Thursday, August 23, 2007

We are falling in love!

Our love for parks have grown since arriving in Japan. The Japanese Garden at the New Otani Hotel is now added to the list. With 400 years of history, this garden is one of the most renounced in Tokyo. Surrounded by the outer moat of the Edo castles, the garden offers a place of peace and Japanese tradition. Here there are beautiful trees, flowers, foliage, waterfalls, and carp ponds. This truly takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
Omonte-Sando is calming street lined with beautiful trees. However, it is also dominated with chic boutiques and ritzy fashion stores. Attempting to see the Meji-Jingu (the grandest Shinto shrine), we had no sense of direction and ended up on the street, Gaien-nishi-dori better known as Killer-dori for its very fashionable boutiques. Here the stores consisted of Dior, Harry Winston, and Armani. It appeared that Tokyo is the fashion mecca of the world. Close to this street lies the Spiral building. This building is supposedly a hit with all architectural fans. However, we were not impressed. Its very subtle spiral is laden with boutiques and ever-changing modern art exhibits. At the time of our visit, the IAMAS (Institute of Advanced Media Art and Science/International Academy of Media Art and Sciences) presented artworks in the fields of art, design, and engineering. It was difficult to understand the concepts associated with each piece due to our inability to understand the Japanese language.
Due to the massive heat outside, we are waiting to go to the Azabu Juban Festival. This is one of the major summer festivals in Japan. As we approached the Azabu Juban area, the streets were lined with bright red and white lanterns and hordes of people. There were over 700 stalls of street vendors from shaved ice to barbecue squid on a stick. You could test your scooping skills at a game of gold fish catching. We observed each stall and decided to take the save route and tried a sample of yakatori, beef on a stick. After questing threw the crowds of people, we decided to have dinner at a Singapore restaurant. Here we ordered Jasmine rice and boiled chicken. It was served with three fabulous sauces, ginger, chili, and soy. We are unsure to as the spices and ingredients used in the rice and chicken. However, it sure was tasty!
Over this wonderful dish, we strolled around the Tokyo Mid-town Park. You've read about this park during the previous posting.
Back to the Japanese culinary experience. We had the privilege of meeting our friend, Kensuke for dinner. He took us to Toriyoshi, they specialized in yakatori. We sampled pork, chicken, and radish salad. It was absolutely fabulous! Next, we made our way to the Cold Stone Creamery, but it was closed. Then, we settled for a Brownie Sundae from Hard Rock Cafe. Soon after this, we retired home and Kensuke stayed the night. He was very tired as he only had 4 hours of sleep for the past 3 nights. Awaken by Jay pulling back the curtains, I scurried out of bed. Kensuke and Jay decided it was time to head out for lunch. But, first we had to try Natto, which was a smelly, sticky bean substance. Kensuke explained to us that his mother would make them eat this 2-3 times a week for good heath. Jay and I immediately did not like this. Let's say that this will not be in our future grocery shopping cart. For lunch, Jay had a special request, tempura. Luckily, Kensuke was able to find the perfect spot. Here we sampled vegetable and shrimp tempura. And don't forget the whale steak. Surprisingly, Jay and Kensuke liked the whale steak and described as a piece of beef with a slightly fishy taste. After lunch, Kensuke insisted that we try Ume boshi, a salty, sour apricot. Jay and I immediately spit it out and vowed not to buy this product, as well. We lounged around the apartment and watched Japanese music videos. Then, we decided that it was time to get out of the house and explore. We came upon the agreement of going to the Meiji-Jingu, Tokyo's grandest Shinto shrine. This shrine is dedicated to the divine souls of Emperor Meji and Empress Shoken. Mostly, the shrine is made of cypress from the Nagano prefecture. This was a beautiful sight and gave you much appreciation for the Gods.
As you know we love parks, the Yoyogi Metroplolitan Park is also added to the list. It is apparent that this must be one of the largest parks in Tokyo. Here you will find people sunbathing, little girls chasing dragon flies, people playing an arrangement of musical instruments from the saxophone to a traditional Japanese instrument, and dogs rolling in the grass. It had beautiful trees and flowers in collaboration with spewing water fountains. We made our way to the subway and said our good-byes to Kensuke. Tonight, we will pack our belongings as we are heading to Malibu, California tomorrow. Where we get to hang out at the beach and go to Yosemite Park with Jessi and her boyfriend, Tim. We can't believe that our journey is almost to an end.


Unknown said...

What an adventure. We will be glad to have you home!

Anonymous said...

Almost a month and no more posts!!!

I'm just teasing, you guys should enjoy your time without having to update this ALL the time....but we do enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

ok so now i am forced to go back to the boring newspaper in the morning with my coffee..i will miss your adventures but happy to know that a wonderful time was had by you both and everyone that you met along the way. Maria Seltzer

Anonymous said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.