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KochiGo to Slide Show

A nice Hotel sure does make for a nice city.

Prev: Matsuyama

Our previous day in Matsuyama was long - we didn't drive out of town until nearly 4:30 and arrived in Kochi after 6pm.  As far as I can tell, most Japanese travelers prefer to arrive in hotels well before dinner so they can visit the bath and unwind - it's us crazy foreigners that arrive shortly before dinner.  The hotel we chose in Kochi (Sansuien) was high end - 18,000 yen a night a person - roughly $800 CDN a night for the four of us.  We received the 4 servant welcome as we came off the hotel and had a dedicated serving person for tea and rearranging the room.
Mark Sitting At Dinner
Dinner was of course wonderful.   Foreigners I suspect are fairly rare and three vegetarian foreigners are even more strange.  Our meal came with a knife and fork - the first time in 7 weeks of visiting Japan I have been given a fork to eat Japanese food.  (We later received chop sticks when it became apparent we were distressed at trying to eat bite sized Japanese food with such a crude tool.)

Like other high end meals, the meal is designed to combine different textures and flavors so each bite is unique.  To make this meal different, it included breaded asparagus and an egg omelet as well as the usual Japanese treats.

SashimiSoba NoodlesTempuraFish With Ginger

Shoji Screen
Mark (the only meat eater) did well - lots of sashimi.  For the following evening Gabi changed our order to include fish for her - she was didn't want to miss another night of great fish.  We settled into what had become our nightly routine - memory card adapters came out and the days digital catch was downloaded onto Eric's Powerbook and then reviewed.  I wrote in my journal, wishing I could see what I had captured. 

The Sunday Market
The next morning we awoke to rain - one of the few rain days on our whole trip.  It would take a pretty fierce storm to keep me from a market, so we borrowed umbrellas and walked the few blocks to the outdoor market.  The market was about 6 city blocks long and covered up a road that is part of a divided road the other 6 days of the week.

Market With Palm TreesMarket Street

Each stall is roughly the same sized and fairly specialized - perhaps just earth vegetables or mushrooms or bamboo shoots.

Root Vegetables In BasketsMushrooms In BasketsBamboo ShootsDaikon

Some things are easy to recognize, others take a bit of experience.  Ume (plums) were vibrantly coloured.  Tsukemono (Japanese pickles) come in endless varieties - often looking very different from how they are finally presented.  Mochi (pounded rice) is often colored but makes a great (if chewy) snack.

Ume Pickled PlumsTsukemono (Japanese Pickles)Prepared Food

Citrus and Tomatoes were very common and available in a surprising number of varieties.

TomatoesVariety Of Citrus

A few things I were a little more rare.  A box of Aloe Vera seemed to be almost forgotten at the side of one stall.  I only saw these chilli's once.  Konnyaku (often served in Oden - considered a health food because it's heavy but low in calories) was found in a few places but the first few times I saw it, I thought they were selling wet rocks.

Aloe PlantsRed Chili PeppersRaw Konnyaku

There weren't many, but there were a few food stalls.  All the food was designed to be eaten while walking.  Everything was meat, but I would have loved to partake.

Oden StandOkonomiyaki On A StickYakitori CookingFish On Sticks

There were a few non food items also for sale.  I quite liked the Japanese candy and the knife stand, but my favorite was selling live flowers with the roots still attached, kind of like a nursery here.


Sleeves OutSleeve Swinging
I could have spent more time shooting pictures, but I was obviously wearing on my travel companions.  We walked back to the covered mall so Mark could do a little shopping but stumbled into a parade. 

Shrine Being PulledTargets Presented

The music was loud and very catchy - I could have burned another roll here, but Velvia (ISO 50) really isn't the film for shooting a dance number indoors.

Tosa Washi Village

Dye Bowls
I have a soft spot for Japanese paper (Washi).  Other than overpriced small sheets in stationary supply stores, it's actually quite hard to find in Japan - there is a much better selection around my house in Vancouver that what I have seen in Japan.  Tosa Washi Village was a rare find - a place where paper is actually made at the art is evolving.  They make paper with local materials in a wide variety of forms.  The flat book paper we see here is common, but they also make highly textured papers for wall art, entrance curtains, and in one case, a wedding dress.

Range Of Paper ColoursStarburst PapersDirections For Making Paper

Glowing Water Wheel
The complex itself is more than just a paper place - it has a hotel and training facilities so they can offer courses and summer camps.  They had a large waterwheel out front and we walked around taking photos.  Unfortunately, I left my camera in multiple exposure mode and managed to take 16 exposure of an ocean cliff side drive on the same frame - loosing all of them.  In the big scheme of things not a bad loss (I shot about 40 rolls of film on this trip), but I was sorely disappointed.

Dinner back at the hotel was again amazing followed by a soak in the hotels baths.  This hotel had 16 washing stations - while the pools weren't as large as other hotels, this hotel took top billing for bandwidth.  Also special to this hotels baths - they had a "waterfall station" where two streams of water fall from the ceiling - you stand underneath and let the water pound out your back.  In a twist of irony, the womens bath was one floor directly above the mens bath - if you stood outside the mens bath, the women could watch you from a concealed position, but the men had no such observation point.  Again, no cameras allowed.
  Next: Returning From Shikoku

Okonomiyaki On A Stick
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Shrine Being Pulled
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Starburst Papers
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Targets Presented
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Ume Pickled Plums
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Tsukemono (Japanese Pickles)
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Fish On Sticks
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Oden Stand
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Market Street
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Red Chili Peppers
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Sleeve Swinging
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Glowing Water Wheel
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Aloe Plants
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Bamboo Shoots
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Raw Konnyaku
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Dye Bowls
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Variety Of Citrus
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Yakitori Cooking
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Prepared Food
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Fish With Ginger
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Mark Sitting At Dinner
Person: Mark
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Market With Palm Trees
Location: Go To...
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Directions For Making Paper
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Sleeves Out
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Range Of Paper Colours
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Soba Noodles
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Root Vegetables In Baskets
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Shoji Screen
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Mushrooms In Baskets
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Tags: Japan(30), market(16), produce(10), street food(4), food porn(4), parade(3)
People: Mark(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Kochi

Beautiful pictures! I have been living in Kochi for a while, and I recently started a travel/review site for the international community (for residents or travelers a like). We have a variety of topics we're trying to focus on, so please do take a look. If you'd like to write a little blurb on your trip to Kochi, and attach some photos, I think it would be a great addition to our site. Please send me an e-mail if you're interested.
Sunday, December 12th, 2010 at 22:30:22

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