Fortunately, my son also had his winter break this past weekend. We decided to venture out to Yokohama, a beautiful port city that I always meant to visit for the last 20 years. Yokohama is located on the southern part of Honshu, and is only 30 minutes train ride from Tokyo. With its city subway system built around major attractions, we really don't need a car to enjoy our visit there. We met up with hubby's colleague, who is also visiting here, and started our 'blind leading the blind' exploration day.
We took the out-of-town MinatoMirai line from Naka-Meguro station and hopped onto the Limited Express train bound for MinatoMirai station (confused already?). Along the route, there are English signs clearly visible, but you can still see tourists reading their maps and looking up with a lost look. Because the kind cloudnine has already briefed me on the routes to take, so we googled and studied all the details ahead of time.
It was a beautiful sunny day, the first structure that caught our eyes when we came out of the station is this :
Hey, why not? What a fun way to get an unobstructed view of the harbour!
Oh no, we caught these people being dragged into a black hole!
Hey now, wait a minute, isn't that building taller than us?!
Now Yokohama boasted a few 'first' and 'most'. It was the first Japanese sea port that opened up to foreign trade in 1859 under the shogunate of Tokugawa, therefore you can find traces of western architecture remained here. This is Yokohama Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan - 70 storeys high. It houses the world's 2nd fastest elevator (after Taipei 101).
Look at the spectacular harbour view from the 69th floor observatory : (you can actually see Tokyo and Mt. Fuji from here)
Ahhhh, isn't this romantic, stealing a quiet moment sharing a frothy mocha latte with your loved one staring out at the Yokohama sunset? Haha, don't let the crystal chandaliers fool you, there were a hundred people standing behind my back waiting to grab my seat when I'm done with my last sip!
Of course by now, we were starved to death and couldn’t wait to have a big meal. In case you haven’t heard, Yokohama actually hosted the biggest Chinatown in the world! So after missing Chinese food for 6 weeks 3 days and 8 hours, we charged into Yokohama Chukagai. Ha, I can read all these words, finally a language I understand!
Omigosh, Chinese food, muah muah! I love bao bao (steam buns)!
There are streets and streets of brightly-lit and ornately-decorated restaurants competing for tourists’ attention. We were so hungry that we picked a restaurant that serves from dim sum to Peking Duck, all the way to dessert to satisfy our cravings. Hehe, we even got a private tatami room so nobody could hear how loud we ate :) By the time we got back to Tokyo, it was really late and we were very tired but fulfilled.
We passed by the harbour square in front of the Landmark while a street performer was just about to start his show. I noticed my son's eyes sparkled with excitement and his steps beginning to slow down, so we decided to sit down on the steps and prepared to turn into an icicle in the next 45 minutes.
As the afternoon sun warmed up my hands and the breeze from Yokohama harbor blew gently onto my face, my heart lit up while I started to look around me. There were the innocent laughs from children, sweet smiles from young lovers and contented grin from old parents, our family have not been this relaxed since we learned about our move. These are the simple pleasure of ordinary people, yet so precious and unattainable for some. I started to think about how much ordinary family life our Yong Joon has missed. Of course he is no ordinary folks, I can’t even picture him sitting here in the audience like any of us. He is Bae Yong Joon, just too outstanding among a crowd, he will shine like a diamond in the sand.
Yong Joon, I wish one day you will have this simple pleasure of a relaxing afternoon with your own family in some corner of the world :)