Homesick for the Easy Living of Fairfax County

Hanging out in Washington can be a drag when you’re in a long distance relationship. Considering only the safe northwestern corner of the District (and that’s all anyone considers, really), the bars, clubs, disco bowling alleys, and $30-a-plate restaurants are built with college students, new graduates, and yuppies in mind. In contrast, Northern Virginia, where I lived from December of last year until June, could offer a suburban paradise of good restaurants and solitary thrills that entertained me during the 10 months or so of quiet stagnation that I spent between Shoko’s departure and our reunification at the end of July. As long as I had a car, I could easily brave the sometimes offensively bad traffic and spend a Saturday picking up groceries at the Korean supermarket, playing Dance Dance Revolution at the mall, and returning to my apartment with dinner from any number of good fast food or carry out places. Five Guys, Chipotle, Krispy Kreme Donuts, hispanic grilled chicken places, or some of the good Vietnamese, Korean and Indian places that have popped up in the area.

This recent Washington Post article reminds me of that time. Though intended as a look at the restaurant business in the Washington area from an economist’s perspective (timely enough as pop economics is all the rage these days) somehow the piece reads as a wonderful nostalgia piece for anyone who has recently left Washington’s “exurbia.”

Crossing to Hakodate

After our trip to Osorezan, Curzon and I wandered across the Shimokita Peninsula to the port of Oma, then boarded a ferry to cross the Tsugaru Strait to Hokkaido.

One of Hakodate’s most well-known features is Mount Hakodate, which rises over the south end of the city and is said to have one of the most amazing nighttime views in the world, on par with the mountain in Hong Kong.

There was a problem, though. As Hakodate came into sight, we noticed that the mountain was wearing a nice little toupee of clouds:

Mount Hakodate

After dinner that evening (crabs! squids!), we decided to get on the cable car and head up the mountain. We got an incredible view of the city for about 30 seconds before it all turned into gray muck: the top of the mountain offered no view at all, just fog illuminated by floodlights.

On the other hand, I must say that Hakodate’s cable cars are an awesome mode of transportation: now I want to build a line between the Mori Tower and the Izumi Garden in Tokyo. I’m sure Curzon will volunteer a photo (as I forgot my camera for the trip up the mountain).