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Kurashiki’s Storehouse of Photos

Kurashiki’s Storehouse of Photos

The name “Kurashiki” means “storehouse village,” and during the 17 century Kurashiki became a prosperous market where rice, cotton, and sake were collected from the surrounding area and shipped off to other parts of Japan. The warehouses of Kurashiki are still there, and this architecture gives this town its special appeal. Full of traditional Japanese-style buildings and canals, Kurashiki is one of the most picturesque towns in Japan and a great place to take some wonderful photos. We arrived there in the pouring rain, however, after spending the night at a wonderful five-room ryokan right on the main canal, we awoke to a splendid day for exploring and photographing the fabulous fall colors.    In addition to all the charming sights, however, right before we left we came upon a Japanese wedding.  The Japanese are very big on having very special weddings and they range widely from elaborate dress-up affairs in high end hotels all the way to staged photos in picturesque settings.  I don’t think they could have gotten more picturesque than Kurashiki in the fall, so we got the special treat of being able to join the hordes of tourists and the professional photographer in documenting this couples...
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Moms Are Everywhere

Moms Are Everywhere

The gentle women of the ryokan were fussing around, putting each plate just-so, wiping up a tiny little crumb from the table and making sure that each course was presented perfectly.  Our information indicated that we were not to worry if we didn’t eat everything, as many of the dishes were unfamiliar, and that gaijin were not expected to finish every bite.  But apparently, the authors were unfamiliar with one particular attendant in Karashiki… It started with simple instructions, all communicated in sign language and three words of English.  Put this sauce on this item…  Use this utensil to eat this small little delicacy…   Dip this squishy piece of something into that hot liquid and then eat…   And simple instructions can be useful and we appreciated the education. Then things got a little more intense.  After a bit of an incident (let’s just say that having  bar-b-que boyfriend cook his own fish over a flaming brazier is just asking for trouble…), she no longer trusted us to handle this kaiseki on our own.  Now we were instructed on EACH STEP of the meal, and any leftover food was looked upon as a personal insult to her serving abilities.   Every item had to be consumed (or hidden under the mashed potatoes I guess), so it soon became a battle of wits.  Luckily, afforementioned bar-b-que boyfriend eats all slimy food – so was able to help out in the complete consumption department. The next morning, our hovering “mom” also served us breakfast.   Load it up once again!  No item was allowed to go untouched – each one had to be consumed.  Luckily I had my food taster/tester along, so anything I didn’t want could be consumed by him.  But sometimes she hovered so closely, that I wasn’t able to pass off the unwanted items.  So I did resort to hiding them! So when they tell you that it’s OK for gaijin not to eat everything, just remember, moms are...