Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Japan Day 5: Tokyo Temples and Sushi

By the time we were back in Tokyo we were pretty tired from our travels and ready to hunker down in one spot. We went back to the condo we were staying at (graciously offered by friends) in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. After sleeping in, we made it out in the rain for some lunch.

First we stopped for a picture by the shop of my first ramen experience the night before
I found it interesting how everyone in Japan seemed to use an umbrella (It seems more Americans rough it without). When we were leaving the condo we realized it was raining. We ran back up to the room, hoping they would have an umbrella for us to borrow, only to find about 20 in the closet! It was kind of fun to see the colorful umbrellas at all of the crosswalks and they have special umbrella stands outside all businesses or bags to place your umbrella in so you don't get everything all wet.

We stopped an Yoshinoya, or Beef Bowl for some lunch. This is probably Abe's favorite fast food Japanese chain. Luckily you can find it in some US locations such as California.


Tired and hungry after a lot of traveling already that week

I wanted the real Japanese experience so I braved the raw egg
After days of exploring multiple Shinto and Buddhist temples, we decided it was about time to find one of our own. This was my first experience going to a temple in a foreign country. It was nice to see the familiar golden Angel Moroni on top of the spire in such an unfamiliar place.

We were able to meet up with some friends from Abe's time as a missionary over 10 years ago. It was really neat to see the change the gospel has brought to their lives and to hear their story. The husband told me how he was a horrible chain smoker with poor health until he was able to quit when he joined the church with a huge improvement in his overall health and well being. They were very happy to see Abe. Abe calls them his Japanese mom and dad, so I guess he was pretty happy to see them, too! We exchanged small gifts, which is pretty customary in Japan and received updates about some of Abe's Japanese friends.

I got to wear translating headphones during the session (which were a little spotty at times). It was neat even though I looked and spoke very different from almost everyone there, that I still felt like I knew such a deep and important part of who they were. 

Afterword, we were hungry and ready for some food (the best part of Japan, have I mentioned that before?). We were hoping to get some tempura (Japanese fried veggies and usually seafood) but we weren't able to get in to the restaurant. We happened upon a sushi restaurant which was a huge disappointment to me. Okay not really, I LOVE sushi so I was quite pleased.

We had a lovely multi-course meal of all kinds of delicious sushi. It was definitely the best sushi experience I have had.

The Japanese people are very gracious. One example of this was the restaurant workers. I was wearing canvas shoes since they were comfortable walking shoes. Unfortunately, they were less comfortable as they became soggy and cold in the rain. Even after hours inside they remained quite wet. The waitress was concerned about my cold feet and had me remove my shoes. She brought me paper towels and personally placed them in my shoes and tried to sop up some of the water. I was surprised she would touch a stranger's dirty shoes! When we left the restaurant they were very concerned about if the shoes were okay or not. I'm not sure what they would have done if I had said they weren't!

Isn't it gorgeous! I ate it all, even the eggs (not my favorite).
The Japanese seemed impressed with my pleasure with the sushi. I think they felt it was rather exotic for an American to enjoy so much. It was much more "raw" and actually was more exotic than the sushi back home, but it was definitely the best I have had. This is interesting as I have no idea if it was actually considered a "good" restaurant or not. It obviously wasn't very busy as you can tell from the pictures.

Happy tummy!
This sushi chef was flirting with me behind the counter almost our entire meal. He was kind of shy but seemed very interested in how I was enjoying the food.

After we left our friends in opposite directions on the subway, we did some shopping. The subways are all built with shopping malls and restaurants in the tunnels and above so it is easy to have a lot to look at as you travel around the city. We found a Hello Kitty section of a department store which brought me a lot of delight.

Do you remember how I said everything in Japan is cute? They even make sushi cute.
 It was nice to have a bit of a quieter day, meeting up with old friends, enjoying some of our favorite foods, and escaping the rain.

All in all, a good way to start our time back in Tokyo.

1 comment:

Caitlyn Jackson said...

I get really emotional a lot knowing I'll probably never get to eat a raw egg with my rice. Thank you for trying it in my place