Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« rickshaws and shaved ice | Main | japanese bath »
Saturday
Sep082001

ryokan feast




(continuation of a multi-part Blathering, begin here)


Wednesday, September 5th (cont'd)


We had picked 6:30 pm as the time we'd like to eat. Right on time, the maid came in with the first tray of food.





Each tray was filled with small dishes, and each dish contained a different part of the meal. Every item was arranged carefully, the colours, textures, and arrangement turning each into a miniature work of art.





The maid went up and down the stairs a few times, each time arriving with a tray of still more dishes. Each time she put the dishes on the table, she would explain (with short Japanese words or hand motions) how to eat the contents of various dishes, what sauce went with what food, etc.





When most of the dishes had been laid out, the maid gave us each a bowl of steamed rice and a cup of green tea. She left a larger container of rice behind in case we wanted more, as well as the thermos of tea.





Jeff and I had a lot of fun going through various dishes and trying to figure out what each was, taste-testing. With only one or two small exceptions (mostly because of texture), we found everything absolutely delicious.





Partway through the meal, we realized that we were whispering to each other even though our room was completely separate from everyone else's, and was as soundproof as a regular Western hotel (at least we never heard any of our neighbours during our stay at the ryokan).





After dinner, the maid came to clear away the dishes. After the table was cleared, she dragged the table and chairs into the smaller room and brought out our futons and pillows, which had been stored in a small storage space beside the bathroom.





The pillows were filled with rice husks. Neither Jeff nor I minded this, but I know some others might want to bring their own pillows (though this might be a pain to carry on a plane). The futon blanket was too short for Jeff. He was definitely taller than the average Japanese person...the poor guy kept accidentally bumping his forehead into the low doorframe into the smaller room. :-(





Jeff is constantly having to watch out for doorframes during our visit. He even has to duck slightly to get into Alison's apartment. Guidebooks all warn Westerners, especially tall ones, to not count on getting shoes in Japan...it will likely be difficult to find the right size!





After our bath and wonderful feast, Jeff and I were both ready for bed soon after the futons were laid out.


Next: exploring Kyoto!





Today's Blatherpics:


- Jeff at dinner.


- Most of the rest are close-ups of some of the dishes we were served.


- Maid setting out our futons.


- Good night message we found as we went to bed.


Today's Poll: (courtesy Alison George)



Do you tend to want a dessert (or at least something sweet) after dinner?

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