We have had a very eventful day. Our friend Vida came into Tokyo from Yokuska and we headed up to Roppongi for a sushi lunch. The fish was unbelievable — salmon that literally melts in your mouth. Too good for soy sauce. Thick red slabs of tuna. Delicious. Although there were apparently some translation issues (see picture of “free rice for additional charge.”)
Then we decided to head to the Tokyo International Forum for an antique fair. I’m not usually a huge antique sort of person, but these fairs are a great way to get Japanese art, kimonos, etc. After navigating the subway, however, there was no antique fair to be found. On the other hand there was a prefectural food specialty fair. We adjusted our plans accordingly 😉
Most of the stalls had food samples they were handing out, so we did a lap of the room being fed all manner of odd, delicious, disgusting, and unidentifiable things. I was decidedly not a fan of fermented soybean, nor some things that looked like candied worms. We did love some of the sake, cherry blossom honey, some seasonings/curry, some sort of fruit in a syrup, and a lot of the little crackers. Ultimately it was a really lucky find, and we had a great time.
The building that the fair was in was amazing. We keep seeing the open, spacious architecture. Some of it is quite wacky. This sort of thing isn’t something that I usually notice, but Jen’s brother is an architect, so now we’re trying to remember to take pictures of all the fun buildings in Tokyo. This place was huge though, the picture to the left is an entrance hall of sorts, the fair was down below, to the right, and then if you go outside there’s a little courtyard area where there were a flock of food trucks and a jazz festival/performer (whom none of us liked, so we didn’t stick around).
At the festival there were a few non-food booths selling traditional Japanese crafts. This stall had a beautiful Kimono and other fabrics. The woman was very excited to have us try it on. Throughout the whole fair people took a lot of pictures of us, and seemed to be really excited for us to try their food. It seemed like the event hadn’t been marketed so much to tourists, so we didn’t see any other white folk in there. It’s difficult when someone has just fed you something utterly disgusting to keep smiling appreciatively. Hopefully we managed to comport ourselves adequately. Jen’s Japanese is immediately immensely helpful, as she can ask questions, translate details, and make nice with the vendors.
So what you can’t tell from this photo is that I’m totally cracking up because we’re attracting a rather large crowd. All very friendly, grinning at the massive white woman in a Kimono. Then they told me to pose, which seemed to make everybody happy.
We took off from the fair with our loot, and headed back to the compound to rest our feet for a few minutes. On the way I continued to explore the contents of the vending machine drinks, which are so much more healthy/interesting than just the soda machines we get in the US.
This time I picked up something that tasted a little like carbonated emergen-C that claimed a massive amount of vitamin C. Kindof weird. But the lemon-water stuff is really good. You can get just about anything from a vending machine here, although the ones with men’s business shirts, etc are a little rarer.
We went to a place called Moti for Indian food for dinner.
The restaurants here can be up on the upper floors of the tall narrow buildings, so these tall lighted signs advertise what’s up above ground level. The light show at night can be a little overwhelming. It was unbelievably good Indian, we repressed the urge to pick up the bowls and lick them. Then we wandered a bit on the way home. We spotted this store on the way. Do we think this is like shark-week at the discovery building, except with blowfish? Who knows.
We’re out and about for more adventures Monday (labor day, so Jen doesn’t have to work!)