Monday, June 17, 2013

Visit to Japan - Random Part 2

Here are more random things from our walks with the baby. Up the hill from Jesse's is this street with all kinds of small stores, many with specialty food. You know, pickled veggies, and dried and pickled fish and fresh fish, and herbs and teas and honey and pots and pans and shoes rice crackers and so on. Each small store specialized in one of these.
More of that street.
One shop specialized in tea pots. Pretty iris.
A barber shop with lots of plants.

We finally found a restaurant that would hold a stroller. The restaurants are small and crowded as you might imagine. It's also key to find one that has a picture menu, for you non Japanese speaking tourists. This place specialized in huge fried shrimp, as Cy has here. I had the griller mackerel, which came as you might expect, with rice, pickled veggies, and miso soup, with a cup of tea to follow.
A dog groomer.
I like the way they tied down the mulch here.
I love these balls of dried cypress, I think.
This place specializes in fish and sake. Lets go!
Love the door pull.
OK I must confess we sat here almost every morning. We'd buy breakfast at the bakery (think really good croissants) or the little diner (think fish and rice) and finish up here for a good cup of coffee and....
the view. A constantly changing group of people coming out of the train station. I could spend hours looking at the unusual choices in women's clothing, and just people watching.

Visit to Japan - Shopping

Gosh, I wish I had taken more pictures of the famous Ginza shopping street. Just imagine a street in a big city with every possible high end retailer from any where in the world, you know, jewelers, and clothes and food, electronics, you name it, if its expensive its here,  and oh yes, closed to traffic. Oh, and tables and chairs and umbrellas in the middle of the street.
Anyhow, here is a sight from the basement of one of the big department stores. In the basement as a rule they have fancy foods. Here are 2 cantaloups on sale for $315.  Yikes!
They had sake tastings, and here is my favorite.
Here is one of my favorite stores, on a side street. A tea store from France.
Inside they have over 200 varieties in these antique tin decanters. I bought a decaf Earl Grey with lavender. Delicious, if hugely expensive. But hey, we're on vacation!
Next day we went to an area called Harajuku to find gifts for my teenage granddaughter. Imagine a whole street of stores for teenagers clothes. Here is the latest version of nice girl style.
Love the skirt.
Satomi modeling the latest.
Oh, finally a dog store. All the dogs I saw in Japan were small, corgies, bichons, etc. And do they enjoy dressing up their dogs, wow.
Would your dog wear this?
My feelings exactly!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Japan Visit-Random Part 1

Seen near the airport. Boy, now I know I am in Japan. Yes, I stopped and shopped, wouldn't you? This post is just a bunch of random stuff we saw and did in Japan. We spent quite a bit of time babysitting, and as some of you parents/grandparents know, the best way, or in our case the only way to quiet a sleepy but resistant baby is to go for a walk. So we did. A lot.
A random street scene near Jesse and Satomi's apartment. They live in a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood only 30 minutes by train from Jesse's work.
A nice lady selling these little jellied sweets they have there.
The approach to the train station. We walked through here everyday, it was between our hotel and Jesse's apartment.
Our hotel, Cy out front. I figured out 1 way they have such a low unemployment rate. There was always several people on hand to press the up elevator button for you and show you the umbrellas available for patrons or to take or return the room key to you. And see the construction guys? There were 2 at each end of the trench to tell passersby to be careful and to move the barriers if an emergency vehicle needed through. I wish I had taken a picture of our room. It has the most amazing pale pink satin chaise lounge, with silky tasseled pillows.They do quite a few weddings at the hotel and we got to see several brides and grooms and guests all dressed up in fancy kimono.
Here's one way to do construction in crowded cities. They piled up the dirt from the excavation in big canvas bags. And I like the traffic barriers, light plastic rods that fit over the cones. Easy to move.
One day we met Satomi for lunch in a Korean style restaurant in a big department store. Can you see the perfect sleeping baby in the background?

There's a grill in the middle of your table and you grill delicate slices of beef on them and dip them in this delicious sauce.
Strange socks!
Grandpa Cy at work. Recycling by the curb. See the blue net on the left? You use these to throw over your stack of trash bags to keep them all neat and so not to block the sidewalks.
Too cute!
One room condo for sale. It is either 5 million or 500 thousand, I don't know which.
Car repair shop.
This is really cool. See the delivery motorcycle outside the restaurant on the old lady shopping street?
I had to be quick to catch this. The guy comes out of the restaurant and puts a tray of food in open china plates and bowls on the rack, and slaps down the canvas cover and takes off, all in a second. The canvas cover keeps everything upright and in place and arrives at your house nice and hot. After you eat you leave the tray and dishes outside your door and they pick it up later.
Yay, an old building. I only saw 1 or 2 old buildings the whole time we were in Japan. That's it for today's walk, see you soon.

Visit to Japan-Surfing

On Monday we went surfing. Well, actually Jesse and Satomi went surfing, Cy and I babysat and enjoyed being by the ocean. Here is a fairly poor view of the area. Surfing appears to be very popular in Japan. Lots of towns on the ocean devoted to surfing beaches, shops etc.
 If you squint you can see Jesse up on his yellow board, wearing a ball cap and facing backwards.
Little surfer girl, oh little surfer girl........
The beach was about 2 hrs away from Tokyo, so of course we stopped for lunch before heading home. Everyone was starving, its the sea air I guess. Cy had a sausage pizza with an egg on top.
I had this amazing warm avocado and shrimp salad. And so to home.

Visit to Japan-The Antique Shows

While we were in Tokyo, we were able to go to 2 antique flea markets/shows. You can't really call them shows as they are outside, but they do have mostly antiques and collectables. I guess there are a few proper shows in January. Anyhow, what is really interesting is that they are mostly set up on the grounds of shrines. Why? I don't know. There are 1 or 2 in Tokyo every weekend, and some also is Kyoto, etc.
Here is the first show we went to. It was outside a large conference center in downtown Tokyo. Pretty big, maybe 80 dealers.
Here is a guy I bought something from. Lots of pottery, some wooden stuff, samurai swords, old kimonos, misc collectables. Mostly Japanese, some western things.
Some old woodworking tools, a mat, a sake jug. I will add some pics of this show when I get my phone back. Yes, I shamefully admit I left my phone in my son's apartment to charge the morning before our flight. Geesh, I thought you were supposed to get smarter when you get older! And the mail from Japan is not exactly swift, so someday I will add those photos.
Here is the entrance to the show we went to on our second weekend in Tokyo. As you can see its at a Shinto shrine.
 A view of the show.
Mostly Japanese. We saw very few foreigners in Japan. Did you know Japan is 99% Japanese? Very few immigrants. The few foreigners we saw were mostly at the antique shows.

Here's a booth with lots of "guy stuff". Mostly swords, and parts of swords.
Here's the Shinto shrine. Mostly people stand in front, throw in a few coins and say prayers. There was a service going on inside, for what I don't know.
Here's the big drum in the shrine. They were beating on it for the service, and you could hear it all around.
Of course we went out to lunch after the show. Here is our restaurant.

 I had this, called parent and child. It is chicken and an egg cooked with some really yummy onion flavored rice. Delish! Came with miso soup and a bit of pickled cabbage and tea. All for 8  bucks if I recall. Very good for the most expensive city on earth.
Cy and Jesse had this, tempura shrimp and veggies, and some special noodles. You put a few noodles in your bowl of broth to warm them, and then you slurp. Yes, you must slurp, otherwise they'll think you don't like them. The waitress chided Cy for not finishing all his noodles, just like Mom.