April 4, 2014
After months of anticipation, the reunion took place. The two Grandmothers (more accurately one and a soon to be) got together for the third time in half a century. I will just state the facts. You can fill in the lines that are full of emotion.
She was waiting for us at the train station. Our escape from Tokyo was actually easy since we avoided rush hour. We secured the rental car. I am quite happy to be a rider with traffic going the wrong way all the time.
We climbed out of Atami downtown to Reiko’s flat in an apartment building built atop a cliff. The flat is compact and has a stunning view or as my Dad used to say, “a million dollar white water view.” The terrain is like Monte Carlo or Laguna without the glam. Actually Atami is a resort town famous for its seaside location and hot springs. Emperors and Shoguns had Atami water brought to them in Tokyo whenever they wanted a lift.
We spent time exchanging pictures and getting family updates and had lunch before Reiko offered to take me wine tasting. On the way we stopped at a magnificent indoor Velodrome for bicycle racing. I guess they are serious about Gold in the next Olympics. Back to the wine. a rich Japanese wine enthusiast planted a vineyard and built a winery on a beautiful piece of property. The Terroir is much like Vancouver Island with the same grape growing challenges. Let me say everyone laughed at the Honda motor scooter. No one laughs at Honda today. It might take a while to find the right grapes for the area. What I tasted was not yet there. It was a good adventure.
Returned to Atami and checked in to a nice hotel with plenty of space in the room and comfort. We walked to the seaside area and toured a bit of the town. There are small hot springs that look like mini-volcanos. People use them to cook eggs and stuff right next to the sidewalk. I almost cooked my hand by reaching too quickly for a wooden lid. Reiko took us a wonderful restaurant that served excellent pork dishes. I think she is a bit concerned about our limits. I told her that we avoided dishes that wiggle or squirm. The pork was a safe bet.
We plan on driving to Mt. Fugi tomorrow. I am beat so here are the pictures that my Mother in Law has been waiting for ever since we planned this trip.