Sunday, January 2, 2011

A spot of fresh air

I'm working backwards a little but a few days before New Year I went out for some fresh air and to stretch my legs for a bit... OK so it also involved lunch, who am I kidding? 

Just across the road from the west entrance to Demachi shoten-gai (the neighbourhood shopping strip below - the east entrance is on Kawaramachi just north of Imadegawa) there is a great noodle joint - so good I can't remember the name... forgive me. Regardless, its a cinch to find.
Its only a small place so get there early. We tried the Kitsune Udon (with fried tofu and leeks) and the Tamago Tooji Soba (with lightly cooked eggs, Kamaboko, Nori and spring onions)  - both were excellent, the broth quite different in each and packed full of flavour and the noodles spot on texturally. For someone (me) who hadn't eaten breakfast the restorative nature of the soba with eggs was wonderful.
If your Kanji knowledge is any good perhaps you could translate the above chopstick signage for me - then we will all know the name of the place!?!  Below is a mochi shop a few steps away - popular as all get out. I assumed the queue was due to a rush to grab a supply in time for the New Year celebrations but I am told the line is constantly three deep. 
Auspicious cabbages make a colourful New Year's display. 
It really was a beautiful day and I couldn't help but spend the afternoon walking in the sun in preference to heading home to work... procrastination?
We stumbled onto a marathon - very serious stuff for high school students - police, ambulance, NHK film crew... it was all happening....  and this young fish below was super keen to cheer on his hero (most likely his big brother!) Too cute!
I should have gone home right then and there as the day was fading away - but the offer of coffee was too good to refuse. Hidden in a non-descript alley (south off Marutamachi, just east of Kawabata) is Yamatoya - a smoky "Jazz spot" thankfully frequented by my friend as I would never have known it existed otherwise. Old fashioned, super cosy on this cold afternoon, decent coffee and with great music playing it was the perfect place to relax after a long walk (and away from the sunday crowds).  Even if the furnishings were permeated with years of cigarette smoke.. it kinda added to the atmosphere.

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