today it's been exactly one month since i arrived in japan. and have to say: i like! in general, but also in particular. maybe it's best i divide my thoughts on japan in five parts, one for each sense.
as you might already have guessed, there is a lot of delicious food in japan. my experience on it is a bit narrowed because most of the dishes contain meat, fish or seafood, but i can nevertheless say that i really enjoy it. it's just that they know how to cook. rice with egg is not simple rice with egg, but something you never want to stop eating because of the taste. or rice with tempura (vegetables/anything coverd in batter and deep fried). i don't know what flavours they use, i really have to find out. i want to dream about this food.
but, of course, the main thing for me still are the sweets.
i hope i don't end up as a huge muffin, but i can't help it, they're just too good. and they are a lot cheaper than vegetables or fruit. maybe if they didn't wrap up each single orange like that, they wouldn't have to be so expensive.
but those are my favourites: inari sushi. it's flavoured rice wrapped in thin fried tofu. simple and delicious.
everywhere you go, there's a certain smell in the air, not always good, but most of the time. sometimes it's food, sometimes flowers, maybe perfume or just something you have no idea where it comes from, but still it is so pleasant you don't want to leave the place. there's always a feeling of life to the surroundings, whereas in germany i most of the time feel like i'm trapped between huge dead stones and dead air, at least in the cities.
against what is often said about japan, i think that it's not noisier here than anywhere else. in general. if you choose, however, to visit a book/dvd store, you won't have time to concentrate on what you were searching for, for every shelf screams at you with another message. or if you walk past a pachinko-hall and you are unfortunate enough to do that in a moment the doors open, you think hell just opened up and tries to devour you. i don't know how people do not get deaf from this raging amount of noise. maybe they do.
yesterday i caught myself whistling to the melody of the rubbish truck. yes, it does play a melody. over and over again.
the only things i have to say about that are that eating udon (fat noodles) with chopsticks is something you really don't want to do. and i try not to touch anything, cause i don't want to catch a cold. there have been a lot of ill people on the streets lately, since it's getting colder.
and finally: see
there's so much to be seen, if i start on that, this blog entry will become a book. but what strikes me as the most interesting at the moment, is the discrepancy between the traditional buildings and and what the cities actually look like. today i got the best example for that.
my boss invited me to come to kyoto with him, because there is a huge antiques market once a month and he wanted to show me a bit of the city. so i got up at 8 am (not a nice thing to do on sundays) and took the train via kyoto. people always say: ah, kyoto is so nice, you should go there, it's really beautiful! well, this was my first impression of that city:
and this is what the whole town looks like. but, of course, there are the temple areas. and this is where it gets beautiful and green.
there's a big gap between japanese aesthetics and the places they actually live in. maybe it's because of the earthquakes, maybe because of the wars.
now, having finished the one-month summary, i'll tell you a bit more about my day in kyoto.
at the antiques market i bought some old japanese coins (takahashi-san helped me finding them). at one stand i got ten for about twelve euro. while i was paying, the guy threw some more coins into the bag like they where popcorn. now i'm really exited to see what he put in, cause i didn't have time yet to find out.
we then went to see some temples and, after driving around for forty minutes, we got to a korean restaurant. and this was the most styled place i've ever been to. you could just randomly point your camera anywhere and you'd have a perfect picture for an interior design magazine. oh, and they had a wonderful vegetarian dish! yay korea!
after lunch we went to two little in-shop museums which displayed some old kimono designs. this one was by far my favourite:
we visited some more temples and shrines and i felt like my head was going to burst from all the cultural input. but that's good, i feel like i really should do more of the tourist stuff.