Today we braved the crowds for a Furusato food festival– home-cooking + entertainment. The Chinese have a saying that I haven’t learned the Japanese equivalent of yet– 人山人海– mountains and seas of people. That was today.
So as you see the delicious offerings below, picture Tara and I being tossed about like gaijin driftwood in our search for lunch.
The food festival had a special two aisles for Hokkaido food. We’re headed up there at the end of January for a brief ski escape, so like good tourists in Japan, we’ve been researching the food specialties: seafood, beef, ice cream, and ramen with a miso broth.
Today there were just too many people packed into the Tokyo Dome to risk overheating over ramen– or losing your ice cream cone to someone’s elbow, so we stuck to seafood. Yum.
The crab was awesome, but it was our search for the turf half of lunch that nearly did us in. The system of intertwining lines at this place were positively Darwinian. If you couldn’t figure out the system, you clearly didn’t deserve their food. There were centralized tickets for some groups of stalls, individual ticket lines for other stalls, plain old lines for food, lines for getting around the people lining for food, and lines for picking up food that you had ordered in other lines. This is a sport that favors the patient, the experienced, and those who hunt in packs. We could only envy the aplomb of this group below as they hunted and then gathered their spoils on a bench corner next to our line for beef.
We didn’t luck out the first few times, but we’re persistent and finally managed to secure tickets and lunch! Go team. Thoroughly worn out at that point, we took our food to higher ground–beyond the reach of elbow-y couples and headbutting grannies–for a fantastic display of a festival from far northern Japan.
This giant fellow being carted around by the teams of pullers below is hoisting a huge blue “keystone” on his back and preparing to pin down the catfish under his feet. (Legend has it earthquakes were caused by giant catfish tossing about underground.)