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Day Two of the overland adventure

rain 60 °F

Today we delved deeply into Japanese spirituality and cultural experiences. We began at the Konkai Komyoji Temple where we removed shoes and had a Buddhist worship experience. A priest wearing a stole like garment gave a sermon (10 minutes, translated for us) on worship, pronounced blessings upon us and our travel, chanted a long prayer, rang bells, and dismissed us. Then we were off to a Tea Ceremony. The tea mistresses study for years to put boiling water and powdered green tea into a pot, swish it with a bamboo whisk, and pour it. Every gesture is precise and reverent and respectful. They sit on their shins and rise up gracefully like elegant swans. It takes forever. Then a little cookie painted with flowers was given and received with TWO hands, then the tea was brought in a small bowl and we drank (ugh!). Matcha is very bitter and cloudy. Custom requires one to finish the bowl and slurp the last bit noisily to show appreciation. Bill did; Hope braved the disapproval of the tea mistress. Bill was really getting into this endeavor and went next to kimono wearing while Hope went to study calligraphy and found that using a brush is a lot harder than using a pen. Finally ikebana. We had containers and beautiful branches and flowers and a teacher who helped us get our flowers and branches at exactly the right angle with just enough space.

Another many course lunch and a visit to the vast wooden residence of the Tokugawa shoguns who held court here at Nijo-Jo Castle for over two centuries. The evening was focused on food again. From a large selection of restaurants in a Kyoto dine-around, we chose a French-Japanese fusion venue. More chopsticks. The menu, served in NINE courses, all on a different shape and pattern of china:

Kumiage Yuba, wasabi and dashi jelly
Egg castealla
Grilled soy marinated Spanish mackerel
Teriyaki chicken
Salmon sushi ball
Fu with miso sauce
Fried shrimp with miso rice
Kyoto taro wrapped in kelp

Cauliflower cream soup, Kintoki carrot flan, chives

Pan fried Homard lobster and sea bream

Sautéed spinach, tomato braised vegetables, mustard cream sauce

Iyokan citrus sorbet

Braised Kyoto turnip, masked pumpkin, green beans, paprika
Truffle and Madeira jus

Amao strawberry soup, Louis Roederer champagne jelly, milk gelato

Coffee, tea

Posted by HopeEakins 22:09 Archived in Japan

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