30 December 2007

Big Day Out

We spent the 28th with Shino in Niigata City having a look round all the little shops in the older part of town. Furumachi still has mostly old narrow shophouse style buildings which don't always look much from the outside, but they are really cool inside and full of character.

First, we had lunch at Marilou Cafe. It's a macrobiotic cafe run by only one woman. Shino had rung the day before and reserved. There was only us three, a pair of women at another table, and couple more women each at their own table. Everything was ready together and nothing is microwaved. Of course, Japanese food is not all served hot, so everything was prepared in just the right way for serving. There is only one choice and it is a set. It was really good food with lots of different flavours even though there was no oil, dairy, and I can't remember what else. Of course when we walked in Mr. P goes, "This looks like a New Zealand Cafe!". He loves that style of cafe with a hodgepodge of old furniture and tables and mostly associates it with NZ beach cafes. 07-12-28_12-332

There was a really cool wallhanging behind one of the tables and I was just about to take a photo when two women walked in a sat there. This is when I realised that I'd carefully charged my camera and emptied the memory card to be ready for the day, only to leave the memory card in my computer. So, I had to use my keitai which has crap quality. Anyway, I did take a pic of Shino who decided to lean way over so I could get the wallhanging in sneakily. (Later they left, so I got my pic in the end).

After lunch, we wandered in and out of secondhand kimono shops, postcard shops (where, I bought up, of course!), a chopstick shop and a couple of antique shops. Lots of fun.

Finally, we ended up in a teashop with only one table...very cozy! Later we found out that there were two more tables upstairs so we climbed up the tiny starcase to have a look. It really reminded us of Vietnam and how the houses and shops are all so narrow. Mr. P was telling Shino about how they are taxed by what's in front and so that's why Vietnamese houses are stacked up rather than sprawling. She said it was the same here and that they sometimes refer to them as "eel houses". I love it!

I'm going to miss Shino so much. We worked in Thailand doing Habitat for Humanity together and had such a laugh in the evenings. We both have a passion for Thai food and, in particular, Khao niao ma muang, sticky rice with mango which we ate PLENTY of! Unfortunately, we hardly ever see each other at work since we have different class times and Shino is involved in all sorts of committees, etc.

Shino, don't forget to come to New Zealand and visit!!

Marilou Macrobiotic Cafe Niigata

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