Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Japan 2015 - Kyoto and Tokyo

I recently spent three weeks in Japan with my wife, Joan B. Mirviss, a major dealer in Japanese art and particularly in contemporary Japanese contemporary ceramics. Some of the time was spent on our own but the majority was spent on a ceramics tour of central Japan that Joan organized and led for a small group of dedicated collectors.

Japan is a feast for all the senses, but this is a food blog so I will concentrate for the next several posts on the marvelous food that we experienced at restaurants, inns and the homes of ceramic artists in Kyoto, Tokyo and the countryside.

Before the tour got started, we spent a couple of days in Kyoto and Tokyo. Here we revisited some favorite places and food items.

In Kyoto we were regaled by the renowned artist Kondo Takahiro and his wife Hitomi, who is a wonderful cook. Kondo-san is the current head of a ceramics dynasty in Kyoto, and lives in the lovely home that has descended in the family.

At home with (right to left) Kondo Takahiro, Kondo Hitomi and assistant
Hitomi-san's presentation is impeccable. This was her elegant opening tray:

Kondo Hitomi's first course presentation
Eggplant, chicken and vegetables and a fish dish followed, as did rice, soup, fruit and dessert: all beautiful and delicious.

A selection of dishes served by Kondo Hitomi in Kondo family bowls
Mr. Yokota proudly showing off some tiny eggplant that he was serving
Back in Tokyo, we went with my Tokyo partners to Yokota, our favorite tempura place for many years . . .

. . .  and I had a chance to get back to Hashigo, an unpretentious place in Ginza that happens to sell my favorite ramen in the world, spicy tan tan men, accompanied by perfect pickled daikon and rice.

Hashigo ramen shop and its wonderful tan tan men with pickles and rice
After a surprisingly good Indian meal with some close friends, we were ready for the tour.

Bobby Jay

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