With Miyuki In Chiba-ken!

While I’ve loved the time I’ve spent living in Tokyo, I’ll always treasure the memories and people I met– one of whom is Miyuki! Miyuki and I have texted on a regular basis since I left and we’ve discussed meeting up sometime, but it just never worked out. Before I left, I knew it was important for me to see her one more time. Thankfully, we managed to make the happen!

We met up in Kisarazu and Miyuki kindly drove us to a nearby theme park, the German Village. Once you get past the entrance, you’re greeted with fields of different colors fujizakura (the flowers you’ll see below) and shops with a German theme. To start off the day, I hadn’t eaten any breakfast, so before checking out the flower fields I checked out the menu. What I decided to get was a mixed sausage plate, with mustard that was as spicy and sharp as wasabi! I tried eating the mustard with a pretzel, but it literally made my eyes water and my face turn red. むり! (Impossible!)

Next we wandered around the park, focusing on seeing the flower fields.

They also offered pictures in front of the flower fields, which makes for a pretty cute souvenir!

Here are some close-ups of fujizakura:

We took a nice walk around the park and had a long talk in both English and Japanese. It was around then that I realized it’s much easier to speak Japanese when I’m comfortable around my conversation partner. I never realized how much I clam up because I’m just so nervous, but it was the complete opposite with Miyuki! It was amazing to see her again!

After the German village, Miyuki thought it’d be fun to go back to Tateyama and check out Shiroyama. Before you check a map, Tateyama is super far away, but she kindly offered to drive us there. It was so crazy being back in my old town! I kept thinking I’d of course run into some of my old students, but the only one I saw was Miyuki.

Also, Shiroyama was beyond beautiful, as it always is, and had up some koinobori, which are the koi/carp shaped flags for childrens’ day. I love koi and carp, so I always get excited to see those flags out and on display! I don’t have a close-up (sorry!) but the flags were also more detailed and lovely than the usual ones; a few of them had metallic shimmer added to them so they would sparkle in the sunlight.

The view of Tateyama from Shiroyama is also fantastic:

At the base of the castle mountain, there’s a dango (dumpling) shop. Miyuki had visited recently, so she wanted me to try out some dumplings. I, of course, was thrilled to do so. We also happened to be there during a time when they were serving sakura dango (cherry blossom dumplings), but they took 30 minutes to prepare. We had ordered them before ascending to the castle, so when we made our way back down the dango were waiting for us.

These dumplings had sakura (cherry blossoms) mixed with shiroan (white bean paste) and were topped with a single sakura blossom. The sakura in this, and many sakura dishes, is actually salt-pickled, so it has a complex flavor which goes perfectly with a sweet dish.

After our sakura snack, we headed up to Kimitsu and had an Italian dinner at a place Miyuki recommended. The interior of this restaurant was really cute and when we got there we happened to be the only customers (we were having an early dinner). Because of that (I assume) they brought us a complimentary appetizer along with our other dishes we ordered. Everything was super tasty! We ordered some roast beef, bagna cauda (a dish where you dip steamed vegetables into an anchovy cheese sauce), and pizza. The complimentary dish seemed to be a poached chicken breast drizzled with a balsamic reduction and a somewhat sweet garlic sauce; really quite good!

All-in-all, an action-packed day which I hope to remember always. It’s always fun to see good friends and try new things!

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