12th May 2019: from Matsumoto to Kanazawa

On this day, we took a train from Matsumoto to Nagano, then to Kanazawa.

So we walked to Matsumoto’s train station one last time. And I finally took a picture of the bar that had been amusing me each time we walked past it: “Mona chulos”, a Spanish restaurant and tablao flamenco.

I’ve been trying to understand the name of the venue for a long time, and failed. Please enlighten me if you can! 🙌🏼

Intriguingly named venues aside, the train journey featured plenty of scenery again: a multitude of rice fields separated by low buildings, the still-snowy Japanese Alps as the backdrop, and then the ever present dizzy feeling of smoothly gliding the tracks at high speed…!

Working on a rice field

Full of beans

Once we arrived at Kanazawa and dropped our bags at the hotel, we had lunch at Full of beans, a nearby café.

It is probably in the lonely planet guide or similar, because there were a lot of Westerners like us as well. Still, it retains its old fashioned charm, including the requirement to take your shoes off before entering, and the option to sit on low tables, etc.

And yet… the food was that branch of Japanese cuisine which takes “modern” Western food and filters it through the Japanese sensibility. Think of Japanese curry, Tonkotsu, fried oysters… This is called yōshoku, Devvers told me 😏

Syrup bottles… I’m not quite sure what for!
On the way up, you walk past the 🌾 emoji

We chose Hanton Rice (battered seafood over an omelette)…

Hanton Rice

… and curry salad (Japanese curry with salad, omelette, rice)

Curry salad

The desserts were a cheese cake on a beautifully arranged composition…

Cheese cake

and a very interesting matcha pudding with sweet beans at the bottom:

Matcha pudding

We then spent the following hours exploring the beautiful Kenroku-en.

It’s hard to convey how pretty that garden is, but here’s a picture of one of their carefully grown pines over the lake:

🌳😍🌲

We also visited the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, and by the time we finished we were both tired and starting to feel the jetlag kick in. Evidently, it was time for Kaffee und Kuchen 😏

Green bar

A coffee bar called Green bar both 1) fulfilled our coffee needs and 2) confused our taste buds with their snacks selection:

Is this a sort of thiccccc butter sandwich or is it supposed to be cream or what? (Note: it did taste like butter).

The matcha cupcake was also a bit confusing, but not as much as the “butter cake” 🤪

Kanazawa Music Bar

We weren’t very hungry by dinner time, but we were intrigued by the bar at the hotel; in fact, we had booked the hotel on the basis of it featuring a vinyl bar, all other things considered 😆

So we decided to hang out there and have a few cocktails and snacks while enjoying the music.

Kanazawa Music Bar

I mean, how could anyone resist such a well stocked bar, vinyl and drinks-wise? Not us!!!

What was really cool was that the DJ had a little stand in front of his decks, and he placed the sleeve of the record he was playing there, for all to see. Which is nice, because it lets you learn what album does the song come from, and also allows you to appreciate the cover art.

We were really enjoying the semi-obscure selection of songs and quietly communicating our approval to the DJ with nods and gentle swaying, when a group of middle aged American hippies decided to very persistently request a very specific U2 song, and did not take an “indirect no” for an answer, so eventually the DJ started playing the side A of Joshua Tree, left in protest, and didn’t come back until it was over!

This was quite a bit of torture, and sort of ruined the mood, to be honest. We had gone from an eclectic and delightful mixture of krautrock, low-tempo lounge, exotic beats and smooth pop to… songs you’ve heard a thousand times or more ☹️

Fortunately, the place was so pretty and the drinks were so enjoyable, we decided to stay put through our own musical purgatory… and you can be certain we were VERY HAPPY when mr. DJ came back, and thanked him for playing something else 😂

An interesting fact about Kanazawa is that it is known for its traditional gold leaf manufacturing, and they not only use it on lacquerware… but it’s also often added to food and drinks as well!

Thus we decided to treat ourselves to some “golden drinks” 🤩

A Caesar salad, if I remember correctly…
Even the drink mats were vinyl-themed

It was a good night in 😃

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