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Tokyo American Club Takanawa

Bastion of all things foreign (though not necessarily American) in Tokyo has now moved to new digs. The pre-fabricated building houses three floors of activities and restaurants that shore up the crowds until the ribbon is cut on the new TAC (complete with lodging, thank you very much—or arigato as the case may be).

In the Garden Cafe overlooking the pool at the Tokyo American Club

The family style cafe on level one is best reserved for those actually with children (not to mention the ‘Patience of Job’.) While the menu is limited, if you’ve had at least a week of Ramen and Sea Urchin, that cheeseburger will indeed look like Paradise.

The Vineyards Lounge on the third floor is still awaiting its package license so unlike the old Vineyards at the established location it is strictly ‘drink on premises…’

Past Officers of the Tokyo American Club

The Mixed Grill (also third floor) features a more sophisticated menu (note to self: same salad bar as first floor cafeteria) and a quieter ambiance. The Japanese spouses, guests, significant others seem to appreciate it all far more than the members, but that’s what it’s all about.

With Keiju-san in the lobby of the Tokyo American Club Takanawa

Let’s do the Hokey Pokey.

Karaoke at the Big Echo

Entrance to the Big Echo Karaoke Entertainment Roppongi

In my mind, Karaoke is one part Tom Cruise=Risky Business+Bob Seger’s ‘Old Time Rock N Roll’ and one part sophomore U. S. History class air guitar (Thank you Peter Frampton ‘wanna-bes’ wherever you are)….YYC and crew were treated to a round of the BIG ECHO with client, Nakata-san and son Jaden.

A Karaoke session with tambourine and edame

We had had a brief stint with friend, Haseyama-san, during our last visit to Tokyo, but we now attest to be converts to the world of Lip Sync. Okay, we did (unlike Ashley Simpson) do our own tunes, but would have happily bowed out had opportunity presented itself.

Big Echo Floor Guide Roppongi

For the record….(no pun intended) there is a screen with a scrolling print out lyric underneath to facilitate your rendition.

We were slightly disturbed that the same fool seemed to be in several different scenes as backdrop (He needs to get his life together). Our first Karaoke seemed to be a more ingenious and independent franchise–whereas, the ‘Big Echo’ Roppongi, Tokyo is much more of a McDonald’s operation.

Still, if you find yourself ‘Lost in Translation’ it is worth a Coppola moment to belt out a tune in an arena other than the bucket seat of your Miata.

Party Ship turned ‘POTTY’ Ship

Carnival’s Triumph?

Party Ship turned ‘POTTY’ Ship.

Three days into its Voyage, Carnival’s ‘Triumph’ morphed into a floating ghetto without plumbing or electricity after an engine fire crippled the ship. Apparently the fire broke out in the engine room on Sunday morning.

A total of 3,143 passengers and 1086 crew members were stranded aboard nearly one week.

By 36 hours into the “adventure” passengers were forced to line up for three hours to receive onion sandwiches and drinking water on the ship—there was no air conditioning.

Save for five working toilets–and I BET one of those was in the Captain’s cabin–there was no available plumbing. The toilets on board were backed up and sewage was seeping into cabins. Passengers received red plastic bags in which to relieve themselves.

Next, the ship began listing to one side.

Carnival CEO, Gerry Cahilll spoke to the Press on February 12 (Tuesday) offering his apologies and what many feel was TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE in terms of compensation for his ship’s VICTIMS ** — $500 per person, a voucher toward a future cruise and payment for travel expenses back to Galveston, Texas where the Cruise had originated.

The massive vessel was towed into Mobile, Alabama after subjecting passengers to days full of ANYTHING, BUT the “24 hours of fun a day” that the company promotes on its website.

Of course, I guess it all depends on how you define Fun, doesn’t it Mr. Cahill?

It seems your definition doesn’t include ship maintenance.

Happy Note: U.S. Taxpayer dollars were spent to bail the ‘Triumph’ out of troubled waters—the U.S. Coast Guard was deployed to assist in the passenger rescue, guiding the Ship into Mobile harbor in darkness–the largest ship to ever dock at that Alabama Port.

Read more.

This follows the Costa catastrophe last year when the ship Concordia killed 32 when it capsized off the Italian coast. Now there’s an Ad to promote the Cruise Industry.

FYI: Carnival owns over half the market share with 100 ships.

Perhaps it should change it’s name to ‘Carnivore.’

Well, as for myself—–frankly, I’ve decided that I’m not ready to have that much Fun 24/7.

Thanks, anyway.

** Most cruise tickets contain fine print that absolves the company of liability beyond a refund, boilerplate disclaimers upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and lawyers are often loath to take the cases because of the odds, said Robert Jarvis, a professor of maritime law at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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