I’m not Irish–the fam is mostly British on both sides, though we’ve been on this continent since the early 1600’s, which pretty much means they were in deep trouble in the Old Country–but on this day when Boston is still celebrating St. Patrick, I’m feeling lucky anyway. I apologize for being a fusspot yesterday, but I’m doing better today. It’s amazing how much it helps when I remind myself how very fortunate I am.
One of the recent blessings was our trip to Tokyo. My DH had to go on business and I was able to tag along for pleasure. He’s been in the travel IT industry for most of his working life, so we’ve been able to take trips like this that wouldn’t have been financially possible for us otherwise.
If you follow my blog, you know I’m sort of the Anti-Shopper. Whip me, beat me, don’t make me shop. That’s my mantra. But while we were in Tokyo, we did venture out to their “Times Square” area and visited a Pachinko parlor.
This is sort of a slot machine parlor, except the decibel level is more like a 747 taking off. With the raging music, the tinkling machines, bells and flashing lights, I couldn’t hear myself think in there. But folks seemed to love it because almost every seat was filled.
Then we poked around in a ginormous 8 story department store, the basement of which was wholly devoted to food.
The vendors sing-songed the virtues of their wares. They handed out samples. Fortunately, I like sushi and sasshimi. One of the things they weren’t dishing out was a sushi delicacy made of poisonous Puffer fish. Sushi chefs who work with this unique fish have to be specially trained and licensed by the state. It take skill to carve out the toxic gland without releasing the poisons into the paper thin slices. It looked intriguing, but I passed. People do die from eating it on occasion. It’s strictly a “chew at your own risk” gastronomic experience.
The prices we saw on fresh produce there were a shock. A dozen oranges cost the equivalent of $100. A single cantaloupe with a bit of the stem still intact was offered for nearly $50 (approx. 4725 yen). I’m not sure why the prices were so steep unless the Japanese have lost far more farmable land in last year’s nuclear disaster than we suspected.
At any rate, I’ll never complain about Stop-N-Shop prices again!
The Japanese don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they do have what they call “White Day” in March. Chocolates are a favorite gift for lovers there too.
The DH and I splurged a bit on some Japanese pastry. We chose a decadent little chocolate cake that was gilded a bit with gold frosting. It was fabulous when we shared it later in our hotel room along with a rich cup of espresso.
I’m a very lucky girl and I know it. I’ve visited tomorrow (a fun perk of crossing the international date line–the closest we can come to time travel!) I’d always hoped to visit Asia some day, but never thought I would. Aside from all the wondrous sites and experiences, the Japanese people were the nicest surprise. I was so very impressed with their culture and ethics. I was blessed by this trip in hundreds of ways, but I would love to see Japan during cherry blossom time and venture out into the countryside.
Is it wrong to hope I can go again?