Grilling, Japanese-style

SMS and I are having a great time on our first real weekend home!  An added bonus is the extra time to relax since it’s a holiday weekend.

On Friday night, we went to Yakinikuya Sakai.  It was a coal-grill yakiniku restaurant with great views overlooking the bay.  We had an assorted meat plate, vegetable plate, kimchi and rice.  The sauces were delicious.  We took a chance on the “Yuzu squash soda,” which turned out to be a delicious citrus-flavored (yuzu) soda with pulp, not squash.  After dinner, we walked through the nearby Otsu neighborhood as well as the sensory overload of Don Quixote, an insane store with food, household items and lots of cheap plastic crap.

Tobe Station

Saturday was a fun field trip to Yokohama.  First, we got off at my old stop Tobe and walked by my apartment.  It was fun to see my old neighborhood and it was right by Y’s shop, a bike shop that can fix Dahon bikes.  My Dahon was in rough shape after a Winter partly spent out on the balcony with the cover blown off.  The chain and gears more closely resemble a big rust bucket plus my derailer fell off. The transaction went pretty smoothly in a three-way Jinglish exchange (SMS, the bike guy and me) and while it’s not cheap, it’s still half the price of a new bike.  The bike was in pretty dire need of a tune-up before the Winter and with my not-so-benign neglect, it needs professional help.

The fish attracts a crowd.

After we dropped off the bike, we walked over to Minato-Mirai.  We went to the sushi go-round and had a really cool experience.  They were showing off a huge tuna they had bought.  There was a huge crowd of kids who were daring each other to touch the fish, poke the eyeball, etc.  We sat down to eat and thought the show was over but then they brought it inside.  They started carving it and everyone was cheering and watching.   It was definitely a performance.

A huge fish and a captivated audience

After they carved one section, the entire restaurant played “Janken (Rock, Paper, Scissors).”  One of the main chefs yelled out, ” Saisho wa guy, jankenpon!”  Along with several other people, I won!  I got a free piece of fresh tuna sushi.  I split it with SMS, who was an almost-winner in another round of Janken but there was a play-off since too many people won initially and he didn’t win the second round.

To the left, fresh sushi we couldn’t pass up.  To the right, my winnings!

After sushi, we headed over to Cosmo World.  We went on the huge Ferris wheel and enjoyed the slow skyline tour of Yokohama.  Then, we headed to the Yokohama Art Museum to see the penultimate day of the “Fascinating Japanese Woodcut Prints” exhibit.  It spanned the late Edo period to present day.  My favorite artists were KOBAYASHI Kiyochika and HASHIGUCHI Goyo.  The prints were beautiful and it was fun to see an exhibit that paralleled the Mitubishi Ichigokan Museum exhibit we saw over the Winter.  Both focused on the wood prints with a sub-focus of the reciprocal inspiration between European and Japanese artists.

Yokohama, about 2/3 up on the Ferris wheel

We spent quite a bit of time in the museum.  We walked to Yokohama train station and picked up a Crepese salad to bring to a friend’s barbecue.  She lives in the Japanese side of Ikego and it was a really nice dinner with the most amazing burgers.  We had a great time and a perfect way to end the day.

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