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. 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.
Below are a few extras I took as we headed back to the train.
With a long drive to Hakone’s hot springs just hours away. Kayuri, her Mom and her middle sister Chisato felt an urge to reward my craving for traditional Japanese noodles with a trip to Wakana in rural Hayama. Though the drive there seemed to be a long one. The area we travelled had me more excited than anything on my trip thus far. As I stated in my Tokyo Post. I was really looking forward to exploring the rural side of Japan in the days coming. The narrow roads we travelled were highlighted on both sides by tiny houses, boat graveyards and rustic shacks that most likely served as homes to some of the workers in the area. The scene outside our car window reminded me of the climactic end of the Movie “Point Break” People running to and fro. Running for cover from the coming storm or apocalypse. The rain was coming down pretty hard by the time we made it to the restaurant and the wind seemed to threaten many of the shacks I mentioned. As we turned in to the parking lot of the famed noodle house. The rain stopped as if to allow us safe passage. Allowing us to reach our tasty destination without getting completely drenched. The pictures below were taken after our lunch. Left to Right Chisato, Nobue (Mom) and Kayuri. The noodles at Wakana are by far, the best I’ve ever had. Sitting seiza style will take a little more flexibility in the future, but I’m willing to work on it.
Whether you’re in Japan for a day, week, month or year. You’re eventually going to find yourself in Tokyo. With this being my third visit to Japan. I think I’ve been to the city enough times to say, without pause, it is my least favorite part of the country.
Having travelled to many of my own countries bigger cities, as well as ones across Europe. I honestly feel they pretty much offer the same thing. Yes, Tokyo is beautiful and bright, but I can say the same thing about Times Square. Having lived a short few blocks from there for eight plus years. I avoided it like the plague. All comparisons aside, we enjoyed our day exploring the streets,the bus routes and trains. Kayuri insisted I do some crate digging. Even insisting I take a few records home. As for her, she took advantage of some of the discounts and tax free saving at one of the city’s electronics megastore. Not a bad day by any means. I just feel that my best days here will be spent exploring shrines and the rich history of the rural countryside. Below are a few images I took along the way. 楽しむ; 恵まれる
After a fourteen hour flight from Newark to Narita Airport and a two hour train ride to Hayama. I wanted nothing more than a hot shower and some much needed sleep. So after a little catching up with the in-laws, some dinner and some shots of “Damn if I know” with Kayuri’s dad. It was off to dreamland. With a good eight hours of sleep in us we were able to rise before the sun, have breakfast and head to the nearby beach by foot.
While it had been a good fifteen years since I had been to this particular beach. I remembered the pathway quite well. However, as we came upon the gates of the Hayama Imperial Villa we stopped to ask one of the guards in order to avoid any imperial entanglements. With a smile and a joyous “Hai”, we were pointed towards the entrance the the beach.
As we arrived, about a half dozen surfers and paddlers were finishing up their morning routine.One man in particular finished his morning surf by using the plastic bags he had brought with him to clean the beach of any debris or litter. My wife and I were so moved by the gesture. So moved by the gesture that we soon found ourselves accomplices in his very mindful attempt to keep the small beach free from others carelessness.
And while the day itself was very laid back. The amount of ground we covered gave us quite a workout. From the winding streets to many hills we had to climb on the way back. Perhaps the best part of my day was avoiding any vehicular trappings. No trains, planes or automobiles. Just the sun on my face, the wind on my back and my best friend at my side. Until tomorrow.
As I headed towards baggage claim at Japan’s Narita Airport I began to notice the handful of people going to and fro adorning surgical masks. Though it struck me as strange at the time; With a fourteen hour flight behind me, retrieving my bags and embarking on the final trip to our resting place in Hayama was of the upmost importance.
The next day as we traveled to Asakusa to visit one of the famous Buddhist temples. As we navigated the subway and streets leading to our destination, I noticed more and more of what seemed bizarre to these foreign eyes. Was the air unsafe? Was there an airborne virus I was not made aware of? Perhaps a Michael Jackson flash mob waiting to spring into action? Or was it preparation for the coming Mayan Apocalypse? Whatever it was, it was starting to make me feel unsettled. My wife gave me a number of possibilities that would explain this phenomenon; but it wasn’t until I sat down with her sister Chisato that night until it all came to make sense. I’ll leave this article to better explain things. After reading this you can decide for yourself if their very cautious, crazy or amazingly courteous. For me personally. After living in and around New York City most of my life and experiencing the disgusting habits of many of my fellow citizens, I’d choose the latter. http://boingboing.net/2009/02/13/japanese-surgical-ma.html