Bringing the Great Things About Japan Home

Breakfast at the traditional Japanese hotel.
Breakfast at the traditional Japanese hotel.

I have a tendency to try to adopt or least want to adopt many things that I find on my journeys.

When I came back from The Republic of Georgia I was determined cooked fast large buffets just like they did in that country. I even had a dinner party with about 10 different entrees,  and tried to cook that special Georgian bread. 

Now I’m in Japan and once again I have great envy for the way the Japanese people conduct their lives.

I love the traditions that the Japanese have. Like exchanging a business cards, solemnly held with two hands in front of slight bow of respect.

I love the way they have so much respect for other people’s space they go around you to avoid getting too close. They never push in even the longest line. It seems like you’re just courteous by nature and deferential.  Being in an elevator towering over six tiny Japanese women is a wonderful experience as they daintily chat and avoid bumping. 

At breakfast this morning a very old man helped his wife get their rice and miso soup, with his wife even shorter than he, following behind him wiping up the small little spills as he gently packed two pools of rice and two small bowls of miso soup.

Fish eats fish a million years ago. At the Fossa Magma Museum.
Fish eats fish a million years ago. At the Fossa Magma Museum.

There were probably a couple who have been together for decades. Living in this farm village in Japan’s north, maybe they are rice farmers or maybe they are visiting from Tokyo.

But you don’t know anybody’s background except the gentleness with which they spent time together was touching it and it made me think about growing old with my partner and trying to be as respectful and graceful as they were.

Last night I slept on a tatami mat and a futon and the floors were bamboo and but the toilet of course was a modern Toto with all of the bells and whistles you expect here.

I don’t think anybody would be content with a toilet that didn’t provide various means of washing down under in both hot and cold. That’s one of the things I’m going to miss, in fact I’m wondering how I can buy one and fit it on my own toilet in my bedroom.

Today we are off to another shrine temple another drive through rice fields and we will probably go somewhere that will be extraordinary. Just like yesterday’s museum museum of geology with the most amazing collection of jade in all colors you could imagine.  It is called the Fossa Magma Museum, and if you ever visit the north coast of Japan, stop in. 

They had fossils including one of a fish eating another smaller fish and rows and rows of geodes and every other incredible formation that you’d find out of the earth. I never knew the geology could be so compelling.

I return to the buffet and come back with homemade tofu with bonito flakes and thin slices of leeks and then some tiny dumplings beautifully created out of pumpkin and green zucchini.

The mystery is part of what makes this cuisine so fantastic not knowing what you’re eating but loving the texture after you crunched in and pretty much I’d say 75% of the time I eat it again.