New Roads

Kangaeroo won’t be doing much riding along the Tama River for a while.

For the next few weeks, it will be back in the homeland again.

Riding will be a bit of a challenge while there.

But also a bit exciting!

Oz is far stricter on policing road rules than Japan.

It will be interesting to see whether Kangaeroo can adapt to the differences.

Kangaeroo grew up in the Dandenong Ranges, which are apparently a cycling Mecca for Melburnians, though it wasn’t the case back in the day (at least to the author’s knowledge).

For the time being, though, it’s ta-ta to the Tama! And what a way to say bye!

Tripping on the Tama River

Kangaeroo cycles pretty much daily.

Due to a number of time constraints, nearly all the rides are along or near the Tama River. This river is one of the main waterways in Tokyo and has been supplying the city with water for centuries.

River-side cycling is on bike tracks and really isn’t demanding (except for the requirement to be constantly wary of pedestrians). But it’s still great fun.

Being able to wake up, get on the bike and shake off the cobwebs and let life rip is a blessing for this old man.

And Kangaeroo is even luckier by being able to ride the absolutely gorgeous La Cangura, who heads the fleet of Roo movers.

The Times, They Are A Changed

Imagine this today? No way!

Japan will finally re-open its doors to unrestricted travelers in October 2022, over 2 1/2 years since imposing strict entry requirements (especially on foreigners) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the yen at its weakest against most major currencies since the early 1990s (and effectively even weaker still in real terms as the yen of the early 1990s carried far greater purchasing power than the yen of the 2020s), tourists are predicted to flock back into Japan.

Japan is one of the world’s great tourist destinations and it is Kangaeroo’s belief that the hospitality of many Japanese people show toward tourists make it this way. Japan has an extremely well-deserved reputation for being hospitable toward visitors, and that was also Kangaeroo’s experience.

People are expected to come to the Japanese wonderland to see such treats as the mix of ancient and modern traditions, the neon-lit cities, the amazing food, incredible trains, anime, manga, J-Pop and all sorts of delights.

Not a tourism ad, but an example of the exoticism and sexualization used to deal with Japan in the olden days when Boomers were still young

Things have kinda changed since Kangaeroo first came here, though. In those days, the selling point was the exoticism of Japan, especially its women, and the marketing was highly sexualized in a manner unthinkable in today’s prissy age of political correctness. Back in the day, Japan was plugged as being the homeland of topless pearl divers and geisha girls.

MSA Airlines, the forerunner of today’s Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines, tried in an October 1968 advertisement to entice tourists to the Land of the Rising Sun by saying, “Imagine yourself…in Tokyo, where extravagant floorshows are staged in lavish nightclubs and the precise rituals of a geisha part can be seen in many restaurants.” Imagine yourself nowadays if you tried to sell travel with a line like that? (Or even worse, what they said about Hong Kong, where you could be: “Wandering ‘the world of Suzie Wong’ with its brilliant neon lights beckoning you to sample the exciting nightlife.” Definitely a case of mixing up what’s Wong and what’s right.)

Nurturing the Soul

British Poet Laureate Alfred Austin once wrote, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the bodybut the soul.” Kangaeroo is getting to find that out.

Gardening never really meant much to Kangaeroo, other than getting dragged out of bed as a youth on Saturday mornings to mow the bloody lawn with an antiquated, run-down Victa lawnmower.

Never the most energetic or enthusiastic of people at the best of times, the onerous task colored Kangaeroo’s views on gardening for decades, despite all family members showing a penchant and delight for gardening.

Having spent the vast majority of those aforementioned decades in Japan, where apartment life had been the norm and having a garden, even on a balcony, was rarely an issue, gardening was something that barely entered Kangaeroo’s consciousness.

However, having been blessed by circumstance and the amazing Alex Endo, gardening has become a daily delight.

Who could have dreamed that search and destroy missions for weeds could be so much fun?

And it’s a delight to enjoy the neighbors’ gardens, too, as well as to share information with them on the delights of getting out in the garden.

Fortunately, if a less-than-successful year so far, if nothing else the warmer months of 2022 in Tokyo have had finer than usual weather, which has also made the garden even more enjoyable.

The Aussie animals filling Kangaeroo’s garden are sure enjoying it, and so are the neighborhood cats and birds who are donating their unprocessed fertilizers!

Smashing Smashed Avo!

What’s for tea?

Kangaeroo was extremely fortunate to get to pig out on Aussie food while surrounded by kangaroos and koalas, all in the east of Tokyo!

Restaurant Ensemble on the second floor of Tokyo East Side Hotel Kaie has been holding an Oceanian Cuisine Fair as part of its World Buffet Dinner series since April 1, 2022, and it will draw to a close on June 30, 2022.

The food was fantastic, featuring such menu items as smashed avo, baked whitehead, roast lamb with rosemary sauce, fish & chips, whitebait fritters and chicken parma, all available in unlimited quantities.

Desserts were also exquisite, highlighted by the appearance of lamingtons.

The lammies were delicious, but perhaps not quite the taste of Australia.

They were more like coconut-covered brownies than the sponge cake and jam filled Australian staples, but delicious nonetheless.

Ensemble was also wonderfully decked out in lots of Australian and New Zealand-themed decorations and flags, adding to the flavor.

There was also some facts and figures about kangaroos for the kids who visit.

Thoroughly good time and an absolute delight!

The next theme in the series will be Thailand and Vietnamese cuisine, starting from July 1, 2022.