Anyways, let me tell you what I've been up to!
バーベキュー : The Japanese word for BBQ. And actually, it is pretty accurate. No, there aren't bbq'd ribs or hamburgers and hotdogs there, but it is a gathering of friends to grill a bunch of food and hang out! My host mom from my first trip to Tokyo invited me to one with her sons' classmates, and of course I said yes.
The biggest difference at a BBQ is the food, so let me see if I can list it all. We started with American Dogs (corn dogs, but don't call them that here), corn-on-the-cob cut into 2-3 inch pieces and speared with a chopstick (easier to eat than I expected), sato-imo (the japanese sweet potato that isn't a yam), yellow onions (tama-negi, aka round onion) sliced into rounds and put on a toothpick, kabocha (japanese pumpkin), and probably a few veggies I missed. While these were cooking, a two yellow onions were being carmelized nearer to the fire. Then came the meat (pork I believe, followed by a little bit of beef) dipped in tare sauce, shitake mushrooms, green peppers (pee-mahn here), and there are probably more veggies that I am forgetting. Then came the bread: bread dough was made and the twisted in small bits around chopsticks and roasted over a small portable BBQ fire. Also, we had marshmallows that weren't the "bite-size" but also not full sized campfire marshmallows. This of course has caused me to want s'mores which pretty much aren't a thing in Japan. :( I am sure I missed a few things, but just when I thought we were done and there couldn't possibly be any more food to eat, we made the biggest batch of yakisoba I've ever seen with prepackaged veggies, corn beef hash, and of course noodles and sauce.
Wow. Let's just say, I left the barbeque full, happy, and almost as tired as Thanksgiving. In between the copious amounts of eating, we played sports with the kids including tossing a ball, soccer, badminton, jump-rope, bubbles, chalk, frisbee, and more. And of course, all the adults chatting around the BBQ.
All in all, it was a great day and I wish I could go again!! We will see if I can fit it into my plans. ^.^
When the garden closed, we walked from there to the Rainbow bridge that adjoins Odaiba (a man-made island) to the Minato ward. The coolest part about this is we actually were able to walk across the bridge, providing beautiful views of the city and the ocean. At the other side of the bridge we managed to get a 1 to MAYBE 2 minute peek at the sunset before heading to a mall (so I could scope out a concert location, more on that later) and then to Oedo Onsen Monogatari.
Oedo Onsen is an "Onsen Theme Park" according to their website and any Japanese you talk to. I'm not sure what to call it, but it's not just an Onsen and in my opinion it is also not a Theme Park. The onsen includes: a supposedly actual onsen (hot spring water from thousands of meters under the island) and many other baths that are obviously separated by gender, relaxation rooms with "comfy" chairs and individual TVs (many people sleep here), a tatami room (I didn't visit, so no review), an outdoor footbath where you can hang out with your opposite gendered friends, salt beds (closed before I realized they were there, sadly), and many things you can pay for in addition such as massages, food and drink, and Japanese carnival games. In my opinion it is too much and a little bit overpriced, but getting to wear a Yukata and hang out for a while is always fun. I probably won't go back to this onsen, it's not my cup of tea.
Lucky for me, I was chosen to be the taisho (commander) for one of the matches and actually got to dress up like a real samurai!! I'm really becoming Japanese! Haha!!
After the event, the group of friends I just met all went out for dinner at GYG, the closest thing Japan has to chipotle (look them up in Harajuku if you need a Mexican food fix while in Tokyo) followed by shopping somewhere between Takeshita and Omotesando (the two famous shopping districts of Harajuku. And lastly we went to Cinnabon for dessert. OMG, so delicious. And it was actual American sized Cinnabon, not the "we made our food smaller for the Japanese to eat it" size. Woot!
For those of you that go to a lot of concerts, this may not seem like a big deal, but I haven't been to many concerts in my life... And let's just say that PTX is like my number one go-to Pandora playlist, and I love everything that they do.
The concert was great! From Kirstie's super kawaii outfit (including the tights with cats on the thighs (if you've seen them, you know what I mean)) to Avi's bass and Kevin's cello-boxing. Not to mention how high Mitch can sing and Scott's strong vocal presence. It was definitely a treat. All 5 of them kept say "minna daisuki!" which means we love you all and when Scott said it the first time he verbally said afterwards "wow, I did it!!" It seems like Avi knew the most Japanese and OMG his voice :D
Okay, well if you like PTX at all, I would highly suggest seeing them in concert (like maybe when they come to Cincinnati because they are amazing and I will end my gushing here!
The only issue I ran into is that I left in time to visit the morning market, but once the market is over there isn't much to do for the hour or two before all the shops open up. So my suggestion is to show up after 11am to not run into that problem.
Misaki Donuts is a great place for gourmet donuts and good coffee with a great café atmosphere! Honestly, I might have had more fun with a friend but being alone I felt a little out of place in the port town of Misaki. I left earlier than expected to head to Kurihama, which in my opinion was a little bit cooler because they had actual shopping (not the mom-and-pop shops I was hoping for but better than nothing), a beach, and really pretty scenery. There I boarded a ferry and headed to Kanaya in Chiba prefecture.