Well, Kenzo's computer is out of commission for the next little while because his power adapter doesn't fit into the wall. And my computer is having problems reading the 16 gig memory card. Thus, you'll have to hold out a little bit longer for pictures. Use your imagination for now, kudasai :)

We are pleased to inform you that our accommodations for the next couple months are excellent. For a mere 43,000 yen per month, we have a spacious dorm-style room, a communal shower with electronic temperature control that feels like a spa, a building manager that lets me play his traditional Japanese flute, all a stone's throw away from markets, restaurants, and Lawson's & 7-11 convenience stores.

Just a few small inconveniences:
  • The door frame to our room must be about 5'3" tall, allowing me to *just* pass underneath, and Kenzo to hit his head if he's not paying attention (once and never again)
  • I'm sneezing more and more, using up all the free tissues that they hand out as promotional items in the streets. Hopefully it's just a cold, so it will just go away after a few days, but I fear I am allergic to Kyoto.
Yesterday it rained cats and dogs. However, our kind building manager, Hosomi-san, invited us for lunch, and we ended up spending most of the day in his apartment downstairs.

We ate alongside our next-door dorm mate, Kio, who is a Ramen Master. Technically, he is only a master of the soup part of the ramen, after working in a Tokyo ramen-ya for 2 years. I guess that gives you an idea of how specialized the ramen trade is.

What started as a leaf of seaweed boiling in a communal pot of water turned into a never-ending meal of delight. To the seaweed broth we added chicken, pork, enoki mushroom, sweet potato, and two types of greens. Once cooked, we dipped the meat and vegetables in our bowls of yuzu, shoyu and a certain type of japanese 7-spice. Yum.

I thought that was our lunch, but Kio then added his special dark sauce concoction to the broth, and it became our base for shoyu ramen. We added some pre-made ramen noodles and ate heartily. We were then really full, but Hosomi-san continued pouring out hospitality, adding delicious udon noodles to the broth.

For dessert, our host made round dango balls out of a bean powder called kinako (きな粉), and served them in a bowl with brown sugar. All this over the course of 4 hours... we were so full that no one ate dinner that night.

In a mix of Japanese and English, with the aid of an electronic dictionary, we learned that our building manager was both a self-proclaimed hippie and techno fiend. Using his hand-held synthesizer and turntables we turned his dining room into a rockin' mini dance party. I played along with my flute, and we had a swell time.

Alas, we succumbed to evil jetlag early and slept like babies as soon as we returned to our room. Perhaps tomorrow we'll be able to stay up past 8pm.




This entry was posted on 4/05/2009 06:33:00 AM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments:

    Kate said...

    Yummy kinako! My fave.

    Japan is very allergy-inducing in springtime.

    8pm is pretty good. I think that was all I could manage for at least a month after arriving, and I couldn't sleep in past 5am. O_o

    Sounds like things are off to a great start! :D

  1. ... on April 5, 2009 at 5:34 PM  
  2. Kered said...

    I'm happy you seem to have a good time there! :D
    Oh my, if the doors are too small for Kenzo... I should try to go to Sweden instead ;)

  3. ... on April 6, 2009 at 5:45 AM  
  4. Gail Carmichael said...

    I read an article about Raman in Reader's Digest. It was amazing (and a bit amusing - in a good way) how seriously the craft of making Raman was taken ;)

  5. ... on April 16, 2009 at 1:21 AM