October 25, Saturday
Art/Arts Workshop had a field trip to check out a Nihonga artist near Nippori Station, and we all met at 1:00 pm. I took the train immediately after class at Mita from Tamachi Station to Nippori, where I met up with Jordan and Micke, two other students in my class. We went to the South exit and waited for the teacher to come meet us with the other students, and went on our merry way. Saw a bubble tea place, but didn’t go until later. We did, however, make a stop at a taiyaki store, which sold taiyaki one-by-one, or in bulk. They only had the original, which was filled with anko. I’m not a fan of copious amount of red bean paste, but I did want taiyaki, so I bought one for ¥140. I wouldn’t recommend buying it from there, since Tokyu actually sells the same thing for ¥119. But it was pretty good. The batter was quite thin, and Geraldine, another student, told me it reminded her of grilled tortilla.
Then we went along a crowded street with a ton of shops. There were ice cream store, traditional sweets stores, clothing stores, and a multitude of shops selling cat merchandise. They seem to really like cats in Nippori, since nearly every store had a cat theme or sold cat decorated things. I bought some a strawberry fromage daifuku and matcha manju on the way, while I saw another student with a turtle shaped custard pan.
The scenery at Nippori was quite beautiful. There were a lot of trees and shrines. A lot of cemeteries – but the cemeteries are really pretty because they are housed inside shrine walls. What I didn’t like, though, was that every shrine seemed to have a car inside the compound. It was like the jarring addition of modernity to the backdrop of a traditional style house was really ugly…
It took a while for us to actually get the the artist’s house, but we did get there. We had to take off our shoes when entering, and when he did his presentation, we had to sit on the floor. I attempted to sit in seiza the whole time, but my legs were dying after maybe 5-10 minutes and I had to adjust my position. Only two or three people really asked him questions about nihonga and his technique in particular (he’s an American doing traditional Japanese painting in Japan). I honestly just thought the whole time that I wanted to touch the minerals and animal skin glue he used haha. The textures looked interesting. The glue felt like plastic.
We then made our way out of the building, since others were waiting for their tour turn. Our group made the walk back to the station, but I wanted to stay for a bit longer to look at more sweets. Mandy, another Taiwanese friend, decided to stay behind with me. Went to the cheap vegetable stall we saw earlier and bought a ton of produce. I bought carrots, bok choy, lotus root, and cabbage. Carrots are quite fat and short here. Afterwards, headed back into the crowded street to look for ice cream. It was all about ¥300, though, which I thought was too expensive. I really wanted to try the black sesame ice cream, though….
Instead, went to the bubble tea shop from earlier, where I bought annin peach gelato for ¥260! It was absolutely delicious. I’ve been craving annin dofu in forever, and it had the almond flavor I wanted. Mandy bought bubble tea, which tasted pretty much like tea. They use fresh milk and directly mix it into the tea.
Then headed home. I missed the stop back to Tamachi Station by accident, since I wasn’t expecting the station name at all! I never go to Tamachi, so I was waiting until they announced Mita. Had to backtrack to get home haha.