The time has come – only a few more weeks until my Japanese adventure begins!
I will probably fly to Kyoto on March 31st. I have found a flight on the awesome natural language flight search engine adioso.com. I would like to recommend this site to everyone who thinks on the right side of the brain. My flight will take me to Seoul, which is a first for me, then to KIX, the Kansai International Airport.
Seoul from the plane window
Anticipation is building up. I will soon have to make lists on what to take with me. It certainly helps to have lived in Japan before. My first item on the list would be a simple small kitchen knife – most of the Japanese knives are huge – which is great for chopping, but less than ideal for peeling. I will probably buy a cheap blender over there, too (or borrow one from the Kansai freecycle community), just so I can continue to make green smoothies every day. Buying fruit will be expensive, but vegetables are cheap, especially leafy green vegetables like mitsuba, spinach and root vegetables of all kinds like daikon, gobo. If I learn to prepare them so they taste nice (which I failed to do the last time), I will be ok. I might have to scan some recipes from Jane Lawson’s wonderful book Zenbu Zen.
I am looking forward to meet a handful of wonderful people in Kyoto – namely YM-san, the owner of a modern garden design and build company in Kyoto; YK-san, chef and owner of a soy milk ramen shop called Mamezen (豆禅) with a new Yudofu restaurant called Touka (豆花). He makes soy milk ramen taste like heaven.
I have to make an appointment with his friend YaMo-san. He was so nice to take off half a day to visit Japanese gardens with me. We tried to visit Kastura Rikyu on short notice, but even if they have a extra waiting list for foreign tourists, we couldn’t make it. YaMo-san loves the Katsura Imperial Gardens more than anyone in the world.
I also look forward to meet E-san. He has set up office in a co-working space in an old Machiya town house. His latest website sweeets.me shows people how to create sweets, desserts, cakes – with videos and step by step pictures. I want to make a German apple pie with him – my favorite!
E-san invited me to a Mirin tasting last May. Mirin is a sweet sake, usually used for cooking. But there are a handful of connoisseurs who value aged Mirin for drinking. Depending on its age, it has a golden to dark wooden color, much like whiskey. It is mellifluous like honey or syrup.
It could just be my breakfast coffee kicking in, but I just got very excited about going to Kyoto. I can almost smell the sweet air, heavy with the fragrance of the Fuyu-Mikan (冬ミカン, winter mandarin, Citrus unshiu) blossoms. 楽しみ！Yeah yeah!