Laudig back in action!

By Michele Laudig

Konnichiwa, Phoenix! Ohisashiburi! (It's been a long time!)

I'm writing to you through the haze of jetlag after spending the last couple of weeks in Tokyo -- just got home about 24 hours ago, and I'm trying to convince my body that it's Thursday afternoon instead of Friday morning. Some of you knew I was gone, some of you guessed I was gone, and some of you probably had no idea, because my cafe column didn't go anywhere.

rewiring my brain for a little while, living an alternative life. I have favorite neighborhoods, old friends, and only-in-Japan habits that I indulge in once a year, and since I hadn't left town since last fall, I was dying to get away. (Yes, I love you, but absence makes the heart grow fonder.)

By the end of the trip, I was talking differently (my Japanese feels rusty until I'm thrown into it), dressing differently (damn was it ever humid ... and why did I bother bringing those high heels?), and definitely eating differently (chicken heart sashimi!).

A year ago at this time, I posted some fun blog items about my last trip, which should give you an idea of what I was up to: Back in the U.S. of A., Feed Me, Tokyo, and Another Helping of Japan.

I'm happy to be back now. Walking into my office this morning, I smiled when I saw my neon red Blow-Up poster, and all the familiar piles of paper and menus and magazines and CDs that surround me. (Oh yeah, I also have a small collection of fake sushi items on my desk that I should blog about sometime.)

So what's new? What did I miss? Where have you been eating and hanging out?

I'm still playing catch-up, but there is one rockin' tidbit I just found out about: The new episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations includes a jaunt to Phoenix, and it airs next Monday! (That's August 4, at 10 p.m., on the Travel Channel.) I'd heard he was in town awhile ago, and now it appears that the rumor was true.

Our fair city is only one stop on his tour of the Southwest, and I don't know much about what he did, except that he definitely interviewed Alice Cooper (not really a surprise, considering Tony's taste in music -- Alice plays some badass stuff on his radio show, btw...) and indulged in the kitsch of Cooperstown.

It will be interesting to see where else he visited. There's word that Los Dos might've been on his itinerary, too . . .

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