VI. Speaking of Food

Did I mention eating? Here is a typical dinner, this one served to us at the Grandvrio Hotel, built in the middle of a golf course and with a statue of an elk on the fairway right below our window:

23food-1276-sa-r.jpg
A whole meal laid out at once,this one at the Amakusa Prince Hotel. Yum! (SA)

1st course: lotus root, ham, aspic, seaweed, tuna, red snapper, and yellow fin (all of the fish raw); 2nd course: eggplant with green beans, okra, seaweed and radish wrap; 3rd course: mussels and cooked red snapper; 4th course: beef, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, okra, rice, miso soup, Japanese “pickles” (much more varied than the cucumber pickles we’re used to); 5th course: chocolate cake, watermelon, honey dew melon.

21-mg-8379-sa-r.jpg pict0785-soba-noodle-lunch-6-18-11-age-r.jpg
Crab and asparagus. (SA) Soba noodles, miso soup, and rice wrapped in seaweed. (SA)
pict0979-amakusa-prince-hotel-dinner-6-20-11-age-r.jpg
The magnificent lobster & a bowl of sukiyaki at Amakusa Prince Hotel. (AGE)

All of this washed down, of course, with beer and sake. Not every meal was this elaborate, but many were, and we often could not finish what we were given. The meal above had the special grace of coming in small portions for each course, which, after days of overeating, we came to see as a blessing. (On the other hand, the lobsters we were served at the Amakusa Prince Hotel were the largest I have ever seen. They were gigantic. Breath-taking. Brobdingnagian. Magnificent. I ate all of mine and half of Anne’s.)

22-mg-8257-sa-r.jpg
A snack of bean cakes and green tea. (SA)

All of this luxury, by the way, is surprisingly affordable. Once you get away from Tokyo and Kyoto—which are the only cities most Americans ever visit, if they visit Japan at all—the pace of life slows, the congestion eases, and the prices come down. One of the points Ken tries to emphasize in his work is that Tokyo and Kyoto are about as representative of Japan as New York City and San Francisco are of the U.S.

>> A special tour package in tribute to Dr. Ehrhart’s travel is now on sale.

Text copyright: W. D. Ehrhart
Photos copyright: Sachiko Akama (SA
Anne Ehrhart (AGE)
W. D. Ehrhart (WDE)
0 comments