So I have a new Saturday morning routine, well, that is, if you call two weeks in a row a routine. I do. Anyway, I start off the morning with a little jog. Emphasis on the word little, since so far these jogs only last about 20 minutes or so. But I think it will be a great way to explore my neighborhood as I increase the loop a little bit each time. And lord knows I needed to start doing some kind of exercise, or I was going to be forced into a career in Sumo ;P (see next blog entry).
After the run, I clean up and ride my bike to the Dori (aka main street) down the hill. This street is a little sleepy at night, but on Saturday mornings, it is just humming. First thing I do is "balance my checkbook", which is to say I just shove the passbook into the atm. There is no check writing here, and all transactions are instant, so this method is totally accurate and the easiest thing ever. I haven't actually used a check register since the early 90's, so this is a BIG improvement to my financial state of affairs.
Then I ride over to this little store that sells grilled cakes in the shape of fish. They are warm and crispy on the outside and stuffed with red bean paste. I've become quite a fan. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to bring a box to a dinner party. There is a more famous store about half a block further down, but, as is often the case, they ran out of fish early. So then I decided to give this little stand a try. The two fellas inside the booth were so nice and funny (they now wave at me when I pass them first on the way to the bank), that I just go straight to them every week.
Finally, I go to this cute coffee shop called Yanaka house. I like the dark wood interior, the funny barrel with plastic coffee replicas outside and the beans for sale that are tumbling around and being roasted on site. But most importantly, I feel sorry for them because a big chain coffee shop opened up two doors down and always has a line out the door. So, late Saturday mornings, I can be found at Yanaka house, eating the fish, drinking some coffee and studying my kanji flashcards. Well, I can be found there for as long as this routine lasts anyway.