Can`t believe an entire week has passed. I`m exhausted, though in a good way, and I`ve finally figured out the subway system and have gotten over my jetlag. Now it`s time to go home. Anyway, here`s a quickie recap of the past few days. Pix to come soon!
Before heading out to Kamakura, I get some breakfast from Lawson`s, which is like a Japanese 7-11. For those who don`t know, Japanese breakfast looks a lot like Japanese lunch. For instance on this day, I get a tea egg and this pork/shrimp roll thing, wrapped in both dough and cabbage, in a nice broth. Sounds weird but it really hit the spot.
This town is about an hour outside of Tokyo. We buy regular tickets but sit in first class by mistake, which is very cushy. We start to move but then decide we`re way too comfortable and cough up the 1000 yen (less then $10). If you buy the ticket beforehand, it`s 750 yen, less than $7.50, which to me is worth the plush seats that you can recline.
ES and I notice that subways and trains seem much quieter here than back home. Talking on your cell phone is forbidden – that explains all the text messaging we see on the subways – and apparently people don`t really like to talking to their riding companions. Mostly everyone sleeps.
In Kamakura we see the Great Buddha, which is gigantic, about 43 feet tall. For 2 yen you can go inside, which isn’t really worth it. Then again, it’s probably worth exactly $.02 cents.
After the Great Buddha, we visit the Zentarai Benton Shrine, where you can wash your money in blessed water for luck. Of course you`re really only supposed to wash your coin money, but ES washes her paper money for extra luck, and then has to deal with weird stares from storeowners for the rest of the day when she hands then damp cash.
For the rest of the day, we walk around town, shopping and whatnot, and stop for our second round of Japanese pizza for dinner.
One of our goals for every trip is to visit the McDonald`s in that country. We go into the one at Kamakura, which is hopping. But there`s a woman to seat you. In fact on every table there`s a little placard stating, “Please let us seat you!” which I ignore till the very polite woman brings me to another table. Classy.
To tell you the truth at this point, I can barely remember one shrine from another. What I mostly remember is what I ate, in this case a curry tofu rice bowl with a side of seaweed soup and little pickled veggies.
Yea, Harajuku girls! They do exist. Took lots and lots of pix of these girls in their wacked out clothes. Some go for the little girl, baby doll look. . .
. . .some go for goth. . .
. . .some look like members of KISS. . .
. . .while others have the S&M thing going.
The most shocking Harajuku-ite we see is one girl is dressed in a full leather SS officer uniform regalia.
ES and I agree that she probably doesn`t understand quite what she`s doing, and that the outfit is very very creepy.
Amazing amazing ramen at Jyangara, a popular chain recommended by our friend Motoko.
The broth is rich and chocked full of pieces of a fatty delectable pork. I’ll never be able to have restaurant ramen back home again.
After Harajuku we hit up Ginza, sorta like New York`s 5th Avenue, only with lots of neon, where we check out a department store.
Closed on Mondays. Drat.
You’ve seen one shrine, you’ve seen `em all. On the upside we have our second breakfast, or maybe it was our elevensees, at a noodle dive outside the shrine, where the cook smokes and hocks lugies right near the food. Fried noodles with cabbage and little pieces of pork, and two chicken yakitori, which are basically like chicken kebobs.
We meet our friend Motoko for conveyer belt sushi. I don`t know if that`s the official term, but it`s what we like to call it.
The sushi isn`t as good as what we had at the fish market, but it`s still pretty damn good.
Afterwards we shop in that area in a covered arcade. Thank goodness because it was pouring rain the entire day.
Motoko has her 3 year old son with him. He’s totally adorable but very, um, energetic. By the time we finish shopping and having our coffees and cocoas at a little cafe, and having chased him down a million times, we`re pooped.
So ES and I are glad we can move up our reservation for kaiseki, which is basically a multiple course of meal of small and exquisite dishes. Ours is 9 courses and is amazing. On top of that the proprieter is a very nice young man who speaks excellent English and so is able to explain what each dish is. Here a few of the courses.
The appetizer: salty fish, a radish sushi roll, and delish greens in peanutty sauce.
Duck with grilled bamboo shoots, peppers, and mushroom.
Shrimp cake with snap peas and a vegetable that I can’t remember the name of.
And for dessert, black bean soup.
At lunch we have an odd looking innard-type sushi. Motoko, whose English is sometimes limited, tells us it’s the intestines of some sort of fish. When in Rome we figure so we both try it. It doesn’t taste bad but the consistency is very odd, soft and creamy. ES likes it but I refrain from having seconds.
During our kaiseiki meal we notice what looks like the same intestines in our egg custard dish. We eat it, then ask the proprieter exactly what it is since Motoko seemed unsure.
Little did we know what lurked in this lovely egg custard.
See everyone at home!