We got into Osaka last night and got a room at the hotel where the memorial for Akemi’s father was to take place. Since it was a last minute reservation, we were left with a choice between smoking room and a room behind the elevator. We chose the latter and, after dining on a half a 7-11 egg salad sandwich, a giant pork bun, and an ice cream bar, I settled down for another fitful night’s sleep.
I woke up this morning to the news that I had been drafted as the event photographer, tasked with snapping photos of the service and various goings-on. Akemi told her sister it would be a bad idea. “Joe not great. Cuts off arms and legs.” I looked over and, for a second there, I thought she would try to cover with something along the lines of “Because you are serial killer and have to get rid of bodies!”. But no. She just shrugged. The truth hurts.
At 10:00 a.m. this morning, we headed downstairs to one of the ballroom that had been decorated for the event: flowers, photos, and a looping video remembrance. We were served okashi and matcha (sweet bean dessert and ceremonial green tea). Then, I got my camera and started snapping anything and everything. Ultimately, I didn’t mind as it kept me busy. I must have taken close to three hundred photos over the course of those three hours, all of mediocre quality. Akemi, however, armed with her new Pixel Android phone, was blowing me out of the water. Yet another reason to consider switching from Apple to Google.
The actual memorial was short, lasting all of twenty minutes or so, the first five dedicated to speeches and the last fifteen to the offering of condolences to the immediate family. The event was capped by a catered meal.
Akemi and I checked out of the hotel, crossed town, and checked into our new hotel. Tonight, we have dinner with her old friend Ayaka and then, tomorrow, there’s another memorial service for her dad, this time at a temple in Nara after which we head back to Toronto.
Some of the sights we’ve taken in so far…
Don’t mess with Godzilla – Ginza.
Akemi and some random guy.
The seasonal Matcha-Pistachio Latte at Dean & DeLuca is, quite possibly, my favorite latte ever. And infinitely better than the cheese tea latte I tried while walking around Osaka this afternoon. I took a sip, wanted to ditch, looked around for the nearest garbage bin and remembered – there are no public garbage bins in Japan. Rookie mistake.
Star Bar opens its fourth location, this one in the new Hibiya Midtown just steps away from our hotel. When I get back into Tokyo, I have got to stop by and say hi to Master Kishi-san, Yamasaki-san, and Yoshida-san.
These were a couple of the interesting dessert offerings at this little bakery in Omotesando. I was intrigued by the Chocolate Ball Bread, assuming they would melt the chocolate, resulting in a Nutella-like offering but no. The chocolate is served cold. Odd.
Kooky window displays in Ginza.
Tadaa! The 1000 preserved roses display at The Imperial Hotel.
Akemi lands on Santa’s naughty list.
That poop is as big as the dog who made it!
Vending machines offering everything from hot coffee to corn soup (also hot!).
Now that is some smoky fish!
In Osaka, we got the Dick Van Dyke Show matrimonial beds. Akemi settles in for the night.
The PR Card Saga continues. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it arrived in the mail just hours after we left Toronto. Ivon picked it up for us and sent it UPS. It was due to arrive on Thursday. Then, it missed a scheduled transfer in Kentucky, delaying it by a day. Then, it missed a scheduled transfer in Anchorage, delaying it by about another day. Last I heard, it’s supposed to arrive at our hotel on Monday.
I leave you with a little something from the pillow menu. What’ve you got a hankering for?