Sunday, 10 March 2013

Bear soup?

After a dip in the Onsen, more on that later, we got back to our room just in time for dinner. A woman brought a trolley loaded with trays of food and started laying the trays on our low table. We have to sit on the floor, but we have seats of a sort. Basically a chair with the legs cut off and a cushion. Not the most comfortable seating arrangement in the world depending on your flexibility. I have the flexibility of a chair. The word dinner does not give justice to this meal. It is a feast. I felt full just looking at it. It was intimidating. As each dish materialised I regretted having that Kit-Kat earlier, then lunch, and then breakfast seemed an overindulgence. As a matter of fact I was starting to wish I'd left some room after dinner the night before.

There was the usual vast variety of food you get in Ryokans. Cold foods, soups, veggies, meats, fish (sashimi and dried), sauces, dips, tofu and rice. There was a cooker to cook something, probably the meat and veggies. It is all exquisitely prepared and the attention to detail is amazing.

I started with a broth containing some kind of tasty but unrecognisable meat. It was quite delicious. Later we were chatting with someone in the onsen and they asked us if we enjoyed the bear soup. Bear soup? When I'd read about Osenkaku I'd thought that bear soup, a local speciality, was some kind of euphemistically named dish. Like buffalo wings. Oh dear god. That delicious soup with unrecognisable but tasty meat was bear. Local bear hunted in the mountains. If I was at a restaurant and they served bear I would be horrified. I certainly wouldn't order it. But what is done is done. And it was tasty. Poor bear.

There was nothing in the way of ethical dilemmas for the rest of the meal. Unless you're vegan of course. Georgia was served a kids meal. The kids meal was as overloaded with tasty goodness as the adult meals. In fact an adult could have been well and truly satisfied with the kids meal. The kids meal also came with a gift pack. A bag full of goodies. Toys, lollies, puzzles. Georgy was extremely happy with her gifts.

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