Today’s main events were a long morning walk in a nearby park to look at the beautiful cherry blossoms (Sakura) which are blooming right now. Sakura is a big event in Japan. In many parks you can see that in the afternoon people start setting up … companies often send their youngest employees to secure a good spot using a big blue tarp .. and then after office hours everyone else is coming and celebrating .. which means basically that they drink until they can hardly find the way back to the train station. But the admiration of the beauty of the blooming trees is the main reason. (Or so they claim)
For lunch we went to a tiny, but very popular neighborhood Ramen place. Fairly big portion of noodles in a tasty broth topped with some pork and seaweed. Small places like this are impossible to ‘use’ for foreigners … there is no real menu … there is a ticket vending machine which has buttons explaining the food items .. all written in japanese … so .. you press what you want .. put the money in … and then get a ticket … hand the ticket to the chefs behind the U shaped counter and minutes later you get your freshly prepared dish. This way no waiters are needed and no one has to deal with cash. Simple and easy.
In the afternoon we first went to Hamadayama to visit a friend of Ritsu, but I split to meet long time online pal Patrick Benny in Shibuya, where we chased around for electronics. Patrick was a great help in language things and I was so close to buying a new digi-cam, but in the end, Bic Camera did not like my credit card … their loss. Afterwards we went and then had some (overprized) beverages at Cafe Apres Midi, for me best known for their mellow CD compilations.
On the way back I met with Ritsu at Sengawa Station, the closest station to our house, and further on the way we met with the rest of the family at a Yakiniku place (Table top BBQ). We ordered all kinds of food items and put them on that little BBQ thing and ate, drank and laughed. Our waitress was nice, albeit a bit hyper … too much caffeine I guess. But a great way to eat .. and I had forgotten that beef actually has flavor (not like the flavorless stuff we get in Fiji)
On a very lighthearted note, thanks are going out to the person in the immediate neighborhood whose wireless network has the charming name of “0007405F4802” .. the name alone gives away that this is most likely a PC network .. but heck .. while we were struggling to get online .. we suddenly noticed that Ritsu’s iBook ‘sniffed’ this network .. albeit faint .. but not password protected .. so .. we used that for a bit .. pretty cool .. makes one hope that one day being online is so natural that sharing a wireless connection is no big deal and wherever you are, you are just connected …