SMS is here!

SMS is here! Hooray!  I have missed him so much and even though I’m super proud of him in wanting to complete his MBA program, he is highly miss-able so I’m glad he’s here for 6 weeks.

Near the New Sanno

He arrived on Thursday the 12th.  I made a bright green, Christmas-themed poster board sign so that he’d be sure to see me.  Ha, ha.  I just think signs are a nice way to make people feel welcome.  I haven’t always thought this since I was really embarrassed to hold the sign for Katrin our au pair when I was 7 so I held it by my legs.  That was super helpful since it hid the sign completely.  But that was a long time ago and now I’m fully on board with “embarrassing” myself by holding up ridiculous signs.  I bet everyone was super jeals except for the people who had drivers holding boring signs.  The signs may be boring but they translate to, “Peace out suckers, I’m off to my limo!”

ANY-way, SMS arrived and we were so happy!  We took the KEISEI Skyliner to Nippori.  There we transferred to the Yamanote line, which is sort of the railroad beltway around Tokyo. We got off at Nishi-Nippori and then took the Chiyoda subway line to Nogizaka.  We were staying at Hardy Barracks for the first night.  We went out exit 5, hooked a left then crossed at the first intersection.  There was a large cemetery on our right and a park on our left.  Then we saw the barbed wire fence and the U.S. Army sign and knew we had arrived.

Hardy Barracks is cheap ($55/night for two!) but the Winter is not the best time to stay.  It was cold!  And the sheets and blankets were super basic.  Whah, whah, first-world problems.  But I would prefer not to stay there in Winter again.

Traditional Japanese breakfast room service at the New Sanno and some pictures from Hiro-o

The next day, we headed out to the New Sanno.  We took a cab since SMS had so many bags.  It was about 1,100 yen and totally worth it.  The New Sanno is really nice and had great comforters!  We walked around the Hiro-o neighborhood and had lunch at the Pizzeria Sole & Luna.  It’s a Neapolitan Pizza place with a large brick oven.  We had the lunch set and ordered the gorgonzola and a more classic pizza with some veggies.  It was so good!  I’m still a fan of Blue Ribbon in Encinitas because of the slightly fermented, sourdough taste to the crust so maybe this is my second-place favorite!

That day, we walked around Roppongi Hills.  Then we went to the Meiji shrine followed by walking up Harajuku and Ometesando-dori.  We went to the awesome French food court in Ometasando-eki (train station) but we weren’t hungry so we just thought about the food we’d order if we were.  Ha, ha.

Illuminations and SMS’ new friends

Then we went out to Tokyo midtown to check out a yakitori place SMS had heard about.  From an article in the NYTimes that was dated from 1993. So old-school, so SMS.  (Oooo, as I was making fun of him, I found another great article focusing on New Year’s.  Awesome!  I guess when newspapers had money, they had bureau chiefs who really got into the city life!).

At Nanbantei, we got two dinner sets which equaled a LOT of yakitori.  It was a multiple course meal in a super warm, cozy restaurant.  The staff was really nice and the head guy spoke really good English. We had a really nice, leisurely time.  We got there around 6 and were able to get in without reservations, although it looked like reservations were a good idea since a group of 4 people were turned away later in the evening.  How did I know four people got turned away?  Because the otherwise nice head waiter loudly shouted, “No room, no reservations!” about three times before the guys left.  A little weird but also kind of funny.

(BTW, you know what else is really funny?  Watching Lost in Translation after being here for awhile.  I get the movie so much better now.)

After dinner, we went to Tokyo Midtown to check out the Christmas illumination.  It was really beautiful and SMS got some really nice pictures of the two of us.

The next day, we went to the Imperial Palace where we were disappointed to find out that it appeared the emperor had forgotten his brunch date with us.  Maybe next time.

Then we headed to Yokosuka so I could show off the apartment.  SMS loves it!

Home at last!

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