November 29, 2008

Japan 2008, Day 5

We started the day in Chiba. Packing took some time, and then we were off. During the ride our taxi driver fed us candy, tangerines and asked us if we wanted to make a stop to use the restroom. Now *that's* service. As a point of comparison, during the taxi ride from home to the rail station the driver *accelerated* down the hill and ignored most of the stop signs.
We got to our hotel (good choice, mrguy!) and found that we were across from the Inari Shrine. So pretty and peaceful, with the statues of kitsune and bells and incense.
We found a restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, where a local woman encouraged us to eat, took us in, asked for our likes and dislikes and ordered for us. I wish we'd exchanged name cards. She was so kind. If you're ever in Akasaka, eat here:

They'll make you a gorgeous chirashi sushi salad thingie that'll blow you away.
Then off to Yanaka to take a walk suggested by our guidebook. It's peaceful and suburban. Lots of cemetaries and shrines, where ravens make gargling sounds and cats sun themselves on large monuments.

Our next stop, the sumo museum, was closing in an hour. It also took three subway lines to get there. Studly mrguy got us there in 20 minutes. It was fabulous. The vintage kesho-mawashi were beautifully constructed, and an oval photograph of the 25th yokozuna laying down at home was very tender and dear. They don't allow photography, but here are the murals at the stadium:

Then to Beer Club Popeye to try some of their 40 beers on tap. They had a large tv or two, which allowed me to watch the sumo tournament in real time. Patient mrguy!

Our friends from the forklift factory met us, and we had a great night with them, eating chanko-nabe at Yakitori Bar Toriyoshi. I now know that certain chrysanthemums are edible. Yum.

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