The last five months flew by while I sat around like a lump in my parents’ house. It was the first time in about 15 years since I had lived with my parents, and being back for that long allowed me to spend some quality time with them.
On our last day in Tokyo, we took a walk along the Kanda River with my mom and her favorite daughter, Kaede. It was also the first time in 15 years that I saw the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Japan, and what was pretty uninteresting then was now totally transformed in my eyes.
Today we hiked Mt. Takao in Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan. It’s only an hour by train from Tokyo city center and offers many hiking trails for all levels of hikers. Takao-san is about 599 meters high and on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from the summit. We weren’t so lucky today, but it was still a nice hike. It was ¥360 each way from Shinjuku to the base of Mt. Takao and you can save some money by bringing your own lunch. They also sell soft ice cream cones at the summit and you know I had to have one. Hiking and ice cream. Life is good.
Check out our Flickr set for more photos: Mount Takao Photos
A traditional Japanese new year is quiet and very much centered around the family. On new year’s eve, many Japanese families eat toshikoshi soba (literally translated to “end of year soba noodles”) in the late evening in preparation for the coming year. The hope is that your life will be as long as a strand of soba.
Since most shops are closed on the 31st until the 3rd or the 4th of January, we stayed at home and helped my mother prepare the New Year’s feast. While the food isn’t the most traditional, there’s always lots of it to go with the free-flowing wine.
This is our first post and we are already behind!
We had our first Tokyo ramen on December 24th in the Kabuki-cho district of Shinjuku. We were going to go to the ramen place that I had found a couple of years ago when I was wandering the streets of Tokyo on my own but we decided to be adventurous and try something new. Most restaurants in Japan like to show off their food offerings with realistic plastic decoys or giant fine art quality photographs so even an ignorant foreigner who doesn’t know the difference between Kanji and Hiragana can get a decent meal by pointing at one of the plastic display dishes. That’s the technique that I usually use but this time I had a my trusty translator with me so she helped me order the right meal.