Nara – Food!

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Here are photos of probably the worst meal i have had in japan yet.

IES took us to a traditional tea house, where we were treated to a vegetarian monk lunch. The Japanese tour guides who took us here told us that it would be a privilege for even Japanese people to eat this, but knew that we were all like ‘ehhhh’ about it (not just me!) and would have preferred meat. They laughed.

I will do my best to explain what you are looking at. mostly, it’s a ton of tofu and mochi. the top left features ferns and a ton of mochi: fried mochi, the yummy-looking fried ball (note the use of looking here), as well as the stuff in the leaf-tied pouch and the tiny round dango. There was also ginger and pickled vegetables, which the ryokans and traditional foods are big on, but I’m not too much of a fan of.

top right features tofu, flowers and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT but i didnt really like it. it was just kind of spongy and eh. and there’s a blob of wasabi to go with that nooooo.

Then there’s tofu with sauce and a sprig of ginger. I liked the green one, didn’t like the brown one. The last square was just tofu, which i also did not care for. They also had rice that was salted and maybe something else was added to it. Besides the fact that there was peas in it, which i avoided, it was THE most delicious rice that maybe I have ever tasted. The only highlight of this meal. It almost made up for how much I didn’t like everything else.

The last photo is of the tea that we drank traditionally, although we didn’t go through the whole ceremony, which I’ve heard from students taking a tea ceremony class here is very, very long and intricate and would have been ridiculous with the 20-or-so people we had. The tea is BRIGHT lime green, like almost noxious colored, but I actually liked it. I think it’s kind of funny, actually, because I remember freshman year of college, I had an art professor who was Japanese and as a treat brought, the professor brought  in the tea for everyone to try – expecting no one to like it – and I didn’t really, not until I had put a ridiculous amount of sugar in it (which no, you’re not actually supposed to to) in order to counteract just how bitter it is. But i really liked it this time. The thing in the foreground is the sweet that goes along with the tea. This was basically a small block of sugar with a little bit of anko (red bean) on the bottom.

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