After puttering around the house, I headed out to Shinjuku on Saturday afternoon, having nothing really better to do and curious about this new Krispy Kreme doughnut shop that had opened the day before. It turns out to be in what used to be a two-story Italian restaurant at the foot of the pedestrian bridge over the tracks, the walkway that leads over to Takashimaya Times Square. (Here's the map, or you can use this satellite photo to get a sense of the location: it's on the left side of bridge in the center of the photo, though the location is obscured by the office building) So it wasn't a little hole-in-the-wall, like I expected.
I expected it to be crowded, what with the novelty and all, but there was a huge freaking line of a few hundred people snaking around in front of the building, behind the rope lines next to the traditional good luck floarl arrangements new businesses always put up, with security guards directing traffic (foot traffic, this being a pedestrian mall). The line even extended out onto the pedestrian bridge. The doughnut machine was working full blast, and they were selling box after box of the things. I looked into the place, and thought, despite my plan to maybe buy a box on Sunday night to bring into the office on Monday morning, I had to try it again right now. Yes, I had a lingering toothache -- perhaps a sign I ought not to be eating doughnuts to begin with -- but doughnuts are soft and not likely to cause any real pain, and it was a little late to be worried about tooth decay now anyways.
So I joined the line on the bridge, just ahead of a young Asian-American couple (Vietnamese, I think -- their conversation kept veering between Valspeak and an Asian language I couldn't identify). The woman seemed particularly excited to see Krispy Kreme again ("Like, when I'd see the sign lit up when I'm driving on the freeway, I'd take the exit and go in").
I waited about forty minutes -- I was actually killing a little time, as I'd called my friend Sonja and she was coming out to meet me for dinner -- and would have waited longer if I hadn't taken the offer to jump the queue: as I was nearing the door, a Krispy Kreme employee came up and offered to let people go straight in to the register selling boxes to go, if that's all they wanted. Geez, a dozen doughnuts at once...but what the hell. The Asian-American couple followed me, because by that point in the line they -- well, mostly she, I think -- had worked themselves up from wanting two to wanting a full dozen. I snagged my box and went out to sit on a nearby planter.
While fresh doughnuts are good, there is such a thing as too fresh: my doughnuts were probably, due to demand, straight off the line, so the first doughnut I ate then and there -- okay, two doughnuts -- were far too soft, sort of being mushy and falling apart. Once I gave a few minutes for them to set, as it were, they were good, if incredibly sweet.
Cost of a Krisy Kreme doughnut (Original Glazed) in Tokyo: ¥150 (tax included)
Cost of a dozen Krisy Kreme doughnuts (Original Glazed) in Tokyo: ¥1,500 (tax included)
Number of calories in one Krispy Kreme doughnut (Original Glazed): 200
Grams of fat in one Krispy Kreme doughnut (Original Glazed): 12