Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16: Kyoto








April 16: Kyoto

Night; and once again,
the while I wait for you, cold wind
turns into (hard) rain.

Are-moyoo desu
It’s stormy


Typical start: fitness center (two Asian Americans join me), chocolate thing muffins for breakfast, and the out for a walking tour of the city.

The Nishiki food market might be one of the best in the world: it is organized well, easy to peruse, has a ton of prepared foods and foods that are being cooked as you walk around (plus much raw and uncooked stuff to take home and prepare), many things we’ve never seen before, and at least this morning it
was not so crowded so you could see or buy anything you wanted fairly easily. Maybe 8-10 short blocks long. Highly recommended. Oh, what did we eat? More soy donuts, a cabbage cake on a stick (hard to describe, more like a paste with small veggies slices cooked in), pastry in the shape of a fish (one with vanilla custard, one chocolate, one bean paste), and pancakes with bean paste in the middle (this last from the food court in the basement of Takashimaya).

More walking around and then lunch (ok, our second lunch) at Katsukura for pork cutlets. This is when we discuss doing a house exchange here at some point. It’s a great town, plenty to do, easy to get around, and a number of good day trips from here. It is also raining, hard at times, so we regroup at the hotel and prep for send-ahead.

Dinner at another of Steve’s tips, Manzara Hon Ten, which means Not Bad Main House. This is one of six in the Kyoto area, and this is considered number one in the chain. We sit at the counter; they also have tables where you can actually sit with your legs underneath (scooped out style). However, we do better at the counter because we see what is being made and can chat up the chef (who learned his English in Canada). Appetizers of tuna, one thin smoked egg slice, one marinated tomato, and greens with sesame. Then tuna sashimi (excellent), followed by tofu in hot clear broth with warm mild soy (the contraption this comes in appears to be very unique, and our chef confirms it, designed by a National Treasure guy), mizuna salad, very greasy (hey, and very good) tempura, shu mei (with pork), charred “one inch” beans grilled in the pods, Two glasses of wine, two of beer, $100 and again one of the better meals we’ve had. The two Japanese women sitting next to us get a menu loaded with pictures. I will be talking (er, writing) extensively later about what a visual world exists here in Japan.

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