Life in the heart of Japanese farmland is a big change from the glitz and modern conveniences of Vegas. The lack of distractions here is refreshing. When I ride around town, I see vistas of emerald mountains, rice patties, apple trees, and traditional homes constructed of weathered wood. This is in stark contrast to the desert landscape of warm hues, endless rocks, and 24hour gaming joints with glittery lights. We start our days with homemade breakfasts made from produce and dairy from neighboring farms. We eat overlooking a plum tree orchard and huge vista of the Japanese Alps. In a country packed full of people, it is a real treat to live with a view of uninhabited mountain tops.
Today’s breakfast included sushi-grade salmon I pan-seared with soy sauce, local rice, and old-fashioned watermelon with seeds. Modified produce, like “seedless” watermelon is not prevalent in Japan and produce really tastes different and better. Tomatoes and cucumbers actually have flavor!
After breakfast,we journey through winding country roads to a small city center in the neighboring town and drop Nico off at school. I am still obsessed with the adorable outfits and bowing three year olds! When we walk into the school, Nico must change from his outdoor sneakers to special indoor shoes. As we changes, a group if his classmates greet us in dress-up clothes, smiling, bowing, and shouting out “ohayo gozaimasu” (good morning).
While Nico plays at school, the baby and I head to a local bakery. I indulge in this white mochi (smooth, sweet sticky rice). Soft as a marshmallow, I bite into and discover a green tea whip cream with mashed up azuki, sweet red beans frequently used in Japanese sweets. So umami! So delicious!
I wish I could leave samples on the blog!