December 17, 2009

Niigata Day 6: Junkfood is Good Too!

From Niigata Trip


The phrase 海の幸、山の幸 (umi no sachi, yama no sachi) has crossed my mind a lot this week. It may translate as "the happiness of the sea and blessings of the mountains." 幸 is a character used in 幸せ (shiawase, happiness) and other felicitous words.

What comprises the happiness? Seafood. And the blessings? Veggies, mostly. Whatever food you can gather from either, really. I have also heard 海の幸山の恵み (umi no sachi yama no megumi), meaning the same thing as far as I know.

Niigata is covered in this happiness, but you know, there can be too much of a good thing. I and my companions have been eating the best that Niigata has to offer every day, and our tongues need to taste things besides fish.



From Niigata Trip


So today I took in a simple breakfast before we set out for the largest shrine in Niigata prefecture [map], which is right by the Minoya onsen [map] we stayed at last night. The mountains were cover in wet and still coming fog and snow.




From Niigata Trip


The shrine likewise.




From Niigata Trip


The guardians of the gate were a lot more sharp-looking than your average komainu.




From Niigata Trip


We saw another group of travel journalists of a more traditional-media type. Our snickers may be in the background of this broadcast.




From Niigata Trip

We hit up a museum at Tenryonori [map][webpage] on the coast. There we encountered yet more gold trade lore. Above is a treasure chest.




From Niigata Trip


We also encountered Ryokan-san [website], a monk from the bygone days that has a very distinctive head. He was waiting for us in Nagaoka station later.




From Niigata Trip


We didn't have much time to do anything else in Nagaoka, but we went to a nearby koi nursery [map]. They'll raise you a pet carp and let you take it home later. Only about 500 bucks. Pictured above are feed cones. I'm not sure if you are supposed to eat them after feeding the fish.

We ended the night with simple yakitory in a dingy bar that is older than the war. After all, to appreciate the finer things in life, sometimes you have skip them.