New Year’s in Tokyo was awesome! Jon and I went to the Mori Arts Center/Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills. There was a party hosted by Mild Seven, which means I got to see my first cigarette girls! I almost wished I smoked. (Just.Kidding.). It was a very cool scene, as noted by Jon, “Everyone’s dressed like Ed.” Now don’t get me wrong, we were dressed nicely but Ed-level cool? I did not inherit that style gene.
So, Jon and I rang in the New Year’s overlooking Tokyo with house music in the background (thank you, Captain Funk!). Then we went back to the Grand Hyatt, which was decadent. I love nice hotels! Luxury and I get along quite nicely when we happen to meet!
The next day, we chilled out. Everything was closed on New Year’s. It’s a big family day, which dates back to the tradition from a few generations ago that everyone would advance a year in age on New Year’s. So, it was a big family birthday party every 1 Jan! I think that is so cool, although it would be hard for me to justify my month long fiesta if everyone else had the same special day. (Please note that the month long fiesta is in my head alone. Very few, if any, people go along with my brilliant! idea to celebrate my birthday all April long).
On the 2nd, Jon and I went to Yokosuka to work out and grab dinner with a few friends from the ship. It was awesome, although the group definitely seems like the set-up for an elaborate joke- “ A vegetarian, a shell-fish allergic, a picky eater, a protein loving carnivore, and a starving post-exerciser go out to dinner. No one can read the menu and assorted guidebooks employ phonetic sounds misunderstood by many…”
On the 3rd, Jon and I went to Hakone. We went to the Hakone Open Air Museum, which had the most beautiful scenery and grounds used as the most beautiful showcase for many works of modern sculpture. Then we went to the Mikawaya ryokan for a traditional inn experience, to include dinner and breakfast kaiseki feasts and soaks in the public baths that were VERY hot. It’s a workout to sit in water that hot!
But the highlight was definitely the food! It was so awesome to have a kaiseki feast after reading so much about it. There were definitely some missteps like making the tea myself. Jon kept telling me that I was ruining an elaborate ceremony and maybe I was, but I wanted some tea! And I used the little set they had left in the room anyway. I was so confused! So much so that I used a rice bowl for soy sauce in the morning. Embarrassing! Really, it was. But our kaiseki waitress was so cute and didn’t laugh when she was in the room.
On the 4th, we left the ryokan and went to Tokyo where we went to the National Art Museum, which was great. The second floor had a chronological display of important art genres and craftsmanship eras in Japanese history from the 5th century on. I really like those types of displays. I know it’s not the cool and trendy way to display things in a modern museum curator world, but the linear progression makes it easy to observe trends over time and understand the material in an established framework. While I like to interpret, I also like to get a sense of an overarching organization.