Day 2 Japan
We started my day with a visit to my father at Zenpukuji Temple where he sleeps. Zenpukuji Temple is the place where Townsend Harris, the first US Councel General, opened the US Consulate in Tokyo in 1859.
After offering a player to my father we walked to Azabu Juban where traditional shopping streets are preserved as they were as yestyears, and had a yakisoba and kakigori lunch at 103 years old Naniwaya in Azabu Juban. Naniwaya specializes two nostalgic food products; Taiyaki – fish shaped soft cookie stuffed with chunky, sweet azuki bean paste, and Kakigori, finely shaved ice sweetened with syrup and served with/without sweetened azuki beans and mochi balls. My favorite one is Ujikintoki, matcha syrup and sweetened Azuki beans.
In Japan July 24th was the day on which it is customery to eat eel, unagi. This date falls on the hottest and humidiest time of the year. During the Edo period (1600-1868) people made it a custom to consume eel, which is fatty and nutrious, in order to regain energy and withstand the heat. So, we went to Kanda Kikugawa (founded in 1947; one of the most authentic and best choice for unagi) to savor the eel and participated in the tradition of eating the eel in the hottest time of the summer. The menu at the restaurant is very simple. There are only 4 choices – A,B,C,D (this is written in Japanese ABC). Every choice comes with grilled and flavored eel, served on top of hot steaming rice in a large rectangular lacquered box. It is served with a bowl of clear soup with an eel liver and a small plate of pickled vegetable. Prices are respectively 2800yen (1 small eel), 3200yen (1 eel), 4700yen (1 1/2 eels) and 6600yen (2 eels). I know that I do not have a chance to enjoy it sooner again, so ordered C. Buzz, feeling a bit guilty to spending $80 for a simple eel meal, anyway ordered D. Oh boy, it was so good.