where do we eat?
Noodles – buckwheat soba and udon – always with a beefy broth and some form of meat slice with thick green onions and seaweed and red sour plum. Conveyor belt-style balls of rice forms in the hands of experienced chefs who lay on the wasabi as a bed for a piece of raw fish – eel, tuna, and ink-blue squid – burning my nose and making me sneeze. Subtly sweet mochi – traditionally pounded soybean coated in a thick crushed peanuts, handed to me between a folded piece of wax paper. Spaghetti, served with a very raw egg planted on top. Rice bowls – donburi, I believe – tasty creations of vegetable fried rice with cooked egg and chicken on top. When I need to be held over, at the 7-11 I buy patties of sticky rice and pieces of seaweed folded into a triangle for $1. The best and freshest squeezed grapefruit juice I’ve ever tasted out of a navy blue can from a vending machine. Small, gooey rice balls thoroughly barbequed and coated with soy sauce, served to japanese tourists lined up the block. Savory circular puffed rice cakes in plastic wrapping, sold in every store along the street. Tasty miso beef rice bowl. Seasame and seaweed crackers. Pumpkin au gratin and potato and cheese teppan yaki served with a cold ceramic mug of draft Kirin beer at a Japanese pub. We cannot escape the taste of fish, tucking itself into almost everything (including my vegetable quiche today). Pork, noodles, cabbage and egg side by side in an okonomiyaki pancake, grilled in front of our eyes then laced with hoisin sauce and sprinkled in seaweed. Pickled everything and pickles everywhere. This is a food adventure we will not soon forget.