Today was a public holiday (Labour Thanksgiving day), which meant that Akira also had the day off work and so had arranged to meet me in Yokohama. As usual Akira had planed an incredibly thoughtful tour around a number of interesting locations, the highlight being the Japanese gardens of Sankeikoen, which as well as having a small village worth of ancient tea houses and pagodas also happened to be hosting a bonsai growing competition. The care and attention that had been lavished on the entries was apparent for all to see, although in my capacity as a bonsai expert I strongly disagreed with the judges regarding the winning entry. In the end I decided that airing my grievances would serve only to upset the small children who were gathered around, and so I kept my peace.
In the early evening we went to a Silk Road themed restaurant in Yokohama’s China Town, where I drank chai tea and Vietnamese coffee to my hearts content (I think that Akira is still under the impression that if I drink an alcoholic beverage my heart will pack in), whilst surrounded by all manner of trinkets and handicrafts. The atmosphere was one of utter contentment, but I couldn’t help notice that most of the items, all of which were accompanied by a jaw dropping price tag, had been placed in such a way that every movement taken by a gangly Gaijin was potentially a very expensive transaction.