Takayama is where I learned how to “vacation”. I seem to be a rather restless person, and, though I avoid crowds, lineups, and touristy things, I seem to somehow always be on the go. I don’t like having nothing to do as this is when my mind races and I start feeling anxious.
Anyway, Takayama is a sleepy city tucked away in the mountains and there’s not a whole lot going on. Once the sun sets everything is closed, and nothing reopens again until around 11am the next morning. So I spent a lot of time aimlessly wandering being lost in thought. I also spent a lot of time eating pudding from Family Mart in my hotel room for breakfast every morning as breakfast doesn't seem to make any sense in Japan. My mom thinks Japan is a weird place that is the total opposite of everything we know at home. That’s not really the case. Japan’s got houses, cars, buildings, cats, trees… it’s the same as the rest of the world, just without breakfast.
As I was wandering one day looking for lunch I found a vegan restaurant in a little suburb area. I walked in and the man looked at me in surprise and said “how did you find me”. I told him “Happy Cow” and he got very excited that I was vegetarian. He made me a dish of vegetable curry and rice. As I ate he told me the story of every vegetable in my dish. He showed me pictures of him on his farm and his animals, and how he grows the vegetables. He also told me that the rice I was eating had won some rice competition in Japan. It was actually one of my favourite meals. He wouldn’t take my plate until it was all finished. Think I gained 10 pounds just in Takayama alone.
I sat here one morning for coffee and toast. It was snowing out and I was the only customer. The owner stood behind the counter putting away dishes. He had a comb-over and a moustache. We didn’t speak much, I don’t think he knew any English. There was an illustration of him on the shelf behind the counter. It looked exactly like him but with more hair on his head.