Saturday, March 20, 2010

Japan: Tokushima Part 1

From Hiroshima, we back tracked to Okayama and took this really old train to Takamatsu. From there, we again changed train which took us to kochi before back tracking a little and turn East to get to Tokushima. The train ride took all day, but the scenes where breathtaking. We passed little villages with farms, fruit trees, and green houses, went through long tunnel under lush mountains, and, most impressively, cross the ocean on the longest bridge in the world. On the bridge, we saw cute little romantic islands with temples, an industrial island where giant ships were built, but we didn't see any whirlpools. Maybe next time.

Shikoku is a medium size island South East of Japan, and Tokushima is one of the major prefectures on the East. Tokushima had yet been discovered by and commercialized for international tourism. Dennis got a lot of stares from locals. There were two gorgeous rivers cut through the city with stone bridges. Stone paths on both sides of the rivers with cafe, little food stand, and festivals. At night, there were school girls practicing guitars on the bridge and the paths has these star that lids up at night. Imagine quiet, cool night, gentle breeze, sound of river, guitar, and singing. The only light were the light from the city and the Milky Way under your feet. Photos just couldn't do this place any justice. Tokushima is a clean and quiet version of Paris.
Tokushima is also the land of Sudachi, a citrus lime-like fruit. It is made into everything: saki, shochu, jam, soy sauce, garnishes, soups, mochi, etc. It is very delicious and unavailable in Canada. For our first dinner, we stumbled upon a restaurant with a gigantic sudachi sign in the front. It was an izsakya serving food and alcohol that were locally sourced. On the menu (which was mostly in hiragana), it indicated which prefecture the food were sourced (which was mostly in Kanji) and special note for organic and natural. Not knowing what we were ordering, we decided to just order everything on the menu from top to bottom and same with the drink list.

First to arrive were house made tofu with bonito sourced from kochi and local sudachi soy sauce. Then, slow braised karabuta pork with daikon all sourced from a village 30 minutes away, noodles from Takamatsu, locally grown organic mushroom sauté with rice, and fresh (raw) giant scallops. For drinks, sudachi saki, sudachi shochu, potato shochu, wheat shochu, rice sochu, and then I can't remember anymore. I think there were grilled fish, sashimi, soup, sudachi cocktail... The whole menu: $80, according to the recipe, but I don't remember paying. How did we manage to get back to the hotel without falling into the river?

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