This year my husband, Mike, came over for our "Break Week" a couple of days early. He wanted to see where I live and teach for eleven weeks each fall. He made his way from the airport to Shinjuku by himself without a hitch, and was met by my colleague who brought him to Hachioji and Inume-machi near Kogakuin University where my apartment is this year.
Mike loves the fact that I teach in Japan each fall, and why, you ask? Because he gets to come visit me, and with my skoshi language skills and knowledge of the train system, we can cover a lot of ground and eat some excellent food!
Mike loves fish, but sushi makes him squeamish. He’s tried it, and now he’s done. I love sushi, and wherever we go, I can get my fill of one of my favorite foods, and he can choose tempura, or soba, or udon, or any combination of things.
In Hiroshima we ate okonomiyaki, which is a vegetable and seafood type pancake, which may sound weird, but it is delicious, especially when you sit at a counter with the hot griddle in front of you and watch the chef make a dozen at a time for all the guests surrounding you with yours in the mix! At the restaurant we chose, there was even an English speaking chef who probably owned the joint, and he made his way over to us several times during our meal. He surprised his other guests who were all Japanese because he was practically fluent in English!
In Osaka, we stayed at a fabulous hotel with several wonderful restaurants on the twenty-second floor, one traditional Japanese, where I had sushi and Mike tempura. Another restaurant had Kobe beef, and we indulged! We may never do it again, but we decided to splurge. Mike got the Kobe beef dinner, and I got the Bunkyo beef. We joked that we were using our children’s birthday and Christmas gift money to pay for the pricey meal, so thanks kids!!
For the Kobe dinner, once again, our chef stood before us. A hot grill stood between us and a plate glass window, and the night-lights of Osaka glowed in the background. We had a maître de and two waitresses serving us. We watched as our chef prepared vegetables, garlic oil, garlic chips from making the oil, meat grilled in the garlic oil before our eyes. He grated fresh wasabi that we used to flavor the tasty morsels he cooked, and we ate everything. EVERYTHING! I refrained from licking my plate, but just barely. Course after course was cooked, presented, and served, and I was thinking, “I could get used to this!”
We had noodles in Nara, rice bowls in Kyoto, and pastries in Ginza with the most delicious freshly ground coffee. We feasted and then we were off to the next site, palace, castle, shrine, or garden. The hardest part of this whole week was when Mike had to return to the states, and I had to return to the classroom. We did it, but we we weren’t happy about it! The upside is we get to do this again next year, and we’re thinking onsen and mountain hikes. I can hardly wait!