|WOW! WOW! WOW! Boy am I loving Japan!!! For those of you that read my last blog, you can stop worrying as I a)found my hotel and b)had a reservation!!
This is actually my first time ever in a foreign country (non English speaking) without other people around me (and everything organised for me) so I was actually pretty proud of myself that I got to the hotel under my own steam. I even took the local bus, and found the hotel by walking around the streets for a few minutes!
I spent the afternoon walking around the massive mall (essentially strip shopping under a clear roof .... at least 5 blocks long, and five blocks wide) with my senses literally being bashed with lights, colours and noise. Didn't buy anything even though there was lots of cute stuff. I actually have a feeling nothing will fit me ... I have a slightly different shape so Japanese women!!!
Robin (Bama) Wallace arrived last night just as I was going to dinner. The hotel is actually quite swanky, we were both a little surprised! I also was waiting at an elevator and it opened to see Joe and Connie Vella standing there! That blew me away!!! Joe told me that the Aussie girls had a bit of uniform issue, apparently none of them fit, and they had to order some emergency uniforms from China, hopefully they will arrive in time. Ouch.
We were supposed to have vouchers for dinner for the hotel restaurants but for some reason the dates were mixed up and they weren't valid. We decided to have a couple of cocktails at the hotel bar, and then venture out for some dinner. I ordered a margarita, and I am killing myself that I didn't take my camera ... it was the tiniest margarita I have ever seen! A few weeks ago at TGI Friday's I ordered a margarita that was I think $8 ... maybe $12 tops, it came in a shaker that refilled my enormous glass 2 or 3 times. This one ... ha! It was in a tiny apertif glass! I had to take it sooooo slowly so I didn't drink it all in one sip ... what's more it was about $15!!!
After that we got out pretty quick, deciding to see what we could find. We were totally blown away by the number of restaurants squashed into what I guess is the CBD. Hundreds. Easily. We picked one, based on nothing except the fact that the door opened when I pushed it (Bama had tried a few and the doors didn't open!). We made a great choice, ordering a whole range of Japanese food. The highlights were some incredibly long and thing pork spring rolls, and what I am going to call Chicken Tonkatsu ... essentially crumbed and fried chicken that was superb. We also had steamed green soya beans, gyoza and this weird dish that was literally prawns, beans, egg and ... wait for it ... tomato sauce! The prawn dish was probably not the winner, but with a bit of soy dumped on it was quite tasty. We also tried some sake ... not awful, not great ... will try a different brand next time!
We took a while to decide what we wanted, so sent the waiter away. He took forever to come back and we were grumbling about it. Bama saw a button that was attached to the serviette holder, and pushed it a few times as a joke, instantly the waiter arrived! We weren't sure if it was a coincidence ... so after he took our order and went she pushed it again. OOPS ... instant waiter! She extracted herself from the situation by asking for some water!
After that we decided to find a bar and see how we went. We found 2 right next to each other. Once looked very fancy, classy, great decor ... and one had a whole bunch of Japanese businessmen and looked very dodgy! We went with the dodgy one! We weren't sure if we were even allowed in, but the bartender, Chizzy, was very welcoming. He was hilarious! He took about 10 minutes from us ordering, to pouring our beer, and was laughing the entire time about how slow he was! He only had use of one arm, and we also weren't sure whether he was a little slow or just drunk. He asked us to speak English to him, but he couldn't understand much and replied in Japanese each time. He also had a friend sitting at the bar that could speak a little English so we had a great time trying to work out what each other said.
I was mad with myself as I didn't take my camera OR my flip, but we are planning to go back, and will make sure I do then. We stayed fairly late, the bartender bought at least one beer for us, and some businessmen also bought us a couple of beers. We tried a dish called "Giant Corn" ... which was ... giant corn! It was essentially corn nuts, but somehow they made them huge. I asked whether they came from giant corn cobs but apparently not, just normal sized!
We also were without a phrase book so there was a lot of gesturing and pigeon English and Japanese floating about. For some reason Chizzy loved the word "excellent" and laughed and smiled every time we used it!
So a good night for my first proper night in Japan. Tomorrow (actually today ... for some reason I woke at 6am and couldn't sleep so thought blogging was a good option!) .. we have a 10am meeting to find out what we are actually going to do! Woohoo!