Still trying to recover from the hike yesterday and plan for the Tokyo leg of the journey. M&B had a bunch of things to do as well. So, today was fairly leisurely:
- Kobe Beef lunch (about $100 per person) at Misono in downtown Kobe - the restaurant that originated Teppanyaki. I think I'm ruined for Kobe Beef back in the States. Also had an amazingly smooth local sake. I've got step-by-step pics of the meal as they made it for us (as I do with the okonomiyaki adventures as well).
- Picked up a TON of bizarre socks for L's family for XMas (see one of the previous entries for why this is so funny to me)
- Karaoke! Upscale, large, and touchpad-enabled, but quite similar to the booths in CA. The videos are about as strange as back home (D&M will be happy to hear that I "sang" Eminem's "Just Lose It": M stuck to hair band music, B and I sang the Weird Al version of Piano Man, plus a few karaoke favorites [California Dreamin', Don't You Want Me, Don't You Forget About Me, Sweet Dreams as Made of This, Ring of Fire, Just a Gigolo]). Quite an extensive food menu as well - we all got some desserts (mmm, milk products - great for singing!)
I've finally reserved the hotel for Wed and Thurs night in Tokyo, but of course it was stupid to wait so long for Disney Hotels - the minimum left is about $1000, so I've changed plans a bit. The hotel I've already booked is a Disney partner, so they have a shuttle to and from the parks. Therefore, I'll spend Wed and part of Thurs in Disney, then spend the rest of Thurs, Fri, and Sat elsewhere in Tokyo [Tokyo Tower, Akihabara, the Studio Ghibli Musum, Tsukigi Fish Market first thing on Sat - since the Fish Auction is 5:30 - 6:30 AM]. I've seen some serviceable hotels nearby the fish market/Ginza available for Fri night, and they're also convenient to the train for getting to Narita (the flight is 4PM, so I need to be there by 1...and maybe allow extra time for returning the rented phone and potential snafus).
Was tempted to cancel the Mon-Tues Ryokan down south to leave more time for Tokyo, but it's the one from Spirited Away, dammit, and there's a castle where I can try on samurai armor! (it's 8 hrs from there to Tokyo, so I'm not sure I'd want to blow an entire day travelling on Tues, hence I'll come back to M&B's on Tues, then head out for Tokyo first time on Wed).
I realize I'm giving Tokyo extremely short shrift, but actually, I was more interested in traveling the countryside anyway. Some of the things I'd like to do aren't available this time of year (e.g. watch a Sumo match), so clearly I'll have to come back :) (you know, right after I visit Italy, Germany, Ireland, Australia, England, The Netherlands, Denmark, back to France and Senegal, Kenya, The Galapagos, Macchu Pichu, etc)