Monday, Eric and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary! To me, it was a really nice day. If memory serves me right, the girls slept in a little more than normal. I had two hours of Japanese lessons in the morning. Then a local friend took me around to several different stores. One store carries a handful of import products as well as bulk products. Not like Costco, but bulk in the sense to the Japanese. Yokota AB was out of tortillas and ricotta the last time we were there so I was in the hunt to find those. Unfortunately they didn't have ricotta, but was warned that when they do have it it's expensive. It was fun seeing a new grocery store (unfortunately I won't be riding my bike there, it's too far away). She also pointed out a Thai restaurant that she and her husband enjoy. We've been asking about Thai since moving here, Marc and Yumiko our the first to know of one. The best part of our afternoon jaunt is she showed me where all the fruit and veggie stands are that typically carry cheap strawberries. Luckily most of them are near the preschool that Etta will start in April. So, along the two miles there and then back on my bike I'll have many opportunities to pick up fresh local produce.
When I talk about produce stands, it's not what you may have envisioned. It's an unmanned stand with fruit, veggies, and even flowers on them. They may have two or three different types of produce to choose from. They have a little container you drop your coins in and it's all done on faith. This concept would never work in America, but works just fine here in Japan. I picked up packages of local strawberries for 200 yen, which is about $2. Before, I was buying them at the local grocery store for 400 yen (at their cheapest). Now I won't feel so bad when I eat a few of the strawberries.
The best part of our day was our date. One of our friends came over to play with the girls and then put them to bed. Eric saw a restaurant on a bike ride one day and wanted to take me there. We decided to walk so we could both drink. 40 minutes later we arrived (Eric said he must of had a tail wind, he didn't think it would take us that long to get there). The restaurant turned out to be Mirapoa, a French restaurant my tutor has mentioned several times. Unfortunately they are closed on Monday, so we walked that far for naught. Oh well, we past a pizza and pasta place on the way. It was ok, a Japanese version of Italian. Not sure if we'll go back, we like other places more and there are so many other restaurants to try before our time here is over.
We then walked over to our friend's bar (our realtor's wife, Eriko, runs it). It's a little place attached to their home. She doesn't speak any English, so I get a lot of listening practice while Eric gets lots of speaking practice. Eriko's friend was there as well and spoke a little English. She would occasionally speak in English while Eric talked in Japanese so I could follow the conversation better. Not sure how we got onto the conversation of the Studio Ghibli movies but she excused herself and came back with a music CD of some of the popular songs from the movies turned into techno music. Hard to explain, but Eriko put it on for us to listen too. We'd guess which movie the song came from and had fun listening to the dance version. She said she'd make a copy of the CD for us. People here are amazingly kind.
We had mentioned that we were out for our Anniversary and Eriko continued to poor champagne into my glass saying 'omedeto' for congratulations. Lets just say, I had more than I needed or should have had. I was quite dry the next morning, but had a great time. I am so thankful that we even have friends that can take care of the girls and places we enjoy going to.