We awoke to the impossible, sunshine!
So to make the most of our fortune we moved our scheduled trip to Nara forward to immediately.
For those of you not in the Japanese know, Nara is Japans ancient capital and home to many temples, shrines and deer. So after an hour on the train from Kyoto what do you think was the most exciting?
There are vendors (real people, not machines, amazing!) who sell deer biscuits so you can feed the deer. Liz got herself some biscuits to share around.
I only had a map, but they were still happy to eat that while I was distracted.
The deer are very tame and don’t mind giving you a bit of a push and a bite to let you know they are still hungry.
And there are lots of them. Though they are still outnumbered by school children following teachers flag around the site by ten to one.
The highlight of the trip was the visit to the worlds largest completely wooden building.
Pressing through the massed humanity we passed the local pilgrims (tourists and pilgrims are one in the same it seems).
And found the building contained Budda. Very large Budda.
After wandering around all day we were, that’s right you guessed it, hungry. So we went in serch of a local speciality; Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki literally means “what you like, fried” and comes in a savory pancake like package.
So after finally finding the right restaurant we entered to find a table with a large hotplate attached in the middle.
We ordered the beef and the pumpkin with cheese. Luckily the waiter made the pancakes for us, which I am not sure is normal, probably at fancier places only.
Below you can see how the dish arrives at the table. In the metal cups is the pancake itself, made of batter, egg, cabbage, green onion and possibly ginger. The plate in the waiters hand in the pumpkin and cheese, a lot of cheese. The beef on the other plate is finely sliced to be layered into the center of a pancake.
The waiter beats the pancake mix and lays it out on the hot plate. In the case of the beef one, he lays out half the mix, puts the beef on top and then covers it with the other half of the mix. Then they are covered with metal lids to keep the heat in, flipped and cooked some more.
After that the waiter brushes on some sauce, squirts on some mayonnaise and its ready to eat.
In the case of the pumpkin and cheese, the pancake is cut up like a pizza before the cheese is added, so the cheese can seep through. There was definitely a lot of cheese, which allowed it to flow over the edges onto the hotplate. Who likes crispy fried cheese? I do!!
Both Okonomiyaki were really tasty. The beef was subtle and the flavoring sauce was really good. The pumpkin and cheese one was, you guessed it again, really cheesy.
We left the restaurant very happy and full, vowing to eat more Okonomiyaki before we left the country.