Kyoto / Shizuoka - parades of people and food

After 6 nights in Osaka it was time to pack our bags and say good bye to all the friendly people we had met there.
Well actually, not all of them yet. The ever recourceful Yuko had found out that there was going to be a big parade in Kyoto, so she drove us there - it's also anyway in the direction we were going later.

We secured ourselves a good spot in the park close to the imperial palace where the parade started.

I can't give you any explanations as we didn't get information ourselves, but it's pretty obvious to see that people from all walks of life were represented - from Samurai to simple farm women. And they went from the palace over to one of the temples.

I'll just post a bunch of pictures and if they don't interest you, please scroll down for some hardcore foodporn!











There were several groups of these men in funny hats during the parade.



As you can tell by the umbrellas in the background it started raining after about an hour.
















When the parade was over, Yuko drove us to the railway station so we could get on the Shinkansen train to Shizuoka.
But first we had some time left to buy snacks and look at food displays - they never stop to amaze me! Especially the LL sized spaghetti plates! They could feed an entire familiy.
Interesting food stations outside McD...
But just a 1,5 hours train ride later, things changed dramatically on the culinary horizon!

We were met by Olivier's uncle Shoshi and his wife Takako. Soon after, his son Shoiji arrived with his wife and little son. All together we walked a short distance from the train station to a small restaurant called Sensen.

It's a traditional place, so off came the shoes at the entrance.
The restaurant staff asked us not to publish pictures of them and I will of course respect that.
But the restaurant is so small that it was impossible to take photos without them - actually it had exactly 8 seats, one for each of us. We were sitting in a row, like at a bar, and facing the kitchen area where the cook was doing his magic.

Actually, just watching him prepare each of the 10 courses was absolutely fascinating. I felt compelled to take pictures of every dish, just so I could remember all of it later.

Our starter with shiitake mushrooms and vegetables.
A shrimp soup with kind of a radish in flower shape
You think you don't like raw fish? Think again! This was very fresh and the tuna was as tender as butter - delicious.
How many different tastes can you combine in one dish? Grilled fish with ginko seeds, ginger and a chestnut! 
And a khaki leaf for decoration.
Deep fried sweet potato and water lilly root
Derp fried fish with a green leaf (don't ask for names!)
Omelette with a little sugar that was slightly caramelized
The only course I didn't like. The fish eggs were ok, but the rice had salmon in it which I can't stand. Also, seaweed in the left bowl... No thanks.
Nice miso soup
And ice cream with a marmelade of prune in red wine. Yummy!
This wasn't just a meal, it was an experience! We were very grateful that Shoiji had chosen to invite us here - it must have cost him a fortune!

Unfortunately he and his family had to go home in a nearby town afterwards and we might not see them again on this trip.

Verena went to stay with Shoshi and Takako while Oli and me checked into our hotel to relax and digest...