Sunday, October 08, 2006

And just like that, you too could be on the other side of the planet!

Really not all that hard... all you have to do is buy a ticket, make your way to the airport and bring along something to distract you for 18 and some odd hours... next thing you know, you're in Japan!

Nice to have ol' Mum around for a while, and quite happy to have Yoshiko and her finally meet up!

Headed out this afternoon, hopped on the very convenient Marronnier bus which does the trip direct from Utsunomiya to Narita airport in about 2 and a half, 3 hours depending on traffic. Just 4070 Yen, which isn't all that much cheaper than using the Shinkansen and local trains, but it does save you having lug your bags around stations and on trains... Of course, I had no bags, except for the lunch I picked up at Tullys. I just laid back and watched the scenery go by. Sure was a lovely day for a drive, brisk and clear blue skies thanks to the recent Typhoons clearing the air out here. I even got to see the elusive Mount Fuji again! Albeit only as a hazy triangular darkness looming over Tokyo while speeding down the highway.

The water in Tokyo's rivers are quite high due to all the rain, rather nice to see when compared to the usual trickle.

And after a little over an hour of waiting, I finally found my dear mother, having deplaned and passed customs with no problems... which is really quite surprising since she smuggled in quite a few bottles of maple syrup to be given to guests at my and Yoshiko's upcoming wedding lunch... but shhhhhh, it's a secret!

Quite lovely to have her on the same continent again, even if it is for only 1 week. Unfortunately, we missed the bus back to Utsunomiya, which meant she got an extra train ride through Tokyo and was also able to ride the famed Shinkansen. Here she be in Ueno, between stations.

When we finally did make it out to Utsunomiya, we were greeted at the Shinkansen gate by my smiling little buhbee! Finally, they meet and my mother's new job as (almost) mother-in-law can begin. (On the train, I reminded her than after mother-in-law is often quickly followed by grand-mother... but I feel she may still be in denial about that)

On the way out, I got the low down on Al-Noor which I was shocked to hear closed down! Yoshiko tried to head to lunch there the other day, and found it shut down! I was quite sad to hear... as we were leaving the station, we met one of the Pakistani guys who sell silverware on Orion street and he says the city if widening that street so they were essentially expropriated and forced to shut down! The owner has gone back home now for a while, but is planning to come open a new place up somewhere in Utsunomiya. Not sure when though.

For my mother's first meal in Utsunomiya, we picked our favourite place to share with her... Cafe Praktica! It was of course, fabulous as usual. She even made us little Mont Blanc cakes to try out. I took a picture of the lovely Master from Praktica, but unfortunately, my flash didn't do her justice, so I'm not posting it. THANKS FOR THE WARM WELCOME!!!

And then back home where I have showed her the ropes of how to run my apartment... not too difficult, but there are enough differences to keep things interesting. As I type this, she is nodding off in my chair, I really should lay out her bed for her. Tomorrow will be a run out to Lake Chuzenji, hopefully before the onslaught of people. We will do our best to get an early start.


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