Category Archives: Friends

Japan 2013: Fri August 16

Check out of hotel
Breakfast (including muscat yogurt from Hokkaido)
Train to Higashi Zushi
Grocery store
Japanese lunch at Taku & Maki’s
Bye for now to Taku & Maki & Tsumugi!
Train to Tokyo Eki
Walk to & check in Hotel Kazusaya
Metro and Keio line to Shimo-kitazawa
Record shopping at Otonomad
Dinner at Rainbow Kitchen
Keio line to Shibuya
Walkabout in Shibuya
Metro to Mitsukoshimae, return to hotel

Pictures: Watermelons, Higashi Zushi grocery store; Japanese lunch made by T&M (pork rolls; miso soup; rice with yukari; oshitashi; Kamakura pickles); Otonomad




Japan 2013: Thu August 15

Breakfast in room
Morning train to Tokyo Eki
Metro to Ueno
Ueno Park
Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)–main building
Metro to Okachimachi
Meet Taku & Maki & Tsumugi and go to sushi bar (Okachimachi North exit, cross street, go left, second alley on right–two places across from each other, same restaurant)
Cafe Renoir
Electronics store
Metro to Jinbocho
Records-ya/Fuji records
Train home to Higashi Zushi (Green car)
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka/hotel

Pictures: Best sink on earth (soap & water at top, dryer at bottom, Tokyo National Museum); Deer and maple (from “Narrative Picture Scroll of the Priest-poet Saigyo, Vol. 2,” by Tawaraya Sotasu, 17th century); sushi bar; Records-ya/Fuji records





Japan 2013: Wed August 14

Sleep in
Train to Kurihama
Kurihama walk: flower path; Commodore Perry monument; waterfront/beach
Korean lunch
Grocery store
Train to Higashi Zushi, Taku & Maki’s
Cook American dinner for T&M: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broiled asparagus, cherry tomato/mozzarella/balsamic salad
American dessert: parfait of jello–fresh whipped cream–fruit
Granola making lesson
Train back to Yokosuka, hotel

Pictures: Perry monument, Kurihama; Silky Black coffee; Taku eating granola & fresh whipped cream




Japan 2013: Tues August 13

Train to Higashi Zushi, pickup by T&M/car
Zushi City beach
森戸大明神 (Moritodaimyojin) Temple visit (where Tsumugi was blessed), Hayama
Drive to coast
Delicious lunch at 鴨鶴 Kamo Tsuru (“Duck Crane”)
Small beach across from the restaurant
Yokosuka museum: Yokai exhibition, library, gift shop
Grocery store
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka/hotel

Pictures: Little beers; T&M’s house; Kamo Tsuru (“Duck Crane”) restaurant




日本 8.12.13 イレーン

Monday we had lost our brains. Somehow we had managed to lose our room key and we got a late start. We missed the Yokosuka train by a few minutes and were late getting into Higashi-Zushi to meet Taku and Maki. In their little car we drove to Kamakura – a neighboring town they had taken us to in 2009. Kamakura has a lot of important temples and a lovely shopping street with old traditional wares. Also it is near the beach so it attracts a lot of Japanese tourists and also a lot of wealthy second home owners.

We started with a temple that they had not yet visited known for its bamboo forest. The temple was small and the gardens were beautiful. But the bamboo grove was astonishing. They had cut a stone path through the forest so that you were surrounded by bamboo. Some of the trunks were 6-7″ in diameter and the leaves were far overhead. It was stunning, peaceful and monumental.

Maki had found an antique shop in Kamakura that was of interest to me and we were hoping to get soba from one of the famous soba makers for lunch.

That Monday Oban week vacation really got the better of us… Nearly everything we wanted to do in Kamakura was closed. But we did have a totally awesome dessert drink -that we spent the week trying to replicate at home – Hokkaido vanilla cream soft serve in iced coffee as we strolled along shopping. By 1:00 we were all ready to turn in for the day. The heat was outrageous and the baby really couldn’t take it (much less us). We decided we would all go back to Taku and Maki’s place to chill out and cook dinner. That necessitated a trip to one of my favorite Japanese sites – the supermarket.

Supermarkets in foreign countries are fascinating… both for the familiar items use and display as well as the unusual items we can’t get at home. In Japan, the fish options and meat cuts are totally different than in American groceries. We took care of beverages and T&M shopped for dinner.

Their new apartment in Higashi-Zushi is really cute. They have the traditional separate toilet and bath but their bath is bigger than before with room for a washer/dryer. They have a small living room with a kitchenette and two “bedrooms” – the second acts as an office and playroom for Tsumugi.

They made shabu shabu for dinner. Raw meat and veggies cooked in a kombu broth at the table. It was great fun and totally delicious. We hung out until after the baby went to bed and then headed back to Yokosuka for the night.

Photos: bamboo grove, shabu shabu, supermarket catch




Japan 2013: Mon August 12

Breakfast in room
Lost room key
Train to Higashi Zushi
Kamakura by car with Taku, Maki, Tsumugi
Hōkoku-ji temple with bamboo grove
Kamakura stroll: pickles, tennogui
Lunch at soba shop
Iced coffee float
100 Yen store
Grocery store, pharmacy in Higashi-Zushi
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka, hotel

Pictures: T&M’s car; Bamboo prayer at Hōkoku-ji (“make me a good golfer”); coffee float




日本 8.11.13 イレーン

Sunday was a travel day. We had breakfast at home at Tanaka-san’s place, then went to Hiroshima station to catch the early train to Okayama. We wanted to have time to stop there for the famous Okayama もも (peaches) for our friends. It was a good thing we had reserved seats for the two trips – Okayama-Osaka and then Osaka-Odawara because there were no seats remaining… Oban holiday week!

We found our peaches in the basement of the train terminal in Okayama and caught the train to Osaka. Our layover in Osaka station was purposefully long. I have been waiting for 4 years to have 下記のはずし (kaki no ha sushi is a special treatment where the sushi is put into a persimmon leaf which lends a sensational taste to the rice.. and usually the raw fish is saba – mackerel – which is my favorite!)

After 4 changes of trains – all on time and totally smooth) we arrived in Yokosuka. It turns out that there is a big US Naval base in Yokosuka which is a harbour town just east of where our friends live. Our hotel here is boring compared to the nice neighborhood apartments we have been staying in but it has a fridge and coin laundry and is totally passable… just 6 minutes walk from the train.

We got checked in and freshened up and headed for Zushi to meet up with Taku and Maki. It has been four years since we saw them last and their little boy – 紬木さん – was born 10 months ago so we were very excited. We met them at the station and walked to a fantastic izakaya just down the street called Enishi. We spent hours laughing and drinking and catching up. Good times. It is great to be with them for the week! (( GREAT food too if you ever find your self in Zushi ))

Photos: all together again!, fresh water shrimp at Enishi, kaki no ha zushi, Okayama peaches