The one boat I'd really like to rock sailed out of Yokosuka yesterday for quite some time with Rich on it -- heading into mysterious places with people who do the busy stuff that they always do on military ships but only if it includes quite a few acronyms.
Before he sailed, however, we spent his last night on the town. Yokohama can be screamingly fun (quite literally) when you snake the Jixxer through traffic for the express purpose of riding Cosmo World's boardwalk roller coasters and a death-defying ferris wheel.
Don't let Rich's fear of heights fool you. The same guy who climbed Mt. Shasta at +14,000 feet did just fine on the ferris wheel. Still, we were both "white knuckling" the rail in the itty-bitty car even while the soothing Japanese lady with impeccable English reassured us through the piped-in audio about the sturdy structure, the height, the surrounding scenery, (and the height), the history (and the height). There's a lot of air up there.
We even managed one of Rich's favorite sports when we got to the rollercoasters -- scaring the bejeezus out of anyone else on the ride by yelling (quite convincingly) "we're all gonna die!" He had all the girls laughing on the second coaster until they started believing him. Spinnino -- an exercise in keeping down dinner -- was the best ride (really called "Spinning" coaster, but after we misread it the original name seemed to lack charm).
Speaking of eating, before punishing ourselves on coasters we managed to wander our way through Queen's Square and found some great grub at Yokohama Bunmei Kaikan. The afternoon view of Yokohama Bay is spectacular from the restaurant and they have a huge selection of local dishes and other creative cuisines from across the globe.
My friend Kinugasa-san absolutely adores his city of Yokohama. With our small-world-getting-smaller, you'll definitely see other places that share this fierce city pride -- New York, Vancouver, San Francisco and San Diego among others. Actually, Yokohama is officially San Diego's "sister city", so maybe that's why I keep seeing little flashes of Del Mar, Horton Plaza, La Jolla Cove, and other pieces of our Southern California home.
I wonder if someday I'll be in Balboa Park with my eyes closed listening to the seagulls and forget that I'm not waiting for the fireworks to start in Yokohama's Yamashita Park.