Posted on 2 September, 2010 by tomointokyo
It was 5:30pm on a warm Wednesday in the small town of Aso on the island of Kyushu. I was drunk, drenched in sweat, and on the verge of a coronary. I was also missing one of my recently purchased and highly treasured flip-flops. I was in crisis. So, how did all this happen? I had been carrying the gods around at a Shinto festival.
Despite carrying the gods of Aso around all afternoon, I never got to see them. The mikoshi, portable shrine, holds their spirit. An elaborately decorated and prized object, each mikoshi weighs around 400-500kg. Carrying one around, even with seven strong shoulders to assist you, requires strength and commitment. I had neither of these attributes.
Filed under: Culture | Tagged: aso, elements, Festival, gaijin, gods, Japan, kyushu, mikoshi, nihonshu, running, sake, shrine | 3 Comments »
Posted on 12 August, 2010 by tomointokyo
At lunchtime in central Unzen, three Japanese ladies standing outside their restaurants were competing for my custom. The restaurants looked ordinary, and with the greatest respect, so did the ladies. But in Unzen, a 90 minute bus ride from Nagasaki, I was reminded that the ordinary has hidden charms. In an ordinary looking shokudo (diner), served up by an ordinary looking waitress, I discovered the extraordinary Turko Rice.
Turko Rice is a meibutsu (a famous dish) of the Nagasaki region. A vital ingredient, as the counter-intuitive will already have guessed, is a pile of spaghetti. A fried pork cutlet on a bed of rice, salad and HP sauce fill the rest of the dish. I was in heaven, three meals in one sitting, on one plate. My childhood dream had come true.
Turko rice - the fulfilment of a childhood dream.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: bath, bus, elements, hot springs, kyushu, nagasaki, spaghetti, turko rice, unzen | 1 Comment »