Life in Ohara featuring a chocolate and banana danish from Nutty Plant, a healthy blackcurrant and cacao smoothie bowl recipe found HERE and a box full of paper cranes. Now, about the latter. Let me tell you, it is not a mere stereotype. EVERYONE in Japan knows how to make a paper crane. Today my Japanese co-worker gave the new first-graders 60 seconds to make a paper crane to use in introducing themselves and guess what? They did. Everyone did. Each and every student. It was so Japanese and so awesome.
And Then My Mother Almost Threw Up
For their last day, I took my parents to the nicest restaurant I had been to in Japan. Right in the heart, as in the very veins of the woods, it was very traditional (in every way possible: food, setting, manner etc) and also very expensive (not that that matters but it does). And… turns out some traditional Japanese food, much like other traditional foods (cough Iranian sheep’s head for breakfast cough) require some getting used to. These may include okara (soy pulp), konnyaku (devil’s tongue), shiitake mushroom and various pickles. I guess, more than anything, it’s the texture of these foods that can get to you the most. Anyways, my parents hated the food. Well, my dad said he didn’t mind it but I beg to differ. And my poor mother almost threw up (oh no!) But but but they liked the scenery though! So it wasn’t all crying emojis.
So I was wondering, what foreign foods have freaked you out the most? When my family first moved to NZ from Iran, I personally could not fathom the putrid stench of pork. We had never eaten it back home (not because of religious reasons, we are Bahai’s not Muslims, but because it was not available). Though that changed in time and I started eating bacon with toast. Also, vegemite or marmite. Both of which (don’t lose your shit) taste the same to me. I still don’t understand how these two are edible?! Why?! Especially in a sandwich with lettuce and cheese! Argh! What was my primary school bestie’s mom thinking?! Gross.
Anywho, here are the pictorials and despite my parents’ reaction, I enjoyed the food and maybe you would too hehe
A traditional Japanese restaurant in the middle of the woods
Deep in the heart of the woods by the foot of a tranquil waterfall, the least likely place for a restaurant, is a restaurant. It’s called Mitaki-en, it serves vegetarian cuisine prepared by using seasonal wild mountain plants, it’s a little pricey and it’s undeniably beautiful.
If you are searching for a place to take your Gaijin folks/friends to show off traditional Japan (food, culture, architecture) then Mitaki-en should be it (just be sure to make a booking before you go). Unfortunately you only have 2 weeks left to do it though as Mitaki-en closes December through til Spring because if you didn’t know, the heart of the woods is cold. And by cold I mean unbearable. Nevertheless, whether you make it in the next couple of weeks or sometime next year, I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
Food wise: at the main restaurant, there are three menus to choose from and the cheapest starts at 2400 yen per person. If you think that’s a tad too much for lunch then you can enjoy a cheaper meal of homemade udon or cake and coffee from the other two eateries in the same vicinity.
My favorite details include the wild chickens, the handmade konjac and the outofthisworld stone-ground kinako (soybean powder) tochimochi (mochi rice with Japanese horse chestnut) – it is the best mochi I’ve ever had since being here and I’ve had too mochi – see what I did there?