I love this photo of Dad as we were trying to get through the early morning “river of people”. Who wouldn’t love this face? I’m only blogging about the high points of our visit, but I am not exaggerating when I tell you, everyday we shared spontaneous special moments with one another. I have referred to my father’s extraordinary fitness and stamina, but in truth, spending this amount of quality time together, I was never made more aware of his fragility. No one wants to admit their parents are getting older. It only implies one thing. This morning’s conversation with Cliff:
- Cliff: Do you mind picking up my prescriptions?
- Me: No…. I don’t understand why you need to take all these meds!?!? (Migraine & “Special Skin Cream”)
- Cliff: I’m not taking “all these meds…”
- Me: You’re dying too!!! [flopping on the bed working up some tears]
- Cliff: I’m not dying! Look at me! I’m healthier than you!
Let me just tell you, sometimes when I’m about to get into a frenzy, Cliff’s narcissism can work like smelling salts.
FILLING IN THE BLANKS
After the hike to Nokogiriyama, Dad and I were also able to do some shopping, go to an onsen play tennis, take in a yoga class, take an Indian cooking class, attend one of Chase’s baseball game (Chase ended up hitting a homerun out of the field), go to an art exhibit and eat a lot of great food. We did a little grocery shopping every day so I could make dinner. Dad was in a constant state of sticker shock for obvious reasons. I have long since stopped converting all the prices to dollars, but Dad felt compelled to calculate everything for me.
- Dad: I can’t believe those oranges cost so much!
- Me: Well, after a while you just get used to it. I compensate by not buying underwear.
- Dad: Hmm. [Pretending to ignore me] I just wouldn’t buy any.
- Me: Besides, scurvy isn’t fatal right away…
One of the advantages of being a senior citizen is being able to eat as many “samples” as you like. Dad illustrated this for me everytime we passed any food samples in stores. I guess once he realized how expensive the food is, he decided he could “save” me some money by eating like this. Parents.
The Imperial Palace is one of those places that you can overlook because you live too close. I have passed it many times on my way to here and there and everytime I do I say, “I have got to go walk around there!” It is just so beautiful. It is this huge property of manicured lawns and trees smack in the middle of the city. Oh, and of course there is the palace. On the weekend, the main road is actually blocked off to traffic so there are tons of runners and bicyclers all over the place. Entrance to the grounds is free and the gardens inside the Palace are beautiful and full of history and information. I love the mix of old and new architecture.
SHIN OKUBO & MEIJI JINGU
One of our spontaneous days involved visiting Shin Okubo aka “Korea Town” and then Meiji Jingu Shrine. Going to Shin Okubo was kind of a disappointment. I’m sure when Alexandra reads this, she will say, “What is that girl talking about? Kathryn must have gone to North Koreatown.” I went there wanting to love it. The food there wasn’t any better than what I would find in Nishi Azabu (closer to where I live) and to be honest, I was a little uncomfortable with all the K-Pop worship. There just seemed to be a lot of middle-aged housewives and a lot of autographed posters of K-Pop and Korean Drama Stars. The best part was going to the Korean supermarket and scoring mangos for half price!
Afterwards, we went to Meiji Jingu because it was another place I hadn’t been to, but everyone has said is a place to see. It is sort of the Emperor’s “vacation spot”. It is such a tranquil and lovely place. Since dad arrived, I have gotten him hooked on sake, especially as a remedy for the jet lag wake-ups at 1 and 2am. Less liquid to drink than a Sapporo tall boy. As we were walking in the park, we came across this beautiful display of old sake barrels. Kismet!
Our last group tour was to Senzokuike Park in south Tokyo. This is a real “local’s” treasure. I have to take Chase here. He would love it. It is a Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine all in one. There is a samurai buried here and one of the emperor’s most prized horses is honored here. You can rent swan shaped paddle boats and explore the lake that way too. The lake is full of fish, turtles, and birds. It is really a special place.
I’m all “re-capped out” so I am going to fix some dinner. Will try to blog again ASAP.
June 12th Chase & I return to the States and will stay with Mary in Sterling, Virginia.
August 12th Date we return to Japan
Until next time…