Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Doing the Shizuoka Shimmy

Today I went on a little daytrip with Junko and Mika. We were chauffeured by Mika's generous husband, Yuki. Yuki has a really nice sports car with all the trimmings, including a really cool navigation screen. He likes to have an excuse to drive his baby anywhere. And with 3 of us paying for gas and tolls he didn't seem to mind at all.

First we went to Shimizu. We were headed for a nice bit of beach that juts out into the ocean and from which you can see Mt. Fuji. The really cool navigation program had us ending up in a pretty seedy neighborhood in the middle of the street. We were probably only a hundred yards from where we needed to be, but we sure as hell couldn't tell. It had us all laughing pretty hard. We winded our way to the proper location without satellite technology and headed for the viewing area. We had already decided it would probably be too hazy to see much of Fuji-san, so we weren't to disappointed when our prediction came true. Here are Junko and Mika pretending to be The Mountain, in case the real one wasn't visable in the picture.

It was a wonderfully tacky little beach park with food stalls and souvenir shops. After getting my feet wet in the ocean and perusing each and every shop we headed into the prefectural capital of Shizuoka. Yuki dropped us off and headed for something more manly, but I think he ended up at a mall. While us girly girls headed straight for someplace we could buy beer. Really. The first restaurant we came across was an organic cafe. That was just too much of a coincidence, but we went ahead and gave it a try. I had the pasta. And it very well may be the best meal I have had here in Japan. The staff was perfect and they had a full bar and a lovely dessert menu. Worked out great. Then it was time for some serious shopping. But the truth is we did more wandering the streets than actual shopping. The weather was lovely. As we were walking around these guys dressed in spacesuits with tvs above their heads came marching towards us. Gotta love Japan. Just as I was ready to take their photos they made a U-turn and headed away. Too bad! Junko and Mika really wanted to go to a certain department store because they were having a temporary Italian market on the top floor. They went to Italy a few years ago and fell in love with all things Italian. No arguments from me! So we wandered around the incredibly packed market and tried all the freebies they were handing out. But what Junko was really looking for Boallo wine. We came across the wine section just as they were opening a bottle to give out free tastes. Cool!

They tried it, but it wasn't their beloved Boallo. But the guys in charge led us to this table they had set up and filled 3 glasses with a very pretty wine. Most of you know I really don't like wine or beer. I prefer the hard stuff - vodka, tequilla, etc. But he was so cute and was explaining this wine to us so earnestly I couldn't really refuse. He showed us the proper way to sniff and coddle it. It was so entertaining, especially since I thought it tasted alot like Boone's Farm. So we sat and laughed and talked about Italy while drinking our wine for awhile. So cutie-patootie brings us a white wine to try next. So I ended up drinking two glasses of free wine. Mark will be so proud. Next stop was a bookstore. Not good news for my pocketbook. This shop had the largest selection of English books I have seen in Japan, outside Tokyo. They even had the latest Joanna Trollope book. That just blew my mind. I restrained myself to only TWO books. More window shopping ensued. It was then time to find some coffee and cake. As we were looking for someplace that was NOT Starbucks (I didn't come to Japan to spend time at Starbucks) we came across the freaky spaceboys again. I think they were advertising satellite or internet or something high tech. But they seemed to be having a great time and really hammed it up for me when I took their pictures.

After the photo-op we found a cafe where we could sit outside and get windblown while we ate our cheesecake. By then it was time to recall our chauffeur and head back to the burg of Hamamatsu. Ain't life grand?


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, too much fun, but I love the Mt. Fuji demo. Mum

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Natalie said...


If you click on the picture, a larger version will appear and you can actually see Mt. Fuji in the larger version.



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