March 22, 2016

Tuesday - Sunny but cool

A good day.

I’m back!  Did you miss me?  I had a great time in Niigata with F.  We drove down on Sunday morning after having breakfast here in Tsuruoka. We had no troubles on the road and got into Niigata around 1 pm or so.  We did a spot of shopping and eating at some places I needed to go to get craft stuff, and then went to the mall.

At the mall I did a little personal shopping and we also picked up a couple of things at the foreign import store.  After that, we decided to go to the hotel and check in.  We did, but only after we drove around for ages to find a parking space.  We parked and walked back to the hotel with our stuff.  When we got there, we found out that it wasn’t a good parking lot for us(I had already told F that, but he didn’t believe me.) He moved the car and then came back to the room.

We had a nice dinner out that night at a yakiniku restaurant near our hotel.  It was good, if a little expensive. I liked it because they were playing great 80’s songs all night.  I had a bopping good time.

We both had an early-ish night at the hotel.  F had brought along a bottle of wine so after two glasses of that and my Downton Abbey fix, I was out!

We had breakfast on Sunday morning and then checked out of the hotel.  F suggested leaving our car where it was and just walking over to the station to meet up with people.  It was a good suggestion since the station was nearby.

We met up with some friends in the station and walked over to the restaurant where we met up with other friends.  We were at El Mirasol in Niigata and had a fabulous time.  It was an AFWJ meetup, but we let people bring friends and family so F was there as were some friends who live in Niigata.  The food was Mexican and really amazing.  I had the best hot chocolate I have ever had there and it wasn’t sweet like most hot chocolate is, it was flavoured with cinnamon and almonds…even had tiny bits of almonds on top.  To die for!

Some of us walked to a nearby Tullys afterwards for more fun and talk.  I played with my friend’s son for a bit, or showed him how to play a game on my phone! Sadly, trains had to be caught and long road journeys begun, so our party finally broke up.  

F and I walked back to our car and started out for our next hotel.  The second hotel was called Italia-Ken and turned out to be a formerly classic style hotel that is beginning to be a little rundown and show its age.  However, it was very nice!  Our room was reasonably big and the fixtures, while old were fine.  We both liked it because it had character! It was in the Furumachi area of Niigata, but was surprisingly quiet.  

After checking in, I suggested going for a walk, so we did that.  We tried going for coffee, but the Starbucks was closed so we looked at an underground shopping area that was a bit depressing in its quietness and then found a big department store.  I did a little shopping, but it was closing soon.  We left the store and were bowed out by the staff.  I’m not sure I’ve had that done before!

We visited a little temple next to the hotel. It was very interesting and I wish we’d gone in when it was still light out.  We also looked for a restaurant to eat at.  We almost went to the one in the hotel, but it was a bit expensive in F’s eyes.  We asked Siri and she/he suggested a Japanese izakaya.  F wanted to try it so off we went.  It was hard to find, but we finally made it! The food was good, but the service was a bit brusque and it was quite expensive too.  We had some sashimi, salmon on rice, tofu, yakitori, F had a bottle of beer and it was quite a bit of money.  We hit up a convenience store on the way back for some beverages and then went back to the hotel.  

At the hotel I bought a movie card to watch the movie channel, but when we started watching a film, the soundtrack skipped.  I tried another couple of movies and it kept doing it.  F called the front desk and the guy came and reset the machine.  However, it didn’t help.  He told us that we could change rooms, but we didn’t really want to do that, so I asked if we could just get a refund of the card money.  That was fine, and they gave me my money back.

I watched a bit of TV, F went to sleep.  I was a bit later, but eventually went to bed too.

Today, we got up around 8 and had breakfast in the hotel.  It was nice and we both had too much!  I’m looking forward to getting back to normal food soon.

I suggested going to an onsen in the afternoon but somehow we ended up at the aquarium.  Truth be told, I didn’t really want to go, but ended up enjoying myself anyway.  F always wants to go there and I don’t really like it, but…We watched a dolphin show and then had lunch. It was okay.  Because it was a Tuesday, the aquarium wasn’t packed.  It was still busy because some kids are out of school, but it wasn’t bad.  

We left the aquarium around 4:30 and talked about what to do.  I suggested having lunch along the way home, perhaps in the next city to Niigata, Shibata.  It’s big enough to have interesting places, small enough that they might not be too crowded.  We did that.  F found a place on the internet and we set off.  

It was an Indian Restaurant in Shibata.  We found it, parked and then when F got out of the car, he fell.  He said he’d tripped on the wires of his silly camera that he installed in the car.  He skinned both his knees on the ground, but said he was okay.  Gah.  

The food was good, but quite spicy.  It wasn’t just hot, there were all kinds of spices going on.  We had a set for two people and there was tons of food.  Neither of us were hungry afterwards! I was worried about getting sick in all honesty, but I seem to be fine.  We had 3 kinds of curry, dal curry, chicken, and vegetable.  I liked the dal best. We did think the naan wasn’t great.  Perhaps it didn’t rise enough?  It seemed awfully heavy compared to what we’re used to.

The road home was fine.  F got us home in one piece.  We stopped for groceries in our local shop and then came home.  I watched some TV and F went to bed as he has work tomorrow.  

So, that was it. A very long winded explanation about our weekend away.  We had a great time and only had one argument, which was rather stupid, as they usually are.  

Tomorrow life gets back to normal for a bit and we get used to normal life again.  Come back later and find out just what that means!  Until tomorrow….

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