Small note: I started this post before we left Osaka on the 29th. Since then, we’ve been to Takayama and Shirakawa-go where we didn’t have broadband access. We’re now in Kanazawa, in a little guesthouse called Minshuku Ginmatsu. We wish we had another night here but we journey to Kyoto this afternoon.
What does one do when one has just spent a somewhat stressful and bewildering wandering about of one of Osaka’s wards, looking in vain for an address that does not appear to follow any rational arrangements of ordering principles? What to do when you are the lucky beneficiaries of Japanese helpfulness and generosity, in the form of a wonderful couple out on a walk back from the suupaa, complete with cute long-haired daschund puppy and armed with gentle graciousness and working mobile phones with maps? What to do when the above-mentioned angels deliver you quite efficiently to your destination, just in time for your 7:30pm yoyaku (reservation) and you awkwardly burst upon a teeny, tiny sliver of a room where there are 2 seats left at the 8-person counter and all eyes swivel towards you? And, after getting through the formal bowings and greetings to the chefs behind the counter, after you’ve managed to order some sake somewhat successfully, what to you when you realize that you probably can’t decipher in any meaningful way the beautiful calligraphy on the hand-written menu and that the chef does not appear able to communicate back, despite his smiles and goodwill?