Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kanazawa, Day 8

So, after a rather unglorious and unproductive time in Kobe I decided to go back to Kanazawa, if only to get a final look at the city and perhaps some idea of what I might do if I were to come back here again…perhaps more permanently, for example.

The train ride, the same one I took yesterday but in reverse, was notable only for the car’s higher occupancy and general busy-ness. The trip back felt longer than the trip to Kobe, probably because of this.

At about two o’clock, I decided I should probably eat something, even though, similar to the last few days, I didn’t have much of an appetite. A woman pushing a food and drinks cart went down the aisle, and I stopped her and paid ¥1090 ($12.89) for a block of rice with a layer of mackerel (saba) on top of it. It was surprisingly satisfying – the mackerel was that good – though it would have been nice to chase it down with something green, and I don’t just mean green tea.

I checked back into the poorly named Dormy Inn Hotel, which isn’t the least bit dormy, and immediately went upstairs to make use of the rotenburo. Afterward, I came back down to the check-in desk to ask if I might stay at extra day, since if I had to leave tomorrow I wouldn’t have much chance to see Kanazawa a final time. Unfortunately, the hotel was fully booked. I got on a waiting list, but they said they didn’t expect a room to become available, which sent off a loud internal “you’re such an idiot for not considering this possibility” bell.

But it wasn’t anything that a decent meal couldn’t take care of, I thought, and an hour or so later I decided to try to wash away this particular trouble at a restaurant two doors down from my hotel called Yarukichaya (Yaruki Teahouse, which is a bit of a misnomer).

I was given a “box room” – the name conjured a bad experience in a capsule hotel in Morioka fifteen years earlier, but the memory was short-lived, in part because the box room was about three times bigger than that capsule hotel, the room wasn’t fitted with a TV that only got porn, and outside the door weren’t businessmen staggering drunkenly and emitting vomiting sounds.

Ah, yes, let me get back to the food…

I was immediately given a complimentary starter of veggies in sticky, grated yam, which was refreshing after the long train ride, as well as a local brand of sake, which was not complimentary but was still refreshing in its own right. I had a long look at the menu, which was as usual in Japanese I could 50% understand, and ordered umeboshi ochazuke and buri daikon nimono (despite the waitress’s insistence that foreigners don’t generally like yellowtail served this way).

The ochazuke was very simple but delicious, and came with a slice of pickled radish and greens, along with a dollop of wasabi that I studiously avoided.

The buri and daikon came in a rich, brown, hearty sauce that I wasn’t expecting. It was almost smoky in flavor, and it was very different from the buri daikon nimono that I used to make in Hawaii. I ate all of it, but, as the waitress had suggested, I turned out not to be a huge fan of this. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I expected.

Overall, though, this place was very good. From what I could read of the menu there were a great many things I also would have liked to order, the prices were affordable (my dinner only cost ¥1440/$17.02), and the service was great. Very friendly, helpful people here!

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