February 3, 2017
Like a moth to a flame. That was how I had a night of light with my naughty friend Yuka. She suggested we see the annual extravagant LED light display commonly known in Japan as “illumination.” The word effectively lured me to scenic Minato Mirai, the harbor development of Yokohama. A walk on the boardwalk certainly delivered. The skyline was wholly lit-up with a galaxy of colored pin lights outshining actual stars.
The lady had made reservations at Daidaiya in Queen’s Square fronting Yokohama Bay. The restaurant’s main draw was not so much the food (nothing to shout about) as the view (worth a shoutout). Tables were separated into cubicles, perhaps for privacy, and arranged to face the glass window. The dining couple would have an unobstructed panorama of the harbor’s brilliant and colorful illumination before them. We were giggling at the thought that we might be the only ones on a rowdy friendly date in this seriously romantic date place.
Minato Mirai’s iconic Cosmo Clock 21 towered in front of us, its wheel changing neon colors in peppermint candy patterns. The psychedelic light show made me high; I was in a bantering mood with the nonchalant servers who were more confused than amused. For a decidedly tourist place, the staff didn’t know much English. Yuka had to shush me up even before I had a gulp of draft beer.
After dinner we strolled over to the night’s highlight: ice skating at Art Rink, the annual winter incarnation – for 12 years in a row now – of Red Brick Warehouse‘s event plaza. It was a spacious open air ice skating rink surrounded by illuminated murals. At this late hour, several skaters were still circling the rink. The combo of sea breeze, winter night chills, and this wide surface of ice made for loads of freezing fun.
Getting my footing in the skating boots was harder than I thought, but I only had this night to get my game on. I flailed my arms and almost did a split just so I’d never get my butt on the ice. Yuka was no better. There was no pulling her away from grabbing distance of the perimeter fence. At all! Still, we did a couple of rounds, laughing all the way.
In an hour, we scooted back to Queen’s Square to beat the last train to Tokyo. This quickie trip to Yokohama was worth a fist bump, which Yuka just learned to do. We were like kids out for a night on the town. But oh, what a night. It was bright as day!