Monday, January 25, 2010

on a boat

This weekend we joined some friends on a boat cruise around Tokyo harbor. We embarked on our journey from a small dock in a channel near Tsukiji and then proceeded through the harbor to Odaiba, hung out for a short while and returned to the dock.

Altogether I think it was about a three hour tour....a three hour tour (fortunately for us the weather never got rough). We were invited by Julian, here in red (take a picture, Julian: we're on a boat!), who took Japanese lessons with Ryan up at the kita-ku community center. Julian's wife organized the outing as a venue for a live performance of Japanese traditional comedies.

There was a ton of food --sushi, rice, fresh shrimp, salmon rolls, even cheese!-- and as much beer as we could drink.
Also, they cooked tempura right on the boat and just kept bringing it out. We enjoyed what seemed like an endless array of deep fried shrimp, fish, sweet potatoes, peppers and squash. All of it was incredibly fresh and served up hot with our choice of the dipping sauce or coarse salt.
In Odaiba, the boat cut its engine for a little while so that we could hear the main entertainment. This man with the microphone is a sort of actor/comedian. After a brief stand-up routine, he performed a very animated traditional Japanese story. Armed with only a small paper fan as a prop, he acted out multiple characters, each with a different voice. Even though we couldn't really understand the story, his expressions and range of voices were fabulously entertaining.
And the views of Tokyo at night were just stunning. A lot of other boats were out enjoying the lights as well.
At one point during the night, a small boat pulled alongside ours and tied up. The boat driver then proceeded to sell some of his foods to the folks in the kitchen. He made them small plates of food and sold them a few boxes of things. He then opened up the sales to passengers via this window.

The kitchen crew later came around and shared some of the treats (the small bits on the plate next to the turnip covered in mustard). We couldn't quite tell what they were. They were kind of fishy, kind of salty, but not terribly offensive.

Oh and I almost forgot: one of our fellow travelers, Todd-a-tron, documented the whole night for his youtube channel. He did a nice job of editing the footage down here.

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