Don't you love it when something seemly unremarkable turns out to be the highlight of your day?
Here in Kagawa-ken there are udon shops on almost every street. People travel for miles and miles (even from the mainland) to sample the renowned Sanuki udon, queuing for hours on end at the weekends in order to slurp up a bowl of thick noodles from the most famous shops. Fortunately, living in the area, we can often avoid the waiting as we can visit these gourmet shrines during the week :-) On Monday I was invited to join some friends for lunch at Yamagoe Udon, a shop we had tried to visit a fews months back but were put off by the crowds. From the outside it really doesn't look much - just an average, rather grubby, cheap noodle shop - and as we approached, I wondered why such a shop would need over 200 parking spaces. We ordered our noodles at the counter, were handed our trays of food, and were then directed around the back of the shop... into a beautiful oasis! There are big benches everywhere for people to sit and eat (no tables), all set under wooden pergolas. The garden is Japanese-style, and beautifully composed, I could happily have sat there all afternoon (if I didn't have a two year old). Wow, how unexpected! And the noodles were really, really good (and cheap at 150 yen for a basic portion) - I bought a pack to bring home to K. Definitely a place to return to! (Sorry, no photos as I didn't have my camera with me)
The other thing that surprised me was what a difference a decent (don't laugh) bread knife can make! I've been struggling with my rubbish 100 yen knife (I know, you get what you pay for), getting frustrated as my freshly baked bread ended up getting crushed and sliced ultra thickly. Mum tried to buy me an electric carving knife while she was here, but we couldn't find one anywhere. Then I had a delivery from Amazon - K had ordered me this gem! My oh my, this knife is a-ma-zing. I didn't need to saw at all, it just cut straight through without any pressure at all. I was so impressed, I stood at the kitchen counter eating slice after perfect slice. This is about as exciting as life here in Ayagawa gets, by the way. ;-)
Something else that has really made my day today is that I have finally worked out how to insert working links into my posts, haha!
5 hours ago