Braving the swelter, it was a four hour walkabout of Shinto structures on hills above the city, surrounded by graves, bamboo forests, and manicured shrubbery. The empty space within the buildings was evocative. Duh and double duh.
Escaping the mind numbing heat, we found OMEN, which I’d looked for the day previous: Cold hamo (conger eel) and cold soba with a broth enhanced by streamed vegetables, a draft Yebisu, and lots of a/c. Strength to see an old mansion and just enough to crawl home for cold showers and naps.
No news on dinners in restaurants recommended by friends, and most signage is in Japanese, which seems to translate to, “Where Are You From?,” so I headed to Takeshimaya, which truly is heavenly. After eight previous visits to Japan without a kitchen, at last a chance to cook the food! And enjoy a few cooked items. We’re talking shrimp tempura, grilled chicken thighs, and ikura cones. We’re talking beautiful baby tomatoes, eggplants, and asparagus singing with flavors. And one thin, white steak from Hokkaido that in just 4 oz. was enough to satisfy three hungry people.
Later that night: Japanese whisky in a hidden bar on the third floor of a building deep in Gion.
Today it’s meetings with food officials outside of town.