Tag Archives: day out

Outing: Somen day out in Kurashiki

We were recently (mid July 2022) invited by our friend Hatsumi (you may know her as the flutist in the Mae Maes) for a special lunch at her friends in the historic town of Kurashiki. This lovely town is often quite busy in the Edo-era style Bikan quarter and also noted for its fantastic museums which I’d likely blabbed on about.

dude, looking sharp, enjoying his noodles and the water

There was also the 200th anniversary (or was it the 400th anniversary?) of a shrine we passed on the endless staircase up to our hosts. Of course, I purchased a commemorative calligraphy card.

In our case, the quest was to enjoy cold somen noodles from a special bamboo water plume chute. This is a sort of a usual tradition in Japan but, because of “everything” hasn’t been publicly done in the last couple years.

The lovely couple put on a really nice spread for us with the water running down the bamboo course and then you catch the noodles with your chopsticks along the way and mix in with a broth, plus tomatoes, eggs, green onions etc.

The husband was quite handy and had some interesting artefacts and projects going around the house.

After the noodles and a bit of a rest for me and Ichiro in a lovely tatami room, we enjoyed fresh shaved ice with a magnificent beast of a machine with ume syrup.

Must remember to send them a gift package of pickles or other treats as thanks.

Diary: to the seashore for pizza & watermelons

Thank you for usual days

Brief evidence of a day trip to Nishiwaki Beach {Setouchi city} and pizza at Iwaburo + meeting up with Ryoko’s jazz vocalist friend Ayumi.

Though it’s just a short drive away, felt like a whole “expedition/holiday” yesterday >> so long since we’ve been out and about. Anyhow, poorly annotated snaps follow: 

* Postbox, at quirky cafe, Iwaburo (also ukuleles, turtles, cats, dogs, goats, and a friendly couple running it who told me about building pizza oven (see below)

* Pizza, handmade & woodfired

Ya know i’m making one of these at home, one of these days (we have loads of bricks and blocks and old ceramic pieces around for starters… a few other projects to finish first… 

Continue reading Diary: to the seashore for pizza & watermelons

Travel: Trip to Yubara Onsen and Katsuyama hi

[From March 23-25 2020]

Leaving the workers to their work as they switch to more “modern equipment” with nail guns to put down roof panels while we head to historic town of Katsuyama (noted for their handmade Noren door curtains among other things) where I’m going to hit up a noted post office to mail out this new batch of #DaveOStory dispatches. Yes im that obsessive.

Then onwards for a soak and stay at Yubara onsen (hot spring) which has an in-river outdoor public bath which you know i’ll be hitting up.

Gave the workers a “yorushiku” on the way out, key in lockbox, coffee/tea/snacks on standby.

Anyhow, small bags packed (for me old-timey suitcase with socks, talcum powder, fountain pen, stationæry & Gary Snyder’s mtns & rivers w/o end, meds, charger as most everything provided at hotel) ++ snacks & tea for the road, Billie Holliday on the stereo. Ichi loaded up with a giraffe & bear-cub hat. Ryoko at the helm. Sakura blooming.

The road is (part of) life.

Along with my wonderful mother and father-in-law, my adorable wife and remarkable baby, we took a little overnight trip to a nearby onsen (hot springs village) called Yubara, as well as a stop off at a all time trading post town of Katsuyama which still maintains a lot of traditional charm.

We stayed at a groovy old hotel, ate a ridiculous amount of food, sat in the moonlight on a rooftop garden tub and the next day in a communal bath with rock walls (like the actual rocks of the cliff outside) and finally in the outdoor tubs in the river (don’t showff!)

Along the way, we checked out an interesting art exhibit, popped into a variety of shops with handicrafts (Katsuyama is noted for its noren curtains) and of course, various post offices (indeed, moved Katsuyama and Yubara post boxes & office to a post of its own) and cafés, which – unsurprisingly of course – make up the bulk of my documentation: cute cafés, curious machines, amusing signs and sweet post boxes #theusual

Come along (more or less) – noting there are several, so settle in and i’ll remember to break em up somehow:

Part 1: Noren curtains in Katsuyama

Continue reading Travel: Trip to Yubara Onsen and Katsuyama hi