I love wandering around Old Town as there is always so much to experience, from shops to museums to live music to festivals.
The museums are exceptional. Explora is a hands on science exploratation place for children. It is so popular with adults that they also offer adult nights.
The Natural History Museum and Planetarium has fun and unusual shores in addition to all those cool dinosaur skeletons. A recent exhibit brought all of Leonardo day Vinci’s inventions to life by making full sized working models. It was extraordinary.
Tiguex Park is a fun place for a picnic and includes some interesting public art.
I have never had apple juice that tastes as good as this from Nagano, Japan. It tastes like biting into a fresh apple, without the effort, of course. I drank a whole bottle in one day because it was so amazing.
They also make a Fuji apple sake that tastes like fresh apples, but with an alcoholic kick. Yum..
Rice is the basic element in Japanese cuisine, but it is also the principal substrate in brewing sake. An official of the ExcelHuman sake company guided us on a tour of their brewery and described the brewing process. For many centuries, sake has been a favorite alcoholic drink in Japan, and images on the walls depicted the pre-modern brewing process.
The brewery produced more than a dozen varieties of sake, and we tasted a few. Brenda preferred one with a slight taste of apple, pictured in the center of the right hand column.
The brewery’s high end variety, Donkura, was priced at 13,960 yen, approximately $120.
We dined at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant where chefs placed small dishes with a wide range of sushi on a conveyor belt that circled the counter around which customers sat. We could inspect the continuous flow of dishes and grab ones that suited us. Pricing was based on the patterns on the plates. The waitress entered the number of empty dishes on our pile and gave us a total to take to the cashier. Ours added up to a mere $10 for two people, so it was a good budget meal and tasty.
Afterwards, on the street, Brenda eyed pictures of ice cream cones in store windows and muttered “I’m craving chocolate.” After two weeks of fishy meals and no chocolate, that wasn’t really surprising. Fortunately, just a few steps further was a Godiva chocolate shop.
She purchased a couple of truffles, and we returned on two later days for icy drinks. Clearly, some of us can’t survive on fish alone.
Nine generations after a village money lender moved to Kyoto to establish a kimono tailor shop, the family still carries on that business and operates a traditional Japanese tea shop. The ground floor hosts their businesses; the second is their residence.
Built long before the advent of electrical lighting, the rooms are oriented around two gardens open to the sky in order to admit sunlight. The smaller garden is about 6’x6’ and the larger is about 15’x15’ with a pleasantly sounding trickle of water from a hollow bamboo tube.
Patio at teahouse
Two small separate alcoves shelter both a Shinto and a Buddhist shrine. An alcove denotes great esteem, so being seated near an alcove reflects one’s high status.
Safe from original money exchange business The founder designed a room for Noh theater performances. Tatami mats covering most of the floor to suppress sounds. However, a 4’ wide section along a wall was covered by a thin reed mat so the the Noh actors could stamp their feet according to the classical format.
Spectacular mother of pearl table in Noh theatre room
The traditional tea service begins with a hostess whisking powdered green tea into solution and pouring the tea into a handle-less cup. Upon receiving the cup, the guest rotates it so that the decoration faces the host as a gesture of respect. Two small sips, followed by a third slurping gulp to demonstrate the guest’s appreciation.
Our teahouse experience included a kimona try on. There are lots of layers under those kimonas!
Unlike Pachinko, playing the vending machine slots is a guaranteed win for the player.
Japan has the highest per capita number of vending machines in the world. Let’s focus on one vending machine commonly seen on the street, beverages. Here’s one stocked with a wide variety of types of drinks.
A player wins > 99% of the time, because the vending machine vendor maintains the machine assiduously. In Japan, one rarely encounters something broken. Although, if a machine lacks, sufficient coins to provide change, then it won’t let you play.
The bottom row of Boss cold coffee in a can products warrants closer attention. On a video commercial played in the subway car, I had seen Tommy Lee Jones evidently shilling Boss coffee. Well, if the Man In Black guy likes it, then I’ll give it a shot. Must be good.
I played against Boss, for 110¥, and selected the tan 3rd can from the left, cafe au lait. I WON! 😀😀😀 And it was delicious.