Downtown, Up and Down and All Around Kawaramachi

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lizard sleeps tonight. Or should I say, this morning, because I slept in and man did it feel good. The lazy trend continued until around 1, when okaa-san and I headed down Kawaramachi for some shopping around. We went to a lot of stores, but most memorable was Muji, a hipster UO/Ikea type store located across from Round1 and somewhere I need to return to. There okaa-san bought me this nata de coco and lychee drink plus a matcha German cake thing, which I’ve seen everywhere and am so happy to finally know where the hell this thing is originally from. Afterwards we went to a huge department store and saw Loft, an upwards-sprawling site of madness that had so much lovely stationary, cool umbrellas, adorable phone stickers and a bunch of other cool shit.

Once it hit 2:30 we were both finally hungry, so we went to this uber traditional and yummy soba place a few streets off from that weird crab place in Teramachi. I got a traditional Japanese hot soba, which had quail eggs, fish paste cubes, seaweed, another green veggie and shiitake, but the name is something I can’t remember – to be returned to. Okaa-san said it was a very beautiful and traditional place, and that when doing sado she’d had food from this place before. Pretty cool!

Quality ain’t great but the restaurant looks pretty!

After that we headed to the store okaa-san used to work at, and dang was it cool! It had a bunch of Okinawan, Taiwanese, Indian and African things in it, kind of like those Native American stores that are in every American mall (at least one) and have random pretty stuff from everywhere. They even had Thai fisherman pants, which are super cool and which I’d bought a pair of for myself years ago on etsy, for a pretty penny (times 5,000 or so). Here they’re either cotton or rayon and come at the stunning price of ~$17, so you know I’ll be back. Plus since okaa-san used to work there I can get a discount, which is super A+. She also said that she thought fisherman pants really fit my personality/atmosphere, which is spot on and I love her for it.

Nishiki Market, a place I want to return to, was next in the lineup and man was I spoiled there. I tried octopus on a stick (I think it had an egg in its head? Either that or its brain looked like a hard-boiled egg), delicious sesame ice cream, a fresh chestnut (those things are delicious) and a handful of pickled things. We also got kuro goma cubes (sesame cubes with not sugar, but honey) and kuro goma purin for me to have at home – I literally cannot express how tasty everything is here and how spoiled I am. Ahhhhh, okaa-san is too sweet! After we ran through the place we had an errand to run, so I had a bit of a break from the overwhelming wow-ness of the stores here.

We cut across to an outdoor store where okaa-san had to pick up a knee brace, so while she was doing that I was left waiting in the front. Being curious, and already wanting to know my shoe size, I picked a few off of the display to try on. It turns out that as a US M9/W11, I’m a Japanese M27.5 . This is great news, because why not, but it attracted the attention of a sales guy. Please, enjoy a brief after-the-fact rendition of my 5 second monologue.

‘Oh shit. Was I not supposed to try these on? Is it because they were display, or that’s just not what happens at this store? I didn’t tie the shoe yet, oh man please why are you talking to me?  I’m just a gaijin waiting for my okaa-san jesus’.

You dig it? Well I tried to reproduce the same thing in Japanese only more politely, and with a few “just looking”s thrown in, and it turned out I was off the hook. So I wandered. Felt some socks (fuzzy), admired some tiny wallets (how handy!) and freaked over collapsible camping dishware (my jaaam). And alas, my friend came back to me to tell me everything was set. ‘Oh hot damn, they even kept track of okaa-san for me? I don’t remember some weird babysitting scheme being arranged but okay, thanks.’ So I go to the front and no, okaa-san is not there, but you know what is? The shoes I tried on in a box, waiting for me to purchase and the sales guy with such a happy, “yay I helped you!” face. Goddamnit man I’m just a gaijin tryin’ to kill time, let me live my life. I explained super apologetically that no, I didn’t intend on dropping $90, sorry, I’m just waiting for my host mother, seriously, my apologies but I said just looking god why ddi you do this to me? And he just waved it off and left me to hope he wasn’t seething over my dumb-assery. Woops.

Last stop on the ride today was the basement of a department store, aka the food heaven you never though existed until you came to Japan. There’s literally every type of food, not even just for Japanese food, as well as desserts like crazy. They even had creme brulee and guess what – it’s cheaper than I’ve seen it in America. Mind. Blown. I ended up getting berazushi for dinner while okaa-san and otou-san got some fine-looking bento. Then we got this wheat(?) moshi-like thing on a stick plus taiyaki, only mine was filled with custard instead of an because that’s what the cool kids are doing/I really wanted to try the custard one. It tasted like home.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Patricia nagy says:

    Hi Elizabeth. I would starve in japan but I’m glad you like the food don’t try any thing on unless okaa-saa is with you I ‘m glad you have a good babysitter. Tried to face time at 9 our time tomorrow morning I will try to FaceTime at 7am our time should be 8pm your time love grandma


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