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Duvel

A short travelblog: Spending CNY in Kyoto

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Being properly restored we moved towards Kiyumizi-dera. Again, the way up to the temple was lined with all kind of snack shops. The orasted chestnuts were smelling so good (another fond memory of a cold winters day in Kyoto), but I could not possibly eat another bite.

 

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The temple itself is spectacular, although the famous terrace overlooking the city was under heavy construction.

 

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After a short stroll through the park we drank the holy water and – as the sun was setting already ....

 

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... we decided to walk a bit towards the Yasaka shrine in Gion. The way there leads through a quarter of old traditional shops (mixed with some more recent ones to attract even more tourists). I bought a box of yuzu-scented shichimi togarashi, while luckily most ceramic shops were closed (and thus did not instantly vaporize my travel budget).

 

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Reaching the Yasaka area, we could see already the vendors setting up shop for the Setsubun festival on Sunday. I passed on the Oden, as we wanted to look for something more substantial after all the walking in the cold.

 

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We found an Okonomiyaki lantern and entered the shop in the third floor of a side street building. Menu was limited, so we chose Ika-yaki (grilled squid), Yakisoba with port and Okonomiyaki with everything. Essentially,the chef prepares the food and you finish it on  the hotplate, and garnish it how you like it ... The little one approved (but he actually eats everything - must be the genes ...).

 

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It was certainly filling and we were glowing internally when we returned to the cold night to find a taxi back to the hotel … And because I am really not good at letting things just go I had the roasted chestnuts as a snack with my nightcab, nicely summarizing the day :biggrin:

 

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Im not a whisk(e)y drinker

 

but would have really enjoyed that tour

 

and has a few sample of the older stuff

 

BTW  do you remember what's after the whiskey's on this panel ?

 

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I couldn't make them out.  even after magnifying them

 

Im pleased someone is having some top notch sushi and possibly sashimi

 

Id live on the stuff , highest grade , if i could .

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15 minutes ago, rotuts said:

BTW  do you remember what's after the whiskey's on this panel ?

 

Sorry, yes ... seems difficult to decipher. From the top:

 

Yamazaki 25:

Color: can't read that ... please judge from the picture.

Palate: marmalade, cocoa, coffee, almond

Nose: dried cherry, currant, tomato puree, balsamic, walnut (the Japanese part mentions rosemary, bitter chcocolate & strawberry jam as well)

Cocoa, toast, almond

Finish: profound, hints of acidity

Dried fruits

 

Yamazaki 18:

Color: caramel

Palate: blackberry, strawberry jam, dark chocolate

Nose: raisin, apricot, café au lait, mizunara (Japanese oak)

Strawberry jam, apricot, baked pudding

Finish: sweet ginger, cinnamon, long finish

Ripe fruit incense

 

Yamazaki 12:

Color: pure gold

Palate: coconut, cranberry

Nose: peach, pineapple, grapefruit, clove, candied orange, vanilla, mizunara (Japanese oak)

Marmelade, peach, coconut

Finish: sweet ginger, cinnamon, long finish

Sweet vanilla

 

Yamazaki Single Malt:

Color: gold

Palate: raspberry, white peach, touch of coconut

Nose: strawberry, cherry, mizunara (Japanese oak)

Strawberry, cherry

Finish: sweet vanilla, clean finish, hint of cinnamon

Cinnamon

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I know every country has its own sensibilities

 

and i try my best not to judge

 

here , eel is no longer served in many sushi ' bars '

 

as its said to be endangered 

 

:(

 

its one of my favorites and have not had it in some time.

 

fresh water and salt water

 

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yum yum !

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16 minutes ago, rotuts said:

I know every country has its own sensibilities

 

and i try my best not to judge

 

here , eel is no longer served in many sushi ' bars '

 

as its said to be endangered 

 

:(

 

Yes. as far as I know Unagi (sweet water eel) is classified in the US as endangered, while Anago (sea water eel) is not. The one pictured is Unagi.

 

The sensibilities towards animals in general, their treatment and their sustainability are - at times - vastly different in many Asian countries, including Japan, as to what would be the norm in many western countries. I have certainly my values as well, but as I choose to live and visit here I try just as you hard not to pass judgement on those whose views differ (unless I really have to) ...

 


Edited by Duvel (log)
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Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. My husband and I visited Kyoto in January, 2006 to attend our son’s wedding, and our son and his family still live there in Yamashina-ku. It is hard to believe it has been 13 years! Your blog made me go look in the folder I have kept from our trip.

 

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I had forgotten about Kiyomizu-dera. Loved going there, and yes, the view is great.  The three streams of water have different meanings, yes? Health, wealth and integrity, as I recall?

 

We went to a Buddhist cemetery near there, as well. Very quiet and profound place.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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@Duvel

 

not to be too premature ...

