Saturday, September 09, 2006

Three days down!

So it's been a crazy few days here in the motherland. Here's a quick summary for y'all:

Sept 2 - Oakland to Burbank. First, I hang with the parentals for a bit, then hit Iccho restaurant in Torrance with old time friends Lisa and Alfredo, along with the famous Jacob and new sibling Evan. A lovely Japanese meal with a lovely Japanese family.

Sept 5 - My sister Nana and I fly out of LAX, headed for Tokyo!

Sept 6 (Wednesday) - We land in Tokyo's Narita Airport 10 hours later and are picked up by my neice Teena. She flies choppers and planes for the Navy. She's hooked us up with a 5-star military hotel, the New Sanno. We check in and have a nice hibachi-style dinner.

Sept 7 (Thursday) - Today, we do up Tokyo, big time. Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akasaka, Asakusa. Four shrines, 6 train rides, 5 vending machines, 2 cabs, 1 ferry tour, 1 big-ass Tokyo Tower, 1 loud-ass pachinko parlor, and tons of photos. We have a fantastic dinner at a wacky theme restaurant called Ninja.

Sept 8 (Friday) - We wake up early and hit the famous Tsukiji fish market. Craziness. Nearly 2000 stalls of (for the most part) beautiful sea creatures. Took a quick video of a guy sawing an 80 pound chunk of tuna in half. Hit a quick lunch at a curry house, then back to the hotel. We're checkin' out of the New Sanno Hotel and heading to Teena's house, about an hour north of Tokyo. We hang a bit at the military base. Later that evening, we meet up with Teena's bud Deb, and have a beautiful sushi dinner at my neice's favorite local spot. The owner/head chef, Shin-san, takes good care of us. Teena gives him a case of Bud, his favorite beer. He hooks us up with some of the finest sushi ever. Even fries up some shrimp heads for me. This kicks off what will become a recurring pattern of me ordering wacky Japanese food, and my sister Nana refusing to touch it.

Teena drops Nana and me off at a local pachinko parlor, where we manage to lose 40,000 yen in 15 minutes. We walk home.

Sept 9 (Saturday) - Today, we see the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Turns out Kamakura was Japan's capital from 1185 to 1333. It's now a sweet seaside town with a lot of Hawaiian Island feel to it. Daibutsu, the Great Buddha, is the town's most famous treasure. Once covered in gold leaf, the Great Buddha stands (or sits) over 40 feet tall, and has survived tidal waves, fires, quakes, and typhoons.

Then we hit Yokohama. It's an overwhelming flurry of human activity my brain can't fully grasp. Anyway, after hitting the Toys R Us, where I purchase an inappropriately sexy anime doll, we make a beeline to the train station and head back home. We sit down to another great local dinner and tuck into lots of chicken cartilage and other random goodies, and wash it down with frosty mugs of Kirin.

Anyway, that's our first 3 full days in Japan. More to come...


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