Monday, March 17, 2008

crisp at canal cafe

The weather the previous weekend was such a bliss. I woke up feeling excited that God blessed me with such a beautiful weather on my birthday. Unlike in Malaysia where your friends plan and celebrate your birthday with you, here I have to call my friends up on my birthday!

I didn't really mind, but being a bit *ahem* low-profile, decided to call my closest grrlfriend since she already knew it was my birthday. The rest I invited along, and told them I wanted to catch up since I have not seen them in awhile. But somehow, everyone who came knew about it, and took the effort to make it special for me. This place, Canal Cafe was chosen by Shokwan and was such a perfect place to hang out with grrlfriends and enjoy the crisp air.

Most of the patrons were ladies who obviously had the same idea in mind. Since it was also International Women's Day, they had some health talk going on. When I arrived, there was even a special performance near the jetty area. They have lounge singers once in awhile and similar events. No wonder it's so popular. Testament to this fact is the long line at the entrance when we left.

Both Apie and SW were prepared with their sunnies while I was just happy to enjoy the sun after those wintry months. You could really smell spring in the air!

There are 2 sections to Canal Cafe. The buffet is served in an indoor area called Restaurant Side, covered like a patio overlooking the river and allows you a view of the canal from the inside. However, food is slightly more expensive. We sat the Deck Side where we got optimum sun but had to walk all the way to the Restaurant Side to order our food.

Since food is take-away style, it came in disposable plastic and paper. But it goes as cheap as half the price you pay for a more fancy service at the Restaurant Side. And better cutlery too.

Just while we were eating, they decided to dump presents on me! SW gave me this big brown bag with a birthday note which made me wish she wasn't leaving Tokyo. I must say even though we've only been introduced to each other at the Raya do at the Malaysian Embassy last year, we've grown really close in such a short time.

Not only do we share a lot in common, but recent events in our personal lives have brought us closer. I guess my fondest memory will be of the time we went krazy with the autumn leaves of Yoyogi Park. It's not easy to find a person who will be sporting enough to do silly poses and experiment angles with, even though we don't have DSLR's to play with.

Apie is one of the first people I met at the Malaysian Embassy at the same event too. In fact, she and hubby Iqbal are one of the friendliest people you'll meet over this side of the world. They've been living in Japan for close to 10 years already. For better or worse, they have made this place their home for now but may contemplate moving to another part of the world when she graduates with a PhD this year. (Yes, I'm surrounded by smart people! I hear it rubs off on you)

That's another babe I'll miss if they ever do uproot and move away. But she will have a better future elsewhere, so I'll tumpang gembira for her when she graduates later.

Sunnies make great background for outdoor shots like these. SW, obviously stuffed to the brim after a delicious lunch of seafood salad, double cheese pizza, and green curry, taking in the sun.

Apparently the skeleton trees along this canal will bloom into a thousand cherry blossom petals come sakura season. Must be really pretty. My only hanami last year was in Niigata, and that was the simple lane next to the tennis courts in our campus, but it's everywhere in Tokyo. Especially the park near my house, the river near my office, and this canal, which is only 1 stop away from my place! But I heard also you have to "book" a place under the tree coz everyone will be there trying to grab the best spot.

Spring should come in a few weeks' time. It will be a krazy time for the Japanese as they find an excuse to drink and get drunk. With all that drinking, will they be actually admiring the cherry blossoms?! For me, I'm just glad the weather is getting better. Clear blue skies, crisp air (for a metropolitan city like Tokyo!), blooming flowers, more colours everywhere.

But why do I also suddenly miss winter?

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