Monday, August 4, 2008

Soft Cream

Day thirteen: Soft cream
Kiminoen Tea (茶の君野園), Ueno 4-9-13, ¥300

Ueno is a area of sprawling gardens, imposing museums, and a one-time black market. A narrow shop-lined street now called Ameyokocho used to be “ameya yokocho”, or candy sellers' alley. After WWII, sugar shortages meant that many candy stalls gave way to vendors of less-than-legal goods. Today Ameyokocho is a crowded, noisy, low-end street market.

I was having a weird green-themed day (see below) so when I spotted a green ice cream cone outside a shop specializing in Japanese teas, I decided it was—in all senses—a sign. I ordered up a matcha “so-fu-to-ku-ri-mu”, a Japanese version of soft-serve ice cream that only reinforces the idea that adding extra vowels to English words is the next best thing to learning Japanese.

In any case, it was delicious, with a strong matcha flavor that teetered nicely between bitter and sweet (the picture above is of the plastic display cone, since mine cried out to be eaten quickly). I ate on a little tatami-covered bench inside the store, and just as I finished, one of the guys behind the counter came over, bowed, and offered me a cup.
Cooling off with some softcream? Well, how about a nice hot cup of tea to wash it down?

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