Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Japanese Holiday

We were in Tokyo for the holidays and the experience was wonderful. The Japanese people totally grab onto the Christmas tradition. Santas, reindeer, sleighs, lights and happiness is everywhere. Look one way and it’s Italian social groups doing a wonderful job in lighting and designing thousands of colored bulbs. Look the other and it's the Ginza.

Swarming Crowd
Colored lights are everywhere with swarming groups of young people flooding the streets in wild holiday costumes. The costumed groups are looking for and finding fun and excitement on the Ginza.

As we surged with the crowds we were eagerly anticipating our Christmas Dinner that night at the New York Grill in Shinjuku. The restaurant is in the Park Hyatt Hotel that Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson was filmed in a few years ago.

Australian Singers
Walking in the steps of Bill Murray, we arrived that night at the NY Grill all set for a special holiday feast. They had a five-course Christmas menu that started off with Seared Prime Ahi with Snow Crab and Ossetra Caviar. We proceeded to Goose Liver Confit, Steamed Rock Lobster, Yamagata Tenderloin and finally finished with Hazelnut Caramel Mousse with five spice Ice cream. That was one fine meal. A special treat afterward was a group of Australian singers that serenaded us with holiday greats well into the night. We made our way back to the Maronouchi hotel using a cab whose automatic doors opened for us to get in. We called it a night with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Great Tohoku Earthquake

Let’s help Japan with her Earthquake and Tsunami. Would ordinarily say let’s travel there and spend some of our tourist dollars to help the people but it seems like it will be quite a long time until Japan is receiving guests again. Thankfully, the world is coming to the aid of the resilient Japanese people.

 Click here to help: http://is.gd/Rbxn7X

In 1989 I experienced the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake in SF California. It was so powerful my Victorian wooden house swayed like a palm tree and I couldn’t stay on my feet. It was brutal, but compared to the 9.1 in Japan the Bay Area was relatively lucky. Even though we lost the Bay Bridge, the Cypress Structure, with 63 killed, 3,757 injured and 3,000 to 12,000 homeless, Loma Prieta was dwarfed by the Japanese quake. The Japanese quake was 30 times stronger with 100 times the ground motion and 900 times the energy release. The Japanese Prime Minister said that the quake catastrophe is second only to the damage done to the nation in World War Two.

I’ll end my post on a bittersweet note remembering some beautiful Japanese places we’ve seen. Serene Fuji San and Takayama calm my mind. Japanese people have the will and durability to bring their country back from the ravages of the tectonic plates. We must do all we can do to help them. It will take time but Japan will return to Serenity.