Ahhh, Saturday. A semi-break in this whirlwind of an introduction to Japan. I had a nice slow morning, which didn’t really kick off ’til a late lunch around 1. Remember those ass-kicking noodles from a few days ago? Well that’s where I went, a little noodle shop called Hachinobo, and I got the ass-kicking ones. I think I ordered the 2nd spiciest they had and it was pretty good. For me, when most places do spicy the spice isn’t a flavor, it’s just a burn. This place managed to make it tasty, so the spice was actually made of spices and not-just fire, so I super appreciated that. Have a looksies:
After that okaa-san and I returned to Shimogamo Jinja now that I have a goshuincho, or a stamp book. In Japan, all the otera and jinja (temples and shrines) will write in and stamp a book for you, kind of like autographs at Disneyland except it’s culturally and religiously significant. It doesn’t have to be – it’s also a good keepsake to know where you’ve been in Japanese style – but that’s its brief function. So anyways, she’s the best person ever and gave me one, so I wanted to bring it back to Shimogamo, aka my first shrine & first real day with okaa-san, to break in the book. I don’t have a pic of it now but I’ll post on it in the future. Anyways, we went there and it was still so pretty and now I’ve been initiated into the jinja craze, wahoo! It was also fun because Shimogamo is famous for finding a partner/relationships, and we saw not 1, but 2 weddings when we went. I only took a picture of one but okaa-san said it was super traditional, from dress to location to wedding party, and that not many people did that any more. I’m glad I got to see it!
After this event we walked across Kamogawa to find a sweet shop, and ended up finding a cafe with matcha parfaits, lattes, koori and more. We settled there to a matcha koori/ice cream/gelatin cubes/azuki/dango concontion for me and a matcha parfait with most of the same stuff for okaa-san. It was called Cafe de Tanaka and it has the softest, most beautiful azuki I’ve had yet – I plan on going back and just asking for their ice cream + azuki, they were sooo good.
After that we ended up walking back across the river on these fun stepping stones, a few of which were turtles! Oh, before we got there though okaa-san saw one of her stray cats, Ichigo-chan, so she called to/petted him for a few minutes. It was great because there was a very specific sign against interacting with the cats, and she went up on the nice grass and right up against a fence (pretty much a walking-is-no-bueno zone), meowing for Ichigo-chan to come out before she saw him. Her meows are super impressive, I honestly can’t tell if it’s her or a cat half the time. Anyways, that was entertaining and a badass way to rebel against the system.
Once we crossed the river we took a fun way home, by which I mean we stopped at Yoshida Jinja. This shrine holds the body of Yoshida Kanetomo, some spiritual hot-shot who got himself a sweet setup for the afterlife. This shrine was waaay bigger than it seemed and lead off to a few other cool spots, including the site where Yoshida is buried, a jinja for a cooking kami and a jinja known for business, which had Inari’s kitsune standing at the entrance. I don’t know what this one’s name was but it was pretty cool, and I prayed there as well.
Absolutely splendid wandering day 🙂