One of my coworkers invited us to visit him at his house in Tsukuba - about an hour away from Tokyo via a special Tsukuba Express line. We met him and had lunch at a traditional house which served upscale modern Japanese food. Henry tried the uni pasta and I had the matsutake mushroom risotto as appetizers. We also had a yummy green tea sponge cake and black seasame mousse for dessert! Yum!
My coworker and his wife drove us up Tsukuba mountain with a stop at a persimmon stand where we all bought some persimmons and pears. The views from the top of the mountain was quite nice. It seems to be a popular spot for hang gliding so we saw some hang gliding ramps. We also visited Tsukuba Shrine before heading back to see his house and have some sweets before catching a train back to Tokyo.