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Things continue

April 25, 2010

Motoko and I decided to take a cooking class with her friends Reiko and Izumi at a restaurant in Kyoto.  We met up a little early and walked around looking at the different shops bidding our time before our appointment.

Very early Cherry Blossom buds gave us something to look at before our cooking class.

Shumai top center, with soup on the bottom left.

Canola Flower with slices of pork.

We made it over to the restaurant and were greeted by the kind owner who provided the recipes and instructions for us along with a cup of tea and a snack.  I politely listened and tried to discern what she was saying by watching everybody’s reactions and what page they were on for the instructions. Reading Kanji is next to impossible for me and Hiragana I was finally getting a working knowledge of.   I was a clay puppy following these four women around the kitchen.  A very humbling but interesting experience seeing the workings of a traditional Japanese restaurant, as well as getting to see Motoko interact with her friends she hadn’t seen in

Bamboo shoots with seaweed and garnish.

over a year, since they had visited us in Philly.  We made a main shared dish of Shumai.  A soup with fish cakes and lemon grass, along with a bowl of bamboo shoots and seaweed, and the third dish being the flower  Rape Seed.  What!? We know rape seed as the edible flower Canola, as in Canola oil.  Sounds a lot better, huh?  I learned that the bamboo shoots absolutely have to be harvested in the morning or else they’ve already grown to large and hardy to be edible within a few hours.  Omoshiroi, desu ne (interesting, isn’t it). That was one of my favorite dishes as it has a mellow earthy taste, and its presentation almost inspired me to make mountains out of mashed potatoes next time I cook some.  Everywhere I ate, even if it was McDonald’s (The teriyaki burger isn’t bad and the egg on hamburger was good) was concerned with presentation of food.  Yes, I gained about 10lbs during our stay there, but to be fair I recently quit smoking too.

Don't burn your mouth! Be careful! Abunai! Oh wait, she's just laughing!

After we ate it was off to walk around some more and burn energy before the next meal.  Oh I was looking forward to eating again!  Everything tasted so good.  And at the next restaurant we cooked soy-milk into tofu at the table!  Along with that it was another opportunity to try out some of Japan’s tasty alcoholic beverages.  Thank you public transportation!!!  Japanese Dui’s come with an automatic 100,000 yen fine,  about $10,000, and automatic jail time.  Only Yakuza have the money, time, and irreverence to deal with one of those.

roof and power lines

Bicycles to be found everywhere

Cherry Blossoms lit up at night along a small tributary in the middle of Kyoto.

At the restaurant finally! We had walked enough to build up an appetite and seen enough Washi shops to fill our brains with origami, now it was time to dine. Again.

Hey whats in there? Thats soy-milk cooking at our table turning into tofu in a secret method. We were told,"Do not open the cover as it will ruin the cooking process." I think it was because tiny creatures cast magic spells of deliciousness inside.

More Bamboo shoots! A little bit of Japanese herb as well.

Tofu! while you wait.

Zosui with yuzu. Zosui is a soup base of precooked rice and water. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus thats related to oranges.

Going going... gone.

Whats in that dish? Sea bream ovaries. Ok, I'll try it. Didn't regret it.

After dinner we walked around the  shopping district while it closed down.  Its essentially a main road in the city that is cut off to most anything but pedestrians and bikes that has been vaulted for all weather shopping. Maybe it was the rice wine but I found the banners hanging from the  covering amusing.

Bikes: Silent killers. Ring your bell when you creep up on someone. Say, 'Honk honk!"

That guy on the left there. Is that... is that a third leg!? Don't Elvis in the middle of the walk way please. Or else people might jump off of their bikes.

Well it was another good day and we were off to catch the train for home again.

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