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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ted does Japan(ese) …

Howdy ... Ted here ... isn't this exciting .. I almost ran out of the blocks before I am allowed ...  I have just recently returned from a trip to Tokyo, that took in a little of Japan. I had one of the most fabulous dining experiences of my flurry little life there, but more of that another time. "We" (a woman who was not the Doll) went  to Yudanaka, on one of those wonderful pieces of engineering and technology quite correctly named “bullet trains”, or for those of you who don’t lisp “Shinkansen”.

We had come to see the snow monkeys who (surprisingly) live in the snow and spend most of their time in the natural geothermal hot pools.  After what seemed like hours of walking on a muddy high mountain track we finally reached a small hut in an advanced  state of snowy decay, with a smelly heater and a few “souvenirs”. The souvenirs had obviously been knitted by someone’s 98 year old Granny after a session of “so you call this Tequila do you? … and to think I wasted some much time on cream sherry!!”.  Naturally I bought one.

There were signs that politely spoke of the  “please do not’s” about interacting with the monkeys ... no staring, threatening, gesturing, eating, feeding, carrying Birkin bags etc.  They should have just said “be prepared to be monstered - the monkey’s don’t like you, they don’t want you here, you smell, and your mother dresses you funny!!  Your only hope is to lay down your Birkin bag containing at least 75% cocoa full fat dark chocolate bars” and RUN away!!”  This is of course a highly unlikely scenario for a highly unlikely reason - you just can’t get any chocolate that’s not green tea flavoured in Japan!!!.  So after what seemed like an eternity of being menaced by monkeys (probably 3 minutes in reality) we RAN away!!

Back in London the scars of the monkey incident healed quickly and my need for Japanese food returned in spades, so I talked the Doll into an early lunch at Koya Bar in Soho.

A skinny restaurant, with an attractive street front and a long light wooden counter/bar running the length of the place, very like what I had seen in Japan even!  The eaters sit on one side of the counter and the open kitchen is on the other.  Essentially Koya is a noodle bar that also has rice dishes, sides, and specials. Again in the Japanese fashion, it’s not designed as a place to linger after eating.  It is a place to be nourished and savour good honest food, well cooked, bursting with umami .. the 5th flavour . Umami is intrinsic to the Japanese psyche and delivered skilfully and effortlessly, in even the most humble of eating establishments.  Koya does it really well, and if you are in the area I’d thoroughly recommend you drop in.  And no … sadly we didn't have any Sake as the Doll says I am smart mouthed enough already!!

5 comments:

Gunn said...

And where is MO ?

I have been to Japan too, and I know a nice place near the RA and opposite Fortnum & Mason where you can buy nice treats. London is fantastic, I just wish I could go there more often.

Sharon Anck said...

That Ted is quite the adventurer.
Next time I'm in London I'll have to give that restaurant a try. Ted has made it sound quite delicious.

Bill Nicholls said...

Been to Japan a few times for work but did see a few places but no monkeys

William Kendall said...

Hi, Ted!

I've heard about the monkeys that seem to do nothing else but lounge in hot pools over in Japan... didn't know they were that unsocial!

Jack said...

Hi, Ted. Tell your Doll that she is pretty funny!

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