Tonight we wandered along the popular Sanjo Dori. Tucked between financial institutions and official looking buildings are quaint little restaurants. We found one, an “izakaya”. This was our last night in Japan before we head off home. The friendly chefs spoke little English and the menu was in Japanese.
We were by now well acquainted with the proceedings and confidently ordered our dishes. Yes, more sashimi, grilled Sanma fish and a delicate broth with dumplings. The atmosphere here; like throughout our dining experiences in Japan, was warm, sometimes hilarious and definitely light. As always, appealing presentation, exquisite and delightful taste and flavours. These experiences had set a high mark of Japanese food elsewhere.
We returned to our lovely ryokan styled guesthouse. The smiling and inviting face of Kayoko greeted us and ushered us for some hot green tea. Her son joined us. He aspired to be involved in conservation. For now, we encouraged him to finish his school and perhaps consider New Zealand to further his studies and career.
Later, we packed up our luggage and quietly walked on the tatami floors and snugged into our soft futon beds. In the morning, Kayoko prepared an early breakfast before a taxi brought us to the Nara Station. From here, we caught a train that took us directly to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.
This journey through mostly central Japan had been an eye- opener to the nature of the Japanese people, their customs, magnificent ancient and historic temples, their delicate culinary, efficient transportation system, did I mention the wonderful Japanese people, and many more.
The memories of Japan from my school history books were delivered through this memorable journey. Connecting was convenient with a existence and approachable remains of history – the temples, museums, culture and charming living museums pieces. The stories can be relived and therefore retold. My dreams were fulfilled. This journey is more significant as we had travelled and experienced Japan as a family. Now that is priceless!
jā mata ne, Nihon”