Saturday, January 03, 2009

In Japan - Kamakura and Yokohama

"Children splash and play in the clear waters of Shichirigahama where onlookers can spot Mt. Fuji in a far distance near Kamakura, Japan, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009."

Saturday was one of those days that make me realize that I love Japan. I said it last year, and I'll say it again, if the rest of my week would be boring, I'd be OK with that knowing today was such a great day.

Although it started early, we managed to get to Shinjuku Station on time to catch our 8:00 a.m. JR train to Yokohama where we'd meet up with friend Vivo san.

From there we moved to Kamakura to see some temples and shrines and basically walk around. We saw the ginormous Amida Buddha and other fascinating places. The Buddha at the Kotokuin Temple we saw was the second largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

On our way back to the JR station, we passed the ocean and could see some surfers in the distance. Vivo san decided to get off so we could check out the beach and I was pumped for that.

Then as we closed in on the sand and waves in Shichirigahama, to our right sat Mt. Fuji in a far distance. It caught me off guard to see it, let alone in sight of a beach. This was a great sight, not to mention kids playing in the clear waters made my environment more surreal.

From there we headed back to Yokohama where we grabbed lunch and my first real taste of Japanese yakitori (grilled meats and chicken) or in American terms - shish kabobs

Whomever invented grilled chicken skin yakitori should win an award. Truly amazing. On the other hand, the one skewer of guts (which had the texture of a rubber hose) should not. Nonetheless, it was tasty to some degree.

After that, we roamed Yokohama inducing Yamashita Park and the highest skyscraper in all of Japan - Yokohama Landmark Tower. It stands near 1,000-feet tall and is host to the world's second fastest elevator.

Following our long day walking around, we met up with Ootsu san and went to see another friend I made last trip, Yamagata san. At his home, his wife and him held a nabe party in our honor.

She lives in Hokkaido and had some fresh fish sent down for the new year, so she made a stew of these combined together along with a large portion of sushi. One word. Delicious.

This home cooked Japanese meal blew away every "real" Japanese food I've had yet. I've never been so satisfied with a meal.

I cannot thank them enough for allowing me into their home, cooking us a wonderful meal and making this return trip to Japan so enjoyable. I had a blast at their home and never wanted to leave.

We will be in Tokyo for the next three days before making our way back home. I really don't want to come home.


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