We started the week off with a train ride over to Ningyocho to meet friends Rick & Mico Rettig for a wander about this interesting shitamachi (old town) area of Tokyo. Ningyocho is known as the home of several amazake (a traditional sweet, low-alcoholic drink made from fermented rice) makers and as a textile wholesale district. I had found the area to be a live & bustling area when I was there for lunch a few days before, but we discovered that on Sundays many of the shops close for the day. Too bad since it is a busy tourist area and I expect more business would come through their doors if they were open on Sunday. The pizza restaurant I had tried during my earlier trip there was open though so we were able to enjoy a pretty tasty lunch of excellent panini, slow roasted herbed pork, and pizza (no, I didn't eat ALL of that - but our party of 4 enjoyed a few different dishes). A glass or so of house red helped the food go down nicely & their home made gelato was a nice weekend dessert treat. If you are in Ningyocho give Pizza Da Babbo a try (Pizza Da Babbo).
Leaving Ningyocho we walked a few blocks over to the Sumida River (or as they often say here in Japan, the Sumidagawa River, which literally translates to the Sumida River River - what? The Sumida branches off the Arakawa River (river?) and flows to Tokyo Bay. Water taxis ply the river and provide a nice tour of the scenery along the river.
In the summer evenings a cruise and dinner on a Yakatabune (literal translation, roof shaped boat) can be a lot of fun. Partying on these flat bottomed boats is an ancient tradition. Tales of these boats first appeared in the 8th century as a popular way for the aristocrat society of Edo to escape the summer heat. These days anyone can enjoy the cruises, the cold drinks, the food, and even karaoke (and no, it is NOT "carry oki" - it is kah-rah okay).
About 7,000 steps later (Rick has a pedometer on his iPhone) we hopped on the subway for a ride back home and a few more steps - I think we got out 10,000 steps in that day!
The rest of the week was work, work, work, but there was a fun evening of great food and wine at I Sentieri with one of the "foodie" groups I belong to, "The DarkSide" - more about that one some other day. Read more about our evening at I Sentieri at my good friend Terry's blog: Eating Out In Tokyo.
Well, not all work. Saturday turned out to be dry & warm enough to play golf after a day of rain & snow on Friday. Now, if I could get that score back to the 80s like it was in the summer - kinda hard to do with 4 layers on, but warmer days are on the way.
Till next time - ki wo tsukette (take care) and be well!
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