Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Anthony Bourdain Goes To Tokyo's Underground

I like Anthony Bourdain. I like him a lot.

He's the Lou Reed of the cooking industry, except perhaps Anthony has overcome his demons to become a tad more mainstream than the former leader of the Velvet Underground ever dared.

Still, let's take a walk on the wild side.

Anthony is an American chef - and admittedly, I've never been lucky enough to eat any of his dishes at any of his restaurants, but having watched him evolve over the years via television and other media, I am convinced that he knows what he is doing.

While I don't tend to blindly follow what anyone says without doing a bit of homework on any topic, I have to do a bit less homework when it comes to Anthony.

I tend to respect a guy who has sampled the world  - both legally and illegally - has come to grips with it, doesn't mind talking about it, and is smart enough to continue evolving himself.

Besides being a chef and author - along with cook books, a wonderful insider look at his own life, and even a detective novel and even a DC Comics comic book - Get Jiro!, and some voice-over cartoon work on Archer and The Simpsons - I have also watched his numerous cooking shows.
A page from the Get Jiro! DC comic book written by Anthony Bourdain.
While I couldn't handle the clean-cut Top Chef All Stars tv show, I have been quite the fan of his travel dialogues including: A Cook's Tour on the Food Network (in Canada), Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (I think on the Travel Channel), and his most recent foray via CNN, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

In Parts Unknown, he travels around the world, often hooking up with old chef friends and colleagues he has admired... but because it's CNN he's working for, there is often also a political bent to things - or at least something which helps explain why certain styles of foods/cuisine exist, or why they are made the way they are made.

I was particularly amused when he went to Thailand and saw a transvestite stage show.

Regular readers will know I accidentally wandered into a transvestite lady boy dance club while in Singapore and had a beer and a few dances with the locals before I realized I wasn't the luckiest dude on the planet and these hot women were simply men dressed as hot women. What was cool was they knew my friend James and I were in the "wrong" place and didn't try to take advantage of us - which was appreciated - instead, it was a fun time for all. Be did beat a hasty retreat eventually, and were somewhat more cautious about the next bar we entered.

Anyhow, although the show is now in Season Three, back in Season Two on November 3, 2013 - yes, that's how long I've been sitting on this story! - Anthony went to Tokyo.

And rather than just sample some of the local sushi and noodle huts, Anthony takes the viewer into the Tokyo Underground - hunh... I never saw this coming when I wrote that Lou Reed thing at the top - and shows us what he says is the best effing show on the planet.

Here's how he introduces us to that:

All I can say is that when people think about the hot Japanese babe that seems to be stereotypical, the club Anthony takes us to proves that the stereotype exists - in great numbers.

Later on he takes us to other parts of the underground, showing us non-sexual places where men can feel like men, and women can feel like women - all without anyone having to blow a wad - except in money, of course. I'm not showing that, though.

Later still, we see him hook up with a Japanese chef who basically got him interested in Japanese food - a chef who is also a karate master and has the huge knuckles to prove it, noting that when he was living in New York he would often partake in the underground illegal fight scene, you know, like Fight Club - only this is real.

Chef Yasuda Naomichi (surname first)
Sushi chef and owner of Sushi Bar Yasuda, Tokyo

It's an effing excellent program, and I heartily recommend anyone interested in learning a bit more about the world to check out Anthony's varied career in book form or via this television show currently on.

If it makes a difference, he swears like a mutha-fugger, drinks like, well, like I used to, and offers up sexually profane language - like I do, but only in the most intimate of settings.

Andrew Joseph


  1. You are my favorite blog writter and you are talking about my favorite tv host this was amazing, sadly I live in Guatemala and CNN's Bourdain show isn't airing yet, but TLC is still airing No Reservations, which I really enjoy... What was the point of this, fairly right now I don't know, anyway thank you for your blog I realy enjoy it, cheers.

    1. Ludwimg... this is my favorite comment. Thanks! I really appreciate it.
      I loved his No Reservations show... I think it's the best of the bunch - ONLY because the Parts Unknown show is less about food, as it has him talking more about politics and about the people of the region - nothing wrong with that, of course, because Anthony is quite fair and doesn't seem to judge.
      Sadly you live in Guatemala? I haven't heard anyone say that in decades. I'd love to live in Guatemala! Cheers and thanks for writing!

    2. I misspelled my name it's Ludwing (shame on me!), thank you for taking time to give a repply, I really enjoy Anthony's sarcastic and direct perspective on his commentaries, cause hi is not always worshipping the countries he visit, come to Guatemala any time, I'll take around.

    3. I hate when I miss-spell my name. You should see the number of times I misspell something in the Headline... there's no spell-check for that part of the blog...

  2. Great post. I am also a fan of Anthony Bourdain.

    1. Thanks, Rachel! I will watch reruns of any of his shows anytime (unless there is Toronto Maple Leafs hockey on). Then I will PVR it.