Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Traveling in Japan...or "moving at a very slow pace"

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 8/16/2005
E7 and I had a wonderful anniversary weekend at The Hamilton Ureshino. The hotel was absolutely beautiful...all dark wood, polished wood floors, dark blue tiles...It was a gorgeous mixture of Japanese and Western designs.

Before leaving for the hotel, our day didn't start off too auspiciously since we spent the morning cancelling our flights to New York on JAL, after we saw their engines explode in mid-air the night before. Miraculously, no one was hurt, but the fact that the plane left from Fukuoka, and JAL has been having these "mysterious" accidents recently...well, we are now flying with ANA.

The weekend we went away was a holiday called Obon. This holiday is kind of like Halloween but without the costumes and going from house to house trick or treating (E7 gets crazy when I explain it that way but it is the closest holiday I can equate it to in the U.S.) Come to think of it, if there isn't any costumes and trick-or-treating, then I guess it wouldn't be similar at all...hmmm....

I guess Obon is the old meaning of All Saints Day or All Souls Day on November 1st, where the souls of the departed come back to visit families and kind of "hang around" for the weekend. It's a really nice holiday, with people visiting the homes of their parents and getting together.

Anyway, because it was Obon, the traffic was crazy but we entertained ourselves trying to find music on the radio (no stations were coming in) and then trying to play some tapes on the broken player: we were able to listen to the same part of 2 songs while the tape went from one side to the other...a mixture of Dixie Chicks and The Coors. Oh, and we have no CD player in our car or DVD player in our house, even though we live in the electronic capital of the world. Go figure.

Because we had no music in the car, E7 took it upon himself to sing the entire track of Queen for me...without the music. "We will, we will, rock you..." And, I have to take part in this impromptu concert in the car, making the noises for the background accompaniment (drums and such). Who wants to come on a roadtrip with us??? I can see you all jumping at the chance!

We finally arrived at the hotel and I was THRILLED (and not only because I could stop being the backup band for E7, aka Freddy Mercury. Big gothic style hotel, with wooden doors that went up 3 stories at the entrance. Fountains and birds singing, dragonflies flitting about (and not in my face or hair, which of course would have changed this perfect scene to one with me screaming and running around, while E7 pretended he didn't know me).

After we checked in, we went to our room where we immediately changed our clothes to yukata, which are light summer kimono (or pj's in hotels) and relaxed with our complimentary bottle of champagne and chocolate. You know, I just love champagne. I have it about 2x a year and only for special occasions because you can't drink champagne every day...can you?

Dinner started at 8:30, after drinks in the bar. This is what we had...and yes, I am going to write in Italian because it's fun to write in a foreign language, especially one that I don't understand. :) The pathetic excellent translations are my own.

Carpaccio di Pesce Spada in Salsa Tabulee (Carpaccio with raw fish...YUM!)
Vellutata di Capesante al Pomodoro e Basilico (Tomato soup with olive oil and scallops)
Risotto Vialone Nano alle Vongole Veraci Bianco (Risotto with clams)
Fagottini di Pasta alle Olive Tagiasche (Creamed onion ravioli in olive pasta with ricotta cheese)
Gambero allo Champagne e Pepe Rosa (Prawns in champagne and pink pepper sauce)
Filetto di Manzo Kagoshima alla Pascoli (Grilled beef strips)
Tirami Su con Frutti di Bosco (Tiramisu)
Caffe, Te o Espresso (Coffee, tea or espresso)

This menu was on our table, but the both of us wanted to be surprised by what was coming so we ended up putting it away. The waiters seemed confused about where the menu went. :) We were thrilled with the dinner. I can't believe how good it was.

During the meal, there was an opera singer from Tokyo who was visiting his family in Nagasaki and did a performance at the restaurant. Right before dessert, he announced that E7 and I were celebrating our anniversary and sang Elvis Presley's "Can't help falling in love with you" or whatever the title of the song is. Kind of embarrassing because they don't do that in Japan usually. But I had to hand it to E7...he looked like this happened to him all the time. Kind of waved his hand around and bowed his head at the different tables. Too funny.

A visit to the spa for a quick massage and facial followed dinner and we finally went to sleep around 3AM. The package we did let us check out at 1PM the next day so we slept in late and just lazed around for the afternoon.

It was a perfect weekend.

0 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:


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