Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Farming Part 2 and Kumamoto City

Ok let's continue rolling with my adventure in Kumamoto. First some more pictures of the Aso area, and then on to Kumamoto City!
Why, don't you look lovely on this fine morning.
The smoke to the bottom is probably someone burning brush/garbage, but the smoke coming from the mountain is actually a heat vent of the volcano :P Yup, Aso is a sleeping giant.
The weather takes a turn for the ominous and angsty.
Experienced Mother Nature's wrath first hand that day, as some wild winds snatched up the plastic sheeting we had spent hours laying over the pepper plant beds. Had to be re-tamped down, and oh, the mud was epic.
View from the farm. No more work today!
The next day, back to top-notch gorgeousness.
The fifth of May is known as Childrens' Day, on which these carp banners are raised for each child in a family.
Show off.
The family's small field of organic wheat, and in the back are the pepper plant rows we so painstakingly sheeted with plastic.
I just like how wheat looks.
Before I left, the grandmother taught me how to make mizuyokan, which is the easiest dessert ever. Five ingredients, no lies! Water, tenkan (a low, low calorie seaweed that turns gelatinous when boiled), sugar (lots, unfortunately), a dash of rice flour, and powdered green tea.
Kumamoto City, on the Ariake Sea, in Kumamoto Prefecture (straight south from Fukuoka). It's most famous landmark is Kumamoto Castle, one of the top four most famous/beautiful castles in Japan (along with Nagoya, Himeji, and Osaka castles).
Perhaps the world's most stunted, adorable city bus.
Castle moats: built for protection, or fitness?
Thar she blows!
Looking out from the top of the castle, towards the Mount Aso region in the distance.
I believe this turret is many hundreds of years old, and its architecture is particularly nice.
There were guys dressed up like warriors and guards around the grounds who you could take pictures with, but I was too shy to ask someone to take my picture with them since I was by myself. Perhaps if the fam comes to visit we can pop down to Kumamoto Castle and pose with the guard guys!
Just try and penetrate THAT.
Shochu, distilled liquor for which most of Kyushu is famous. I'm not terribly fond of it, but I drank this brand (a rice shochu, or komejochu) with the farm family at our BBQ and it was actually quite good. The other two most common kinds of shochu are barley (mugijochu) and sweet potato (imojochu).
Kumamoto Prefecture is also famous for its basashi, or raw horse meat. I didn't eat it while I was there, but I hear you can't get better than in Kumamoto. Take some home to your family!
Horse tongue.
Dried horse meat.
Ciao, beautiful!
I just couldn't tear my eyes away...
But now I have to go back to Fukuoka!


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