The most expensive beef we will eat!
19.01.2020 - 19.01.2020 9 °C
We are officially tired and exhausted. I have a habit of packing as much as possible into our trips.......the easy ones are where you travel and sight see all day, early dinner then back to the accommodation to rest and recharge. Unfortunately I love sake! So invariably we tell each other how tired we are, then see a sake bar on the way home, and stop......briefly sometimes!
Last night we all proclaimed we were exhausted.....however, we had planned to travel for a day trip today to Kurashiki and Kobe. The former for their beautiful old canal area, the latter for much needed ( jokes!) food and the famous Kobe beef.
Off we went, now old hands at the stations and transferring.
Here I want to tell you 5 amazing things about Japan, that no one else does or has:
1. Their toilets. Some are relatively simple. Some are not. They play music for privacy, have three flushes ( normal, large and eco), warmed seats ( seriously never loved sitting on a toilet seat so much!), bum wash, front wash, shower and blowdry! I love their toilets and each one you visit is like a new exciting adventure....sometimes with pressing time issues!
2. Stations and trains or Shinkansen ( Bullet trains)
Such an orderly ( and sometimes confusing) system.
People here love lining up. You line up, almost in perfectly straight lines to wait for a train or bus or anything really. If it isn’t a straight line it means the crooked ones are probably tourists! There are even lines and feet pri ted at most station platforms.
3. Food and packaging. Everything you see displayed or packed is almost a work of art. They do use a lot of plastic, however their recycling is second to none. Did you know that all of the medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were made from recycled materials, collected from everyday citizens? How remarkable! Of all the Olympics, I am most excited about watching Tokyo as it will be timed to precision, impeccably clean and run smoothly! Also, unlike many other countries......they are actually already ready!
4. Respect. This one is probably the most Second you arrive in Japan you sense a completely different culture and attitude to the world, themselves and those around them. It is amazing and endearing. I cannot imagine Australia ever being so polite. Respectful. Humble. We are too rude, too selfish, too self centred. I have always had a love and admiration for all things Japanese. I can’t even remember how it started as I didn’t come here until 2018, but I did half a Japanese degree when I did my law degree, and dropped it halfway as both were a lot of study. Do I regret dropping it? Yes. But at the time I couldn’t work and do a double degree and attain the marks or knowledge I wanted. I’m going back to do language study ( having found an online course with tests and online tutors) as I really want to be back to semi fluent by next year when we return. Please Australians.........start to think of how your actions affect yourself, world. ( I’m included in that by the way!)
5. Jaywalking. It simply does not exist in Japan. If the sign is red, you don’t cross. Simple. Again, only people doing it will be tourists.
Back to Kurashiki, and the trains we take to get there. It is a long journey but once we arrive we are excited once again. Upon arrival we make our way directly to the historical Bikan quarter. We know we are getting close as it’s Sunday and the Main Street is rather quiet, until we turn a corner and see tourist shops, tourists and more tourists! Ugh......photos are a nightmare with tourists......we battle on!
The canal area and quarter is just so picturesque. Canals lined with weeping willows Kurashiki is also famous for its jeans.......many, many jeans shops with a major jean manufacturing area.
The area is so pretty that no photo will do it justice......I tried! We slowly walked around and looked tiny little streets filled with shops, food and people!
During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Kurashiki was an important point along the distribution route of Japan's most important commodity, rice. Large quantities of rice from the surrounding area were brought into Kurashiki and intermediately stored there in storehouses before being shipped to Osaka and Edo. Because of the city's importance in the rice trade, Kurashiki was put under direct control of the shogunate, and the city was even named after its many storehouses (kura). Canals were built to allow boats and barges to navigate between the city's storehouses and the nearby port.
Sooooooooooo beautiful and a lovely change of pace from the bustle of Osaka! Onwards we march towards the train station to make our way to Kobe.......now, I’m sure most of you know what that means! Grade A5 marbled Kobe beef! Yesssssss! We are exhausted ( officially now!) and decide on an early dinner. Judy and I discuss the merits of a word that combines lunch and dinner......brunch means breakfast- lunch so we decide on “lunner” a combination of lunch and dinner.....it might catch on, then we will be famous for inventing a word!
So arriving into Kobe we have researched and found a highly recommended restaurant called Mouriya Sannomiya! We can attend in 30 minutes so we decide to find a bar.....it is 4pm.......they don’t open until 5pm.........really? On a Sunday? So thirsty we arrive at the restaurant! Our chef will cook our meal on the teppanyaki hot plate! It is so clean and sparkly, as if it is brand new.
We decide on our meal.......this is about to be Jacks most expensive meal ever. Given the kid loves steak we tell him it is exceptionally better than our usual stuff and to savour each bite......don’t just throw it in and swallow.
It was nothing short of amazing! A bottle of sake for Judy and I, coke for Jack and beer for Mick! We watched intently as the meat was brought for us to inspect. The thing with Kobe is that they all come with a certificate showing a print of the cows nose ( like a fingerprint) and the lineage cow. The date of birth and death are printed there. Kobe isn’t available in Australia ever, so if you ever think it is, chances are it isn’t!
We finish and wander back to the station to train back to Osaka. The manhole covers in Japan and tiles embedded in streets are sometimes amazing! We discovered some such tiles! We also saw some houses ( apartments for sale!) and got back to the station where there was a huge line up for waffles......we ordered a box of 7.......Judy chose the strawberry one! She took a bite and exclaimed it amazing......then promptly dropped it on the ground! Goodbye waffle!
Dotomburi was a hive of activity yet again! As tired as we were, Mick and I saw a little sake bar and had a bedtime drop!! Luckily, our next door Melonpan store was closed!!