Sandwiched between a Starbucks and Family Mart convenience store in the Omotesando fashion district of Tokyo’s Shibuya and a cross-court pass away from the famous and individual Harajuku, you can find a good spot for lunch…and a game.
Summer 2019. The Toronto Raptors win their first historic championship and the local sports bar is so packed people are lining the stairs and streets above just to get a peek in at the NBA TV screens that play here like a 24 news cycle. This sounds like the 6, but we’re not in Canada anymore. This is Tokyo’s ‘Coast 2 Coast’ diner/bar recommended to me by my best friend here in Japan. One that has served everyone from assist God, Kemba Walker to the nations rising son and the Raptors very own Yuta Watanabe from Yokohama, Japan.
“I didn’t know there were that many Canadians living in Tokyo”, ‘Coast 2 Coast’ owner Megumi Wakazaki (call her Meg) told me this weekend. “It was the same when the Warriors won” (choose a year), the Pacers fan who considers the ‘Slam Dunk’ Japanese manga her bible and lists Boris Diaw as her favourite player, also told BasketballBuzz.
But fast-forward a year and nothing was the same like a Drake album. As the ‘Bron-tosaurus led the Lakers to a championship in a Disney World Bubble, the Raptors repeat championship hopes became as extinct as our social lives. Coronavirus called timeout on everything and the effects have been truly devastating. From the loss of lives to the loss of livelihoods. But tucked away in a corner pocket of Tokyo, Meg is still going strong ‘Coast 2 Coast’ like King James.
She hopes to continue to carry the torch for Olympic basketball if this town ever does get to hold the 2020 games it was meant to last Summer.
Meg is used to being the host with the most offering her best coast to as many people as possible. From regular finals fixtures to put a season end dunk like exclamation on her daily league pass for her customers, to the cream of the court crop VIP’s.
Look to this diners rafters. Tunisian big-man Salah Mejri’s signature is in a place only he could reach.
The favour has even been returned when Meg spent time in San Francisco as an exclusive guest for a Warriors practice. This owner has more basketball stories than Inside the NBA. More connections on the court on any coast.
Check out their amazing apparel featuring all sorts of animals from hedgehogs to dinosaurs Raptor fans. Cut between a ‘Coast 2 Coast’ t-shirt signed by Watanabe with a photo to match and more souvenirs than you could shake a scouting report at is a signed Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets jersey. What’s more impressive than the Shaq sized shoes, MJ ‘Space Jam’ toys, or an actual piece from the Chicago Stadium hardwood floor, is the fact that during a Jordan Brand campaign tour of Tokyo, ‘Coast 2 Coast’ hosted a party for the now Boston Celtic point and his famous friends.
“They just brought me in and served me a good meal. It’s a great place. It looks great. I had a great time”, Kemba told his social media followers. “They showed me a lot of love. I really appreciate it.”
The great food Kemba is talking about that you can eat whilst you toast to murals of Kobe and Shaq, Jordan and Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson and even Jack Nicholson and Spike Lee’s Mars Blackmon teams up to make the perfect playbook of a menu.
From their famous homemade curry, to their popular ‘Dogger’ Hot Dog-which trust me would be a home run in some of Japan’s ballparks, you can really get your fill here like you can on surrounding memorabilia which is a passionate purist collectors dream. Now if that wasn’t enough how about some American style fried Oreos? To think this cookie monster thought they tasted best with milk. Japan knew little of this famous festival food until Meg appeared on Fuji Telly’s ‘Wake Up’ morning show to promote it for ‘Coast 2 Coast’.
After that, lines were out the door again like it was Game 7.
So if you’re ever in Tokyo like apparently half of the north is, it’s time to see what Spam sushi is all about.
With one eye on Rui Hachimura and the land of the rising sun this Summer, ‘Coast 2 Coast’ is closing in on a decade of business in Tokyo. It opened just after the London Olympics in 2012. Officially, on the 22nd September 2012. Meg loves the number 2 (hence the name and logo). After all she was born on the 22nd. Things have a way of coming together and back around like the symmetry and symbolism of that said number too. So lets hope after we’ve safely handled this virus we can all come back round and enjoy the games with a drink together.
Then we can finally meet again coast to coast.