Day 16; Zushi and Kamakura

While today, our last full one in Japan,  was scheduled to be a laid back and get packed before family arrive for a parting dinner kind of day.The weather was just to good to pass up as It turned out to be anything but laid back. According to plan we were going to take the bus down to the Zushi train station to do a little exploring of the side streets and back areas we have bypassed since day 1 of our arrival. Some lunch, a stroll and back up the hill to the homestead. Last (1 of 1)

After a long walk through the area we headed back to a place called Aroyas that had advertised scorpion as one of the days specials. Though I had just a short glance of the venue while passing by. The thought of eating something completely new to my palette (Even at the risk of dying) overtook me. So with belly’s rumbling we sat down and doubled up on scorpions before moving on tour our main course of curry shrimp. We ate so much food that we decided to get on the train to Kamakura where we could really walk it off. With no evident signs of heading to our graves due to our dance with plates of predatory arachnids.

Earlier tonight the eight of us went out for a going away sushi dinner. It’s one of those places that the sushi travels on a conveyor belt. We ate so much that by the end of our stay there were, counted them, 66 single plates carefully stacked in three piles. I had my final  and sixteenth consecutive night of after dinner drinks with my Father-In-Law ( I know he’s going to miss me.) Refreshing after fifteen nights of vodka. We finally moved on to saki.

So we’ve finally come to the end of our trip. While I’m really going to miss everyone and just about everything Japan has to offer. I’m ready to go home. Our flight departs from Narita Airport tomorrow around five. I’m sure I’ll have some time to write tomorrow, but for the most part. This trip is history. I’m very appreciative of the incredible people in my life. Both those within arms reach and those around the globe who inspire me daily. I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year. “Don’t take shit form anybody.”

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Day 15; Roppongi (Tokyo)

After a late night and little sleep. The chances of getting very far from our home base seemed pretty remote. However, with a little digging and a lot of scrambling. I managed to convince Kayuri to join me on a two plus hour train ride that included two transfers. The ride itself was not going to be a pretty one. As the man sitting directly across from me ate, drank, clipped his nails, applied eye drops and picked his nose for most of the trip. Fortunately for us, this was one of one of those occasions when the destination was far better than the journey.

As we arrived Takashi Murakami’s “The 500 Arhats”at Roppongi Tokyo’s Mori Arts Center. We were met with a line that extended far outside the center. A the door a sign welcomed visitors with an intimidating “Expect twenty minute wait on line.” While I’m not sure if the people were there for the Ancient Egypt exhibition or for Murakami’s exhibit. I’m glad we waited it out, because “The 500 Arhats” was incredible. While this is my usual kind of post. Being that I don’t tend to post pictures I took of other peoples work. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d highly recommend a visit. Below are a few images and a link to the Tokyo Time Out article that inspired me to go.

http://www.timeout.com/tokyo/art/takashi-murakami-the-500-arhats

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Day 14; Sailing the Pacific

When we unexpectedly stopped at the Marina the other day to stock Kenichi’s  boat for the upcoming trip. I wanted to kick myself for not bringing my camera. The sight of all the boats and yachts docked amongst the beautiful blue sky was breathtaking to say the very least. While I did regret not having my side arm on hand. I reminded myself that some moments are better left to memory. There was that and the fact that we would soon return to put that boat in the water and sail the Pacific with enough provisions to keep our bellies full for days. Well, that day came today and despite some initial concern on how I was going to get my unbalanced ass on to the boat. Boat (1 of 1)       It was, for lack of a better term “smooth sailing.” Kayuri’s Dad Kenichi has many passions in life, sailing being his greatest. Not only is he an excellent sailor. He’s won more than his share of trophy’s and ribbons in sailing competitions over the years. As a man who always seems to be in high spirits. Laughing and toasting for days on end. Seeing him at wheel of his boat is by far, the happiest he’s been. Over our last two visits and this one. He disappeared in to the ocean for days on end. Lucky for us, we got to go out with him today and will have a second chance before the weekend is over. I’m happy to say. The New Year started on the right foot. Be well. Be awesome.

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Day 13; Hayama (Beach Day)

With plans to walk to the beach. We made a point to leave earlier than usuaL. Then, just as we were finishing breakfast Kayuri’s mom asked if it would be alright to walk there with us. Before long, two became three and with the addition of her Dad Kenichi. Our duo became a quartet. Not to complain, but I was a little bit worried they wouldn’t be able to keep up with us. The walk itself is a long one. One that, much like most of the rural areas we’ve visited, is one climb after another. It’s a steep climb whether you’re going up a hill (Like it almost always seems) or downhill. Yet, before we knew it. They were leading the path and leaving us in their dust.

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Now an outsider might view staying in the same rural area for more than a day as “Taking it easy”.  I can assure you, the terrain here has helped me rediscover my once lost balance while giving me strong, durable hiker legs.

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After a long, twisting walk, we arrived at the beach where we did a lot more walking and climbing. Overall, it was an exhausting day. Making it back up that last hill at the end of the day took all that I had and more. As we head in to the New Year and the last four days of our trip. I begin to think of the people and things I’ll miss the most. We ended our day with another great meal that took up the entire table and more. I had the biggest cuts of sashimi I’ve ever had and got to sit and drink with my Father-in-Law when we were done.

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Day 11; Kawasaki

With plans to meet Kayuri’s childhood friend Junko and her daughter Miku in Kawasaki for lunch and a possible trip to the theater to see the new Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens”. Junk, who is originally from the Tokyo are eventually moved to South Korea when her husbands job transferred him there. However far, no trip to Japan would be complete without a day with her. I first met Junko when Kayuri and I were still dating. By far, one of my favorite people I’ve met through my wife. She’s been an important person in our life despite the limited time we’ve had together. She flew to New York to be the bridesmaid at her wedding and left a very positive foot print when she left. Unfortunately, after lunch and shopping we didn’t have enough time for the movie. Instead, we made plans to see it together before she left for home. Spending most of my day on the trains and at the mall. I really didn’t have many opportunities to take many pictures. Spending quality time with good people sometimes takes precedent.

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Day 10; (Asakusa) Tokyo

As we headed to Tokyo. I couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious. The combination of an empty  stomach. My Sister-in-Laws taste in music and the fact that I had accidentally walked in on her as she was finishing up her shower were all in clear focus. Somehow those factors would stay with me for what seemed to be a long ride. Fortunately, for me and my wife. A really good meal washed any and all anxiety I may have carried in to the city that day. After an excellent meal at Tiger Gyoza Hall. We headed towards the Asakusa Shrines.  A small, yet highly populated area I fell in love with during my first trip to Japan in 2001.

This was my third trip to Tokyo since we arrived and I promised myself to be a little more open minded about the city than I had been in my two prior posts on the big city. Aa we inched closer to our destination the crowds thickened and I went from dodging passing bicyclists to avoiding collisions with pedestrians. Overall, it was a great day. The shrines were packed and I was both visually and spiritually stimulated. Tomorrow we’ll be heading back to Tokyo to have lunch with one of Kayuri’s closest friends Junko. (June-Ko) She was the head of my wife’s bridal party at our wedding. So it only seems fit that she will be taking us out for lunch and to see Star Wars “The Force Awakens”. Things are getting interesting around here… and elsewhere.

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