Tuesday, December 22, 2009
(PICTURE: The eel chef and his wife.)
I had one solo dinner left in Koryama and had a tough decision to make -- which restaurant to go to? Okay, it wasn't actually tough at all because by far my favorite restaurant has been the local eel place. Besides the amazing food, the chef and his wife have been extremely friendly to me. I've written about how every time I go in they give me extra food that they're preparing for their family. Well, on top of that, whenever I have seen the chef around the neighborhood he flashes me a peace sign and smiles from ear to ear. I saw him one time at the local supermarket and he literally almost jumped with joy when he saw me. The guy can't speak English and I obviously can't speak Japanese but I still consider him to be one of the best friends I've made in Japan.
Going to the eel restaurant for my last meal turned out to be one of my greatest experiences in the land of the rising sun. As soon as I walked in, the husband and wife lit up. In my best gesturing possible, I told them that this was going to be my last meal in Koryama. Immediately the man told me he had a present for me and proceeded to climb up on to a high shelf and pulled down a gigantic Mt. Fuji 2010 calendar. The chef showed off the pictures in the calendar to me and then proudly handed it over. I'm not really a calendar guy but this is a beautiful calendar. The one down side to it is that I now have to travel ten days with a huge rolled up calendar.
After graciously receiving the present, I sat down and the chef and his wife started to make me a bunch of extra food. The chef then took out a big bottle of beer and poured us all a glass to celebrate the night. The three of us tried to communicate as best as possible and we got a lot across to one another. I took out my camera and showed them pictures of my family and pictures of Huyen. I think they were really excited that I was sharing personal things with them.
(PICTURE: Sharing a beer together.)
At some point it came up that I go to the local gym and it turned out that both the husband and wife go there too. I was actually planning on going there after dinner and had my gym bag with me. The chef asked if he could come along and work out with me. I of course said yes and he got really excited. He got so excited he CLOSED THE RESTAURANT TWO HOURS EARLY!!!
While I finished my meal, the chef ran upstairs and changed into his workout clothes. He then came back to the restaurant and started to show me some of his exercising moves and then began to point at himself and say "Master." Soon after he said, "Karate" and I put the two together. Before I knew it the chef darted upstairs again and came down with a slew of weapons. Turns out the chef is a SAMURAI!!! A real life SAMURAI!!!!
The chef proceeded to put on a show for me with each weapon. It was freaking amazing...until he cut himself on his samurai sword. His wife patched him up with a band-aid and then the two of us hit the gym together. As we walked into the gym, the chef pointed at me and told all the workers at the front desk, "MY FRIEND." Honestly, this almost made me choke up. I'm friends with a samurai.
Check out this video. It is AWESOME!