February 18th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
A Date for Sunday
Sunday was a great day. Just before I came to Japan I signed onto a website to meet locals online and ask them questions about Tokyo. Ok I admit it, it’s a dating site! Strangely, most of the girls I contacted didn’t reply, perhaps due to technical problems with the site :-) but one of them did and we arranged to meet up. Nami is my age, she teaches Italian and lives 20 minutes away from Tokyo.
We arranged to meet by a green railway wagon outside Shibuya station, I was there bang on time but she didn’t turn up.
Bad start, I suddenly realised that I couldn’t quite remember what she looked like and there were so many people around me that I could have easily missed her. After 20 minutes I decided to ask a chap next to me to give her a ring, it was quite comical trying to explain the situation. Strangely, there seemed to be something wrong with her number and he couldn’t get hold of her, I could tell from his expression exactly what he was thinking… Stood up? I’ve never been stood up before, but then again I’ve hardly been on any dates, so I waited a bit longer and eventually she turned up, 40 minutes late. Besides the bad start, we spent the next 8 hours together and we had a good laugh.
First we visited Kamakura, which was Japan’s military and administrative capital. We walked along a cherry-lined walkway up to the main shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, and watched the proceedings of a wedding taking place, scary stuff.
There’s an impressive gingko tree on the left of the steps to the main hall, it is even mentioned in my guide and is said to be 1000 years old. Outside the main hall we saw the usual picture messages board for good fortunes, which are called Ema, but this time I had a guide who could tell me what they meant. Later, we jumped on a train and moved on to the site of a huge bronze Buddha, the second biggest in Japan. Then we strolled to the beach and much to our amusement we saw loads of surfers trying to catch a wave in the freezing middle of winter, Japanese are renowned for their crazy stunts! One of them even had a paddle to push him self past the others, or maybe whack ‘em out of his way shouting ‘Banzai’!
After Kamakura we took another train to Yokohama, which is a lovely city, though the sun was down and it was too bloody cold to have a walk, so we opted straight for food in China Town.
By this time we were starving and we both opted for a huge all you can eat feast, sod the romantic meal for two when you feel like eating for two! We had many different delicious dishes but one in particular I remember, because it was totally disgusting! I think Nami ordered it and it was tofu with crab sauce. Well, the sauce had the appearance and consistency of the dribble hanging from the side of a labrador's mouth, out of politeness I tried some and even the taste was awful, maybe the crab was off?
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Finally the long day drew to an end. Meeting Nami was great fun, we had lots of laughs throughout the day and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch in the future.