of art when presented in the native tongue but when translated into English, things go awry.

One wonders who does these abominable translations and what they might have been smoking at the time.

Case in point, the fine Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant Torattoria Romanza Ginza.  OK, the first part of the name is written as it is pronounced in Japan so we can easily forgive the spelling “Torattoria” instead of “Trattoria.”


Now, mind you, this is a restaurant on the Ginza, a frou-frou shopping street that rivals the Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, London’s Bond Street, Rodeo Drive in LA or Fifth Avenue, New York.


Check out the appetizers page of the menu:

Romanza 1

I don’t know where to start with this utter train wreck of a menu.

The “dish of brag” is enticing, especially the “temporary leather mousse brulee.” Be thankful it’s temporary.



Not to be missed is the “Sweet garlic and risotto of fortune wrapped in the scent of the island”.

But my favorite selection is the “Lipieno of small rhinoceros with Japanese-style rash.”

Delectable…it’s the rash that pulls out the true flavor of the rhino, doncha know!

No doubt you all have been hankering for some really good  “cow peeled carpaccio” or some tasty “chicken boned confections.”

Maybe we should turn our attention to the second page of the menu:

Romanza 2

It’s the sheer inconsistency of the translation that drives me crazy. Line 1 is a “Pasta Lunch.” Great, no problem. But then, on the very next line we have “Pizza Ranch” which is not a farm in Italy. Nope, it’s “Pizza Lunch” but with a Japanese accent (although purists will say it should be “Pizza Runch.”) The random capitalization is also conducive to good digestion.

And somebody explain to me why, IN JAPAN, a bowl of rice is only available in limited quantities and why said bowl costs so much more on weekends.

Ai yai yai. Maybe the final menu page will be redeeming:

Romanza 3

I give up. I just give up. I suppose I’ll have to call the sommelier to recommend an appropriate accompaniment to my lipieno of small rhinoceros.

In closing, and for absolutely no reason whatsoever except this is a silly dog blog, here is the oldest photo in existence of Max. Utah, 2007.

More about our favorite Malt coming soon.


Even then he wasn’t 100% sure he should trust us not to abandon him and go eat lunch in Tokyo.



24 replies

  1. Yay! You’re back! I love the pic of baby max… beyond cute!
    I have always wanted to go to Tokyo. I love all things weird and have read about so many places there I want to visit, but now I’m thinking I will need to bring snacks from home! At least you have AJF to help you… god knows what I’d end up eating!
    Please do tell us how the little malt is these days. I hope his wee paws are better!
    K x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I happen to like Japanese food a lot but some folks find it a bit exotic. One thing the Japanese do very well is interpret other countries’ cuisines to fit the local taste and the fusion of the nations’ cooking styles produces magnificent flavors. For many years, French cooking was considered the classiest and most impressive Western style. For example, you took your date to a French restaurant if you seriously wanted to impress her. In the last 5 years or so, the trend has shifted to Italian. Italian food, done in the Japanese style, is wonderful. I also think the Japanese style of pastries is superb since they use less sugar and tend to be lighter. So I think you’d do very well there, food-wise. Plus just about every big name restaurant, chain, corporate or otherwise is represented in Tokyo which is quite cosmopolitan.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Temporary Leather Mousse Brulee definitely caught my eye…..temporarily. Max was so adorable as a little pup. What a cutie! Is he speaking to you since you returned from your, uh….trip away from him?

