For us two, it was quite difficult to find even the basic, simple cooking stuff. Unfortunately, Google Translate does not work offline, so we had to guess if that white stuff was sugar or salt... Even butter seemed to hide from us, and jam as well. Not only look packages totally different - they also have different sizes. While they sell potatoes by the piece, rice is available only in bags from 2kg upwards. Different places, different habits.
Since we have been in Japan, we tried nearly every possible green tea, and finally found out which one's the best. Basically, these four drinks are our liquid basis of existence.
While we were inspecting literally every item on our search for sugar, butter and jelly, the supermarket turned into a market. Staff brought in specials in screamed around loud to offer it.
In front of the supermarket, the staff set up market bins and sold vegetables and fruit. We first thought it was a real market, but this was just an annex to the supermarket to make people more comfortable with grocery shopping. We even found potatoes - obviously something very special in Japan because it was sold in mini-mini baskets with 3-4 potatoes each. I gave the man the food I wanted to buy, and he told us the price. Normally, the sum is typed into a calculator so that these foreigners see the numbers. But this was a (fake) market and the staff had no calculator and not even a pen! So he said the amount twice and I fortunately understood!!! My evening vocabulary studies paid off!!! He seems to want 1.500 JPY, we handed over a note and a coin, and he thanked us. I admit I was quite proud of myself that moment.
In the evening, we drove to a shrine by the river that we hadn't visited yet, to watch some sort of ceremony. Even though the "show" should begin not until 7 o'clock and we arrived at 20 to 7, there were already crowds at the shrine. At 7 a loudspeaker voice started to explain the procedure (of course in Japanese, our church ceremonies are neither translated for the tourists). After the priests had lighted their fire cups and swung a stick to kind of bless us, around 30 men in white shorts, white socks, white gloves and a white frontlet rowed up around the temple pond, in which a circle of sticks stuck. One of these sticks, more precisely arrows, was said to be the holy arrow. Then a prayer was read that had at least 20 verses. In the video you can see the main action. It lasted for about 15 seconds of that hour-long procedure.
|Traditional priest with iPhone, taking a snap of those men who |
caught at least one arrow, in front of the shrine main gate
|In case you need to find butter as well...|
- Butter: fortunately I looked up in Internet, how butter looks like in Japan. Cobbled together with cheese, and mostly looked like cheese as well. The symbol on the top is not the Matterhorn, but the shape of Hokkaido...
- Jam: a mini-shelf at a remote corner of the supermarket, but fortunately quite a selection.
- Sugar: we decided to buy stick sugar, where it was written in English and we were sure that we don't buy salt.