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In Which I Solve a Riddle and (Sort Of) Fake Being a Pro

So it's finally my second weekend here. I've rounded off my week with nine cafes and enough coffee that yesterday evening I actually felt sick and have decided to take day or two break. Fortunately most of these places have other drinks besides coffee, so now that I've tried it once I can give my stomach lining a break. To all you people who drink multiple cups of coffee daily: I don't know how you do it.

Moving on.

On Thursday and Friday I went to several interesting places. On Thursday I went to Nazoya Cafe, which loosely translates to "Mystery Cafe". It's so-named because the owner is a self-proclaimed lover of mystery novels, and not only are his foods mystery-themed (for example, he serves a "Miss Marple Maple Waffle") if you order a dessert, he'll give you a riddle to solve. Customers who eventually solve all 20 questions (you have to order 20 desserts though) are given a golden certificate that proclaims them a "Meitantei" or "Great Detective".

Of course I had to try this. I ordered a chocolate cake (called the "Black Trunk" which I assume is a reference to the Chinatown Black Trunk Mystery?) and with the cake was also delivered this riddle:

The goal is to figure out what belongs in the ?. I solved it (and sent it to my boyfriend and brother who also solved it). Anyone reading this blog who wants a hint (and who knows me), feel free to message me on facebook or text or whatnot and I'll tell you.

I suppose I should also talk about Nazoya Cafe's coffee as well. The owner had one interesting item: a machine for making cold-drip iced coffee.

Cold water is poured into the top sphere and over the course of eight hours drips through the glass spirals, through the grounds, and finally into two pots at the bottom (and to be completely honest it reminded me of an IV drip). Making iced coffee this way is supposed to make it sweeter and smoother to drink. The owner makes it every day, chills it more overnight, and then serves it the next day.

There's a closeup.

The next day (yesterday) I went to Katsura Coffee, a shop I read about in a Clubism (their July issue had an entire special on coffee shops in Ishikawa Prefecture so I promptly bought a copy). Even though I had the address, I had a ridiculously hard time finding it. I must have walked up and down the street several times before I spotted the correct sign:

The shop is a small six-stool room on the second floor, up those narrow, dark, creepy stairs. Do you blame me for missing it initially?

The shop is run by 77-year old Sakaguchi-san who opens the shop every single day without fail from 1-6pm. He doesn't have a menu. Instead, when you walk in and sit down, he asks you what sort of coffee you want. All I can say is that it's a good thing I've spent the last week being educated on types of beans and bitter versus sour/fruity coffee--I was able to say exactly what I wanted, and I even think he was a little impressed when he asked if he could make it a little stronger and I said ok (apparently strong German/Dutch coffee is best, and typical Americans drink this nasty weak stuff).

His shop is filled with antique machines: a 1960s bean grinder from America (pictured above), and others from German and Sweden from the same period. He can do all the machine maintenance himself--as well as taste a cup of coffee and identify every single type of bean used in the blend. To him, that independence is what defines a "pro". Looks like I have a way to go.

So day I took the day off from research. My host mom and I dropped my host dad off at the Komatsu airport (an hour's drive each way) because he's going to the Netherlands for a business trip, and then we took a brief detour to walk through the Kanazawa rose garden:

Tomorrow I'm planning to go to the Seseragi Sunday Market which has a variety of fun vendors and maybe go for a run by the river (keep myself active). Then on Monday everything starts again.


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