November 16, 2008

Sunday Out and Kansai Cycle Sports Center

On Sunday, we were invited to the house of one of Mike's co-workers who we know really well. (He was stationed in the U.S. at Mike's office for two years, and returned to Japan around the same time we arrived. We had him and his family over for Thanksgivings back in the U.S.)

It was actually the first time that we had been invited to a Japanese persons home. We understand that entertaining at one's home in Japan is quite rare, since homes are much smaller. Jacob and Lauren love their son, and we really enjoy their company.

They have a lovely home in a more suburby part of south Osaka. We enjoyed hanging out at their house, and had a terrific lunch of roll your own maki. Rice, nori paper, wasabi, veggies, tamago (egg), and all sorts of sashimi were provided, and we went to town! (Jacob and Lauren made western style maki using rice and deli meat, wrapped in nori; that, and take-out KFC!) We even got an impromptu cooking lesson on how to make tamago-yaki - the cold layered egg that is served as a type of sushi. (We need to buy a special pan.)

Afterwards, we headed out to Kansai Cycle Sports Center, a very unique little Japanese amusement park set in the mountains and dedicated to all things bicycle. We started off at a large track that has hundreds of different "silly bikes" of all shapes and sizes. It was hilarious trying to race around the track on these contraptions.

The park has a cycle luge, a roller-coaster, a bicycling roller-coaster that you pedal yourself, and a really nice 3 km bike course in the mountains and through the rustic woods. Jacob and Mike did that one together.

While most of these small Japanese amusement parks have a somewhat old school, dilapidated kind of feel, this place was a total gem. After biking to our heart's content, we finished off our day together by sharing a meal at Rouge Tomato, a fun family place with good pizza and pasta. They had a rock-scissor-paper tournament - winner gets a cake - and celebrating eight or nine birthdays with full-on staff singing and tambourine playing during our meal! By the way, "Happy Birthday" is sung in English. We don't know why!


Lisa said...

Sounds like a lovely time! That looks like a really cool amusement "park"

Anonymous said...

what agreat trip!~! you look EXACTLY the same by the way..