While visiting the ancient city of Nara I met this not quite so ancient mascot of a famous Donut chain, the Pon De Lion! He was swamped most of the time so I had to wait to get these clear shots of him. Mister Donut lovers will note that his assistant, the lovely girl in the first photo, is wearing a vintage uniform from the 1970′s! I have no idea why I know these things. The place is also interesting as it is right on the entrance of Nara’s famous covered shopping streets and most people who have visited Nara from the nearby train station has probably passed through here. If you are a big Mister Donut fan, you’ll probably have to visit the latest shop at Tokyo’s Sky Tree!
When winter hits Japan I go into hibernation and there’s not much that can rouse me out of warm cocoon that is my futon from January to February, hence it is not a mystery that there is one major folklore event in Japan that I know nothing about, the setsubun! I leave it to brother Wikipedia to explain it to you, but trust me in telling you that it involves demons in shorts that can only be fought off by a well placed barrage of beans. During the first week of February there’s demons all over Tokyo and many shops put on nice setsubun decorations that I always tend to miss. It was hard to miss this scowling demon guarding a Familymart convenience store in Asakusa earlier this week though!
Yesterday I visited the Tokyo Furusato Matsuri and spent about six hours wandering around the food stalls and checking out the performances. Time well spent! The event is still on so if you haven’t got any special plans today you might consider heading over. Here’s one of my favorites, Yuzu products from a Kouchi Prefecture stall! I love all kinds of citrus fruits but this Japanese Yuzu (I think it is also common in Korea) is one of the best! There’s all kinds of yuzu products but since I don’t do much cooking I prefer the juices and the drinks. Yesterday they had two kinds of drinks on sale. Yuzu juice is a mix of lemon like sourness, grapefruit like bitterness and a bit of tangerine sweetness, but more mellow than any of these. The PET bottle one is a little bit more sour than the glass bottle one, but both are delicious. I think I had a couple of both during the day. I also couldn’t resist sharing their ad, an absolutely wonderful photo of a boy playing in a river. I wish I had grown up in the Japanese countryside summer as well!