Subject: Kobe beef- sorry for so many emails but its just like butter
Sorry to write an entire book to all however many of you are on this list but there is just way too much material in Japan and I want to be able to remember all the small details from my honeymoon when I:m 80 or so. If you don:t want to remember all this you can just SPAM me right on into your trash bin, I won:t take it personally. Sorry but I figure it doesn:t take me long to write since any of you who have been reading have probably figured out that I don:t edit or think about what I:m writing, I just write about 10 paragraphs worth of lofty run^on sentences and then call it a night.
Because every time I turn around there is something better waiting just around the corner. Again, whoever is not interested can just hit the delete button as if I was serving them a coupon for a Big Mac. Plus we only have two more days and I promise not to write emails about what I ate for dinner and where I walked and what I saw in SF when I get home.
Today we had quite a packed agenda. We spent half a day in Nara visiting with the world:s largest Buddha and other important statutes, wood carvings from the 7th century with eyes that can see right through you, pagodas, temples, shrines, and tons and tons of Bambi. I:ve never seen so many deer in my life. The historical relics were fascinating and beautiful. The deer were cute at first...
Nara is just filled with deer and unlike the deer I:ve seen in California, these guys are so friendly you can pet them and apparently even share a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti moment with them. In a country that places such an incredibly high value on hygiene, cleanliness and disease prevention it was quite frankly SHOCKING to watch the Japanese interact with these parasite ridden animals as if Buddha himself had sent each one down from a holy land after a nice bath. Almost every person stopped to pet the deer, take pictures with them, talk to them, feed them etc... and one teenage boy even bought a piece of bread which he stuck in his mouth and waited for the deer to bite off pieces from the same baguette in his mouth until the deer almost bit his nose off. Super smart!! It was absolutely disgusting. I know they think deer are sacred but it:s just odd to see the same people who wear masks over their faces 10 hours a day to protect them from germs practically swap spit and get up close and personal with animals that in the US at least are covered in parasites and carry all sorts of rare diseases.
After a fun day in Nara we took a train down to Kobe (a very useful tip from Brett:s aunt Cindy). We had a mouth watering Kobe steak dinner in the city of Kobe- it was quite the experience. Now I finally understand what happens when you feed a cow a special diet including beer and massage a cow daily- buttery, luscious, creamy beef unlike anything we:ve ever seen or tasted before. The Kobe steaks put a good filet to shame plus the experience was just unbeatable. We had our own personal chef who we watched cook the steak in front of us over the course of at least half an hour. Before cooking the steak he first introduced us to our two steaks. It was a rather formal introduction.
Only in Japan do you get a formal introduction to your raw meal before you devour it. Strange but certainly cool.
The steak itself looked REALLY different from any steak I:ve ever seen raw at a supermarket anywhere. Its hard to describe but it looked sort of fake... like one of those plastic steaks that a kid might play with in a toy market. The chef cut the steaks into several small pieces and cooked just a few small pieces at a time. Then he would instruct us, *eat one piece (which was a bite) just with salt, eat the next piece just with pepper, eat this piece plain, eat this one with mustard and soy sauce...* He watched us the whole way through and made sure that each bite was cooked to perfection. It was.
After dinner on our way to the train station, I was starting to get a bit concerned because we hadn:t yet run into a kimono for my dog Olivia and I was thinking we might have to bring her back a children:s version and convert it but luckily in Kobe we ran right smack into a store that sold Disney outfits and traditional Japanese clothing for our four legged friends. For those of you that don:t know me too well Im half joking and half serious- I wasn:t really searching the country for a doggy kimono but when I found one I was quite pleased and after picking out the colors that would best compliment Olivia:s glossy coat I did make a purchase.
On the walk back to our ryokan I saw a typical moment of Japanese kindness. A group of four friends, stopping by a homeless woman who had passed out near the train station to feed her tea cookies and pour her warm green tea out of a thermos. Not something you see every day in the states but definitely heartwarming and tear jerking. I:m not sure if they were trying to nurse her back to life or just share some tea but it was sweet.
Enough for now... Good night everyone.