Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekenders: Yokohama and Tokyo

If our trip had been only the one day of Kamakura, I would've been a happy girl.  But oh no, our trip wasn't over yet.  On Sunday morning, we left Fujisawa to first visit Yokohama.  Yokohama was one of the first pors town to open to foreign trade back in the day, so it felt to me like there was a really cool international vibe to the place.  First up in Yokohama was China Town.

We hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so we grabbed some niku man and went to a restaurant that Kazunari said made a really good rice porridge.  When we got there, there was a line out the door, so I believed him.

The shops mascot is Santa.  Because, why not?

I always love China Towns in large cities.  They're always so bright and gaudy - in a good way.  And I love Chinese food markets.

While there, we went to the Guan Di Miao Temple.  Quite impressive.

Afterward, we walked to the pier.  It was such a beautiful day - another "wanna take your jacket off" kind of day.

Next, it was time to make our way to Tokyo.  Once there, we went to Asakusa, one of the oldest districts of Tokyo to see one last temple, the Kaminarimon Gate.

Man, there were LOTS of people there, everybody wanting to say a prayer and get their fortune for the year.  And look at the size of that lantern behind us!

But perhaps the highlight of the day was going to see Sumo Wrestling.  We were lucky enough to be in Tokyo on the one time of the year they have a 15-day tournament in the city.  I was expecting it to be a little bit boring - I mean, most of the match time is spent squatting, then standing, throwing more salt, before finally pushing each other for a few seconds.  But was I wrong.

It's very stylized and traditional, but once you understand the rules and what each movement and gesture means, it's really interesting.  And the crowd is really passionate during sumo.  Lots of cheering on for their favorite wrestler.  The exciting energy from the other viewers and just being there live made it so exciting.  I found myself cheering them on.  Ethan loved it as well, and he and Nathan were even placing bets on who would win.  Lots of fun.

Then we went to eat with Kazunari and some of his friends.  Ethan even made some okonomiyaki!

The four of us stayed the night in Tokyo, planning to get up early the next day and see some more Tokyo sights before our flight Monday afternoon, but the weather had other plans.  The morning started with rain, so we decided to go to the National Museum of Nature and Science.  It was fun, and despite not being able to read the explanations, it was still a good time.  I especially like being able to see Hachiko.

By the time we left the museum, it was really snowing!  So we ate some lunch and made our way to Narita airport, hoping our flight wouldn't be delayed as the snow kept falling.  We entered the airplane, and then they told us that we couldn't take off for an hour.  Then two hours.  Then they had to de-ice the airplane, but we were third in line, so it should be another hour.

Then they ran our of de-ice.  So another hour.

After about 4 hours inside the plane, we were finally off to Sapporo.  And after that, boy was I glad to be home!  But it really was such a wonderful time, and we are so happy to have such a good friend like Kazunari.  He truly is our Japan ambassador!

Thanks for the great time, Kazunari.  It was awesome!!

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