Travel: Snowy Matsumoto
Last week my 74 year old father broke his femur while skiing in Japan. At least it happened in Japan and not in Kamchatka (which was on his to do list). So after a hectic 12 hours of travel I arrived in a two-bit town called Matsumoto which is where my father had been transferred to undergo his surgery. So here I am, in the middle of nowhere, in a small Japanese town with a population of 250,000 people. Surely a village for Japanese standards. The official city website states that "Matsumoto is famous for delicious apples and soba, and is the birth place of the contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama as well as the Suzuki music method." The apples are indeed delicious, Soba bars abound, I have seen one Kusama poster, and a bunch of musical instrument stores. The internet tells no lies. There is also a castle, with a moat. There is snow. There are restaurants that serve horse meat sushi (touted as the local delicacy), and the menus have no pictures. Nevertheless I have to say, I have had an excellent culinary experience here. Armed with the iTranslate app I have walked into a different restaurant twice a day for the last week and shown them my phone which said something along the lines of "Please serve me the house specialty." I of course, very studiously avoided all restaurants with pictures of horses drawn on them as I was an avid equestrian in my youth, and I am not down with ingesting Black Beauty's cousins and distant relatives. So people, if life throws you a random curve ball and you end up in this corner of Japan here are some good restaurants to go to: Naman - Best Korean food I have ever had. This includes the restaurant in Seoul I was taken to that boasted Obama as one of their former guests. Miyota - Authentic little "Soba Bar" Noroshi - Pork bone broth ramen. Maybe the best broth I have ever had? Urashima - Wagyu Sukiyaki joint. Enough said Agareya - A charcoal grilled chicken restaurant where I had my first ever Onsen Egg. Please do not leave Japan without trying these eggs, which are "cooked" in an Onsen. No joke. PS -If you are a girl and are traveling in Japan please go to the local Boots or Drugstore and have a look. Here in Matsumoto they had a whole aisle of cellulite removing devices, lifting stones, wrinkle removers etc etc. I bought myself a whole smorgasbord of options. I could not help myself. Imagine what one would find in a drugstore in Tokyo!