Friday, July 2, 2010

Our Trip So Far, Volume 2

On the Shinkansen. Quite luxurious.  Lots of leg room.  I turned the front seat 180, so we could face each other.


I brought my GPS, note the speed on the unit, in MPH, not KPH.


Bento on the Shinkansen.


There's at least a gazillion Origami cranes in each of these viewing cases. This is at the sobering Peace Park in Hiroshima.  We came here the afternoon we arrived.  Our hotel here wasn't quite up to Connie's standards, so we felt no urge to take any pics of the place.  We had a nice Sushi dinner that night, but it paled in comparison to our breakfast in Tsukiji.


Seems kind of weird, smiling in front of the preserved Atomic Bomb dome, but everyone is having a great time, except for the sweltering heat.  At least tsuyu (the rainy season) is over.  No rain at all this trip.  Knock, knock on wood.


Hiroshima Castle, rebuilt in the mid 50's.  It was leveled in the blast.


A fierce Samurai. If he was in the Japanese Army, the outcome of the war would have been different.


A couple of nobles.


A couple more; they should smile more.


A typical snack of shaved ice, a couple of dango balls, green tea syrup, sweet azuki beans, and ice cream.


Yokogawa train station in Hiroshima, on the way to Miyajimaguchi.


Oyster beds in the Inland Sea.  Not the season for fresh oysters, unfortunately (Winter is harvest).  Chikara-san later told us that in the late spring, old oyster shells are seeded with oyster "eggs" and then harvested the next season.  We saw huge stacks of the shells in Kirikushi later, but Chikara was zooming through the street too fast for a picture.  He drives a mini Mazda, likely manufactured right here in Hiroshima.


On the ferry to Miyajima.  Low tide, unfortunately, so the Torii is just floating on mud.



Miyajima is famous for its Shakushi's.  We would have bought this one, but it wouldn't fit into our bags.



This was our feeble attempt at mimicking the picture of Ojichan, Obachan, and the gang  I know we were in the same vicinity, with about the same angle, but the big tree was obviously gone.   There were no other trees in the area (of course it was only about 70 to 80 years ago!).  One deer is nipping at Sam's bag


An early dinner in Miyajima, before returning on the ferry/train/streetcar to our hotel.  I'm having Kaki fry, Em's got Tenzaru Soba, Connie's eating Kaki Udon, and Sam is having Kaki fry Curry Rice.  It was superb, as was all the food we have had here.


We found this place while wandering the streets of Hiroshima two mornings ago. Searching for breakfast, we wanted Nihon-shoku.  It was so good, we went back there yesterday morning too.  All this was less than $20 total for the four of us, both mornings. Even finicky Em has eaten all the food (except as noted below) like a trooper (and after a bunch of stern looks and scolding).


At Ujina, Hiroshima Port, waiting for the ferry to Kirikushi, Connie, of course, has to sample the cuisine.  Here, she shows off dango and a pumpkin roll (topped with a couple of pepitas, cute).


At Yukiko and Chikara's place in Kirikushi.  She is getting around slowly; she is 87.  She is quite kyphotic (hunchbacked). We noted that already when she visited us in Millbrae in the early 90's with Minaye-san, Kozo-san, and Izumi-san.


They got a bunch of bento boxes for us for lunch.  Sashimi (Tai), Tempura, eggplant, a little pasta salad, a bite sized portion of a beef/onion saute, and makizushi. We had a big breakfast and snacks along the way, so we were over stuffed.  Amazingly, Yukiko-san ate her whole plate.  She says that she is healthy because she eats well.


A final obligatory group photo taken with the self timer.  It was, unfortunately, an appropriate ad for Pepsi.


Hiroshima is built on the Otagawa river delta, so subways are not easily feasible there.  So, they have a streetcar system. After the war, the city bought surplus streetcars from other cities in Japan, and refurbished them at a fraction of the cost of building a new transit system, like other cities in Japan did.  So, within months to a few years after the war, Hiroshima was back on its feet, with one of the best transit systems in the country.  Many of the cars from that era are still working.  We were in this one yesterda, which had nailed wood floors, but with Air Conditioning added on, and all the fancy electronics that a modern transit system needs.


Last night, we went to an Okonomiyaki place; Okonomiyaki is like Egg foo yung, sort of.  Hiroshima is famous for this.  A thin pancake batter is cooked on a hot surface right in front of you.  Ramen noodles, vegetables, shrimp (or whatever filling you want), and an egg are added and cooked.  Sammie, inattentive as she sometimes is, neglected to heed the warning of our nice waitress, and burned her finger.  They must get this kind of thing a lot, because the waitress quickly brought out a bowl of ice water for her finger.  Due to the hot weather the ice melted quickly and the waitress replenished it.  The ever finicky Emily only ate one portion.  "I'm full," she kept saying.  


Note Sammie's finger!


Just moments after we left the Okonomiyaki place, we spied the "full" Emily eating something else.


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