I’m posting from Seoul, and Japan seems a world away. Our last few days were a whirlwind of goodbyes and last-minute plans. We walked Yokohama in the mist, soaking in the ramen museum at Shin-Yokohama (regional ramen dishes in a 1958 recreated old-time setting) and spending the night in Kannai. A final visit with the Takemura family was a pleasant surprise. We ate more than our fill of mama’s special dishes (homemade shumai dumplings, giant asparagus from Hokkaido gourmet Duck eggs, homestyle curry, vegetables, salads, and on and on and on). We visited and chat and promised to keep in better touch before getting a ride back to our hotel. I couldn’t stop scheming on how to stay longer, teach English, find a job, help somehow.
The next day was more or less spent in transit after strolling by Cosmo World and the red brick shopping area of Yokohama. The flowers have really started blooming, and it was neat to see this new (relatively) area. The decent rumble and shake of a 5.4 earthquake on the 11th floor of the hotel wasn’t as bad as the 6. something when we first arrived, but it was a solid reminder that the earth sometimes needs to do just what she wants when she wants.
Our last day in Tokyo we met up with an old friend from the days at Dial Service International in New York. Mayumi showed us a new temple neither of us had seen, recently used as a filming location for a popular series. We spent some time listening to and watching a special ceremony being performed by some monks. It’s easy to lose track of time once the chanting begins. We were also able to see the mauseleums of a number of shogun leaders and their wives. Outside, the Jizo-san statues with little pinwheels were especially charming. Later we chilled out atop Tokyo Tower and in nearby Roppongi. What a great sendoff.
We got back to the hood with enough time to get a quick bite and pack for a 4:45 am departure, spending the remainder of the evening debating about what we’d miss most.