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Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 JAPAN CHERRY BLOSSOM ADVENTURE: Day 16--Snow and Sakura in Sendai

It took seven hours to get from Sapporo to Sendai.  Here is my Hayabusa bullet train to the left:

There was a scare and a highlight:
  • At the Sapporo Station, I bought my breakfast bento and a drink, caught the escalator to my train, which was ready for boarding, but I realized I did not have my rolling luggage.  Where did I leave it?  Reminded my of my GAWA crisis, where I lost my wallet.  So I rushed back to re-trace my steps, beginning with my last stop, which was to purchase that bento.  Ah, my bag was still there at check-out.  Wow, what a relief!  I really am too old to do this again.
  • From Morioka to Sendai, we ran into a snowstorm.  Sure it snowed in Utashinai, but this is not that far from Tokyo, in April.
I arrived in Sendai and walked to the Westin.  This is the best hotel I'll stay in during this trip, by far.  While not quite $45/night, the room is still half the cost of the Tokyo Westin, and much newer and spiffy.  The Executive Club is far superior:

I inquired about any Sakura, and they recommended a walk uphill towards Sendai Castle.  However, it began to snow, and with considerable fortitude I trudged up to the cherry blossoms.  It was so cold and windy that few were enjoying hanamis:

That is, except for the crows.  They're all over Japan.

You ask, how can the sky be so blue with snow?  Good point!  Apparently, the snow comes from cloud banks behind me.  Strange.

What do people eat (about 108 yen to the dollar)?

I came back, took a bath and was so exhausted that I went to the 37th floor to Ichimuan for dinner:

This was the best meal of my entire trip.  The cuisine and service were exceptional, especially Nanami:

I had a special Sendai beer with hot sake:

Started with two free appetizers:

The first real course was a Caesar Salad with Sendai beef:

Best Caesar Salad I've ever had, because of the beef.  The teppanyaki foie gras was exceptional, with garlic chips:

Then, with assorted vegetables, 100 grams of Sendai Sirloin (to the right) and 80 grams of Sendai filet (note the marbling):

Note those brown things to the right?  The fat they chopped up and made them crisp.  Sendai beef is as good as Miyazaki beef.  Note also that pot at the top right?  They are making my rice.

Then a closure with garlic rice, Japanese pickles and miso soup:

At this point I was already supersaturated, but came the dessert:

Creme Brule with a strawberry, ice cream, etc.

Yes, this is not only the best hotel I'll be staying in on this trip, but this is the best meal I've had on this latest adventure. Cost?  About as much as my room.

 I returned to my room and took a shot of my night view with the Moon and stars:

I love Sendai!  But it is, really, too cold.

Tomorrow I'm off for Nikko.

This morning, here is how the above view looks:


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