On my plane ride to Japan, I was sitting next to a Japanese woman, Yumiko. Neither of us said much to each other during the 12 hour flight until right before we were landing. After a little bit of chit chat, we exchanged information and she said that I can let her know if I need anything while in Japan. I thought it was a kind gesture, but I did not think too much in to it. After a few emails back in forth, asking for directions and other small things, I was invited to spend a day with Yumiko and her family.

I met Yumiko and her husband, Yoshi, at the Nezu subway station at 10am. First we walked around the Nezu Shrine area. Yumiko is a part time tour guide so she knew where everything was. After, we went to Tokyo University where their son, Takashi, graduated from. Takashi works for Nintendo. Is it any coincidence that the father’s name is Yoshi? We may never know.

We went back to their home for a traditional Japanese lunch of pizza, pastries, and coffee. Yumiko showed me the correct way to take my shoes off in a Japanese home. You point the toes toward the door. After taking a few photos and cooling off from the heat of the day, Yumiko and I set out on our bicycles to see the town.

First we visited a craft shop with very well made furniture and other things. She knew the owner so I got to touch the fancy woodwork. Next we visited an authentic Ryouka (traditional Japanese hotel) and once again, Yumiko knew the owner. We got to see one of the rooms and it was gorgeous. After that, we visited the art studio of Adam White, a prominent American artist living in Japan. Yumiko is probably the most famous person in her town.

After meeting the whole town, we biked through Ueno Park, which had lovely fountains and grassy areas. Then we visited a museum, went shopping, and went to a fish market. The fish market was insane. There were so many types of fish with parts of the fish I would never imagine myself eating. The strangest thing I saw were tuna eyeballs. Each of these eyeballs was about the size of my fist.


We ended the day with Yoshi and Takashi at a very nice Eel restaurant. In summer, eel is considered a delicacy as it is supposed to rejuvenate yourself and give you energy. I still cannot get over how kind they all were. It was such a delight and I hope to pay them back one day.


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