Jeremy's Home Japan Trip Travel Log Day #4
See also: Meiji Shrine Pictures, New Sanno Robes Pictures, New Sanno Room Pictures
It all started quite innocently. We got up on Sunday morning, packed a few days worth of clothes, and headed to the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo for their all-you-can-eat brunch. The hotel is run by the US Navy and caters to US Military folks. Since Aaron is in the Army, this worked out quite well.
The great thing about the incredible selection of kick-ass food. (For $15.75 a head I would hope the food is good.) I can't even begin to list everything they had at this classy joint, but let's just say that the first thing you notice is that a few of the many buffet tables (yes, there were many) had ice sculptures on them. Really. If I had thought to bring my camera to brunch, I'd have taken pictures.
I probably ate somewhere between 12 and 14 really good shrimp in addition too all the other stuff I had. There was an entire table of desert food, mexican food, omletts made to order, meat, fruit, and so on...
They even had caviar. It took a little time, but we eventually decided that we'd probably never have the chance to eat caviar in Tokyo as a group every again, so we felt obliged to try some. None of us had ever eaten caviar before, so we didn't know quite what to expect.
So we elected Scott to visit the seafood table and get some caviar for us. He promptly returned with several crackers and a small blob of nastly looking stuff in the middle of the plate. He distributed the caviar on the crackers and we all prepared to try it. Kristin decided not to indulge, so she protographed the experience (hopefully I'll get a scan of that one).
We counted to three and bit down on our crackers. We then reacted violently to the horrible taste of the caviar. It was a nasty, disgusting mix of really strong fish taste and very salty crap. We all decided (in less than 5 seconds) that we hate caviar and couldn't figure out why anyone in their right mind would eat it.
And the story of brunch wouldn't be complete without hearing about the champagne. It was an all you can eat bunch, and they had two drinks that they offered all patrons: coffee and champagne. Would you believe that our group finished off two bottles on our own? And Kristin didn't drink any. And Kacky only had a tiny bit (like half a glass). For those of you keeping score, that means Aaron, Scott, and I managed to consume the better part of two bottles of champagne during our all you can eat brunch.
Needless to say, we enjoyed our meals. :-)
One of the many attactions to see in Tokyo is the Meiji Shrine (or just "Meiji"). That was the first place we headed after completely stuffing ourselves at brunch. It was just a few stops away on the subway.
After we arrived at the shrine and wandered around, we took a few pictures and headed toward some hard (marble or stone) steps so that we could walk up to another part of the shrine.
Like every day since we arrived on this wet-ass little island, it had been raining and the steps were a little bit slippery. As we began to climb the steps Kacky took a spill, dropping her camera and landing on her hands and knees. When she stood back up, she got a good look at her left hand and let out a sound that is hard to describe. It was part gasp, part whimper, and part we're not sure what.
Why, you may ask, did she let out such a cry? Well, she had just noticed that the ring finger of her left had was bent is a most awkward way. The part of her finger from the second joint to the tip was pointing to the left at about a 45 degree angle. It was a highly unnatural look.
While dicussing the incident much later in the day, we came up with several alternative expressions she could have used instead of the whimpering gasp. Our favorite was:
|Big-ass Buddha Knuckle Fuckin'...|
Amazingly, moments after the incident, a monk appeared. Really! As soon as he got a look at what had happened, we were wisked away to some private inner sanctuary of the shrine. We passed lots of "Do Not Enter" and "Private" signs along the way. It was cool.
While going into the inner depth of the shrine, we passed a very serious, straight-laced looking guy in a suit. When he got a look at Kacky's finger, he broke his seriousness and let out a loud noise that sounded like:
Admitedly, reading that doesn't to justice to the sound that came out of that little man. (Maybe I'll get a WAV file of Scott imitating him.) But he was the first in a long series of folks to have amusing reactions to Kacky's problem that day.
After some logistical challenges, we all made it back to the New Sanno and enlisted the help of some of the cool bi-lingual folks that work there. They began checking with local hospitals to find someone that could help Kacky's finger.
After a while, things didn't seem to be progressing, so Aaron, Kacky, and I got in the car to head back to Zama where we could get her into a medical facility where the folks speak English. So we spent easily an hour and a half on the road in the hopes of quick service at the local millitary installation.
After we arrived at Camp Zama and flashed Kacky's hand at the door of the local medical facility, we were shown to a room with little kids' decorations on the walls. We sat for a bit and were told that they probably couldn't do anything for us. Since she wasn't here as the result of the government saying "we want you to be here", they couldn't help unless it was a life threatening injury. In fact, they weren't even sure if they could recommend a local hospital for us to visit.
Yes, that's right. The US Government refused to help one of its own tax-paying citizens who was injured in a foreign land where she didn't speak the language. What the hell is up with that?
The monk at the shrine was more helpful than our own government. Way more helpful. Why do we spend so many of our tax dollars on a millitary to defend us when that same military can't even help one of its own citizens who has become injured and is in need of help. They were able to help. But some dumbass policy apparently said that they couldn't. And not a single one of them could muster the courage to say, "You know... that policy is stupid. I think we should do what's right instead of what the little book says."
Ironically, while I was wandering the halls of this amazingly useless (and virtually deserted) medical facility, I noticed a small poster proudly displayed on the wall. It listed several of the "core values" of this particular facility. The second one on the list was compassion.
Too bad that the little poster wasn't something that the enlisted men and women had ever bothered to read or understand.
Be all that you can be.
So, after we managed to get some directions out of them (which took way too long), we headed off to a local hospital, so that Kacky's finger could get fixed. When we eventually found the emergency room (which was an adventure in and of itself), we had to convey a sense of our problem to the folks working the desk. Instead of Aaron tying to exercise his sketchy Japanese language skills, he just said something like "Kacky! Show 'em the hand!"
As soon as they saw the finger, they knew what was going on. We had to play a lot of Pictionary-like games with the doctors and nurses, but to make a long story short they fixed her finger. It only took a couple of X-Rays (which looked quite amusing) and some careful handywork by one of the doctors. Before long we were back on the road.
After the hospital visit, we finally made it back to the New Sanno (after a quick stop to eat some leftover pizza for dinner). After hanging out for a bit, we ventured down to the hotel bar/lounge to partake in some refreshing and relaxing beverages.
There were a couple notable things about the bar. First of all, they brought little baskets of popcorn to your table. That's cool because I happen to really like popcorn. The other notable thing is that they had a wonderful little drink on special: The Long Beach.
After looking at the options, we ordered our drinks, sat back, and enjoyed the evening.
I should mention that the hotel rooms were quite nice. Scott, Kacky, and I shared a room--a rather large room. It had two beds, a couch which folds out into a bed, a comfy chair, a desk with chair, dressing area, bathroom, TV & VCR, and more. The most amusing thing is that we also found two pairs of slippers and a pair of robes. So Scott and I tried on the robes. We just had to.