After an interesting cultural experience at the supermarket, The Penpal and her parents picked up my parents and I and we departed for two great sightseeing places in the area: Numazu Goyotei and Mishima Taisha.
Numazu Goyotei is also known as the Imperial Villa. It was one of the Emperor’s summer houses from 1893 to 1969, and is now open as a museum.
The main building is a sprawling single story surrounded by beautiful landscaping. The building itself is traditional Japanese style with lots of tatami and sliding panels, but some of the rooms have been set up “Western style” for receiving visitors, one of the most notable being US President Grant. The most interesting part for me is the room with a large pool table, which looks very strange in a traditional Japanese house.
My parents really enjoyed the visit to Goyotei, and then especially enjoyed lunch at Numazu’s 100 year old tempura restaurant Uobun. The Penpal’s family had taken my family to Uobun on their last visit to Japan, and my parents had specifically asked to visit again. We ate delicious tempura battered seafood over rice, served with miso soup and Japanese pickles. Yum!
After lunch we visited Mishima Taisha. The grand shrine is usually impressive, but on today’s visit all of the cherry blossoms were in bloom. My mom was fascinated by the beautiful pink trees, and took about 50 pictures. One of them was this fantastic picture of the rest of us with pink trees in the background. As a rule, Japanese people (especially older Japanese people) don’t smile in pictures. The Penpal does more often now (I credit myself for that), but this is a rare picture where The Penpal’s mother is smiling.
The Penpal and I had a sudden engagement and it took a while for her family to get on board with the idea, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when my parents came to visit. I’m very happy and thankful that both families are getting along amazingly well and seem to really enjoy spending some time together. I’m a lucky man!