What’s In Your Bento? Sunday 10.24.2010

It’s October 24th and that can only mean one thing…the annual Tug of War Festival between Shizuoka Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture!  A dear friend of mine, a retired English teacher named Torei-sensei, invited a group of us up for the event, and so Heather and I found ourselves trudging 2 hours north into the mountains on the early morning bus.  More details and pictures of the event will follow in another post, but for now, enjoy some culinary eye candy.

Breakfast: A quick, bleary eyed, bowl of yogurt and granola

Pre-Lunch “Light Snack” (as Torei-sensei called it)
: Unagiri (triangles of rice with different fillings inside, wrapped in seaweed), a small piece of fried chicken, and a fried potato croquet.

*The awful picture quality can be attributed to the fact that although I brought my camera, I forgot the battery at home in the charger and although Heather brought the Iphone, she left it back at Torei-sensei’s house and didn’t take it with her to the festival. This was shot with my free flip phone.*

Pre-Tug of War “Power Food”: Cookie and Strawberry Starburst

Unfortunately, they had little effect.

Lunch: Torei-sensei took us to a traditional Japanese restaurant and man, did they pile on the food. I will attempt to recount what things were, but really, this was the perfect time to adhere to the mantra “it is better to not know and just eat it.” Unfortunately, the raw deer meat that they served last year was not part of the menu this time.

Appetizers: Perhaps you’ll notice a pattern with the appetizers they brought out…

Starting at 12 o'clock and moving clockwise: Deep-fried leaves, deep-fried broccoli, deep-fried millet, more deep-fried leaves, deep-fried pumpkin, not sure, deep fried potato, more deep-fried leaves of some sort, deep-fried "air potato strips". In the center, you have a vegetarian egg roll made out of mushroom balls and other odds and ends and then those same things rolled into a patty.

Main Course: A traditional main course built around rice and miso soup. They also included a salad, some vegetables, and “konyaki”, which is gelatinous strings made out of potato root.

Side Dishes: To supplement our main course, they brought out some bite size portions for a side dish. The small potatoes with soy sauce and brown sugar glaze were a definite highlight.

From left to right: couscous with an apricot glaze, konyaki (but not in string form) with a jelly glaze, a mushroom and sprout medley, and mini potatoes with a soy and brown sugar glaze

Desert: Parsimmons (which I was too stuffed to try) and pretzel rods covered with a sweet glaze and peanuts (which I was not too stuffed to eat about 100 of).

The “post 2 hour bus ride” treat: Mint ice cream push-up pop from a vending machine.

One of the joys of Japan: Great vending machine treats!

The pre-dinner, “maybe we’ll just go to bed soon” meal: Multigrain toast with drizzled honey and grey tea.

The “come on, I only ate toast for dinner, of course I’m still hungry” meal: Small roast beef sandwich with cheddar cheese on italian bread.

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