Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Retracing YJ's steps - Kamakura

Hi hi sisters ...... This past week we are graced with the visit of Jessica, Jos and Kelly from Singapore Joonsfamily. Next to our prince, our princess bb is truly an international ambassador. (We know she’s been ‘pouting’ about not being able to join them here, so I’ll try to ‘downplay’ the fun part, ok princess?) Before the girls’ arrival and her trip to Russia, bb was connecting us so her JF sisters will have a true ‘Yong Joon experience’ in Tokyo. Hehe, what’s to worry when we are very blessed with our hospitable and helpful cloudnine as our guide? Not only that, many Japanese sisters are rolling out the welcome mats for our Singaporean sisters. Hehe, me being somewhat the odd one out (i.e. not fitting into any categories), am just very excited to tag along and retrace Yong Joon’s footsteps with everyone :)

1st stop - Kamakura is located about 1 hour train ride from Tokyo. This feudal capital flourished around 1200 A.D. as the seat of the first Shogunate - Minamoto no Yoritomo. The Kamakura shogunate collapsed in 1333, still its legacy and history remain in this beautiful seaside town.

On a chilly and rainy Sunday morning, 8 of us met at the JR Kamakura station. It was so nice to see flowerbossa, mariko and tomato san again :) Maybe because bb has already introduced us, I didn’t feel Jessica, Jos and Kelly are strangers at all. They are really nice girls and seem so easy to get along with. As cloudnine has made an early lunch reservation at Raitei, we hopped on the taxi for the uphill ride. (for future reference, Raitei is on the hill and the taxi fare is around 1600 yen. If the meter goes way over, that means somewhere there's lost in translation :)

Raitei is a famous traditional kaiseki and soba restaurant in Kamakura. It used to be a wealthy residence, the house itself and the old gardens can be dated back to the Edo period.

Hehe, they just opened the heavy wooden door and hung the wooden menu outside

A quaint little path past the entrance

The genkan (foyer) to the private dining rooms

OMO OMO, the first thing I spotted in the grand lobby room @@

I love this grand room, it has these surprise elements like stained glass windows, glass chandeliers, stone fireplace and wicker chairs, definitely not what I expected in an old Japanese house. Reminds me so much of a 1920s cottage house, suki desu ne! The kimono-clad hostess served us green tea here, too bad we were too overwhelmed and busy taking pictures at everything @@

We were escorted to our dining room through this long wooden corridor.

A view of the beautifully decorated garden from the corridor. The glass screen doors were opened when Yong Joon was here in June
There are 3 private rooms on the upper floor and Yonsama’s room is at the end of the corridor. Since we were so early, the hostess was nice enough to let us have a peek at Yong Joon’s room. He sat on the right hand side. Hahaha of course, Jessica, Jos and Kelly took turns sitting in ‘his’ seat!

We had the first room and it was just as nicely decorated. Here's a look at the Yonsama’s course menu :

The sesame tofu, seasonal sashimi, fish noodle clear soup - very light and fresh

This is interesting – a pumpkin ball dumpling, baby corn, eggplant and beans

Tempura – sorry too tempting, ate it before taking picture

Hot soba warmed my heart, Yong Joon had the cold soba cause it was hot then

Sweet pears and grapes. I noticed the Japanese sisters didn't eat the skin of the grapes, hehe, I gobbled them all up :)

After lunch, we strolled down to the wonderful surrounding gardens. There I noticed a general dining room below us using a separate entrance serving soba and bento boxes.

Wonder if Yong Joon had time to stroll through here too?

Next we proceeded to Hase Kannon Temple. It is the oldest, largest, most famous ...... blah blah blah .....

Hehe but to Bae fans, the beautiful temple is not nearly as attractive as its adjacent building and its handsome patron @@

This store actually looks pretty artsy selling some decent crafts and souvenirs, now why it's got a fridge outside selling popsicles had me scratching my head?

Ta Da!! The famous Yong Joon milk popsicle! The cute boyish Yong Joon actually sucked on a popsicle here :)

Hehe, one of the girls had already claimed her Yong Joon’s spot on this middle bench. Aiyo, I admire them for eating a popsicle in this chilly afternoon. All in the name of Yonsama :)

The beautifully landscaped garden inside Hase Temple

This temple houses a gilded 11-heads Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) statue inside, it’s the tallest wooden sculpture in Japan. Very impressive!

You know, this is where Yong Joon took a picture of those rows and rows of little statues called Jizo (sorry I can't find the picture now) . Jizo statues are actually guardians of unborn children, they are placed there to remember the spirits of those babies.

The bamboo woods that Yong Joon took a picture in (yikes, if only I had downloaded that picture! anyone has it please? )

Well by now, the sky has turned dark and we were cold and wet. We still haven’t covered the Hydrangea trail which is a good walk from Hasedera. For flowerbossa, mariko and I, since we have to attend to our children for school the next day, so we had to bid goodbye to the group. I felt a slight regret as my 'retracing' is not complete since the weather and the route were not really the same as Yong Joon's. I guess that gives me an excuse to go back again :) I am very grateful that I had a chance to spend some wonderful time with my Japanese sisters. I hope Jessica, Jos and Kelly enjoyed their day at Kamakura. Tomorrow would be Toride, the ramen shop .....


Anonymous said...

hi Jamie

Reading your account of the trip with the japanese and singapore sisters, I really feel that the family is truly a family!


Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime and Bae sisters:
By Thy fruits, you will know them. Indeed your love for Bae Yong Joon and his love for the Family is reflected in your travelogues. This is a renaissance in autobiographical writing. Congratulations.
Sarang Hamnida,
josephine pasricha

bb said...


no matter what you said, i was still pouting-reading from word 1... :p

but it sounds cold... or 'brrr...!!' in jos' language :p

hehe, nevermind, i will go continue the backtracing, retracing of wuri yong joon's footsteps with you when i go to japan next!! it's a date!

seems so fast... the gals are coming home tomorrow already. if i were on that trip too, i was supposed to leave tomorrow too. but as things would have it, it's the reverse... they're coming home tomorrow whilst i'm flying off...

thanks much much for the account, enjoyed it much much. and hehe, i thought i could spot a couple of familiar figures in those pics i'm sure you've purposely reduced :p

once again, thanks for the hospitality. you know, no matter how many years i've been a fan, no matter how many fans i've met, it still overwhelmes me each and every time how warm and kind the japanese sisters are.


and i know you know what i mean :)

Anonymous said...

Hope you Japanese sisters don't get tired of hosting by the time I can visit Japan.
You know it's a human nature, if you do something repeatedly you get tired / bored.
But on the other hand, we never get tired of our HRH, right?? So I still have hope ^^
Meanwhile, I am very happy to read all the stories of the meeting of sisters, I enjoy them very much. Thanks.



jaime said...

Hi touched,

Thanks for reading this Kamakura post. Yes, this family is really amazing. And we do it all because of this incredible human being BYJ! Please take care!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

dear Josephine,

Thank you for your encouragement. To me, this BYJ family is an amazing phenomenon. Now I don't know if other fan clubs act the same way since I have never been a fan before. But the abundance of love and care, the extension of friendship and hospitality to each other in BYJ family are just so pure and sincere. Especially when friendship these days based so much from intentions and convenience; in contrast, the BYJ family seems such a rare treasure, just like Yong Joon himself. I can only be grateful that I get to know so many of you precious sisters.

Please take care!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

dear princess,

I know you are on a plane now enroute to Hong Kong. pout pout, more work and no play! hehe promise - Raitei, Toride and Gosireh next time when you come. Hehe, maybe take the Shinkansen to Nagoya, eat at Gosireh Hwa and back to Tokyo on the same day? Hahaha, we'll eat so much that we'll have to carry our tummies when we walk :)

I'm sure the girls will have so much to share with you when you return. I wish I could have accompanied them to more places. Thanks to cloudnine for her hospitality and tireless effort, she is truly selfless.

Have a successful trip and take care!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi Yee,

You're right on! Even if I get (physically) tired easily from too much walking and activities, I can never get tired of seeing my BYJ sisters. In fact, just like looking at the prince himself, it gives me such joy and warmth to meet BYJ sisters (haha that is, if they don't get tired of seeing me :)

Hope you'll find time to visit Japan someday. Please take care!

love ... jaime

Anonymous said...

Hello Jaime,

Good morning to you!
Love reading your retracing YJ's steps in Japan with the singaporean sisters. You, cloudnine & Mariko are truly a jewel for the baesisters. Your tireless effort in accommodating sisters in your country is truly amazing. I always wonders what will be the feeling of meeting you guys, will I be toungue tied, shy, talkative, hahaha....
It's not only YJ that gives a smile on my face everytime I read accounts like this it is the love that you guys is spreading to all baesis that's more amazing..

To all singaporean sis in Japan. Have a safe trip back home.


jaime said...

Hi Hi Jelen,

Thank you for reading my post and your kind words. Yes, the love and care in this BYJ family is really unbelievable.

You are so cute, tongue-tied, shy, talkative? Actually you bring up an excellent topic. To answer your question, honestly, all of the above :) If you'd allow me, may I use this as the next post topic after Toride? Thanks for the great idea.

Have a nice day!

love ... jaime

Anonymous said...

Sure jaime no probem. Can't wait to read your next topic.

Have a nice day too..


Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime

I take off my hat to you and all the dear Japanese sisters for your hospitality.

S'pore fan

jaime said...

hi hi s'pore fan,

thanks for reading this post and take the time to write to me. always my pleasure.

regards .. jaime

bb said...

keke, you'd beta make sure you don't regret saying this... you're on! raitei, toride, gosireh tokyo, gosireh nagoya!

hee... it will come true, you know...? after all, i do have a return ticket to be utilized by next year, since i couldn't go this trip...!

Anonymous said...

You did downplay the fun you had,
I'm sure you had a blast.

I love the pictures thank you so much for sharing them.


jaime said...

Hahaha princess, is that a threat?
Like you, I never get tired of eating Japanese and Korean food :)
I'll start switching all my waistbands to elastic now :)

love .. jaime

jaime said...

Hehe moontime,

How are you? You are so sensitive. You do notice I missed out the description of our interaction, eh? I might talk about it in another post. Thanks for your comment. Have a nice day!

regards ... jaime

Jos said...

Hi Jaime

Just read your post and the comments here. Yeah, I noticed it is a post with lots of pics and not so many words. Haha...

Thank you very much again and again for your companionship for the 2 days. Can't thank everyone enough for making this trip a memorable one.


jaime said...

Dear Jos,

I love your Facebook pictures. Thanks for inviting me to join. It's so much fun.

love .. jaime