Friday, 19 April 2013

Forgetting stuff, traditional food and Thermae Romae.

In my amazing, feverish fervour, I managed to forget to include some photos that should have been included in the August the 4th post…  The most annoying thing of all though was that I was actually looking for the these particular photos….

So I will carry on.  In my last post I mentioned briefly fireworks and children.  A winning combination in anyone’s language.  On a side note, I have an extra gig of ram in my little lap top and it’s running like a dream.    Anyway, back to the photos!!

After the jump.

Using my new found camera powers of low light photos, I captured the chaos of smoke, kids, fire (just a little bit) and noise.

Well, the Japanese refer to them as ‘hanabi” (lit: Fire flower) for fireworks, but really they are just variations on sparklers.  Anyway all the kids there seemed to enjoy themselves a lot.  And that’s the end of the 4th of August.

The next day,

The 5th of August

Was relegated to being a bit of a lazy one.  We were winding down as we made preparation to coming home (sadly), this day was spent suitcase packing and then an early dinner.  I think I might have gone out somewhere, but I was just usually out for random strolls, with little to report.  I came back and the family headed out for some snazzy Japanese food.

We went to this little door place with a nice atmosphere and had, some traditional Japanese food.  The resturant’s name was Mitsuhashi and it specialised in Kagafu Ryoori (Kagafu cuisine).  I think if I can remember correctly was related to Tokugawa Ieyasu in a way.  It turns out that Kaga Province used to exist, I think it is meant to be some traditional Samurai noble foods.  Being a bit of a history tragic kind of guy, this excited me quite a lot.

In typical fashion that is the way of Japanese dining, the food came out in waves.

I had to photograph it all. 


Beers in Japan have huge heads.  Except fake beers.
Those pictures are L – Seaweed salad with sliced cucumber.  R- Egg Tofu, sea urchin and some seaweed thing on the top.

Abalone soup and noodles and a block of tofu.      Sashimi with a gold leaf on the top.  Tuna and other fishes. Yum!

Lightly fried fish, of some type and a roasted chestnut.

oooh, Whats this?
Some awesome soup!  Konyaku (till not entirely sure what that is, but I like it!, some sliced meat, carrot, tofu a meatball and a big whack of wasabi!  OH YEAH!

TEMPURA!  And messing with my camera option again.  I love this new camera!

Rice Miso soup and some traditional Japanese pickles.  Floow that up with some dessert!  Icecream, asstd fruits and some sweet red bean something or the other.  It was a lot nicer than I manage to make it sound.

We spent a good time there and made our way out and the front looked like this:

If you pass by, go there!  It’s a good place!

Sure it’s night time, but our adventures haven’t finished yet my avid reader.  Just before we left for this trip to Japan, an hilarious anime had shown up.  An anime called Therma Romae.  Based on the Japanese love of bathing and linking the ancient Romans in for good measure, it turned out to be an incredibly funny show.  I hunted down the manga it was based on and we kind of wanted to replicate the good times of bath houses.  Or, as they are known in Japan as : 銭湯  “Sentou”     

You see, in Thermae Romae, the main character Lucius is a public Bath architect and he travels to modern Japan through usually drowning and takes the ideas he sees there to improve bathing in Rome.  It’s well written, and well researched and very, very funny.    Anyway, despite Japan having heaps of hot springs, the good old fashioned public bath house is becoming a bit of a rare thing.

Luckily, there happened to  be one of the few local sentous around.  So we went.  I am glad we did, it was AWESOME!
It was so classic.  Check out this building.

Oh my god, it was great! Look at that building!    You can see the chimney in that last picture.  It’s all Spirited Away, Thermae Romae and nerdy Japanophilic love smacked into one!

They had a selection of baths to use, with a picture of Mount Fuji in the background (you MUST watch the anime!!) and it was pretty funky.  Filled with the regulars who all knew each other, usually old men.  I suspect there are some old ladies on the other side of the wall.  Rather amazingly the place was open most of the day, I never really thought that there would that much call for a mid-day bath, but hey, if I worked near there, had a long enough lunch break, hot sweaty Japanese day and I could probably use a nice bath…  hmm, Tempting actually.

You had to supply your own shampoo and soap, and I think it ended up being about 700 yen or so.  A little expensive, but there are ‘frequent bathing’ (  ?)  cards that you can get if you want.  The lady at the helm seemed unfazed by my freakishly white gaijin body making use of the baths, but I suspect there probably aren’t that many non-Japanese patrons.
For a quick example of Thermae Romae and a part that relates to the reason for my next photo, I suggest watching this youtube link first.

Did you watch that bit?  Now, while I was there, they didn’t quite have fruit flavoured milk, but they did ahve a glass bottle of ice coffee.  However, when I had finished my bath, look what I discoverd in the vending machine outside:


THAT my friends is a can of FRUIT MILK!  Strawberry to be exact.


And that was the final end of that day.  It was a long one.  I was hoping we could make it to the second night of the local matsuri, but by the time we’d finished at the bath, it was finished.

If you get a chance, watch Thermae Romae, there is a live action movie as well, which I haven’t seen as of yet and give a sentou a crack.

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