We had the last of our sectional lunches this week – percussion on Tuesday and trumpets on Friday. The percussionists wanted to take us to a very Japanese meal. We let them decide what to order for us and they chose the special set meal which had miso soup, rice with Japanese vegetables (which was more Japanese, they said), sauté chicken and tofu. There was much discussion between them as to whether we should just get plain white rice instead. We insisted we would rather try it the Japanese way. When the meal came, it was white rice with the teeny tiniest bit of pickled daikon in one part of the bowl with the rice. About the size of a dime… or less. It is so cute they cared so much about such a tiny bit. The students revere their teachers here and since Terry comes as a package deal during these meals, we get the benefit of being lumped in with that sentiment. While I was sitting at lunch and looking around the restaurant, I noticed pictures on the wall of the man who was obviously the chef of the 20 seat restaurant. In the pictures, he was sitting at a piano and a lady, who was also in the restaurant in the cooking area, was holding a mic and singing. I then really looked around the place and saw that many of the items that were decorations were musically themed. Once we had all finished eating, we were communicating with the chef that it was a delicious meal and we noticed the piano from the pictures. It was situated so that I couldn’t really see it when I was at our table and there were 4 bar stools around it that I could see. I had thought it just a bar. I motioned with my hand for him to go to the piano. There weren’t any other customers to cook for, so he went to the piano and the lady came out from behind the cooking station, sat down on a stool and began to sing. First, though, she apologized and told us she was 87 years old! Her voice was still very much in shape and they performed 2 songs for us. Delightful.
Apparently other Musashino guest conductors have eaten at this restaurant because they had a concert poster from 2007 on the wall. We decided to deliver a current one and dropped off one of these:
We went shopping around the Musashino area after lunch just to see the little shops there and happened upon a tea shop. Below is a picture of the man who owns the shop who was roasting (I guess) his own tea. His eyes are closed, but see the machine? Terrible pic, I know.
Typical tea shop below.
On Thursday, we went back to the Asakasa/Senso-ji Temple area in order to catch a Sumida River boat cruise. It’s a 45 minute cruise that ended at the Hinode Pier area where we could see the Rainbow Bridge at dusk. It was difficult to get a clear shot of the bridge at the end of the cruise, but you can get the idea in the pics below. First, a different shot of one of the temple gates:
Just a regular shopping day in Asakasa:
The boat reminded us of Batteau Mouche, the cruise we used to take on our VAM tours in Paris:
On Saturday, we went to the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market. We could literally smell fish the second we got off the subway train while still under ground! It’s a massive market, one of the largest in the world, that handles 450 kinds of seafood with more than 2,000 tons daily. During the middle of the night, boats start arriving from the seas around Japan, Africa and as far away as the Americas. In particular, tuna gets unloaded around 3 a.m., laid on the ground and numbered with its world famous auction taking place between 4:40 – 6:30 a.m. The vegetable auctions begin at 6:30. Wholesalers get what they bought transferred to their own stalls at the market and begin selling to their regular customers, retail stores and restaurants. They only allow about 100 people to watch the tuna auction for a few minutes in two shifts of around 50 each. It would have been best for us to try to the do the auction right when we got here in October when we were still on east coast time. We weren’t too interested in getting up at the crack of dawn to do this, but they close the auction to visitors this time of year anyway. We did truly enjoy our time wandering around all the stalls at the market and had the most amazing sushi at a restaurant in the same block as the market. Enjoy the pics below. I’ll close with swords at the end!
See the tourists walking to stand in line at one of the many sushi places.
Yet another knife shop at the market:
A store specializing in peppers and hot sauce:
Taking a break and eating a delicious and beautiful snack:
Here are others we didn’t buy:
Inside of the gorgeous desserts made of red beans; outside is made of white beans. Takes a week:
Stuff like this everywhere and just sitting around waiting to go somewhere or be sold:
Lots of shoe places at the market sell these kinds of shoes:
Lots of carts like this zooming around with all kinds of stuff on them:
Many random buckets of fish:
And random things like fish heads: (Ew!)
We had heard the fresh sushi was amazing and had to give it a try. We waited:
And waited …
And waited …
And finally got to sit right in front of the chef!
This is where part of our order came from …
Just kidding, but it really was sitting right there behind the chef. Wonder how often he grabbed a few from there. Here’s what we got:
And this …
And this, too: (Forgot to take a pic before we dug in – sorry!)
As you can imagine, it was the best sushi meal we have ever eaten. After walking around a bit more to see more shops, we headed to Japan Sword. Museums and collectors buy from them from all over the world. Japan Sword has been in business since 1900 during the Meiji period. It is one of the best known sword shops in the world with an outstanding collection of Samurai art, reproductions and a restoration and sword polishing department. Our boys have been dreaming and scheming for a replica for many, many months and research was done as well as a few visits to the shop to make decisions. The workers there know us and we finally made our decisions! Checking them out:
Packing them up:
Used what was in our wallet and these faces = Priceless!
I’ve now caught up to Saturday – whew! Hope you are enjoying our adventures. More to tell later on!