"" Writer's Wanderings: Our Little Tokyo House

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Our Little Tokyo House

The alley that led to our little house.
Arriving at the Ishigaki airport a bit early for our flight back to Tokyo, we settled into a few tables and spent some time with devices catching up on social media as well as playing games. Starbucks is a popular place in Japan as it is most anywhere and some of our group took advantage of its availability including one very interesting raspberry flavored Halloween drink.

Our flight to Tokyo was uneventful but after our landing the weather became cloudy threatening rain. We opted to take a couple of taxis to our Airbnb from the airport. It was quite a ride in my taxi. We seemed to go a long way in one direction and then it appeared we were making a left turn. The left turn became a u-turn which went across three lanes of traffic with our taxi beeping it's horn and waving to those who were forced to let him in. When I told our son later, he laughed and said, "Welcome to Tokyo."

Our taxi caught up with the other taxi on a very narrow road of apartment buildings and small houses that had little or no space between them. We unloaded our luggage and wandered down an alley barely wide enough for two people abreast. We stopped at the corner of another alley and our son tried the lock box that was attached to a pipe on the outside of the house. When it opened, we knew we were at the right place.

Stove top and fish grill/oven
We entered, removed our shoes and tried to fit our luggage inside the tiny kitchen which barely held the seven of us. Quickly we determined Bob and I would take the bedroom on the first floor off the kitchen and our youngest granddaughter would sleep on the futon in our room. The rest of our group made their way upstairs to where there was a little larger room with places to sleep. I never made it up the stairs so I can't say what it was like but since there was an outside balcony (we would discover the washing machine was out there) there couldn't have been much space for the four of them.

The kitchen table wasn't much bigger than 4X3 and had two chairs and two stools. In a little alcove there was a television which I don't believe we ever turned on. Perhaps some of the pictures tell how small this little house was. It's typical, especially in Tokyo since there is such a great population and little space for living unless you are wealthy enough to afford larger accommodations.

A little stove top sat above a small grill/oven that is usually used for cooking fish. Little if any baking is done at home. I've never seen ovens like we are used to in our kitchens. There was a small under-counter refrigerator. The bathroom was the usual Japanese style with a small room for the tub and shower. The shower is used primarily to get clean before using the tub. The toilet (toto seat included) was in a separate room but still connected to the shower room by a small area that could be closed off for privacy if you were showering. The sink was across the little foyer from the bath/toilet area and al of it just inside the entrance from the outside.

After we were settled we went to a restaurant we had been to once before. It's one of the kids favorite. The restaurant is near the area where they used to live in Tokyo before they moved to Sapporo. I believe what they feature is called Kushikatsu. Basically it's meat and vegetables on a stick dipped in flour, egg and panko and deep fried. They have fun with the kids. If the kids can win the paper, rock, scissors game they get their soft drink for free. There is also a self serve ice cream machine in the back corner of the very tiny restaurant that is on the second floor of the building it's in.

My oldest granddaughter does not like mushrooms (and she's half Japanese!) but she knows I do. She offered to order a stick of mushrooms for me. I eagerly agreed. When it came I noticed I was being watched but went ahead and took a bite anyway. It was extremely sweet but the texture almost seemed like a large mushroom. When she asked how I liked it, I commented that I never had a mushroom that tasted like chocolate.

Laughter erupted from all the kids. "She always does that to people," said our grandson. "It's a deep fried Oreo cookie!"

I laughed too and finished the Oreo. It was very good.

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