    Liked by 2 people

    • He cannot ignore us since we control the food supply. We have the power and he’d darn well better show some respect if he ever hopes to see “one dish of brag.” Which, btw, simply means “house specialty” in the original Japanese – dishes of which they are especially proud to offer.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That expression should have warned you of your fate at his paws…..
    The menu reminds me of one we students use to gap at outside a Chinese restaurant in London.
    Among the specialities was something described as orange flavored, long simmered ox penis but despite many attempts to induce sufficient inebriation no one could be persuaded to order it.
    But at least we knew what it was…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have you know I had to erase the first three responses I penned to your comment. I mean, the jokes just write themselves but lend themselves to the very off-color variety. To be sure, there’s no better topic to start, or stop, a dinner conversation than long simmered ox penis.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So good to see you again. Welcome back…you have been missed. This post was hilarious as ever. As for the discrepancy of weekday to weekend prices, I think if someone has been noshing on lipieno of small rhino, during the week, they probably drink a lot more on the weekend (just to eliminate the ‘rash’ that’s noted on the appetizer page of the menu). Extra ear scritches for my favorite Malt who was an adorable pupster back when. Looking forward to hearing about the Malt’s newest adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that he’s back in fine fettle, (what the heck is a fettle anyway) he’ll no doubt be providing some dog tales. As you can attest, the winter of ’17/’18 has been strange out here in the west half of the nation. For us Cali folk that’s meant lots of warm days and no rain although this week is the exception to both of those fettles. Tell those Spoos they need to be on good behavior – the Malt is once again keeping his eye on them!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Can I get a bottle of that oven baked sauce to go? I wanna put it on an order of cow peeled carpaccio. Lol. I actually love Japanese cuisine, the translations not so much.Great post as usual. Welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I’ll stick with sushi. The dogs said they’d ensure that “leather mousse brulee.” would be very temporary along with the Lipieno of small rhinoceros, but they said you could keep the Japanese-style rash and to make sure you didn’t take it home and pass it onto Max. He’s had enough troubles of his own without contracting exotic diseases.
    Sounds like you’re having a very interesting holiday. Look forward to hearing more!
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yum, sushi! We ate tons while in Japan. But never discount the French and Italian fare. Despite very odd menu translations the food is great stuff and just different enough to make for delicious and unusual meals. Small rhinoceros is probably not bad once you get through that thick hide.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I try to eat sushi when I’m out and need a quick lunch as it’s a much healthier option. With the French and Italian food in Japan, does it have a Japanese influence? I’d imagine like food here, it blends together somewhat. We call that “Modern Australian”.
        My son told me he has a rash on his leg and I told him about the menu. I’ll have to show the rest of the family. So glad you posted it. Very funny.
        BTW Lady is teaching young Zac how to hunt rats today. You may recall that she came from a farm and is a great hunter. I liked how she was passing the skills she learned from her original dog family onto Zac and I like how our dogs know what it means to be a dog. Poor Bilbo didn’t get much of that and Lady came when he was dare I say “established”. Sometimes I swear Zac is the reincarnation of Bilbo but he does have some border collie genes and we’re suckers for throwing balls. So, you could well say that we created the monster.
        Hope you have a great weekend.
        xx Ro

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, the Japanese versions of other cuisines are different but very good. For example, Japanese love to make fancy French desserts like Montblanc, tarts, and pastries of all kinds but they make them much less sweet to fit the local tastes. Good to hear Lady is de-ratting the neighborhood and passing along her skills at rodent eradication. Zac lucked out when he came to live with you guys and he’s probably doing his best to live up to Lady’s high expectations.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The poor dog has had high expectations to fill. We found he was very similar to Bilbo and I guess that put our expectations on him and then Lady also thought she’d train him up. Rosie is the razor sharp one of the three but she also seems to explore using her teeth and has left another scatter of rubble across the lounge room floor. She chewed up my son’s bithday card from my Mum which I’m not happy about and I know wasn’t in reach. Indeed, I turned my back for an instant and she’s trotted inside and snuck out with the dog brush. She is like a toddler on steroids. Must try to get some more bones today.
            Hope you have a great week!
            xx Ro


  7. First off, I’ve never stopped following you, so I don’t know how I missed this post in my feed. And speaking of feed, Itchy Butts are certainly consistent with those black buns. I don’t think I’d want those. As much as they show squid ink on Food Network, it NEVER looks appetizing. BTW, I only like permanent leather mousse brulee, but that might be a Texas thing, so no judgment. I agree that Japan should have no shortage of rice. It should rain rice. It should snow rice. Do people do Atkin’s there?


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