It was a good finish.
I ended my time in Tottori-ken yesterday by spending the day with my family in Sakaiminato (the island town where my relatives live). My cousin Yoshiko and her niece Etsu picked me up from my hotel in Yonago city. Yoshiko dropped us off and Etsu took me to Kitaro Road… a road in Sakaiminato dedicated to the artist and manga, GeGeGe no Kitaro. Kitaro is Sakaiminato’s claim to fame… even the airport is nicknamed Yonago Kitaro. The manga consists of a boy and his FATHER’S EYE. Kind of weird… but his father’s EYE follows Kitaro around and takes a bath in a rice bowl. There are a bunch of other weird characters that look like monsters too. Etsu didn’t watch it, so she filled me in with as much as she could with the story. The street, however, was filled with a museum and tons of shops that sold everything from Kitaro clothes to food that looked like eyeballs. Now I’m curious about this manga. Have any of you seen it?
After touring Kitaro road, we went back to Etsu’s house where my Obasan made me REAL Japanese matcha (with those crazy looking bamboo whisk thingies). It was really neat because I don’t often drink homemade matcha in a Japanese home. Etsu told me that they eat some Japanese sweets first, then drink the matcha. Obasan gave me two pieces of what looked like a type of youkan with the tea. I loved it! The tea was delicious, and I ALWAYS like youkan.
I think what was really cool about the experience was that I felt like I had just come home from school and my grandma was making me a snack. haha. It didn’t feel like I was in a foreign country. I felt like I was at home. I felt very welcome. And I loved having real Japanese matcha made by a real Japanese Obasan! Although to them, it may have just been some green tea and sweets… it was a really cool experience for me.
For lunch, I had a really delicious Unagi-don. We waited for Takiaki (see previous post) to come home and then went to lunch. He’s learning English, so it’s really fun to talk to him. He greeted me as he walked in the house with “Ah!! Guud Ahf-tah-NOON!!” 🙂 After lunch, he held my hand as I walked him through the parking lot to the car, and we practiced reciting body parts in both English and Japanese. He’s a really fun kid.
After a short visit to Etsu + Takiaki’s dad’s dental clinic, we went to the Adachi Museum of Art (no relation to my family… there are a lot of Adachi’s in the area) and looked at some really cool pieces from Japanese artists of the 20th and 21st Centuries. The museum also housed what was voted Japan’s #1 Japanese garden… and therefore, the world’s #1 Japanese garden. It was really beautiful… hopefully these pics give you a little taste of what I saw…
From there, we headed to dinner at a pizza place in town. They knew I liked pizza, so they took me to a local joint that served some Japanese style pizza. We had 4 different kinds: mixed meat, cod roe, curry, and mochi! YUP, I SAID MOCHI. I love Japanese pizza.
After dinner, we stopped off at Etsu’s house to drop off their dinner, then went to the airport. I got to say some goodbyes to Yoshie and Takiaki, then we were off. I invited them all to Los Angeles. I really hope they come… I think it’d be fun to take the family around to LA hotspots.
Obasan, Yoshiko, and Etsu were really kind and hospitable to me. They totally went out of their way to show me around and make sure I was well fed. I’m tremendously thankful to them… my time in Tottori wouldn’t have been the same without them. They even stayed with me in the airport until I boarded! YASASHII!!
I arrived in Tokyo late at night, and the lady at the information booth helped me find the right trains to take to my hotel. The only problem is that the streets out here are hard to navigate. Before finding my hotel, I got a little lost, which wouldn’t have been a problem except that it was midnight and two “ladies of the night” were soliciting to me as I walked out of the train station. Haha. I’m definitely in Tokyo now.
Today, I slept in. I was so tired from my last few days in Kagoshima and Tottori. I had so much fun, that by today I’m completely wiped out. I’ll probably head out, grab a bite and do some shopping before tomorrow (when I head back to LA). Tokyo, here I come!