Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sayonara Sunday

Sue Yen and I headed to Spa World again so I could try the European themed floor before I had to leave my beloved Nippon.

When we got there we were greeted with a mega long line of families, kids and young gangs of bikini, board-short clad, tanned bodies. Our thoughts of a nice, quiet, relaxing soak session soon disappeared when we realised Spa World was having a special 1,000 yen summer holiday deal.

It was crowded. But luckily most people were there for the pools. We got to cover up in the lavender-scented mud, soak with gummy sharks swimming underneath us, brew in a bath of herb tea, sweat it out in the salt sauna and just relax and get squeaky clean. Although I still prefer the Asian themed floor.

Nice and clean with our mango smoothies

Then we headed back to Umeda for lunch.

Sue Yen left for another engagement and I met up with Hiroko to say goodbye. She had just come from a wedding party and looked gorgeous. I took her to Elephant Cafe and she said she would take her husband there next time.

As soon as I arrived at Tarumi station I got a call from my adopted-Japanese-father-sensei. He wanted to drop off some gifts for my parents and myself. His mother makes Japanese dolls dressed in real kimonos. He gave me one dressed in a gold kimono, along with bizenyaki cups and some Shizuoka green tea. Then he decides that we should go out for one last eating drinking session. He drives me back to my place so I can drop off my stuff and he calls Nakai-sensei to come along.

She had also just got back home and hadn't had dinner. So he took us to this traditional sushi bar where he introduced us as his 'other' daughters (Nakai-sensei and I are the same age as his daughter). The food was fresh, huge and delicious. Simple yet so tasty. Although by the end of it, even though I love sashimi, I was getting a bit sick of the very overwhelming rawness.

Fresh local oysters

Akashi octopus

The chef's recommended selection

You like fresh? The chef grabs a fish swimming around in the tank and cuts and slices it. He bends the remaining body and bends it to make a dish with the slices of sashimi sitting in the middle. Eeks! Then when I take this photo, the fish starts twitching (head and tail) when my flash goes off!!!

Sensei makes us eat way too much and the sake, beer and shouchu keeps comin'. He knows that I don't really drink so he orders cold oolong tea for me. But Nakai-sensei is a tank! She politely keeps drinking everything Sensei gives her. Respect yo.

It gets late and we have to catch the last train. We say goodbye at the train station and Sensei gives money to Nakai-sensei for our train tickets and taxi fair to get back to our apartments. He told me that he treats me like a daughter because when his daughter went to study and work in Mexico, she told him the locals looked after her and welcomed her into their families. He really appreciated the kindness shown to his daughter and so wanted to do the same for me, a foreigner living in another country. It was so sad saying thank-you and goodbye to him. I'll always remember him waving to me with his pink, smiling face as I walked through the train gates.

Waiting for the last train


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