To Eat or not to Eat, Never a Question!

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One of us comes to Japan on a a regular basis because he enjoys the food so much.

The other one (me) comes to Japan to accompany her husband so he won’t have to eat alone.

Since many Japanese restaurants are quite small, one of us makes reservations at the restaurants he wants to try, long before we arrive, so as not to be disappointed at finding them full.

The other one takes delight in her husband’s foresight.

Both of us take pleasure enjoying Japanese cuisine. All kinds of it;  soba, udon, tofu, sashimi, yakitori, kaiseki, izakaya, and washoku.  For both of us, it doesn’t get better than this.  Glutton heaven.  From morning to night.

The expertise and dedication of the chefs insure that this playing field is not for amateurs, but for highly trained professionals. They wield a mean knife, using it as quickly and deftly  as a hummingbird’s wings. They are experts in knowing how to present a course of food so that the visuals are as appealing as the taste.  Seasonality reigns.  The chefs  can suggest sublime sake choices to accompany their food, which always helps to increase the pleasure quotient.

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In other words, the chefs are masters.  We are their awed students, grateful to have a seat at their table.

There are double the amount of people working in the kitchens of restaurants in Japan.  This means that all preparation and presentation is backed by  a well rehearsed division of labor.

It’s always a flawless performance.

Traditional Japanese restaurants serve many small courses, so that a meal is an adventure.

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If you sit at a counter, which is likely in the small restaurants, you enjoy jovial banter with your neighbors as well as the staff behind the counter.  This adds another dimension of enjoyment, making the evening a social outing as well.

 

All said, dining out in Japan makes for a most satisfying experience. The setting might be slick or traditional, but the meal itself is fleeting, as the sakura, and therefore treasured and appreciated.

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CHAPTER ONE CONCLUDES

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The first chapter of Living Life in Kyoto came to a sweet conclusion yesterday.  Upon returning home after too many hours of travel, I immediately hit my bed.  Hours later, the sweet voice of my youngest granddaughter shook me out of my stupor to regain a few hours of daylight consciousness. Sleep called again as soon as it turned dark.

When I’m happy, I tend to gush.  My husband is typically more restrained unless he’s got a fishing rod in his hand with a big struggling fish on the end of it.  I held back from telling him how successful I felt our trial run in Kyoto had been because he rarely “feels it” like I do.  However, my need to share my delight got the best of me.

me:  Wasn’t it any amazing two weeks? him: Yeah, it was fun.

emotional options

Ok, that’s what you get when you marry two people whose emotional responses to events are on opposite ends of the spectrum. But, I’ll take it. From my point of view,  our Kyoto trial was a great success and the truth was, my husband seemed happy too.

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kaiseki, the Ultimate in Japanese haute cuisine.
izakaya, Japanese pub cusisine.
izakaya, Japanese pub cuisine.

Dan takes his restaurant hunts and discoveries very seriously and I happily relied on him to find a place for us to eat each night.  With literally dozens and dozens of wonderful options right our our front door, he relished the task of checking out every restaurant entry we passed that looked intriguing. He made lists and even a map. That to me says, Engagement.

Kyoto is a gourmand’s heaven and our apartment is at ground central.  From tofu to soba to kaiseki to izakaya to french pastries, pizza and home made green tea soft serve, it’s all there at our eager fingertips.

Japanese French bakery
Japanese French bakery

Of course, enthusiastic indulging does have it’s downside.  blowfish

We did have a few challenges but nothing that wasn’t overcome with the help of some  very dear friends who remained close by to speak and translate Japanese and explain the system to us as needed.

Physically, my biggest challenge is the development of painful blisters on my feet that begin to plague me after a few days of heavy duty walking.  This unfortunate situation happens a lot to me.  This trip, I broke down and bought myself a pair of crocs, but even that didn’t prevent the blisters from getting worse.  I’m going to have to find a solution for that somehow, because by the end of these last two weeks I was walking  like a VERY old woman.  I’ve got about one month to heal and locate a better pair of walking shoes until my feet will be put to the test on a return visit yo Japan in mid-June!  Bring it on.old woman walking