East(ern family) meets West(ern family)

The below was written a few weeks ago, but what with spending time with my parents (and extra time, due to volcano-related-enforced-stuck-in-Japan-ness) and starting the new term, internet access has been sketchy so it was never finished. Going to try and clear a bit of a back(b)log on this rainy afternoon, on which, for some unknown reason, no school was scheduled.

The past few weeks have been filled with a leg-ache-inducing amount of sightseeing, and barely any free time to devote to my lovely blog. *sniff* But whilst I’m uploading some of the gigabytes of photos that are the result of New Camera Excitement, I figured I’d do a quick post with some pics of the dinner we had with The Suzuki’s on Friday.

The Suzuki’s (aka. Suzuki No. 1’s) are the family that I spent a month living with when I first came to Tokyo in 2008. I’ve kept in touch with them, and since the ‘rents were over, a night of dinner, drinks and introductions seemed logical. In case you’ve forgotten, the Suzuki’s are: Kosei, husband and Shorinji Kempo student; Yukiko, housewife and cook extraordinaire; Kentaro, seven, wannabe girl; and Daijiro, six, and wannabe kick-arse Shorinji student.

We went to a chanko nabe restaurant in Monzennakacho. Chanko nabe is a simmered pot of various ingredients (mainly meat, minced chicken balls, cabbage, daikon and tofu) eaten by sumo wrestlers (along with huge amounts of rice to get all that weight on). When they retire from competition many of them start their own chanko restaurants serving their secret recipe for this delicious stew. It looks a bit like this:

After sashimi, tempura and a few beers, we got stuck into the stew and some conversation, leaving the boys to play with their electronic games and eat some of the Smarties we had brought over from England.

Here is Yukiko:

And Kosei, with funny-face Daijiro:

And a poorly-composed shot of all of us (sadly missing out Dad entirely!), taken by the waiter:

After dinner, Kosei and I bid everyone goodnight, and headed off to the Shorinji dojo to say hi to everyone. Hatsuno Sensei, who is now 80, looked super-genki (he was ill last year, so good that he is back to full-health) and was really pleased to see me, chattering away and asking how I was. It was cool to be back and reminded me of many good times.
We picked up Hiyashi, Izumi and a few others and went to a local bar for more food and some Shochu, Japan’s vodka. Izumi’s wife joined us later, which was great as I really like her. Izumi was happy as his antiques business has picked up recently due to doing a deal with the Chinese government. He speaks Japanese, Chinese, English and Hindi! He can even do amazing impressions of Indians speaking English.
Last time I saw Hiyashi, pictured below, he was very much the bachelor, living alone and eating too much konbini fast-food, which had given him a case of gout in his leg, not a good thing to be struck down with when you train! But, he met a wife through a dating agency and they married recently. He is much less shy and, dare I say it, even looking quite handsome!
After a very fun night I ended up getting home rather late, and rather more full of alcohol than I would have liked, so spent the next day lounging around the hotel room, leaving my folks to do some exploring on their own!

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