The last of our Tokyo visitors were the Moran clan, arriving in 2 groups with a weeks crossover in May. The first installment touched down on Monday April 19, consisting of Geoff a.k.a Paul's Dad, Diane a.k.a Paul's Mum and Laura a.k.a The Youngest. Unfortunately due to delays we did not get to catch up on the Monday night to welcome them to Japan. On Tuesday however we had more success and after battling some un-Spring like weather, decided to take shelter in Za Watami for a brief introduction to Japanese food, drinks and catch up.
As always a fun night was had, especially trying the new Spring menu.
Some unlucky timing found us taking off for a wedding in Brisbane the next day, but this provided a good opportunity for the visiting tribe to take a trip to Kyoto and Nara. If you want to follow their adventures more closely check out their blog.
After returning from a fantastic weekend in Brisbane and catching up on a little rest, over the next week we took everyone out to a few of our favourite places. Unfortunately for us they were only night time rendezvous as we were both working. Some of the hightlights were a return trip to Nabezo (the all you can eat nabe, sukiyaki and shabu shabu restaurant) and a cool bar in Ebisu called the Ebisu Bear Hall (A typo that we have since found to be corrected).
Geoff in the middle of what must have been an eventful tale
Geoff and the very friendly waitress who told us she had visited Australia when she was at high school, where you ask - the Gold Coast of course!
Diane in the Ebisu Bear Hall, in the background you can see the great uniform these guys wear. Shirts not yet for sale but will be soon!
Outside the Bear Hall.
The first weekend of May brought with it some very agreeable Spring weather and we decided to take a trip to Yokohama and the Minato Mirai district. Unfortunately Joss had to work during the day, so we had to make do without her company.
PM: After a bit of a stroll we ended up at Aka Ranga where we to split into 2 sub-groups - Mum and Laura deciding to explore some of the boutique shops in Aka Ranga whilst Dad and I went to see the Hikawa Maru, a restored trans pacific liner built in 1929 by Y.H.K. (although first we indulged in some of the curry on offer from one of the temporary stalls set up at Aka Ranga for some sort of celebration of curry food festival). The Hikawa Maru is now permanently docked at Yokohama and is set up as a kind of floating museum, and gave a good idea of how exciting it would have been to travel during the golden age of ocean liners!
After a productive day of sight seeing we headed back to Oimachi to do a proper explore of a Japanese supermarket, to gather ingredients for a cook up at home!
Looking back to Aka Ranga and Yokohama
The Hikawa Maru.
The smoking room inside.
The beginning of the next week was 3 public holidays as part of Golden Week.
PM: Because Australian public holidays don't coincide with any over here, I swapped mine to have Golden Week off like the locals, so was able to get out for some sightseeing.
We embarked upon a return trip to Yokohama this time to check out the Y.H.K maritime museum - you may remember those letters from a little earlier, yes, the company that made the Hikawa Maru. And whilst in the neighbourhood we found it too much to resist another trip to the Ramen museum. Between us now we have tried 8 of the 9 available, but because the restaurants rotate, we still have 3 to go. It will be a challenge but we think we can fit 3 in next visit.
We also took the clan to Ueno for our favourite shopping street, made popular by the sale of plastic food, but what got us going back was the Japanese pottery shops, our favourite ones are there. Close to Ueno is the Sensoji temple, the most popular in Tokyo, and being Golden week that was quite evident.
Laura and Diane in the gardens of Sensojo
Not sure what it is, but it was hanging on one of the temple walls.
Visitors waving the incense smoke over themselves before going inside the temple