November 29, 2008

Japan 2008, Day 6


We woke up and got to the sumo stadium before the gift shop opened. It was absolute heaven. There was so much knick-knackia of a sumo nature! Flags and shirts and cards and fans and Hello Kitty in a mawashi.

The saleslady was so nice. I think she was mildly perplexed that I had no language skills other than sumo nouns. Sorry! I saw the old stadium cushions in the back room and asked if I could buy one. They're experimenting with replacing them with double cushions that are harder for fans to throw during tournaments. She would not hear of selling one, but it was worth a try.

Then we went on an adventure in Ueno, wherein mrguy found the store he was looking for that sells Japanese denim.

Then off to meet acquaintances who took us to a forklift factory and gave us a tour of their machine room.

They handed us off at Shibuya Station to wonderful friends from the Japanese tour of the forklift exhibition, and we got to spend the rest of the day with them. Sweet!!

They took us to a formal garden that had colorful maple trees and a gorgeous lake filled with big funny koi (am I the only person who thinks that carp have a sense of humor?) and herons and egrets and beautiful stones. As night fell, Ms S noticed that a building right next to the footpath was actually an apartment and they were watching sumo (Baruto vs Dejima). Good eye!

We took the subway to Rappongi, and had the culinary experience of a lifetime. Mr H identified our spot as a "Robota" restaurant. The ingredients were all laid out before us like a Japanese version of a Dutch still life. The chefs cooked everything to order, and our every move was shouted to the entire restaurant. Mrguy has been joking that when we had the tasty little salad with shirako in vinaigrette, the waiters and chefs were probably shouting "The Americans are eating shirako!!" I tease, but the shirako was tasty (anything in ponzu has my vote). However the texture was a little wiggly for me :)

I know this isn't a food blog, but I need to geek out a bit. We ate the largest oysters I've ever consumed. I'm not a fan of big oysters, because I've never eaten a delicious one. This oyster was a Pacific oyster of some sort and every piece of it was that perfect "crispy" texture and fresh-fresh-fresh. It took three bites. And the eggplants were that inky indigo color that you only find in Japanese eggplants in Japan. All of us were right about the hairy tubers by the way. I said they're taro. Our hosts said they're potatoes. According to the world wide intertubes, they're "taro potatoes."

The whole time we were with our friends I could *not* get over how delicious it was to be with them and for mrguy to finally meet them. Sometimes you meet people and just feel like you're supposed to be friends and hope that feeling is mutual.

Awwwww. It was sad when we had to say goodbye.

After all of this fun I could not stay awake on the subway. On Friday I had had the experience of being the gentle pillow for a sweetly sleeping school boy. Now mrguy was mine.

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