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 .....