Write to an imaginary friend about an imaginary trip you'd like to take one day.
Konnichiwa! Morning to you! Yes, I'm finally here in Tokyo. Sorry haven't written in a while; haven't quite gotten used to the time change. Just when I get used to Dublin time from Charlotte, I jump an entire day ahead. Ah, well.
I met Hiro and Sakiko at Tokyo Int'l. They're a nice couple. Hiro's a teacher, Saki's a housewife plus tutor plus painter plus peacemaker plus graphic designer. Oh, and she wields a mean kendo stick too. They live in a high-rise apartment in the city center. Land's an expensive commodity here, especially since there isn't a lot of wide open space. Their apartment is a rather cozy place: a main room that does triple duty as an office and a bedroom, a tiny kitchenette and bathroom. If you need a bit of privacy, all you need to do is borrow one of the shoji rice screens, set it up, and voila! Instant space of your own. It's amazing how you can change the tone of a room with a few shoji screens, bamboo mats, cushions and futons.
I've been introduced to sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and mochi (really chewy rice cakes. If you need to exercise your jaws, that'll do it.). I'm not as crazy about the pickled plums, but I guess it's what you're used to. And they've got some rather interesting foodstuff over here...I probably should give the Japanese points for creativity for lemon fizzy cream soda with extra fizz (no joke. That's the actual name of it, translated). Saki's shared some of her culinary skills with me, and I tell you, she can give the Iron Chef a run for his money!
Yesterday, we went by a Shinto temple. It was beautiful in its simplicity. Saki explained that women go here to pray for children and a good life. The place was crowded, but that only seemed to make the temple more homey and less imposing.
I'm looking forward to staying with Hiro and Saki. They're very gracious and accommodating. Tomorrow, I travel to Hiro's school and visit his students. I still feel a twinge of homesickness for the green hills of Eire, but I guess that'll pass soon, at least till I return.
Say hi to Ian and the boys at the pub for me. And Patrick still owes me my whiskey.
Till next post,