The breakfasts here have been an interesting mix of “western” and eastern food. The first breakfast we had the first day we were here was mostly eggs and super yummy thick toast, but the day after that we ate salmon and rice. I’m happy to say that the salmon was delicious and I ate everything except the bones (including the skin!). This is pretty rare for me because the bones and skin of fish (or any animal, really) kind of freak me out, but I’m trying to get over it.
After breakfast we went to a nearby organic farm that grows various kinds of citrus fruits, most of which we don’t have in the US, along with awabancha tea (a tea only produced in this region of Japan). Awabancha tea is a kind of green tea, but it has four times the antioxidants compared to regular green tea and tastes better (in my opinion). We were introduced to a farmer who moved back from the city to help his parents tend the citrus orchard because they were getting too old to do so themselves. Collectively, we picked a pretty good amount of fruit and I’m fairly sure the farmer was eager to have us assist. After we finished picking, we got to try a bottle of juice make of three different kinds of citrus fruit. It smelled and tasted amazing! I wish I could smuggle some back into the US, but I don’t have room in my suitcase, sadly.
We ate lunch at this cute little restaurant that overlooks the mountains and a river - such lovely scenery. The downstairs part of the building sells local produce, baked goods, and, most importantly, homemade ice cream. YUM! I’m obsessed with green tea ice cream, but I think that awabancha ice cream might be even better. And it’s healthy, because it has antioxidants in it…or at least that’s what I tell myself to justify getting two scoops.
I didn’t mention this in my last blog post, but Nakimura’s house is located on top of a rather large hill. The bus drove us up the hill the first time, barely - it was a VERY tight squeeze and it made me super anxious. Happily, we walked to Nakimura’s house for our next visit and I enjoyed the journey substantially more. We were supposed to finish binding our little books and adding the covers, but the process was more time consuming than we anticipated so the plan is to finish them when we get back to BMC. I really enjoyed meeting Nakimura and seeing how he lived, so I was sad to say goodbye, but happy that I got the chance to visit.
I was starving after all that picking and walking, and luckily we had a special dinner waiting for us when we got back to our lodgings. Atsuko’s (I haven’t mentioned her yet, but she had been leading us around town - she knows one of the professors from way back) husband cooked an delicious vegetarian Indian meal for us. He has been to India three times and is an excellent cook. Highlights from the dinner for me are the eggplant with cinnamon and cloves, the banana with cloves cardamom, and this weird looking Japanese fruit called akebi. The akebi looked sort of like a caterpillar and tasted like condensed milk…I’m sure not sure if I liked it or not. We also got to see his field notes from all three trips to Japan and they put mine to shame! Seeing a journal like that makes me want to keep a handwritten one on a daily basis, but I’m not sure that I have the patience.