Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eating my way around Japan part 7 Onagawa, brand new friends

After travelling from Nagoya to Onagawa by myself not knowing what to expect when I arrived, and being taken on  an excellent guided tour of the town during the afternoon, I was invited out to dinner in the evening by Mayumi and her husband Yusuke. I returned to my hotel to settle in and take a short rest before they would collect me and take me to a local restaurant.

The night was warm and clear and an eerie silence fell over the valley where my temporary hotel El Faro was located . Once the construction workers who are raising the ground level during the day had packed up the silence was only punctuated by the sound of the odd passing car.

El Faro just after dark

While travelling to Onagawa I was apprehensive about exactly what I would be able to do while I was there. I don't speak Japanese and I knew much of the town had been destroyed, I had read on the internet that there were still restaurants in the town so I had hoped I would find one near to my hotel and be able to eat some local food. When I had corresponded with Mayumi before my visit she had said she may be able to meet me and show me round but I had not expected the wonderful welcome and hospitality I received. I will never forget this first evening in Onagawa getting to know Mayumi and Yusuke and meeting their friends. These are people who are positive about the future of their town and have a direct involvement in it's recovery and I was privileged to be eating and drinking with them.

They drove me a short way to the site of a temporary wooden unit containing a couple of bars. We entered what I assume would be called an Izakaya ( Japanese style pub serving alcohol and food ) 
I was introduced to a couple of their friends, food and drinks were ordered and we took a table.

First up Scallops 

A selection of yakitori ( skewered grilled meat ) and sashimi arrived. Dishes are ordered throughout the evening as people feel like them rather than all at the start of the meal.

Fresh sashimi in a fishing port is rather splendid.
Octopus and Tuna plus  maybe bream and yellow tail ?

More yakitori , pork I think this time

grilled scallops 

everyone tucking in and modern technology being used to bridge the language gap

My brilliant new friends , I was so happy and relaxed to have landed in such great and interesting company when really I had expected to be eating by myself . From the left, Kota Niitsuma who opened the temporary sweet shop, Mr Beer (Biru san) who runs the fish factory and sushi restaurant in the harbour, Mr Abe ( Abe san ) who loaned land free of charge for the container village shops, Yusuke and Mayumi.

Yes we ate drank and were merry. I promised I would go back and visit them and their town again to see it rebuild and I will.

Naturally I had to finish the evening with some local sake .


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