Evening entertainment in Hakata, Kyushu (the most southern of the main 4 islands of Japan)
A yatai (street-stall) serving tonkotsu ramen to the high-spirited folk of Hakata (Fukuoka). Street stalls are sadly becoming more of a rarity in Japan due to health and safety concerns.
A few more images from the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial Museum to try and convey the tone of it.
Last night we were in Kobe. So we had to have the beef. This was at Moriya where the beef is served teppanyaki, cooked in front of you on a griddle. It was very tasty, and fun theatre, but I am still of the opinion that grain-fed wagyu doesn’t taste as good as our honest grass-fed stuff, despite the thick marbling. The best bit was when the chef chopped up all the thick fat from the sirloin and cooked it with beansprouts and spring onions, in oil he had flavoured with garlic.
It’s a bit of a running joke that everytime we see a mass of kids on a school outing the Don wants to get a picture of them. I don’t think he’s being weird, they just look very compelling, usually all sporting a brightly coloured cap. Anyway, in the background you can see the largest castle still-standing – in all Japan! Himeji Castle, featured in You Only Live Twice (Tiger Tanaka’s spy school), Shogun, The Last Samurai etc. Except they are obviously doing work on it and it just looks like a big block of scaffolding. Duh.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is evocative and moving. In the background the Atomic Bomb Dome, one of the surviving structures close to the hypocentre of the blast can be seen. The museum skillfully covers the political history, science and personal stories relating to the events of August 6, 1945. Although it avoids blame for the event, there are strongly worded pleas for a nuclear-free existence. One exhibit shows telegrams sent from the Mayor of Hiroshima each time a nation performs a nuclear test.
Knackered looking workers are a definite theme in Japan. These three were spotted on the tram as we travelled from Hiroshima station to the Genbaku Dome (A-Bomb Dome).
Two monks discuss the meaning of life, among other things …
Yuzuya ryokan. Check your credit limit before you go through the door. Shoes off, slippers on, but then off again in order to sit on the tatami mat in our room. Tea is served, with some pickled daikon. Down to the bubbling hot onsen where whole yuzu float in a huge cypress wooden tub. Remember an onsen is for bathing, not for washing yer arrse. Back to the room for a bit of Zen. Dinner-time, more kaiseki cuisine. Kyoto sake. Copious domo arigato’s. Post-dinner bath. When you arrive back to your room, the futon is laid out for you. Deep relaxation and deep sleeps. Awake to sound of chainsaws. Japanese breakfast (rice, miso cod, pickles, dried shrimp, omelette, mushroom and tofu broth and roasted brown rice tea). Take a seat, it’s time to receive the bill. But 100% worth it for the quintessential Japanese experience.
Paulo enjoys a cuttlefish-cake on a stick in Kyoto.