Ultimately, I got a lot of information out of Tominaga, much more than I’d expected. We talked for two or three hours, until he began to look as tired as I felt. We agreed to call it a night and then meet again in a few days. That gave me some time to absorb what I’d heard and get ready for round two.
Our second meeting was at a Western-style restaurant that Tominaga suggested, a place called Beacon in the upscale Aoyama district, just a short walk from Omotesando, the regular haunt of all serious Tokyo fashionistas (Ginza, as was patiently explained to me long ago by an ex-girlfriend, is for tourists and wealthy obaasan—grandmothers). Tominaga must have been trying to impress us, choosing this place over some fancy Japanese kaiseki restaurant. Or maybe he thought my gaijin stomach wasn’t ready for real Japanese cuisine. Whatever the case might be, I was happy to be here tonight.
Kato and I were just sitting down at a table in the rear, admiring the dark wood paneling and the delicious smells emanating from the open kitchen when a waitress appeared and asked if we’d like a drink before our meal.
A few minutes later, a bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet was making its way to our table only a few steps behind our guest of honor. I spotted Tominaga wending his way through the crowd, followed by an attractive woman in her late twenties.
“Russell-san, Kato-san,” he said brusquely in Japanese as he reached our table. “This is Oishi. She works in our PR ...