Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our First Family Visit

On Saturday we went to Tokyo to spend the day with Allan's cousin, Jorey Ramer. We left early and had a 45 minute train ride. The trains are clean and comfortable, but crowded. The first part of the ride, I stood holding that plastic ring that hangs from the ceiling.
While on the train, I imagined how many more cars would be on the road if so many people didn't choose the train. Aarrrgghh! What a nightmare. Did I mention that the population of Japan is 1/2 that of the US, and the country is size of California? Yeah, it's a bit crowded.
Anyway, Jorey's been in Tokyo on business four times over the last few months, so he knows the city better than we do. He planned an itinerary and led our expedition.
Tokyo is a fabulous clean city with great architecture, restaurants, shopping and some pretty bizarre sites. Just look at this guy (girl?).
Did you see Inglorious Bastards? Well, while we were walking on a great shopping street, Jorey and I both stopped, SURE we had seen the girl who played Shoshona. Allan wasn't convinced. She stopped for a minute and then went into a store, so we got a good look at her. But none of us was willing to go ask, so we just discussed it for a while.

Earlier we saw a 1000 year old shrine. Prior to entering the area where the shrine sits, we came across these empty saki casks. I saw these at the Kamakura shrine also. They look small here, but each one holds probably 40 gallons. Somebody had a heck of a revival!

Around the shrine, there were quite a few ladies and little girls dressed in kimono, probably to attend a wedding.

It was November 7 (11/7), which must be a lucky day, because we saw 4 wedding processions, and actually witnessed part of a wedding ceremony.
The procession is very slow and people visiting the shrine all take photos, but the participants keep there eyes ahead and it's all very solemn, except for clicking cameras.
The groom's family is directly behind the couple and the guy with the umbrella, then the brides family. I figured this out because one of the grooms was caucasian, so it wasn't hard to figure out which set of parents was his. This makes alot of sense. The man is always the more important in this society.

We lunched at a sushi-go-round, where you sit at a bar and pick your food off a conveyor belt. There was edamame, fruit, soup and great variety of sushi. This was the best sushi-go-round we've been to so far.

We stopped at an antique store and a toy store (Jorey made a purchase), then headed to the Roppongi District where the nightlife happens. Jorey had been to Gonpachi, a restaurant whose claim to fame was that part of 'Kill Bill 2' had been filmed there. The food was really good, and I guess that's why Quentin Tarrantino likes the place.

We met the Japanese/Cuban Maitre d', and Allan questioned him about the 'Kill Bill' connection. He said that Quentin does indeed frequent the place when in Tokyo and that he would be in with Brad Pitt on Monday. That they were in town to promote a movie. BINGO! Quentin, Brad and Shoshona! It was our little Nazi killer.
The three of us shared a sampling of the food & tried saki and plum wine. May I say that a good time was had by all. From the restuarant, we tried to find the train station with a big shopping area. I think Jorey did that for me, and I appreciated it. I'm enjoying shopping here. It's not like walking into Macy's and seeing the same stuff you saw in Bloomingdale's. It's more like going into a gallery and seeing different things from the last gallery. And sales people are great. They chatter away in Japanese and wrap packages like every day is your birthday.

We weren't sure when the trains stop running, so we headed back to Yokosuka around nine. I know Allan is looking forward to Jorey's next visit.
We returned home happy and excited to go back and see more of Tokyo. If you plan to visit, expect to see Tokyo. We will be taking you there.

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