Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Lately my days have been filled with meetings. Not just a meeting here and a meeting there, but days where I don't see my desk till about 3 or 4 pm. Well yesterday I had one meeting. ONE! And I decided to celebrate the only way I know how - going out to eat. I've been really good about bringing my own lunch - cheaper, healthier, saves time, etc. So I felt like I really deserved this little treat. I didn't have anyone to go with me, so I decided to just run in, grab it and come back and eat at my desk and read.
I pulled into the parking lot, entered the restaurant and just walked straight ahead to get in line and place my order. Halfway up the line my right foot slips and goes flying forward! I didn't even quite register what was happening, but dance techniques must have kicked in. My left foot went backwards and I dropped into the splits. Something I haven't done in over ten years. Do you know what happens to those muscles over ten years of not being used? They get tight, really tight!
As I went into my awesome splits, my hands flew up and grabbed the ledge that was next to me; the same ledge that had a table of four guys on the opposite side. I quickly bounced up, looked around and then just walked forward as if nothing had happened. My groin was in some serious pain and I was fighting off a limp, but there was no way I was about to let people see that I was hurt. I had a few stares, but I refused to acknowledge to anyone what had just happened.
Am I prideful? Yes. Am I a klutz? Of course. Can I walk-off any injury thrown at me? I'll try my hardest and make my father proud. Suck it up!
After that heavy, emotional day we decided to go out to dinner and our friend at the Hostel recommended a great place. We quickly learned that the restaurant owner and cook did not speak English. Thank heavens a girl was there to help us and stopped us from ordering cow tongue for dinner. This meal may have been my favorite, purely based on the experience we had while eating. You basically buy a plate of raw meat, lettuce and veggies and then you get to grill your meat at your own table and make delicious lettuce wraps. We were having a ball doing this. Turning meat with chopsticks is not the easiest thing to do, but it's certainly fun!
We spent the night just relaxing, doing laundry and eatting junk food in our hostel room. The next day we headed off to Miyajima to see Itsukushima Shrine and the beautiful, floating torii gates. Here's what it looks like.
Torii gates are common among Japanese shrines, but these torii gates that appear to be floating is what makes them so neat. As the tide comes in they appear to be floating and the reflection off the water is also beautiful. We had a fun time strolling around this area and we even encountered some wild deer. They warn you as you enter the area to keep all food sealed and put away or be prepared to share and get head-butted by one of these. We didn't see any mean or aggressive ones, but they certainly follow you around and will nudge you for food.
After we left Miyajima, we grabbed some dinner and chose a delicious Mexican restaurant. Yes, a Mexican restaurant, owned by a man from Peru who moved to Japan. It was familiar, tasty and they had chips and salsa. I was in heaven! We headed back home, backed our bags and got ready for the journey back to Tokyo. We took the train back to Tokyo, found our hotel and did some last minute souvenier shopping. Not shockingly to us girls, but Stephen was the last one back from shopping. Pirate only needed about 30 minutes, I used up a good hour and Stephen spent about 90 minutes +/-.
We met up, grabbed some dinner - where I experienced the tastiest, most refreshing sushi I've ever had! YUM! We then hit a gas station to grab some treats to bring home and share with people and a few snacks for us for the night. Our flight didn't leave till about 1 pm, so we decided to quickly tour the fish market. I didn't take a lot of pictures of this place, but the size and amount of fish in this warehouse was unreal. Early in the morning, like 4:30 AM, they have auctions for restaurants to buy their fish. Pieces of tuna will go for amounts ranging from $5000 - $25000. TUNA!
After the fish market, we headed back to the hotel, washed our feet (fish guts and juice) and then started the long journey back to the airport. We said goodbye to Japan the best way we knew how - we ate at McDonald's. I had a long flight ahead of me and I needed to feel assured that my food would sit well for the next 11.5 hours.
Monday, November 23, 2009
After Nijo, we headed to Osaka to visit Osaka Castle, and sample some tasty food (or so we thought). Osaka Castle - a lovely castle on the outside that has sadly been gutted on the inside.
Lady: Chewy squid
Me: Yes, I'd like 8 of those.
Lady: Would you like BBQ sauce?
Me: Um, no.
Lady: Dried fish shavings?
Me: Okay (Pirate LOVES all thing bacon and I enjoy the flavor as well)