December 23, 2008

Driving in Tokyo, buying turkeys, and Eeden Mall

This weekend, R. and needed to go and buy a turkey because we are planning to cook a nice traditional (for Christmas, which is what R. thinks I need) turkey dinner for the Emperor's Birthday, which is the holiday that we get off that is near Christmas time. I'm pretty sure we are the only people that will be preparing a turkey dinner for the Emperor's birthday, but that is fine by me. Anyway, in order to get a turkey, we had to go somewhere to buy one. Since turkeys are not really all that popular around here, the only place I know of that sells turkeys is high end grocery stores, andKinokunia is one of them.

This weekend both R. and I have time off - a rarity - and so she wanted to go for a drive. I'm now officially a "paper driver", which means that I have a Japanese license, but I am not prepared or able to really drive in Japan. I've been driving in Japan twice, more or less: once for the driving test (which I failed once, then I went and took some lessons and passed the second time) and then when I drove to Fuji Rock a few months back. That was scary and dangerous for everyone involved. But I'm not a quitter, and more importantly, R. wants me to drive and when R. wants something, I've learned that it is best to help her get what she wants.

So we decided to kill two birds with one stone, and go drive down to the the Todoroki Kinokunia near my old stomping grounds of Jiyugaoka and buy a turkey, then keep going on down to Fujisawa to pick up R's younger sister and her niece. That is about an hour drive, and is worrying for me, but we hopped in the car and took off. We made it more or less safely toKinokunia , but parking was a problem. I ended up ignoring the GPS system to my own peril, tried to enter a do-not-enter driveway, and had to keep going. I eventually found a nice parking lot that was forKinokunia customers and free, but a bit farther off than the one that I was aiming for.

Once parked, it was a bit past noon, so R. and I decided to get some food. I used to hang around these parks, so I knew that the "Fukazawa Eeden Mall" was nearby. It is a little shopping district that time has passed by more or less: it is kind of far away from the station, and not really convenient to anywhere, so not many people are shopping there. I used to stop by there sometimes for lunch or dinner, but not too often because there really isn't anything great there, but thought we would take the 5 minute walk to check it out.

Surprisingly there was a new restaurant there: Palmetto, a Western (like cowboy) themed place. They specialized in hamburgers, and I was shocked to see that they had honest-to-god real pepsi in a glass bottle. It was great. The burger was pretty good too. I wouldn't say you should go out of your way to get a burger there, but if you are in the area, it is a good burger and nice little joint. There was a cute 12 or 13 year old helping out at the place, and it looked like one of his little (girl) friends from school came by and they were chatting while he was back in the kitchen and her mom chatted with one of the cooks. Doing a quick search on the web, this person is a friend of the person who opened the shop up in 2008-08 some time.

After lunch, we checked out the turkey selection at Kinokunia and picked up one that I hope will fit in our small oven. I also bought all 4 packs of Bettery Crocker Brownie mix that they had. And R. yelled at me for buying too much brownie mix.

Then we drove down to Fujisawa. It took a bit over an hour. I didn't hit anything. We picked up R's little sister and her super cute niece. Then we drove back. Things went mostly well, except for the one time that I completely blanked out and almost drove through an interestion. I was worried about the right turn I had to make and was thinking about that, and forgot to check if the signal at the intersection was, you know, signaling me to stop. Luckily R. yelled at me in time and was able to screech to a halt. I swear it wouldn't have happened in the states because I wouldn't have been worried about trying to make sure that I stayed in the correct lane when I cross traffic. I actually probably would have seen the light in time to stop myself, but having someone else in the car who believes she is about to die and will yell out warnings at the drop of a hat can be useful also.

Driving on the highways is fine, but is very expensive here. I think for approximately two hours on the road we spent about $40 in tolls. I don't want to even think about the gas. The local roads in Tokyo are a lot more scary for me than the highways. I hope I'll have more time in the coming months to go out for drives and get used to things, I'm starting to think that I might be able to manage this.

Luckily the train system is so good here that I don't really have any reason to drive, but as long as I got the license I should try to use it.



Comments

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Re: Driving in Tokyo, buying turkeys, and Eeden Mall
I liked Kinokuniya. It was much more geared towards foreigners than my Meidiya (and also bigger). I only made it out there once, mostly because I didn't need anything that justified a second trip there during my stay :)

I'm jealous over your oven, even though I'm back in my Seattle house rather than the tiny single-burner Tokyo apartment...


Posted 12 years, 10 months ago by Rebecca • • • Reply
Re: Driving in Tokyo, buying turkeys, and Eeden Mall
But you must have a HUGE oven back home! Ours is nice, doubles as a microwave, but it is kind of small. Bigger than a Toaster Oven, but not the size of a "real" American oven...

Also, it plays a lot of music and is a bit annoying if you don't take things out of it when it wants you to take things out of it!
Posted 12 years, 10 months ago by fugu • @wwwReply
Re: Driving in Tokyo, buying turkeys, and Eeden Mall
I hate driving in Tokyo. Once I almost took a right turn into oncoming traffic because I didn't realize green meant 'not protected'. oops. Also not to mention trying to park the car by backing into a tiny space and almost sideswiping a wall... yikes!
And yeah, I failed the gaimen kiri-kae test 3 times before passing because of things like not blocking imaginary bicycles when turning left. Grrr. But everyone is always impressed by the fact I can drive a manual with no problems... my one saving grace ;)
Posted 12 years, 10 months ago by Kyra • • • Reply
Re: Driving in Tokyo, buying turkeys, and Eeden Mall
I swear driving here is killer. I am finally getting used to the left-side-of-the-road thing, but if there aren't cars to follow, or I have to cross traffic when the road is separated I always worry about going to wrong way.

I do not like parking either. The spots are too narrow!
Posted 12 years, 10 months ago by Fugu • @wwwReply

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