Dinner

Our friendly and somewhat alarmingly over attentive host asked us today if we’d like dinner tonight in the Hotel.    Lauren said he said ‘free of charge’, but honestly I’m beginning to suspect she doesn’t speak a word of Japanese.

We gratefully agreed, and he did the now familiar thing of asking us ‘what time’, followed by dissuading us from any time we offered, to arrive at a time that was clearly in his head to begin with.   (7 Pm, in this case).

Dinner was *completely amazing*.   It consisted of an insane number of tiny dishes of beautiful mystery foods, in a never ending parade of surprise appearances.

I’ll start by saying it was all delicious and stunningly gorgeous, because it truly was!!  … before  now going on to write what may appear to be irreverent and flippant things about various parts  of the meal.   I can only imagine my hosts’ horror should they run across this blog and run any of it through google translate.

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Look at how beautiful that is! I thought it was the entire meal — little did I realize it was probably 1/20th of the final total.

A couple of days ago, Lauren informed us of something she referred to as ‘horse sashimi’, which she said she “didn’t care for, –particularly the aftertaste”.  It is apparently slabs of raw horse… (Perhaps delicately sliced in fine slivers?  Who knows… But I picture slabs or chunks myself).   This is relevant because, as we sat down to the first amazing course before us, the first comment out of (the side of) her mouth was “I believe we’re looking at Horse Sashimi”.

In the photo above, you can see at Lauren’s left elbow, and lower mid center on Paul’s/my side, the conjectured ‘horse sashimi’..  (Slabs!  Indeed!).


 My own concerns aside, can you imagine Paul the Vegetarian’s feelings at this moment? Especially because it is a clear cultural expectation to eat all food before you, and potentially insulting to leave any.  Those are some *thick* slabs of uncooked potential horse there!  That’s no small amount of chewing ahead..

Only after she read the menu was her cruel ignorance revealed…


‘Ah, ‘she goes… ‘That’s beef that we’ll apparently cook on these adorable little pans over burners.’


I will say now that I never fully trusted her again.

The adorable and so so kind server came by and told us: you may start on these while we prepare your meal.  It was so much food, and just a starter!

All the food is from local areas.


Note the adorable tiny fish!


Because of our ‘heads on deal’, I promptly swapped that for Paul’s ‘headless shrimp’.

That crab is snow crab I think.  It was so sweet!  If challenging to remove with chopsticks…


The paper bowl of broth and misc stuff was a soup thing under which a fire was lit!


I sat waiting for something amazing to happen as a result of fire + paper:  will it go up in flames and cook that way?! Perhaps it’s special Japanese paper that will slowly fold itself into a little bundle around the food in the shape of something beautiful like a swan or a kimono!   This is the kind of ‘magical thinking’ days in Japan causes!


In the end it just cooked in the paper until it was boiling–  delicious!  But ultimately I felt a tiny bit betrayed by the use of paper at all.  Basically no more than a ‘culinary parlor trick’   ..

I didn’t photograph all the courses, but they were all amazing and beautiful and mysterious and minuscule in beautiful dishes, each tinier and more elaborate than the one before..


The final course was micro-dessert:  a lovely mango pudding with a side of taro paste, a yellow (?) chestnut, and a square of delicious something gelatin.


A fantastic, possibly complimentary, possibly incredibly expensive, gorgeous delicious meal!!

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