 

where are you going next ?

 

thank you again for this blog

 

and the next !

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Today (technically a week ago) the Setsubun festival takes place, the marking of the beginning of spring. It is a remnant of the lunar new year, that is no longer celebrated in Japan, but of course shaped the traditions of this country as well. It is marked by ceremonies aimed to drive off the evil and prepare for a prosperous new year. People are flocking to shrines to participate in these ceremonies, clean their houses and throw beans at (hopefully only costumed) demons at homes and shrines alike, while shouting “鬼は外 - 福は内!” or Oni wa soto - Fuku wa uchi! (Demons out - happiness in!).

 

For us this was the opportunity to visit Kitano Tenmangu, a shrine in the northwest of Kyoto, next to which we lived for 2.5 years. We stopped by our old apartment. We lived in the first floor of this house, the balcony on the left.  12 m2, including said balcony, but surely one of the greatest experiences of our lives.

 

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The shrine is well known for its activities on Setsubun, as well as for its lovely plum garden. The plums were partly in bloom and attracted a lot of picture taking. Many people were dressed in their Kimonos and Yukatas, to pay respect to the shrine and for the festive occasion.

 

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We bought some beans for the little one (to be thrown or eaten later) as well as some goodies for the year of the pig.

 

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Edited by Duvel (log)
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Since we were in the area, we decided to do the "touristy" thing and continued to walk to Kinkaku-ji, about two kilometers to the north. It had not changed a bit :D

 

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Setsubun preparation were imminent here as well. You could buy a small wooden stick, write down your wishes for the upcoming year and then leave it to be burned at the bonfire (at three convenient times) ...

 

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From there, a mere 20 min walk further, lies Ryoan-ji, another famous temple (and already announce by @kayb). The austerity of the zen garden is in sharp contrast to the almost glittering Golden Temple before. At the entrance a small shack sold croquettes made from Yuba (tofu skin). It was ... interesting.

 

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We sat down at the zen garden and mediated a bit about the meaning of life and the fate of the universe (in view of the recent shake-up in dark matter research).

 

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The stone at the nearby spring says "learn only to be content", and we decided we would be very content to have some lunch. After the unsuccessful attempt to convert the rest of my family to love Yuba, I ruled out the Yuba restaurant on the temple premises.

 

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But luckily we knew the area quite well, so we headed to a more family-friendly option ...

 

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Sato's is a family restaurant and one of the first restaurants we found when we moved to Kyoto. Beside it being family-friendly it is also very foreigner-friendly with its picture menus and the quite comprehensive selection. It is also very reasonably priced ...

 

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We had to wait a bit with some friendly older fellows. Once seated, we maybe pigged out a bit :$

 

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Kirin ...

 

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Karaage ...

 

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Edamame (for the little one, of course) ...

 

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Gyoza ...

 

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Yaki-Onigiri ...

 

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Tsukune ...

 

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Tempura & soba set ...

 

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Tempura ...

 

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Soba. As always my favourite ...

 

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Spinach with tofu ...

 

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Sushi set ...

 

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With Tempura as well ...

 

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Oyster temaki ...

 

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Tsukemono ...

 

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And Matcha parfait & icecream ...

 

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A bit full ...

 


Edited by Duvel (log)
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18 hours ago, robirdstx said:

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. My husband and I visited Kyoto in January, 2006 to attend our son’s wedding, and our son and his family still live there in Yamashina-ku. It is hard to believe it has been 13 years! Your blog made me go look in the folder I have kept from our trip.

 

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I love that collage ... and envy your son to be able to live there ! It is really a great place to be ...

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16 hours ago, rotuts said:

@Duvel

 

not to be too premature ...

 

where are you going next ?

 

thank you again for this blog

 

and the next !

 

Hahaha ... well, next month to Germany, to the small city of Bonn to attend my sisters wedding. Over Easter holidays we are eyeballing Sri Lanka, though ... 😉

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6 hours ago, Duvel said:

For us this was the opportunity to visit Kitano Tenmangu, a shrine in the northwest of Kyoto, next to which we lived for 2.5 years. We stopped by our old apartment. We lived in the first floor of this house, the balcony on the left.  12 m2, including said balcony, but surely one of the greatest experiences of our lives.

 

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Whoa. 12 square meters is about 130 square feet. Our bedroom is bigger than that. And it felt like a stretch (or maybe a crunch) to us when we spent three months of sabbatical in a flat that was all of 40 square meters: living/dining room with Murphy bed, kitchen, bathroom, WC, and balcony about the size of the one in your photo. (One of my most vivid memories of that time was that every morning, one of us would ask the other, "Are you done in bed?" so we could fold it back up and regain our living space.) We had a little more than three times the space you did.

