Thursday, November 30, 2006
Thanksgiving weekend in Hiroshima
Despite its depressing history, Hiroshima is a very alive modern, bustling city.
I don't think I had any Japanese food (or even used chopsticks) the whole time I was there!
I met up with Jason who shinkansened (yes, I just made that up) from Kyoto and we were really excited to go to a Spanish restaurant that we had read about, but were totally misled and disappointed when it didn't actually exist. Boo!!! Instead, we ended having Indian food and then going to an Irish pub with some of his friends. Had a variety of Saturday breakfast/lunch options and finally opted on a Spanish / Mexican / Argentinian restaurant that we read about, but this time, gastronomically misled. I was really excited at the prospect of having plantains and black beans or a burrito or something, but these were not on the menu. I ordered a very delicious looking "Argentinian Stew over rice" which was in fact a very dry piece of tonkatsu (fried pork) with a side of rice. Very unimpressed.
Most of Saturday was spent walking around Hiroshima castle, several parks, and finding coffeeshops, which were all closed. Hiroshima was surprisingly very walkable, very much like San Francisco, except that it was completely flat. Tom and Steve came in on Saturday night, which was the highlight of the weekend- not only was it Tom's birthday, it was the Thanksgiving Feast at Kemby's, a local bar!
For 1500 yen (about $12), we would be able to have a huge Thanksgiving feast of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, mac and cheese, salad, corn, cranberry sauce (canned), candied yams, pumpkin pie, brownies, and cornbread.... it was AWESOME and it was even more awesome that the dinner was made by Japanese chefs who had pored over recipes and gone through a few dry runs before they got everything perfect... The fact that I was with good friends and making new friends and having good food reminded me of how happy the holidays are for me, and of course, how thankful I am for having everything I have...
Tom's friend Brian, a JET from San Francisco who lives in Hiroshima, served as our fantastic, energetic, spastic, hilarious guide the rest of the night. I knew it would be a good night when he met us on a bridge with a bag of beers, and forced us to chug them down in less than 2 minutes. We bought shots and drinks and snacks and candy for eachother all night as our group grew to about 8 or 9 people, trolling the streets from bar to bar, ending at this several story entertainment venue. For a flat fee of .... well, I actually don't remember now, we got unlimited access to karaoke, ping pong, billiards, batting cages, and my favorite part.... massage chairs!!! And that was just on the floor we were on. I have no idea what they offered on the other floors, but I didn't want to leave those amazing chairs.