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…

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Don’t mess with Godzilla – Ginza.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tadaa!  The 1000 preserved roses display at The Imperial Hotel.

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Akemi lands on Santa’s naughty list.

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That poop is as big as the dog who made it!

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Vending machines offering everything from hot coffee to corn soup (also hot!).

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Now that is some smoky fish!

In Osaka, we got the Dick Van Dyke Show matrimonial beds.  Akemi settles in for the night.

Really?

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?

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Dr Z
Dr Z

Nice photos but… I could have told you years ago to get a Samsung Galaxy over the Apple if you want good pics. Now that Android Pixel might be worth a try…

mal

That flower fro’ centerpiece, great touch

kavitafavelle
kavitafavelle

I’m so sorry for your wife’s loss.
Love the sound of that matcha pistachio latte.
Am always dreaming about the next trip to Japan, and in the meantime, tend to live vicariously through reports of anyone who is visiting!

Debra

Somhow I missed that akemi had lost her father. My condolences. sad

Colleen Scott
Colleen Scott

It looks like a very busy 10 schedule. My condolences on the passing of Akemi’s father in Oct. I am sending good thoughts that the PR makes it.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

A sad occasion and a busy time. I’m sorry for her loss.

Another reason to switch from Apple to Android is that awful U2 virus. I keep deleting them out of my iTunes and it keeps inserting the songs into my playlists.

Good luck on the PR card but now, at least, you have a tracking number.

Tom Gardiner (@Thogar)

It looks like Akemi has trouble sleeping. HAH! I kill me, which makes all my other enemies jealous.

nantokanaru77

By the way, Yamazaki san is not at Star Bar anymore (unless he makes guest appearances). Early this year he has opened his own bar at Ginza called Bar Goya Ginza … in fact located very very close to Sushi Taichi … just a few steps away from it. smile

PBMom

I’m sure the pictures were excellent; we can see what kind of pictures you take for us and knowing the occasion, I’m sure you were meticulous about it.

That must have been a difficult thing (the memorial), although I’m surprised how short it is. Maybe that is a good thing. My idea of a great memorial is for everyone to meet somewhere (my house, some place outdoors that I liked to go, etc.) and eat and laugh and trade stories with everyone who comes. They can share something nice or something that annoyed them in a loving way or whatever they want. No body. Immediate cremation. I don’t want people to remember me in a dead position. No need. My spirit has already flown the coop. If it is a possible thing to observe on the other side, then I will be there. No set date for anyone to do this–whenever it happens. Friends from out of state might like to be here so I’d like them not have to pay full price on the airlines.

That’s weird about the bread.

Akemi would make a great Santa’s helper.

The spelt pillow or the neck support pillow would be the one for me. I’d probably try the spelt more just because it is so different.

Is there something symbolic about the 1000 roses?

I hope the card gets there before you have to leave. Talk about cutting it so close.

Ponytail
Ponytail

Again, so sorry about Akemi’s dad. Must be a difficult trip for her. It is good she has you as a nice adventure loving eating machine distraction.

Yeah those chocolate bread rolls are very wierd. Nice idea though.

Tuptiang
Tuptiang

funny. I just have 2 My Pillows that I bought via mail for my bed (full/queen).