Chicken Hearts and the "Rising Sun"

By Alicia Courtney

We have had a lot of random adventures since arriving in Japan.  So I thought I would throw up a few videos to really make you feel like you are here.

After a night of drinking at our favorite bar, Lotus, Chris mentioned he saw a sign for live music at a place called the American Graffiti Bar.  Apryl, Michiko and Kayoko had never been there before so we didn’t know what to expect.  Chris led us under an underpass, down a dark alley then finally up a flight of stairs.  How this man found this bar, I have no idea.  When we opened the door it was a very, very small place.  The two tall tables and a short bar with bar stools were already full.  The only seats available were these  miniature couches.  I was first to crawl on the couches to sit down.  Poor Apryl was such a trooper.  Once she sat down she said she wasn’t sure how she was going to get back up.  The bar was full of American neon signs and memorabilia.  After the band played, the TVs in the bar played old live shows from Eric Clapton and other greats.  Chris was in pure heaven with that music.  He asked the waitress if she knew who Eric Clapton was and she said no.  I thought he was going to pass out.  Here is a quick video I took inside the bar.  Notice the Hershey’s cup on the tables?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2At4b82jgX4?rel=0

Remember how I told you that Chris bought an ocarina?  Well, we have had quite the laughs over him learning how to play Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give” and other songs.  Yasuko especially loved Chris’s ocarina and insisted on him playing Happy Birthday for Aya as a surprise.  So one night we went out for Aya’s and Kayoko’s mom’s birthdays.  We went to a yakitori  (basically meats on skewers) to celebrate.  This is the night they talked me into trying chicken hearts (yes, they looked like hearts and were chewy just like an undercooked heart would be), chicken temples and…. chicken joints…. as in cartilage.  It was crunchy.  And terrible.  To forget about these foods that I so adventurously tried I drank 3 glasses of wine.  Which I believe is why I am singing happy birthday so loudly in the below video.  BUT don’t let my awful voice distract you.  Moments before singing I grabbed Chris’s ocarina and passed it under the table to him.  He then… well… just watch the video.  I think everyone was in tears from laughing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmW7VZ_luxg?rel=0

After dinner we headed to a karaoke place.  Here is Aya singing “Rising Sun” by her favorite band Exile.  They are a really famous boy band in Japan.  This song will get stuck in your head for days!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7APvLgOMQC8?rel=0

Aya sang another song later in the night and the only English word in the song was the word “why” randomly from back up singers.  So Chris picked up the 2nd mic to back her up.  For some reason I think Chris made the “why”s a whole lot creeper than the real song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldS506IQxBE?rel=0

Now if you are wondering what the Ocarina can realllly sound like (Chris does well, I mean, he taught himself Rick Astley by ear) but this guy is amazing.  He is the man Chris bought the ocarina from in Kamakura on Coming of Age Day.  This man makes all the ocarinas in his store.  Amazing!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZEXRiL25x4?rel=0

Speaking of Coming of Age Day.  Here are a few videos I have from that day.  I know I blogged about it before but I wanted to show these videos too.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnGOZk8KmC0?rel=0

Before entering the temple you must wash here first.  Don’t be fooled… the water was ice cold!  Others rinsed their mouths with the water too.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06omhFCSGPs?rel=0

Remember the Emperor’s New Year’s greeting we went to?  Here is a quick video of his greeting.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knxi6QDxeY8?rel=0

Now going back even further… This is right after we rang in the New Year at a bad called Common!  Lots and lots of Saki!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHn-KVFlvLY?rel=0

We also took a trip to indoor strawberry fields for ALL YOU CAN EAT IN 30 MINUTES STRAWBERRIES!  We paid a fee and they gave us directions to the right greenhouse to go to.

The greenhouses full of strawberries!

Sign teaching you how to pick the strawberries properly. Don't make the strawberries cry!

The woman who worked there showing us which ones were the best and how to pick them.

"Then you dip your strawberry into the cream and eat!" The cream tasted like sweet condensed milk. Apryl and I got 2nd's on the cream.

Strawberries rows forever.

We ate strawberry after strawberry...

Sharing with a friend.

Apryl predicted she ate 90 strawberries in the 30 minutes (I think she was kidding :) ).  We left laughing and absolutely FULL of strawberries.  It was a really cool experience.  I love the mini adventures Apryl takes us on!

Of course I have a lot more photos of adventures but it’s getting late and I have a small tub of Haagen-Dazs cookies and cream ice cream staring at me and an episode of House to watch before I head to bed (I do have priorities).  I hope you enjoyed the videos.  Expect to have “Rising Sun” by Exile in your head all day tomorrow.  You’re welcome :)

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