Monday, September 17, 2012

Ty does Amerika, coast to coast

The title speaks for itself. We took Ty, now 14 months old, to the US mainland for his virgin trip. The plan was to escape the excruciating heat of Tokyo in August for 3 weeks, enjoy cool San Francisco temperatures, see friends and family in NY, and return to Tokyo in mid-September just as the heat tapers.It is still very humid in Tokyo but this week should be the last of it.

It has been quite a long time for me to post on this travel blog, almost 2 years.  久しぶりです。
The reason, of course, was the arrival our new little man in the house last summer.

Anyway, now for the details of our trip to the US. We took a 9-hour flight to San Francisco from Tokyo and stayed 8 nights in the bay area. We liked the open space and healthy food in SF and the vineyards in Sonoma/Napa Valley. The weather was perfect.

This is Ty enjoying one of the many parks near Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.

We met nanban friend Caroline downtown for some gourmet vegan food. She works for a small fruit company called Apple.

Our little boutique hotel near Union Square, SF.
 One day in SF we took a stroll down by Golden Gate Bridge Park. It had great views and open grass and beach.
 Golden Gate Bridge: FYI, It still has the second longest main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, which we also drove over on this trip.


The term Golden Gate refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.


 On our last day in SF, we met up with my SUNY-Binghamton University friend Victoria in her upscale hood. She's been in SF for 15 years and living well. Go Harpur College!

Next we explored the beauty of Sonoma and Napa Valley. This is Ledson winery. 2 thumbs up for all-out beauty and tasty wines. Aaron, good recommendation!

 We did the touristy thing in Napa and boarded the Napa Wine Train. It was a pleasant surprise with gorgeous views of Napa wineries and a gourmet 4-course meal on board the 1920's train.  Meg had the rose, Motozo got into the bubbly.

 Ty, as usual, amused himself with his fork in wine glass game...


 We passed by Mike Grgich's vineyard. He is notable for being the winemaker behind the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that bested several white Burgundy wines in the wine tasting event that became known as the Judgement of Paris. Grgich essentially put Napa Valley on the world wine map. See the film "Bottleshock".



 My dad's cousins Louis and Myrna in Saratoga/Sunnyvale (near San Jose). Great to see some family west coast!

 Ty likes the space in Saratoga!

Getting in some refreshing pool time at Myrna's before the flight to NY...

We landed in New Jersey and Dan drove us straight down to the beach on Long Beach Island, New Jersey Shore. The house is not too shabby. You wake up to coffee and waves crashing on the beach. Life could be a lot worse...


Other than my triathlon training which featured 7 runs and 2 swims in 3 weeks of traveling, I managed to get in some quality beach volleyball with the Dan unit and Melanie.
 We won the "big" Loveladies beach volleyball tournament.
 Ty gets around Loveladies: Out on the deck ocean side...
...and exploring the bay side....

Finally, we circled back to New York City after 5 days on sun and sand. We stayed in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The east coast Binghamton reunion in Prospect Park almost got KO'd by a tornado! It was great to see Joan and Ken and their growing families!

On to Hoboken, New Jersey, for the Jewish New Year at Aunt Barbara/Arnold's place. It was wonderful to see some of the cousins, and taste Barbara's matzah ball soup. Food did not fail us! 

Celia, Morty, and cousins rocked the Hudson River jetty.

You've got to be a part of it, New York, NY....

Last but certainly not least, we paid my parents a visit in Oakdale, Long Island. It is nice to see the stars at night and breath fresh suburban air, things I appreciate more after living in big cities for 20 years. 

Dad and I also played 18 at the West Sayville golf course, which is a nice course 5 minutes from the house. Dad's game is very sharp. My game need some work. 

Life is good and relaxing in Oakdale.

All in all, a splendid trip. Many thanks to all the hospitality from Myrna, Fischer's, and Rubenstein's. The +13 hour flight back to Tokyo was tough, but we bracing ourselves for the worst. Stay tuned for Ty's travels in Asia ex-Japan in November...