Today I went to Toyohashi, which is a little north and east of Okazaki.
First, I stopped off at the post office to send package number one back to the US by boat mail. (It was expensive even for that, and it’s going to take two months to get back home.)
I hopped on the train to Toyohashi. It was a little odd, because I’m not used to going in that direction. I usually go the other way, towards Nagoya.
When I got to Toyohashi, I stopped off at the BellMart to pick up some Band-Aids, because I cut myself. Then I headed off to find the calligraphy brush shop before it closed. It was already 3:30, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to mess around trying to find it. Remember, some stores in Japan close really early, and some have a quick trigger to close their doors.
Toyohashi has one unique feature, and that is its streetcars. I rode one about 4-5 stops to get near the calligraphy supply stores, and found the brush shop I needed. (There are a number of calligraphy-related stores here.)
I met the man who runs the store, and he was really nice. I explained who I was, and that I was a student of S-buchou’s, so he called S-buchou to get the details, and found the brush I wanted. 15,000 yen was the sticker price, but he gave me a significant discount, for which I am grateful.
It’s an excellent brush, and I expect that it will last me 20 years at least. Even someone like me can tell when a brush has high quality, and this brush exudes quality. It feels great in my hand.
I thanked the shop owner, and headed out. It was already 4:30, so if I wanted to look around, I had to hurry before the family-run stores closed for the day. A lot of them will close at 5 or 6.
I wandered around some of the neighborhoods to see if I could find any calligraphy stores open, but struck out. I did see some other interesting shops, though.
I was starting to get hungry, so I decided to grab a streetcar and head back to the train station area. While I was waiting, I got bored and took a few photos with my IXY.
When I got back the station area, I did a lot of walking around. As it started to get dark, I realized that I had to make up my mind. I couldn’t find a restaurant that really jumped out at me, so I headed back to the station to look around inside.
Before I did that, I took a few pictures:
What Happens in Mikawa, Stays in Mikawa
Then I found a restaurant inside, called Mikawa, and asked what the local famous dish is. The waiter said I should go with the Curry Udon, so I did.
He brought me a giant paper bib.
At first I thought this was some sort of a “You probably don’t know how to eat this because you’re a foreigner” kind of thing, like when some restaurants will try to give me a fork or knife when I want chopsticks.
But I looked around, and a lot of people were wearing the same giant paper bibs.
When I got my bowl of curry udon, I understood why.
You take udon, put it in a curry soup, and it all sits on a small mound of rice at the bottom of the bowl. It’s delicious, but it’s incredibly messy to eat.
My white paper bib was all shades of orange by the time I was done, but the curry udon was delicious.
On the way out of the mall area, I found a Saint Germain bakery and grabbed some sandwiches and pastries for later.
Then I grabbed a train back to Okazaki. It was a fun trip to Toyohashi. I wish I had gone there sooner, because there’s probably a lot more to see.
Then I grabbed my bike and went home.