Sunday, November 1, 2009

Japan on a Friday: Hiroshima via Nagoya


More Nagoya shots

I've just gotten back after some bad bachelorette behavior, that is, hunting down and scarfing a 10pm okonomiyaki. This is a specialty 'pancake' of Hiroshima fried in front of you on a big flat griddle. In fact, there's an entire 6th floor of a garish neon-lit building called GAIA PACHINKO right opposite the station, dedicated to this glorified Japanese bubble'n'squeak (google that term if you aren't from the British Commonwealth).

The okonomiyaki stall I chose at random was called 'HOPE'. Because the place is frequented by tourists, the young owner said he thought an English sounding word would float them to the top of the passing selection panel. He asked if Australians ate koala sashimi. I suggested that since all the stands were offering practically the same thing for the same price, he could try advertising kangaroo to distinguish himself in a less obtuse fashion. But what would I know? They do a roaring trade at lunchtime.

I arrived here after a 2 1\2 hour Shinkansen trip from Nagoya, changing at Shin-Osaka, or the 'new' Osaka.

Nagoya was a side trip to visit Richard Gregg and family of worldcycle.org, once a road warrior, now a happy family and salary man. We pedaled 20 minutes to see Inuyama, the oldest original palace in Japan, made of wood - really thick, smooth and silky wood, and affording fabulous views of the surrounding city.





One of the things I set out to do was track down Tebasaki chicken wings, a Nagoya specialty - after discovering them at a hole in the wall in NYC - stick this in your browser since I can't seem to get the Japanese keyboard to cooperate: http://cheapnchoosy.blogspot.com/2009/10/695-teba-fried-chicken-wing-from-nagoya.html

Haruyo bought me a small box and taught me the correct way to eat them - break off the correct end, then slide the meat off both bones on one clean mouthful. Mission accomplished!

Yesterday I was in Kyoto, having final zip around on the tikit, including muscling my bike through Nishiki Food Market and stopping for a bento box, where I shared a table with three 'vending machine' workers. All was peace and light in our cnversation until I mentioned I'd seen vending machines dispensing underwear in Shizuoka prefecture. Suddenly three noses pairs of eyes dived into their respective bowls of noodles. Did I embarrass them? I think so, said a fourth Japanese stranger in a construction uniform.

I'm preparing myself for an intense experience tomorrow, visiting the Peace Park of Hiroshima.

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