WARNING: This blog entry contains lots of photos of food. If you continue reading, you’re probably going to end up getting hungry or sick. Or both.
Our day started with a trip to Kyoto’s famous Nishiki Market. Here’s what it looked like:
Some of the merchants were selling harmless things like flowers . . .
. . . and fruit:
Others had more unusual items like quail eggs . . .
. . . and sugared beans:
And then there was stuff like this:
And (Dear Lord Almighty, Great God in Heaven Above) this:
I have no idea what it was because ALL THE SIGNS WERE IN JAPANESE. Did you notice the pink, bloodlike, intestine-y-looking thing on the upper right? Yeah, I’d forced myself to eat raw shark heart in Tokyo four days earlier (I’m never going to stop talking about that), but somehow this seemed worse.
Here’s a question for you: If you were about to starve to death and had to pick one, would you eat the stuff in the previous photo or the stuff down below?
What’s the matter — don’t like raw octopi? Well, here are some cooked ones on sticks:
See the smooth bulbs that look like cherry tomatoes? Those are the heads. Mmmm, yes, go ahead and bite into one . . . like this:
Here’s a photo of the weirdest thing I ate:
I don’t know what it was, but I can tell you that it sucked beyond belief.
Here’s something else that I bit into, not knowing what lurked inside:
Thankfully it turned out to be a dessert, albeit a forgettable one, with red bean paste and (I think) a lychee in the middle.
I wanted to wash it down with something better, so I got these beautiful candies . . .
. . . which had NO flavor whatsoever.
Ultimately, I found the best egg-custard-tart-thingie of all time . . .
. . . and then ate three more for good measure.
In the early afternoon, we jumped in a cab . . .
. . . and ended up here:
That’s me in the photo above, wearing the black jacket and hat. It was one of half a dozen temples that we visited. I forget the names. I didn’t care about the history. I didn’t want to feel like I was back in 4th-grade social studies class with Mrs. Feiwell. I just wanted to walk around and look at pretty stuff like this . . .
. . . and this . . .
. . . and this . . .
. . . and not be bothered. Is that so bad?
Just before nightfall, I found myself here with my mom and half-sister:
The following hour went something like this:
It wasn’t the most thrilling of performances, but it was still cool to experience something different. That is, after all, a good reason to travel.
After the show, we walked a good distance along this street . . .
. . . and eventually found a classy restaurant that specialized in sukiyaki — another new experience for me. Basically, every table had a little stove-top-type-of-thing built into it, and we cooked the food ourselves. (That is, after the waitress showed us how to do it.)
So, what was the food?
. . . and a whole mess of vegetables:
There were also eggs involved . . .
. . . but those didn’t get cooked. The waitress scrambled them for us, and without speaking a single word of English, she managed to communicate that we were supposed to use it as a dipping sauce.
Here’s what the food looked like as it was being cooked:
There was a LOT of soy sauce in there, and man, let me tell you, it was one of the best meals of my life. In case you missed it, there were three full trays of beef, so the food kept coming. Combine that with the four bowls of white rice that I ate, along with the whole pitcher of water that I drank, and I was . . . oof, yeah.