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Under the moonlight – delicious Japanese rabbit story

Under the moonlight – delicious Japanese rabbit story

Despite what the title might suggest, I am not eating hare.

Instead, I am expanding my culinary horizons and view of the universe. Since yesterday night for example, I see a rabbit on the moon.

Or in other words, I am becoming more Japanese.

With the help of our dear friend and culinary expert for Japanese restaurants, Saori.

She took us to a most elegant, elaborate and expensive traditional Japanese diner in Ginza.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Ginza is the poshest of the posh in Tokyo, where people buy Louis Vuitton bags to match their Swarovski-adorned smart phones and where the shiny streets smell of Chanel no5.

The architecture spells design and the stores define exquisite.

Tokyo, Japan

 

One impressive store described its display: “Twelve-layered kimono dyed with Sappanwood. The kimono is called suou-no-kasane and adorned the beautiful women appearing in the Tale of Genji.”

We were walking the sophisticated side of Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Ginza is a particular place. Even Tomek was wearing his sleek vest (with his Adidas sneakers but let’s not deviate from classy). To mark the occasion I devoted some extra time to my eyeshadows and sacrificed an extra dose of hairspray to my bangs. We came prepared to experience the bright side of life.

The restaurant we were going to dine at, had a traditional Japanese interior. Minimalist with wooden sliding doors and a stream running through it, even some fishes were swimming in it (poor things probably never saw the sunlight).

The restaurant is called “Ume no Hana”. We went to the branch in the center of Ginza. Location: Ginza Namiki-dori Bldg.5F,2-3-6 Ginza,Chuo-ku, Tokyo, http://www.umenohana.co.jp/n_ume_no_hana/contents01.html

There was a generously sized souvenir stand with some of their treats. I loved the natural wrapping (cotton cloth).

Tokyo, Japan

 

Our table sets were matching the koyo (beautiful autumn leaves) season.

Tokyo, Japan

 

We picked the vegetarian set with tofu. I was excited to be able to read the price and then found out that we were each to pay 6000 yen. Posh=pricey in Ginza. But time and money were well invested.

Tokyo, Japan

 

We each got the menu and could follow the order of the dishes. Well, some of us Japanese native language speakers could.

So their menu is mostly made from tofu or yuba (tofu skin) which have an amazing variation.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Say 頂きます – itadakimasu – before staring a meal in Japan!

Tokyo, Japan

 

Saori dismantling the starter tower of three dishes.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Tofu, spinach, yuba.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Tofu in clay hot pot adorned with beautiful flowers (edible).

Tokyo, Japan

 

I managed to get my tofu portion undamaged to my plate.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Not tea but, surprisingly, a hot dish with mushrooms was hiding inside the pot.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Saori told us about matsutake mushrooms which were the exclusive expensive kind. Tasted like very aromatic mushroom.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Sashimi. Delish.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Eating in Japanese restaurants is often a surprise. Dishes have cute lids and when you open them, it feels like unwrapping presents.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Rice in the box. And soup with yuba in the bowl.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Delicately fried tofu. This was incredible. Not too soft but just the right texture and taste.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Those sticks were our favourite. Raw wheat gluten with mugwort and millet.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Once the stick treat was consumed, a rabbit appeared on the empty plate. Sitting in the dark and watching the moon. The first sign of rabbits accompanying us into the night.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Fish gratin.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Soybean caramel and chestnut icecream for dessert.

Tokyo, Japan

 

After dinner, I took a curiosity walk through the restaurant. Come with me but be warned that it ends with a Japanese toilet lid.

 

 

The automatic toilet seat (that admittedly wouldn’t work the first time) was something of a surprise the first time I saw it which is why I thought I would share with you. Now how about more magic…

Rabbit

 

Turns out I wasn’t alone.

Dasza Traveler and Tomek rabbit ears

 

The restaurant houses many fluffy-eared creatures.

Tokyo, Japan

 

To my sheer delight I spotted more rabbit images on the way. The Japanese like to depict rabbits on all kinds of things. Even in space.

As we walked outside, the full moon was shining in all its glory, which is when I noticed a grey shape on the bright surface.

First rabbit ears, then the body, then the wooden mochi jar, then memories of Tomek pounding mochi, and finally it all came together to one clear image.

A rabbit. Making mochi. On the moon. Right there.

I took a million pictures of the moon but none showed what I saw and because I couldn’t get any closer (higher physics),  I made this illustration for you.

Japanese rabbit in the moon Dasza Traveler

 

I have never seen a rabbit when I looked up to the moon. Now I do. Always. Like Japanese people. And nothing else.

And there just is no cheese, dear American people.

( ) ( )
(* .*)

Anyhow, the night also presented a lucky twist for Saori (she already sees the rabbit in the moon).

After a walk around Ginza, we decided to warm up at the conbini. The one we picked just happen to sell Kirin’s newest winter creation, one Saori was eager to catch a while ago: the warm SODA apple-lemon drink. Tastes like soda but heated up.

A Japanese invention and big on TV commercials these colder days. (Don’t freak, family of Polish winters, we are talking 15-20C).

Hot soda in a pretty winter themed bottle, it might just become a bestseller this season.

Tokyo, Japan

 

The bottles were so hot, my two dining companions were struggling to hold their drinks for long in one hand. Managed to get a snapshot of  two satisfied customers.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Next time you visit Japan, be prepared to spot a rabbit in the moon while drinking hot soda.

Tokyo, Japan

Maybe it is Ginza. The Wonderland. rabbit

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