Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Mount Takao

On sunday we decided to head out to Mount Takao which is supposedly about an hour out of Tokyo. We must have got the very slow train as it took us at least an hour and half and when we got there it was heaving!!!! I've never seen so many people descend on such a pretty, rural place! Normally it would have stressed me out, but the Japanese are so considerate and everyone keeps to their personal space, so it really wasn't too bad and it was nice to get out of the city and see some greenery. It was also a gorgeous day and we strode up the mountain soaking in the rays and breathing in the clean air. Along the way there were little Buddah-type idols and I loved the way that someone had put little red woolen hats on them to keep them warm. One had a jaunty beret-type hat, one had a very snug one on his little round head, and one even had a full-on cape affair! When we got to the top, we rested our feet in a quiet area away from the crowds, and suddenly realised we were siting just outside the monks quarters and two seconds later they filed past us, blowing a tune on some fetching shell trumpets. We had prime position to watch them parade past us in their full regalia, as they made their way to the temple at the top. After a fun ride down the mountian on a cable car, I decided to try out a local delicacy. We had seen hundreds of people eating these "things" throughout the day - young and old alike - and had seen them being prepared at many stalls along the route. They looked like sweet balls on a stick, covered in a maple syrup coating, and were cooked over a charcoal fire. I thought they couldn't be too bad as so many people were chowing down on them, so decided to go for it. BIG MISTAKE! It's one of the most horrendous things I have ever tasted, not helped by the fact that the balls were solid dough, tasteless and stuck to your teeth, and then the topping wasn't a sweet sticky substance, but salty yucccckkkkk! All I can compare it to was if someone tried Marmite or Vegemite for the first time having never seen it before. At least I can say I tried it once, but never again!

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