Friday, January 15, 2016

#Best of a Travelife 2015: A summer weekend at a beautiful beach estate in Tokyo

This is part of our series on the best experiences in a #Travelife for 2015.




So last summer, in Tokyo living a #Travelife, on one weekend we drove across town via the city's newest underground highway and then connected onto the Aqua Line, which is the 10-kilometer underwater tunnel that links greater Tokyo to a far corner of the Chiba peninsula.


Ordinarily, this is quite a long drive on the regular highway, especially with weekend traffic.

But with the opening of the new highway and the Aqua Line tunnel that literally cuts across the sea, getting to this part of Chiba is a breeze.

Scroll down to read more about my resolutions for 2016...



SO NEAR,
AND YET SO TROPICAL

This part of Chiba is quite unlike greater Tokyo, in spite of its proximity. It's got quite a tropical atmosphere, for one, so the first thing you see when you get out of the tunnel is a row of palm trees. 

Quite surreal.

This is just the pool house of the beach estate

Then unlike the rest of Japan, which is just so inundated by 24-hour convenience stores, this part of Chiba actually has very few convenience stores. 

I wanted to buy something at a convenience store on my way to my friend's villa, and I actually didn't find even a single one on the route that we took going there, after getting out of the expressway.

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I'm so used to seeing at least a handful of convenience stores in every town so this was quite a shock.

On the return, between my friend's beach villa and the tunnel exit, which is quite a distance, we took another road and I passed through at least four towns and counted all of three convenience stores.

A TOP HEDGE FUND MANAGER
DOES ALL THE COOKING



That Sunday, this guy with the beach villa -- who is also one of Japan's most successful hedge fund managers -- did most of the cooking.

He actually got an entire suckling pig and also ordered real Louisianna ribs for a barbecue, plus several chickens.

This was a lot of food, actually, for eight people.



All of these he marinated the night before with a hodge podge of specialty barbecue sauces from all over the world, and then on Sunday morning he stuck everything into his state-of-the-art barbecue grill, made-to-order to his specifications in Texas and delivered to Tokyo.

A FAMOUS ITALIAN CHEF
MAKES AN OLD-FASHIONED LASAGNA



A famous Italian chef also joined us for Sunday lunch, bringing with him a couple of nice wines and a big tray of lasagna which he made based on his grandmother's recipe. This guy once owned one of the hottest restaurants in Tokyo before he retired to take it easy.

But he still cooks well. The lasagna was tasty and so gooey, and I must have eaten two platefuls.



Then we all sort of just sat around in this pretty massive and lovely estate with its own private mountain, forest and waterfalls, organic gardens, tennis courts and even a biplane.

Some people went swimming, others tried the new zipline he'd installed across the property, and a couple of others went to play tennis.

As for me, I sort of just sat around with a glass of wine, listening to 1980s music being piped all over the estate from high-tech speakers installed everywhere but invisible, living and loving a never-ending #Travelife.

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