We woke up in our ryokan one last time today and presented ourselves for breakfast.
After breakfast, we shut our eyes tight and paid our bill, and then grabbed a bus down into town to do some shopping. Unfortunately, the traditional decorative woodworking master whose shop I wanted to see had moved out into the countryside, so the trip was a bit of a bust. At least Ami got some ice cream.
Today was our first shinkansen, or high-speed bullet train! And I guess I should have known from the name, but oh my YIKES these things go fast. And the one we went on wasn’t even one of the super-fast ones! I think we got up near 150 miles an hour, but some go as fast as 270, which I can’t even imagine. Here’s a brief video.
And a train selfie, for which perhaps I should have combed my hair. Eh.
Our destination for dinner was a sushi restaurant called Izuju. They prepare an older style of sushi that uses heavily vinegared rice and more preserved fish.
Their particular specialties include the round pieces standing on their sides, which are made of mackerel wrapped in kelp (which is meant to be peeled off prior to eating) and the inarizushi, which is made of rice mixed with hemp seed, burdock, and yuzu rolled in a pouch made of skimmed tofu. The pieces in the back are worthy of note, too, made from gluten that’s been fried and stewed in soy sauce, and then rolled into the middle of a maki roll with rice and seaweed. Interesting stuff, and very different from what we usually think of as sushi.
Ami ate a bit of rice, but wasn’t so much into this meal. We were able to offer her an orange and some snacks Logan was carrying. I feel badly that she’s found so much of the food here challenging. Thankfully, she does like rice, seaweed, and miso soup, so between that and the occasional meat or random vegetable she’s doing pretty well.
After dinner, we passed by a smal shop that sold wafers and soft serve ice cream flavored with matcha (green tea made from ground tea leaves). We got Ami a cone. The color was so striking!
Honestly, I coudn’t believe she liked this. The flavor was bitter as all get out, and the ice cream (her second of the day, I guess) was not particularly sweet at all. Tori and I found it to be way too overwhelming, but Ami ate much of the cone!
Tomorrow morning we get a tour of Kyoto! And for dinner, a home visit. I’m pretty excited.