The fall colours tumble down the hillsides of rural Kyotamba as Kyoko (my friend and hostess for a week) and I take a delightful drive toward Tango via secondary roads. We are off to Maizuru, a seaport on the northern shore of Japan.
On arrival we stop at the famous Tore Tore Ichiba (seafood market).
Once inside we examine the variety of food and local handicrafts available for purchase.
Though we must wait more than 45 minutes for it (worth every second), we order a set of freshly caught shellfish which is prepared for us on gas grills in the back of the stall.
While we wait we continue to explore the market and the seemingly infinite variety of seafood available.
Afterwards we head up a long hill to a city lookout and tea shop with a panoramic view of the city and surrounding forests. On our way home we stop at the supermarket for groceries.
Dinner, prepared with organic vegetables Kyoko grows in her back yard, includes salad, chawan mushi (steamed savoury egg custard—one of my favourites), and grilled fish. We quite amaze ourselves and laugh at our capacity to eat all day.
Rounding the dinner fare out with sake, we spend the evening watching Kyoko’s favourite Japanese comedians while our shins flake under the kotatsu.
I manage to pick up a little more Japanese vocabulary from the commercials: scrubbing bubba kitchen krena and oo-ess-bee memory-wa. From the comedians I learn the half Doppler Effect that marks simple, everyday utterances of surprise: E-e-e-h? Hu-n-n-n-n? Wa-a-a-a? By the end of the week I may sound truly Japanese.