Once Upon a Tanbo

Golden Week with Lulu

Posted on: May 7, 2008

Well this years Golden Week felt incredibly short, maybe because it was only 4 days in a row. However, I had a great time with Lulu who came down to visit from Friday evening until Monday morning.

We definitely had a lot packed into this mini-vacation, and I have to admit by the time she left I was pretty exhausted! (But only in a good way!)

Friday – After work I met up with Lulu and Sannomiya (the main station in Kobe.) Since it was only our first time meeting, and I can sometimes be a little shy when I first meet someone, I was a little bit nervous but Lulu was very sweet and talkative and I felt like I already knew her, especially since I’ve been a frequent reader of her blog for the last 6 months or so! I already felt like we were old friends by the time we got to my apartment. When Ryohei got out of school we went to the station to meet him and to celebrate Lulu’s coming to Kansai, we got (of course) Okonomiyaki! It was a very good dinner! Ryohei and Lulu got along really well and so I was happy about that as well. It was a nice relaxing dinner. Afterwards we went home and talked for a little bit but since we had a busy day the next day, we ended up getting a relatively early night.

Saturday – After I made some blueberry pancakes for breakfast (sadly, they didn’t turn out as well as I expected… I’m not a great pancake maker it seems) Ryohei headed into town for his classes and Lulu and I left as well. My friend Miranda had wanted to give me some things before she left for America on vacation so I had to drag Lulu out to her house with me. We ended up picking up some items and a supermarket and having a quick lunch there. We had a really good time talking with Miranda and playing with baby Toshi and also the cute kitty Ko-chan. I felt a little bad about dragging Lulu along with me, but I think she had a good time, and she and Miranda got along well, so I was happy about that! After an hour or 2 there, we went into Kobe City. We had planned to visit “Kitano” the old foreigner settlement in Kobe. As we were walking there we noticed that the streets were closed off and there were lots of people! Apparently there was a flower art show going on! They had several large portraits made completely from flowers. They were very beautiful! My personal favorite was the geisha girl one.

We spend about an hour or so visiting Kitano, but it was really crowded and there wasn’t too much to see so we ended up heading off to Osaka for my friend Muriel’s birthday party at the HARD ROCK CAFÉ. Yes, it deserves all caps. ϑ Muriel is the friend who invited me to Thanksgiving a couple months ago. I actually haven’t met her that many times since we live kind of far but she is a very funny, sweet girl. The party was a very good size! Only about 8 people, and the food… *drool* Lulu and I split a salad and then I had a pulled pork bbq sandwich. To finishing it off I ate a heavenly apple cobbler. I spent more money on that one dinner than I usually do in 3 or 4 but it was so worth it. I may have to go back again in a couple months (have to think up some excuse for it.) Anyways it was a great dinner. The only bad thing was that I really ate too much, I’m definitely not used to the huge American sized portions after almost 2 years in Japan. It was so hard to sleep at night on a full tummy. Oh! Shumpei also called and I got a chance to speak with him, he seems like a really nice guy with a good sense of humor, I’m looking forward to eventually being able to meet him someday!

Sunday – Sunday was our big day!! We went down to Nara from early in the morning. I live about 2 hours from Nara so it was a little bit of a trek, but Lulu and I seemed to have an endless amount of things to talk about so the journey went by really quickly. We were both starving by the time we got there so we had some curry and then headed into Nara Park. We first stopped by the 5 tier pagoda and took some pictures. After that we decided to head to the main attraction, the Todaiji, a giant temple that was first built in the 8th century with the giant Buddah. By this point it was hot and crowded, (but that’s Golden Week for you) there were so many line and people. We stopped by a little riverbed with some deer, including fawns!! They were so cute!! Lulu and I both took pictures with a very docile nice deer! After the interlude we made it to the Todaiji and took pictures and walked around. It was really impressive, but there were so many people and noise that it was hard to find any “zen.” I actually haven’t traveled too much around Japan so it was nice to finally find a famous relic.

I was feeling pretty zapped after that, but we decided to make a stop at an old fashioned Japanese garden before heading back. I was so happy that we did!! It was absolutely beautiful. At first we thought it was only this tiny little circular garden, but we soon discovered there was a whole backside and we must have spend at least 45 minutes or so going around the whole thing. Unlike the rest of the park, there were very few people in the garden and a very calming breeze was blowing. I felt so peaceful and happy. I would have liked to just stay there and relax for a long time, but it was getting late so after stopping for a cold drink and snack we took the two hour journey back home.

We met up with Ryohei in Sannomiya and had talked of going to karaoke, but the lines ended up being too long, and I’ll admit it, I was pretty tired and cranky, so I was kind of glad to go home. We ended up making Ryohei’s famous Niigata nabe, which I think went over well. We put some scallions in it this time, which was delicious!! I want to include them next time as well! After dinner, I was pretty much dead. (Sorry Lulu) So I wasn’t much fun… I could barely keep myself from falling asleep. So we went to bed pretty early around 10 pm!

