Saturday 13 June
I’m off bright an early to go to Yokohama. However, after arriving in Yokohama I realise the shops don’t open for a few hours – it’s late morning on a Saturday!?! So I started walking around seeing the sights. The layout is pictureseque with the waterways, parks, and CBD in the background.
I eventually trekked over to Osanbashi Pier. Sounds kind of boring but you have to see it to believe it. It’s hard to describe but it’s an architectural piece on a large scale made with wood decking riding and falling in unusual protrusions.
As you walk to the end of the pier, you realise the protrusions are different parts of a ship. It’s grassed in areas and is very scenic with 360 degree views. From here, the view of Minato Minai, where I first started from, is quite amazing. Lots of people about, including joggers, and those just taking in the sights.
I took a breather and after a while a man came over to talk to me. It was nice to speak to someone who spoke English and I learnt a little about Japan from politics, to tensions with China, the shrinking population, the 4 different character sets (we have 1 in English with 26 alphabets), what the big deal is about Ramen noodles, and some Japanese dishes to try.
Ramen noodles is iconic to Japan as pizza is to Italy. Ramen noodles were invented in Japan and were dried, in so creating instant noodles, a quick snack liked by kids after school. But it’s enhanced when a delicious stock is made. Then it’s all about the soup.
I headed to World Porters and decided to take the guy up on his suggestion to try shabu shabu. I wish I had asked what the restaurant was called! A quick look on Google had the answer, in Japanese. I matched up the characters with the restaurant guide and found my way there.
That was the first challenge. The next was trying to understand the different options and how I’m supposed to eat this dish. I found a YouTube video and what the waitstaff was explaining and I got it.
You get very thinly sliced meats (beef, pork loin, pork belly), you pick a stock (citrus soy for me), go help yourself to the buffet of vegetables and dipping sauces, grab a drink and sit down to enjoy. On one side of the bowl is boiling water to cook your vegetables. The other side is the stock which you cook the meat in for a minute. The bowl is placed upon a stove to keep it boiling. When food is cooked, dip in sauce and repeat. It’s all you can eat but I was full.
Big thanks to the helpful waitstaff who managed to find an English guide explaining what to do. Really delicious and interesting experience. Getting immersed in Japanese culture.
I went window shopping in World Porters and Queen’s Square. The latter had carpet on the upper floors. In the former they also had delectable desserts inside a glass case accessible only by a crane, like those games. I hope it’s not hard because that’s a major tease! In Queen’s Square they had gelato so I got a scoop of green tea. Yum!
It’s now back to Ueno in the heart of Tokyo.