 

Is that a typical size for an apartment in Kyoto? How many people lived there? What sort of space did you have, and what were some of the things that many people expect to have in their houses that you needed to go elsewhere to find?


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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 I love the way that the Japanese manage to cram so much pictorial  information into such small spaces.  I have a couple of English language Japanese cookbooks (printed in Japan) and they are equally bursting with photographs. 


Edited by Anna N Spelling (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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I wish I could remember the restaurant where we ate in Kyoto. It was a traditional Japanese restaurant, dinner in a private room at a low table, seating on cushions (they had chairs with tiny short legs and backs for us gaijin, and served us some different courses than our Japanese hosts -- we did not get the fried fish head, for one example). The server was in kimono and brought each course in on a tray, which she knelt and placed on a shelf to one side; then she brought each dish to each diner, kneeling for each. The woman had to have legs to rival any MLB catcher. My knees were screaming in sympathy.

 

I don't remember what all we ate (it was 15 years ago), but I DO remember it was all wonderful, up to and including things that I had no idea what they were.

 

Next to that, I think my favorite meals were in the food halls at the train stations. 

 

I also had the best Indian food I've ever eaten, in Tokyo. Go figure.

 

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      The EVA flight is quite comfortable, even in coach.  When I say they feed you well, I mean it - dinner was a stir fried chicken with steamed bok choy and rice, with many sides.  Throughout the flight they came through the cabin with mustard coated fried chicken sandwiches as snacks, then breakfast of pork congee with many sides (including a package of fish floss).  Sorry, I didn't take photos of the above - I was exhausted!
       
      We had about a 2 hour layover in the airport in Taiwan, so what does that mean?  Time for dim sum and beef noodle soup!!!

      This was our breakfast destination

      Left to right, Xie Long Bao (Shanghainese pork soup dumplings), char siu bao (fluffy buns filled with BBQ pork - although this Taiwanese version was not nearly as sweet as the typical Hong Kong version), Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and a loose leaf oolong tea.  With the waters, cost about US$20!!!  It was quite the feast, especially after the constant EVA flight 'buffet', and the fact that they were going to feed us again on our next flight to Singapore!
    • By KennethT
      It's that time of year again, after just getting back from our summer vacation.  This year, we went to Yogyakarta which is a city in central Java, Indonesia.  The title of the topic comes from the fact that most people there call the city Jogjakarta (pronounced jōg-ja-karta), although some people (depending on background) do call it yōg-ya-karta.  This is a special place in Indonesia - Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country, however, the region around Jogjakarta was declared a special region as it is also a Sultanate.  It was the original home to the ruler of the island of Java, and once democracy came along, the Sultan still lives there and has some kind of power in the region, as well as with the government as a whole...  It's confusing - and I would say that I'm still a bit confused, but that's ok.  Anyway, all this leads this region to be called the cultural and culinary capital of the island of Java, the most populous island in the archipelago, some of the reason it is extremely popular with domestic tourists - I'd say the vast majority of the tourists there are from other parts of Indonesia, with the balance being mostly Australians, and some Europeans and very few North Americans.
       
      Food-wise, we found Jogja interesting because it is the first Muslim area we have seen in SE Asia, which means (with very few exceptions) no pork.  There are tons of chicken dishes - many using what is called kampung chickens, or extremely free range chickens which tend to be relatively scrawny, a little tough but with a lot of flavor.  There is also some beef, some mutton/goat and fish.  Like a lot of Indonesian food, the use of sambal(s) is key - many times you will have a selection of sambal that you would use to accent or add spiciness to a dish.  Some of these sambal are crazy hot...
       
      Another thing interesting thing about being a mostly Muslim area is the seemingly ever-present call to prayer.  In the city, typically 5 times a day, the Mosques will have their best singer sing the call to prayer (which lasts about 20 minutes) over the loudspeaker systems.  If you are in an area with a few mosques, you will hear 3 different versions all going at the same time.  Some of these calls are at inopportune times - like 1:30AM - so most hotels provide ear plugs so you won't be woken up in the middle of the night.  Like we do on all our trips, we take Benadryl as a sleep aid to help get us over the jetlag... so we never needed the earplugs as we were sleeping very soundly to say the least!
       
      I think I'll sum this up by talking about how relatively inexpensive this city is.  It is probably the cheapest area that we have seen on our travels so far - you can get a luxury hotel room for about $50 per night, and a 40 minute taxi ride across the city doesn't cost more than $3-4, at the current rate of exchange.  Local food is really cheap too.  I took some photos of menus to show pricing - keep in mind that the current rate of exchange is about IDR14,100 to US$1.  What can be much more expensive is some touristy things - foreign tourists are charged a different rate from domestic tourists, and in some cases will have a separate entrance (and usually a much shorter, or non-existent, line).
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