SOTA Japan dinner – 17 June 2016
After finishing up at Oogusukuyama, and heading back to Tokyo, I dumped my bags at the airport hotel I was staying at in Narita, grabbed a taxi to the airport (shuttle bus schedule again didn’t align with my schedule) and grabbed a Skyliner train into Nippori, and from there to Akihabara. The reason? Akihabara is the ultimate destination for any radio ham: the stores on the west side of the station are manna from heaven. The other reason, a gathering of SOTA folks from Japan to celebrate 1 year of SOTA in Japan.
I had timed my run poorly, and most of the smaller shops were starting to close up by the time I arrived, but I had a good look around still, bought a few small things, and spent a reasonable amount of time inside Rocket Ham, the biggest of the ham stores in Akihabara. Afterwards, I made my way over to the Central gate, where we were going to meet before heading to the restaurant.
One of my great regrets on this (literally) flying visit was that I wasn’t going to get to sample my favourite Japanese cuisine, Shabu Shabu. To my great delight, when Toru emailed me with the news that we were meeting at Shabu Shabu On-yasai, a chain of shabu shabu restaurants of which I had spent a lot of time in (particularly their Ebisu branch). Three birds with one stone: Akihabara, shabu shabu and SOTA dinner!
I was a little early and no one was there, as well as a little hot, so I found an ice cream place and had a quick ice cream, which cooled me down nicely. I then proceeded back to the gate and saw Toru and Takeshi Abe JG1GPY. We swapped cards and gifts and, after being joined by Nobi JA1JCF, Jun JI1TLL and Jun Hirai JI1IHV, we headed over to the restaurant. We were joined there by Minoru Tomobe JL1NIE and Take JS1UEH, who made the first SOTA QSO from Mt Fuji early in the program.
The meal was excellent, the company even better. We spoke a lot about SOTA, ham radio, Australia, Japan and even astronomy (JG1GPY doing an excellent job of sketching sun spots through an ED80 with H-a filter). My phone battery was almost flat, so I took no photos myself, but have managed to pull together a few from others, and trawling the twitter feeds of the less sober.