Akira Takarada and your humble blogmeister sit down to enjoy lunch at Tokyo's The Beat Diner.
The Beat Diner is a new eating establishment (created in 2009, according to the restaurant) that serves some great American food with an American rock-and-roll ambiance. So guess what? I loved it!
Mon dieu! Now those are hamburgers!
Yes, those hamburgers are gigantic! Not only that, they're quite juicy, so be prepared. Keep your cameras, shirt sleeves, and anything else you value a safe distance away. I can't count how many (admittedly thin) napkins I needed to use in my attempts to keep myself clean. (For context, however, I did eat two of their burgers.)
As I mentioned earlier, the theme of the restaurant is classic rock, both from the U.S. and U.K. One of the restaurant walls is adorned with many '60s- and '70s-era rock album covers. In Japan, for this foreigner, it's a sight for sore eyes!
Rock music is played constantly in the restaurant. Mr. Takarada, who ate with me, is unfamiliar with most of the bands whose work was heard in The Beat. Only in retrospect did my conversation with him about The Doobie Brothers seem a little surreal!
After enjoying our meal, Mr. Takarada was asked to sign a shikishi board for the restaurant. He is unquestionably the most popular guy who's ever eaten here! Mr. Takarada, of course, was happy to oblige.
The finished product.
The shikishi board, in the hands of the restaurant staff!
Yours truly with the staff of the restaurant. Hopefully, they weren't too surprised to find an American visitor treating them with respect!
Meeting his fans: Mr. Takarada wows 'em wherever he goes!
The Beat Diner is located under the shinkansen tracks (which sometimes can be a little disruptive) virtually in between Hibiya and Ginza. For Godzilla fans, it's right around the corner from the Godzilla statue in Hibiya, a perfect location for any traveling G-fan. If you ever get your fill of noodles and eel while in Japan, give The Beat Diner a try!
UPDATE (5/19): Here's some video footage recorded inside the restaurant, capturing the mood of the afternoon.