Monday – Sadly, Lulu had to leave early in the morning to catch her shinkansen. We didn’t do too much, just eat some breakfast and chat. I was so sad that she was leaving. We had only been together 3 days but I felt like she was a good friend from long ago. Unfortunately, she’ll be off to Australia for the next year so we probably won’t be able to meet again until she returns. However, by the time she returns, hopefully I’ll have a better idea of what is going on with my life and I am sure that we will be seeing a lot of each other in the future. We have similar views on family and child-raising and we spent a lot of time talking about giving birth in Japan, taking vacations, and things that we wanted to do in the future. To be honest, it was the first time I ever think I have met someone who is on the exact same page in their life as me so it was really great to have her to talk to about various issues.
Anyways both Ryohei and I really loved her company, and I do feel really sad and lonely now that she’s gone!! It was a really great couple days!!

Come back again soon Lulu!!!! We miss you!!!

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9 Responses to "Golden Week with Lulu"

I had so much fun! There will definitely be more holidays in the future!

You and Ryohei can come and stay with us in Chiba! hehe

i love the last photo! You are so into your cobbler!

You guys looked like you had so much fun together!! You can see just by looking at your smiling faces in the photos! I know what you mean about meeting someone who is at the same point in their life as you. That’s why I can’t wait to meet both you and Lulu. It is going to be so nice to have someone to chat to about everything!

I can’t believe it’s not going to be until May next year until the 3 of us can catch up!!

Hopefully we can catch up sometime when I get back to Japan?? I will actually be coming back to Japan on the July 19th for 1 month, coming back to Australia for 3.5 weeks (preparing for wedding, getting married and honeymooning!!), and then from the 14th September, will be living in Japan permentantly!
I’m so excited!! This year is flying by so quickly!

Thanks for sharing your GW with Lulu, glad to hear you had such a great time and clicked so well (though can’t say I’m surprised!) I haven’t been to Nara yet and would love to go there someday. Wonderful photo of the two of you in that last post too. And woohoo for Ryohei and his practice test results!

PS= Have you ever tried chopped walnuts in pancakes? The yummiest!

Lulu – Looking forward to staying with you in Chiba!!! Will have to look up and see if there are anything things near there I want to do/see. (Actually I’d love to go to Nikko sometime! but thats a little far for now)

Nay – We did have a really really great time!! And I think just talking was sooooo good. I’m sure it will be the same thing! A lot of what we talked about was families and you know living in Japan with kids and stuff, and being married etc. Believe me I’m sure we will have the same stuff to talk about. All my other friends are single or in relationships but not looking to settle down/have kids OR already married with at least one kid… which is great… both are great, but sometimes I feel like I got “advice” from both sides depending on their outlook, which differs a little bit from mine.

Gah… this comment just got huge!! Anyways I AM SURE I will be seeing you by the end of the year, even if it means a trip out to Shizuoka. We will plan more once you get done with the wedding!! I’m sure you have enough on your plate until then!

Christelle – Thanks so much!! I would love to show you and Yohei and baby (when hes a bit older) around if you are ever inclined to come down to Kansai!

I love walnuts so I will have to try that! Do you just put them in regular batter or add other flavorings to compliment them?

Lulu – Looking forward to staying with you in Chiba!!! Will have to look up and see if there are anything things near there I want to do/see. (Actually I’d love to go to Nikko sometime! but thats a little far for now)

Nay – We did have a really really great time!! And I think just talking was sooooo good. I’m sure it will be the same thing! A lot of what we talked about was families and you know living in Japan with kids and stuff, and being married etc. Believe me I’m sure we will have the same stuff to talk about. All my other friends are single or in relationships but not looking to settle down/have kids OR already married with at least one kid… which is great… both are great, but sometimes I feel like I got “advice” from both sides depending on their outlook, which differs a little bit from mine.

Gah… this comment just got huge!! Anyways I AM SURE I will be seeing you by the end of the year, even if it means a trip out to Shizuoka. We will plan more once you get done with the wedding!! I’m sure you have enough on your plate until then!

Christelle – Thanks so much!! I would love to show you and Yohei and baby (when hes a bit older) around if you are ever inclined to come down to Kansai!

I love walnuts so I will have to try that! Do you just put them in regular batter or add other flavorings to compliment them?

Hi again! You put them in the regular batter. I don’t know something about the crunch in the soft texture of the pancakes just is so yummy. My mum always made them that way and I just made some for my sister when she was up to visit recently. I bought an instant mix- Prince Otani Vanilla pancake mix. It was really good and magically non-stick (as in I didn’t need marg. or oil on the bottom of the teflon pan). Got it at Jupiter, the International store. Make sure the walnuts are chopped though- or else break them into smaller pieces with your hands. (Not too small!) Let me know if you ever try it.

Hi again! You put them in the regular batter. I don’t know something about the crunch in the soft texture of the pancakes just is so yummy. My mum always made them that way and I just made some for my sister when she was up to visit recently. I bought an instant mix- Prince Otani Vanilla pancake mix. It was really good and magically non-stick (as in I didn’t need marg. or oil on the bottom of the teflon pan). Got it at Jupiter, the International store. Make sure the walnuts are chopped though- or else break them into smaller pieces with your hands. (Not too small!) Let me know if you ever try it.

Sounds like you had a nice GW! Isn’t it amazing when you click with internet friendlies IRL?? 🙂

Christelle – Ok!! I will give it a try when I next make pancakes and let you know how it goes!

Kuri – It was a great time!! I hope to meet more of my blogging buddies!! Ryohei and I are planning a trip to Kyushu next winter so maybe I’ll be able to meet up with some kyushu bloggers at that time.

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