Our first day in Japan was wet, but fun. From what we’ve seen of the city, Yokohama has got to be the one of the quaintest places I’ve visited. Everything about it is insanely cute — from the tiny trucks and cars on the narrow picturesque streets, to the pretty potted flowers, the adorable kids, the terraced parks and gardens, and the presentation of food. It’s all so clean and neat as a pin, and the locals are as hospitable as can be. 

We really wanted to visit the second largest city of Japan before heading out to Kyoto and Tokyo because my parents lived here in the late 1960’s with my brother before I was born. We walked through the area around the lovely Motomachi shopping street, and headed up to the clinic in Yamate where my brother was born. Greg took lots of photos for my Dad, and we’re curious to hear how much of Yokohama he recognizes 46 years later. 

Needing some caffeine to stave off the jet lag, we went into a nice coffee shop expecting to make a quick stop for tea and coffee. But even though we’d had a substantial breakfast barely two hours earlier, we couldn’t resist the pizza toast (for Greg) and the the almond toast (for me). A tasty surprise was peanut butter in the almond toast, and a highlight of the experience was the doll size milk decanter that came with Greg’s coffee. 

Lunch was a fun reinterpretation of western food, but for dinner we got down to business. First, a Yakitori-ya. A tiny restaurant that specializes in little chicken skewers of more varieties than you would imagine. Brian, who’s wedding we’ll be attending next week, had just sent us email with instructions on what to order (including phonetic spelling so we’d get the pronunciation right): 

If you like green onion or leeks, I highly recommend ordering “neggy-ma” (negi-ma). It is pieces of chicken and leek, alternating on a skewer — so damned good!  I also recommend “tsookoonay” (tsukune) and “tebasakey” (tebasaki).

After the delicious Yakitori we went a few doors down for sashimi — raw fish — which is one of my favourite things in the world. Another tiny little place with incredibly warm and friendly staff. They didn’t speak English, but Moichi from the table alongside ours stepped in and made sure that we got what we wanted. He had spent a couple of years in Austin, Texas, working on control systems for power plants, and he had picked up quite an impressive command of the English language while he was there.

You have seen all the items I’m wearing here before, just remixed in a different ways. White button down under a striped tee with jodhpur jeans, my favourite black jacket and a Burberry scarf. Flats are a must for a day of walking so on went the oxfords, along with black doctor’s bag and umbrella. It was a little cold and wet, but not enough to dampen our spirits.