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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 13: Trip to Japan (16 April 2010)

We went for Friday prayer at the Tokyo Mosque at Shibuya-ko. The official name for the masjid is Tokyo Camii and Turkish Cultural Center. The masjid was founded by the Turkish community in 1938, hence the distinctive Turkish architecture.

After the prayer, we went to Akihabara to look for some souvenirs before leaving for Ueno. This day had so far been wet and cold, with the heavy rain and winter-like temperature. I was starting to feel slightly unwell, most probably because of exhaustion rather than the cold weather. Zaki suggested that I rested for the day at the hotel while he went to see the students studying at Meiji University.

Later in the evening, we had supper (for Zaki) and dinner (for me) at a Japanese restaurant located in our hotel. The restaurant, which is called "Zauo", has a very interesting theme. In the centre of the restaurant is a structure built to look like a boat, and underneath it is a pond. The boat-like structure is where patrons would sit to dine, while at the same time, patrons can choose to do some fishing. If patrons manage to catch a fish or a lobster, then it will be served at a discounted price.

Another interesting thing about this restaurant is that it serves only seafood prepared in many ways. You can have it raw (sushi or sashimi), you can have it grilled, you can have it served as tenpura or korukke, or you can have it steamed, or you can have it boiled (shabu-shabu). The price was not too steep, and I think it is quite reasonable. That night, we had kani or crab korokke and oebi (prawn) tenpura.

The temperature for the night continued to be cold. I received news from the students at Hachioji that snow was falling there. In fact, a few friends from Malaysia also informed me that the news about snow in Japan was featured in the news. Apparently this was the first time in 40 years that snow actually came down in April. There was no snow in Shinjuku though, but frankly I wasn't complaining.

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