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Kaiseki and Fireworks

Saturday was probably my longest work day: 12 hours (though since it was a lunch-time event and an evening event I did have like three hours in the afternoon where I just sort of sat around and finished a book on my phone, but since I was AT the office I maintain that it counts as work).

For lunch, Kitamura took me to a ryokan (Japanese-style inn) called Kojohrou for a traditional kaiseki meal. Kaiseki is a multi (5-9ish?) course meal of traditional Japanese food. Like multi-course meals in the States none of the portions are huge, and there's lots of emphasis on plating and service.
I confess that I usually don't end up liking kaiseki meals--traditional Japanese food often equals "difficult" textures--like slippery--and fish with the heads still on. But nevertheless I gamely soldiered through the meal.

First course: beans and corn in some sort of mayo sauce, very fishy-smelling fish in a jar, green peppers, fruit (?), and two chunks of what tasted like pate...

Second course: fairly straightforward sashimi. There was a small bowl in between of light broth and a cucumber boiled with pumpkin (?) inside of it, but I forgot to take a photo.

Third course: meat with a dab of mustard, spinach, a slice of red pepper, and a potato (?) in a broth.

Fourth course: fried whole fish staring at me with their mouths shrieking in agony and accusing me of eating them...if I didn't look, they tasted delicious...

Fifth course: rice with small cooked fish, tsukemono (pickled things) and miso soup

Dessert: sour watermelon, grape, and plum compote-thing

Kaiseki isn't my favorite, but it's something I think everyone should experience at least once. It's full of healthy things and if dead fish faces don't bother you, the problems are minimized...the other main downside is that it's not really filling.

And now for something completely different: in the evening I went to the large fireworks display that the newspaper company throws every year. A HUGE crowd of people gathers by the river and watches fireworks together.

Newspaper photographer sitting on top of a car.

We were amazingly close to the fireworks, close enough that their explosions reverberated through the ground. I only got to watch about half though since in the middle I had to get in the car and hurriedly write a piece comparing Chicago's fireworks to the ones here. I was grumpier than I should have been since it was 9pm and I hadn't eaten for 9 hours, and like others in my family I suffer from hanger. So the first thing I did when getting off was dash to a convenience store and buy some food...


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