Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SMS arrives, then leaves again…to Tonchinkan Yakitori!

SMS came in on Saturday!  Hooray!  I met him at Narita airport and we were so happy to be together again!  His flight wasn't too bad and we headed back to our apartment.  In the apartment was a sort-of-surprise: I had set up half of the second bedroom as his office with his desk and a new package that recently arrived.  It was his new iMac computer with all the specs he wanted.  I kept it in the box because it's his computer and I thought it would be fun to unwrap.  Apple really does a nice job with its packaging.  I always feel very futuristic when I open a new Apple device!
SMS' Plane
Oh!  I also had a welcome bag for SMS!  Inside, there was a shu creme puff, a French cream puff dessert that the Japanese make really well.  Underneath the pastry was…a new iPhone!  Wooooo!  (I feel like Oprah on one of the "My Favorite Things" episodes!  Look under the pastry box, IT'S A NEW IPHONE!!!!  WOOOOOO!!!!)  I really wanted SMS to have his smart phone right away so he felt at home and connected.  He had also asked that I got it and fortunately, I was able to make it happen despite a pretty busy week at work.

Why was it so busy at work?  The next week, I was scheduled to be TDY.  I know, crazy!  SMS arrives and off we go to travel Japan!  I had told SMS about it and offered to schedule the trip the week before he came, but we decided to go when he arrived so we could tour Japan on the cheap.  My Shinkansen tickets and hotel are funded so we only had to pay for SMS' tickets.  The trade-off is that I had to work for 4.5 days, but we still had a great time.

We left Sunday and headed to Sasebo.  My prior trip, I went to Iwakuni first so I had no idea how long the journey was to Sasebo.  9 long hours- yuck!  We made it through relatively unscathed and checked into the Gateway Inn, which, if you're ever going to Sasebo, I recommend over the Navy Lodge.  The Gateway Inn has larger rooms with a suite set-up and I much preferred it when I stayed in both places my last visit.

I saw 1.5 days of clinic on Monday and Tuesday morning before heading to Iwakuni where I saw 2.5 days of clinic since they had scheduled 46 patients.  46 consults in 3 months…ridiculous!  Of course, I'm happy to help out but that was an impressive level.

Tonchinkan Entrance
On Monday night, we went out with the audiologist and a nurse practitioner to Tonchinkan, which is an amazing yakitori place.  Oh my gosh, it is so good.  It's better than the more famous restaurant SMS and I went to in Tokyo mid-town.  If I lived in Sasebo, I would go at least once a week and probably more!

Yakitori refers to grilled meats and, to a lesser extent, veggies.  It's on small skewers and the meat quality and accompanying marinades and sauces are what determine the taste.  I think Tonchinkan has it completely right with the marinades because, seriously, I can't stop talking about how good it is!  We ordered tofu with the most amazing siracha/honshu/miso? sauce, grilled pork, chicken meatball (SMS' favorite), kobucha (squash), bacon-wrapped asparagus, bacon-wrapped cheese, steak and onion.  While I've been told there's other good restaurants in Sasebo, this is my go-to spot.  I did go to Ra-Ra-Ramen last time, which was delicious but since we were only staying one night, I'll have to save it for another time.

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