Friday, October 16, 2009

Eriko & Sou s' Wedding Part 3

16th October 2009, Friday

The itinerary of the day was as followed:
Our hosts would meet us at 9 and drive us westwards to the town of Miyako, Eriko's furusato (home town).
There we would have fresh seafood for lunch before heading to the 三陸海岸 (Sanriku kaikan) and the signature 浄土ヶ浜 (Joudoga Hama). I had overheard that they were going to squeeze in a bath session after that and it was much murky for the events after that.

Sou was designated the driver for the audacious 2 hour trip which will cross some mountainous roads to the seaside town of Miyako.
It wasn't long before the nice scenery of the route of highway 106 had become a hypnotizing element prompting my missus to doze off in the coziness of the Mazda with the tune of ikimonokagari playing in the background.

We made a toilet stop halfway through when the weather went a big crazy with a passing drizzle which ended as fast as it came.
The supermarket there showcased some of the farming pride of the local residence as we marvelled at some vegetables we had yet seen in this lifetime.

The pace of the trip sped up and in no time we reached Miyako and Eriko took over the wheels.
First stop was "Heibi no Me (Snakes' Eyes)", a well-known restaurant, just a stone throw from the train station.

As promised, the restaurant offered the freshest and the most tastebuds appeasing raw seafood which took like mere hours from hauling off the trawlers of the local fisherman to the bowl in front of us.
The assortment of uni (sea urchin), ikura (fish eggs), prawns, crabs, squid and of course the star of the season sanma (pacific saury or 秋刀魚) was just exploding in our mouth as we could not stop salivating while recalling the joy of eating even now in our minds.

After a brief encounter of an elementary school taiko (drums) club performing at the front of the train station, we headed for a fish market where we got to see the freshest seafood in their pride and glory.
Unlike the initial thought of being wet and smelly, the fish market was actually quite clean and most the local haul were selling at very affordable price even a life kraken I mean octopus would agree.

Joudoga Hama was not far away from the fish market and being the prime tourist's attraction, it was not surprising to see the car park being well occupied when we got there.

It was a good 10 minutes walk down along the shoreline facing the Pacific Ocean and we were greeted by the flock of seagulls (not the 1980s English electronic band) or what the locals called as "umi neko (sea cats due to their calling sounded a bit like cat's meowing)".

The plan here was to take a 10 minutes boat ride around the bay which those off shore rocks enclosed and will head into a ravine in a slab of coastal rock.

The wait was to be around 20 minutes, therefore we headed towards the those ocean-eroded giant boulders which form the signature scenery of Jodouga Hama.
The only problem was that the beach was filled with pebbles which made walking really uncomfortable and amazing how some ladies can maneuver with stilettos while the fear of anything aviary started to act on the missus as the seagulls did not look intimidated by human at all.

Donning in our glaring orange life vest (which really was not looking safe enough) and a plastic helmet (perhaps to shelter us from the excretions of the flying umi neko), we were ready to board the motor-runned boat as a seasoned skipper cum guide showed us around the bay.
As usual, I just nodded as he narrated the little known facts of the place while trying to enjoy the nice weather while the real skipper of the boat grew weary at the bow.

The main attraction perhaps was the foray into the chasm which one could observe the crystal blue water around this region while the furious wave came gushing back after hitting the back of the cave.
As our boat made for the jetty, curtailing the ride, we saw Sou and Eriko making their way off for their own tour.

Around the jetty, adults and kids were hurling prawn crackers which was supposedly Umi Neko's favorite snacks which attracted and entire flock.
It was like hormonal response as the birds would instinctively pick up the opening of a packet of crackers and soon the flock would gather around the friendly human feeder.
I myself tried dabbling with it and was interesting to see some of the more desperate seagulls taking flight to snatch those that i threw in mid air.

It was close to 3 when we felt our time at the bay should come to an end as our hosts told us it was tiime for ofuro (public bath).
The location was this nice hotel along the coastline where they had a public bath ran by heating the sea water.

In the e-mail the missus had sent Eriko days prior to our flight, she did mention about heading for onsen.
There was no natural hot spring in the vicinity, so this was the closest it can get.

We paired off by gender and went straight to wash the dirt off every inches of our skin before the comforting dip of the warm bath.
Stark naked, Sou and myself had a intimate ....chat about our lives and seriously I was amazed he was still only 25 when he was so much matured for his age.
The way he showered card an concern for his wife definitely was a notch higher than myself which I shamefully had to admit.
He also told me that the wedding reception cost him a cool 3 million yen (around S$48K) but i felt it was a norm there perhaps.
There was intention to dropby Singapore to watch the Formula One Grand Prix in the future and I cordially invited him to stay with us when they are here.

Sou said it feels like heaven to gulp down a pint of the finest lager fresh from dipping in hot water, but because of their need to drive he had refrained from it while going for ice-cream instead.
The beer definitely took effect for my wife and me as we slept like babies while Sou ensured a safe journey back to Morioka as the sun was setting at the ripe old hour of 5.

I felt bad 15 minutes from my slumber and decided to keep myself awake for the remains of the journey as poor Sou tried to keep himself focus on a rather narrow route 106.
It was amazing about the lack of street lights as drivers had to bank on alternating their headlights to check for those indicative pillars along the bends.

We made a toilet break as my missus fresh from her nap requested for it and it was starting to get chilly up on the mountain.

Finally we reached Morioka and they looked to fulfill the last item on my missus' request list: karaoke.
So we arrived at this giant karaoke lounge by the name of "Jiyuukan" which offer 24 hour singing and partying service like none other.

The room was well cozy as we were busy selecting the food which act as dinner while choosing what songs to sing.
Eriko also mentioned "飲み放題" meaning drink is free flow which was always up my alley to try their various sour or mocktails.

After the missus kicked start with a rendition of News' "星をめざして", Eriko went for Kobukuro's "Tsubomi" while Sou started the first of his 3 The Blue Hearts' songs.
However as usual I was again able to draw surprise admiration from my Japanese acquaintances for my knowledge of J Pop songs, old and new and how well I could perform them.

I went for some really old tracks for the night including from the 1970s (もしもピアノが弾けたなら by Nishida Toshiyuki), the 1980s (恋におちて -Fall in love- by Kobayashi Akiko and later Tokunaga Hideaki) and the 1990s (Sukui Onna by Sharan Q) which proved to be some sort of entertainment value for my hosts.

The karaoke session lasted for a couple of hours before Sou looked visibly shagged out and with his consumption of beer felt he could not drive as they employed the valet service to fetch them back in their own car while sending us back to the hotel along the way.
The night definitely looked early for us as we went for more snacks to accompany for the last night at Hotel Ruiz as we packed for the departure tomorrow.


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home