My first visit to Japan was nearly seventeen years ago. Before that time, I had only eaten Japanese food once, at a then up-and-coming Manhattan restaurant called Nobu. Truth be told, the memories of that meal are not good…
The purpose of my visit to Japan was to live with a host family in Kanazawa, a centuries-old former castle town located in Ishikawa prefecture in the Hokuriku region. It’s a delightful city, bordering the Sea of Japan, and best known for lacquerware, Kenrokuen (a nationally famous garden), and snow crab.
For one reason or another, I haven’t been back since 2000. However, that particular summer is always on my mind, in spite of the fact that at the time, I had no Japanese language knowledge, let alone knew that Nintendo started off as a playing card company.
Fast forward to a few years ago. I was in Tokyo, somewhat reeling from my 2nd lunch, but already preparing for my 3rd lunch. It was time to throw chance to the wind, and wander around the upper floors of department stores. Indeed, in most countries, that would be excruciatingly boring and a non-starters. In Japan, though, those are often event floors.
Event floors could mean nearly anything; shoes, jewelry, flower arranging, FOOD, et. al. Not just food from Tokyo, but from various places throughout Japan. Sure enough, that day I had stumbled upon an Ishikawa food fair, with booths hawking Kanazawa snow crab and ikura, straight from Kanazawa’s most famous food hall, Omicho Market.
A while back, I briefly mentioned the presence of antenna shops/satellite shops throughout Japan’s largest cities. These are government-run food/crafts stores selling specialties of that prefecture/region. Very cool…maybe even you could try the same delectable seafood that I did at Ishikawa’s Tokyo branch.
Have you been to Kanazawa?