"" Writer's Wanderings: Japan Visit -- Reunited And It Feels So Good

Friday, November 01, 2019

Japan Visit -- Reunited And It Feels So Good

View of Tokyo Bay from Red Lobster
The plan was simple. The three of us, our son, Bob and I, would get to the Haneda airport about the time that our daughter-in-law would arrive with the kids from Sapporo. We would all meet up in the airport lounge and spend a couple hours together before our flight to Ishigaki where we were spending a few days of their fall break from school. But plans are always subject to the weather and in that part of the world a nasty storm is called a typhoon.

As we tried to check in for our flights (we had a connection in Okinawa) we were told that the flight was delayed. We would miss our connection but could try to fly stand by for the next one. That wouldn't have been bad except there were seven of us and the chances of all of us flying together were next to none. At one point the girl behind the counter looked at me and smiled an apology. I said all I really cared about was seeing my grandchildren.

"That can be arranged," she said with a sweet smile and went to the other side of the security line where they were waiting for us. A few minutes later, she had pulled the kids and their mom through the line and we were together at last. From then on, while we loved on our grands, the counter ladies had to deal with our son and now our daughter-n-law. They couldn't get away with saying that their English wasn't that good. Our daughter-in-in-law dealt with them in Japanese. By the time we were done, the decision was made to spend another night in Tokyo, at the airline's expense, and take a direct flight to Ishigaki in the morning. I'm not sure if it was my son's status (he's a diamond member with ANA) or my DIL"s persistence but the result was good. They make a good pair.

The hotel at the Haneda airport was very nice and once we were checked in, we were off again on a bus into town where we ended up at Odaiba which is a shopping and entertainment center on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. The mall was bustling with people. It was time for lunch so we asked the kids what they wanted--it was after all, their fall break holiday. Red Lobster won out.

Now a Japanese Red Lobster is nothing like back home. Not a lot of fried and greasy dishes swimming in butter. Lots of fresh seafood choices and portion sizes are a bit smaller. Two of the kids had shrimp cocktail followed by sharing a small plate of crab legs. By the way, you know how you walk into a RL at home and see maybe four or five live lobster in the tank? Their tank was overflowing with lobster--and there were two tanks!

We meandered through the mall trying to find the place that sells bubble tea. Our oldest granddaughter wanted us to try it. The line was too long and we passed. We spent some time outside wandering the boardwalk and enjoying the view of Tokyo Bay. There is a smaller version of Lady Liberty along the way that was put there to commemorate the "French Year in Japan." Along the outdoor mall area there were several street entertainers. We took some time to watch a magician who also tried to be a contortionist. It turned out to be an illusion in the way he turned his boot and pants' leg.

Inside again, we wandered through what was an arcade full of old time video games (think Pac Man, Asteroids, etc.) and lots of candy and trinket booths that light up a young child's face. In the back was a food court and our kids encouraged us to try some fried octopus that were like fritters.

We made our way back to the Haneda airport hotel on the train and refreshed for dinner. There were a lot of nice restaurants in the airport and we found one that offered soba (noodles in hot broth or cold noodles with dipping sauce). Bob and I were still reeling from jet lag so we called it an early night.

Considering we were going to have to be up at 5:00 to check in for our flight the kids were encouraged to call it a night as well. It would be another interesting start in the morning.

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