Friday, November 01, 2013

the fake food vs. the real food

One of the reasons I haven't posted, besides being busy at work, is that the process of uploading photos to blogger is unbelievably laborious. I should have switched to wordpress a long time ago. Kyoto after the jump!
 What would I take pictures of in Japan without the funny signs! We did not do the full temple circuit in Kyoto but we did get two great ones in.  I made the mistake of airbnbing a place way out of the action. It was 46 bucks a night, which was great, but if you take all the trouble and expense to get to Japan it is pretty stupid to be out of the way to save like 35 bucks each for two nights.  We actually started a travel notebook to remember stuff like that because you know when you pack or whatever you always think "next time I'm going to do X" and then you forget.  I am very impulsive (surprise) when it comes to booking accomodations online. I always get tricked by the blurbs telling me there are only 2 rooms left
 This was a temple mere steps from where we were saying, I think it was called Diajingu or something. It was beautiful.

 oh yeah, and this temple had one of the coolest things I've ever seen. a coworker told me about it a long time ago, and I'm not sure if it's just this temple or what: the boards in the deck adjacent to the beautiful Zen garden were built to squeak and chirp. with people walking up and down (there were lots) it creates this sound that is captivating and which would be at home on any noise record. i tried to record it but just got a few seconds and screwed up. i'm a screw up.

 Can't figure out how to erase this. whatever blogger.
 we also went to the silver temple. walking up to it there are a lot of food and souveneir booths and one had this sign.
 check out the Zen rock gardens. magnificent. this temple
 didn't want to be a dork, but tried to capture these four young kimono-ed girls with retro bubble hairstyles. I asked a Japanese dude at a bar (we were bonding over brews) about this and he said it's all about a deep love of old Japan. I get it a little better but not really. Maybe one percent or .5 percent of Japanese ladies are dressed like this at any time. All ages. This is of course not to be confused with Geisha girls, which is a whole different thing. I did not see a single Geisha girl.
 our friend had recommended a restaurant near this temple called Omen. It specializes in udon. There are a lot of vegetarian places in Kyoto due to it being more religious than other cities.  The udon at Omen is totally vegetarian. The middle is a plate of yummy stuff to put in the udon, including neat little cabbage rolls, chiffonaded (I think) ginger and little pickly things.
 There's a bowl of toasted sesame seeds on the side for the udon too.  That tempura has completely ruined me for all other tempura. I think tempura is actually really hard and everything else just seems grease-sodden now. This stuff was so light it seemed like it could float away.

 Didn't get a pick but the broth of the udon was one of the most satisfying things I have ever eaten in my life. Scott got the cold dipping style (it was super hot and muggy) and this is his setup. I got hot. You can see that we were trying to fit our big American bodies under these tables with mixed results. With my bum hip I felt like a giant clod and I always forgot to wear socks so I'd have my bare sweaty feet akimbo all the time.
 There is a path called the philospher's walk between this temple and another one. It's very peaceful and would be even better during cherry blossom time. I think when I go back to Japan I'll probably go then.
 Sunset along the path.
 I would say the food I got the most into this time was yakitori. Such a brilliant, simple thing. You sit on a bar stool and cooks make you delicious skewers of stuff and you drink cold beer. The 3 or 4 places I went to on this trip all had very similar menus, which were chicken based. No beef and only pork belly representing the pig.  They all had chicken meatballs, sometimes with tiny bits of crunchy onion. One was pureed with chunky cartilage, which was very interesting. You could also order cartilage skewers and chicken tails and stuff, but I don't dip that deep into cartilage. This was the best place I went (it was down the street from our place in Kyoto, which I guess made the trek worth it). The chef  gave me some mustard sauce (on the right there) and carefully explained that it was ONLY for the meatballs.  . Then there would be thigh chunks with leak, which is at the bottom there.  The top is liver. I also got hearts. More fibrous, but with that livery taste.
 One of my faves was the chicken skin. This was crunchy with almost all the fat flamed off. Later in the trip I got one that was flabby (this guy was not good at yakitori) and it turned me off of them. I could get back on the train, though.
 Click on this to see it bigger. This guy's dog just perched on this platform! Amazing. This was near a canal in Kyoto which also had a nice path. Too bad it was blazingly hot, that kind of tired us out.
 I only ate sushi a couple of times. I know that might sound crazy, but there are so many good places to eat in Japan. This was crappy sushi, this place was a chain and I didn't know it. Next time I have to research a really good place, even if it's super expensive.

 This fake food is what drew me in.  It was way better than the real food.


DJ Rick said...

Is your food photography improving, or is Japanese food more photogenic in general? Looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

I never had the patience to figure out how to make the Blogger picture thing work right, where the formatting isn't all screwed up. I have been just put my images on Flickr then I use the direct link to the photos. This is probably against Flickr TOS, but oh well.


beckler said...

CS also said that uploading to blogger via my phone with the blogger app might help. look how techy i'm getting

Dave Smith said...

Smiller, did you see Kei? The email I have for him doesn't work anymore (as of a few years ago). I'd love to visit him in Tokyo.