Japan 2022 Day 7

Well today (yesterday actually, I got sleepy and went to bed early) was the earliest and weirdest day planned on the trip. I promised James at Black Tide Brewing that I’d come see him and I did. It’s a weird little trip off to a very rural coastal town in Japan that was hit by the tsunami. It’s also where Watanabe Ken has a coffee shop, but I never made it there. I was also told (as is everyone who comes here, I think, that I “just” missed him.)

Anyway, the day started off with a breakfast buffet and it was pretty good.

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This is my view at breakfast, by the way.

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I forgot to take a picture from my room, but it’s basically this picture but seven floors higher. It was a great view of the river.

I took a Shinkansen to Ichinoseki (where I’d been before because that’s where Sekinoichi brewing is) and then it was off on a tiny 2-car diesel train for the coast.

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Kesennuma itself is much larger than I expected. They have a bus/train hybrid called the BRT. I wonder if it used to be a train. In any case, there is a long one-lane road, fenced off from regular traffic, that the bus runs down. I took the bus to the stop by the hotel and, oddly enough, I was in an industrial area. I think this is the lower area of town that was wiped out by the tsunami.

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The hotel is the big building towards the right. The entrance is slightly below ground level and I thought that was odd. A later taxi driver told me that it was because of all the dirt that was brought in by the tsunami.

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I dropped off my bags and walked the 15 minutes to black tie brewing, which is a stand in the marketplace. Behind the stand is their brewery which is a production brewing facility.

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A picture from inside the market.

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And inside.

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I think James was glad to have someone to talk English to for a while and we talked for 3 ½ or 4 hours. I didn’t get to see much more of Kessennuma, but that was OK. I was mostly there because I said I’d come see him. The beers were well made and as I expected he said he has to make them palatable to the Japanese taste and they were a little on the sweet side with very little bitterness. That just made them taste like hazies to me. I was happy to find they had a taster tray! Maybe the Japanese breweries have figured out that people like taster trays or maybe it’s just James.

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I let him get on with his day after monopolizing so much of his time. It was time to find dinner and James suggested the seafood store across the way. I had a glass of local sake which was very good, and they dropped off the “starter” that also just adds a seat charge to the meal. The octopus was incredibly fresh.

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Don’t ask me what I had. I just pretty much asked what they suggested.

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Katsuo since it’s katsuo season. I don’t know how to describe fish that tastes like it was caught that day. It’s wonderful.

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And I guess I didn’t order that many dishes but this sushi was so spectacular that I got it twice.

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I think the one on the right is blowfish? It’s a little crunchy and looks seared. The other two just melted in my mouth.

After that I went to the 7Eleven for some snacks and back to the brewery buy a can of beer. I asked them to call me a cab because I did not dress for the northern temperatures. It’s 38°F this morning! Tomorrow it’s off to Tokyo to meet up with my sister, another big travel day.