I did so much relaxing and sightseeing today; Japan is so amazing with that! One minute you’re at a historical castle and/or UNESCO World Heritage Site, the next (give or take some) you’re just chilling at home, still mere minutes away from someplace as spiffy as Kyoto Gosho (the Imperial Palace). I can’t handle this awesome-ness, how do people live in countries older than 250 years old with structures to show from it? I’m pretty sure I’d be freaking out all the time. Anyways.
The morning started with some bombin’ Japanese toast, which is waaaay thicker than our wimpy American bread. Please ‘Murica, move aside for this one. I also tried it with butter and New Zealand hachimitsu (honey, which is expensive here so okaa-san’s many foreign friends send/bring her honey), a fantastic idea that I plan on stealing from now on. There was also ichijiku (fig), which isn’t uncommon but I’ve just never tried it ’til this morning and I gotta say, I’m okay with that having been true. The flavor’s alright, but that texture? Nah man, that ain’t me. Glad I tried it though! I also had ham, eggs, rice, mushrooms and miso; breakfast here is so varied and filling. Quite fantastic in my opinion.
A bit of relaxing, some idle chatter, and lunch snuck up on us. I’d mentioned liking hiyashi-chuka the other day, so guess what we had for lunch? This beauty.
Then, around maybe 1:30 okaa-san and I went out to the most famous tea shop in the city according to her, since yesterday I mentioned my being a tea connoisseur-wannabe. I don’t know the shop name but below I’ve pictured my tea all wrapped pretty, so feel free to decipher it from that. There they let you try 1 tea, so out of sencha, bancha, matcha, gyokuro, hojicha, genmaicha and something else I can’t remember, I picked sencha despite the tea man saying that it was pretty bitter, and most Europeans don’t like it. Well ahaha to you sir, I’m a weirdo and I really liked it! It was expensive at ~$7 USD/30g, but I wanted it so I got it. And okaa-san actually paid for it even though that wasn’t at all my intention (a thousand blessings upon this lovely lady) along with a tea pouch of her own, so I’m excited to try it!
Following the tea shop trip we took the subway to Nijo Oshiro (Nijo-jo Castle), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was very pretty, very bare compared to European castles (as okaa-san pointed out) and full of gorgeous wall paintings. There were a bunch of historical facts, restored artwork and elaborate etchings, so I enjoyed it a lot. Getting the whole tour in Japanese from okaa-san was also half the fun, especially the fact that I truly understood everything she said despite my poor ability to communicate my own thoughts. We’re getting there.
Here are okaa-san’s pics of me:
Dinner was oishii tonkatsu, kabocha (pumpkin), tomato/avocado/lettuce/cucumber salad, ham and cucumber potato salad, rice and miso, plus genmaicha to drink. Over/after dinner we talked about Kyoto-ben (regional dialect), American/Korean/Japanese politics, okaa-san’s view on American voting, sightseeing we should go do and some other fun topics. Oh, and another thing she said was that I should go to Taiwan for delicious food and cool culture! Don’t want to forget so it’s going on here.
I had a little azuki-kuri (redbean and chestnut) pancake dessert after dinner. I say oui to the kuri.
*oshiro = castle
**from here forward, a UNESCO World Heritage Site will be abbreviated UWHS