First published on 12/9/2011
In India, they say that even a mosquito could make you impotent. In a remarkably similar way, the characters in the Japanese kanji alphabet connived to almost impoverish me. Them, and an undying craving for the masala dosa.
The dosa part first. Though the masala (spice) is quite well known, the lesser talked about dosa is perhaps the finest amalgamation of various masalas into one heavenly feast. Wikipedia describes it as a fermented pancake of rice batter and black lentils. Feed me a good dosa, and I could pardon your greatest of crimes against me.
I land in prim and proper Japan on a yearlong work assignment and on touching shore, the craving begins!
The week had just begun, and a series of induction sessions remained (Japan is almost another planet, you better pay attention!). Saturday was the earliest I could venture out.
Up and ready in the wee hours of the morning and on the train to Nagoya from Toyota city. From Nagoya, another train journey. My destination was Tokyo,the only place Google could locate a South Indian Tiffin room.
The ride, on economy mode, would last around 5 hours (yikes!) .Grabbing a window seat, I sat and admired the Japanese countryside. It was lush green, and as clean as clean could ever be (culturally, the biggest shock to Indians travelling abroad).
After that rather long journey, I disembarked and, horror of horrors, the first visible English signboard claimed the place to be Kyoto!
My Japanese being rudimentary, I had misread kyoto, 京都for Tokyo, 東京. And Tokyo was now 370 kms away.
Battle between economic sense and gastronomic urging. And the latter wins battles and wars quite easily.
Kyoto to Tokyo in 140 minutes. Sugoi ne, Shinkansen!
The Tokyo Metro provided the next shock and awe affect. And that is where I really understood the emotion behind the word density of population. It is swarming with people.
GInza was 3 stops and 5 minutes away. In Bangalore, it will take 35 minutess to…..err, stop comparing, Ani!
The Dharmasagara was discovered easily, with unmistakable English signboards . Though I would have scoured the whole of Tokyo if required.
And the orgy begins. The restaurant and its staff at my beck and call. My best performance ever, the score being 7 (when 3 are considered a bit overboard). And the coffee! The aroma, as if straight out of the hills of South India! The dosas were wiped off, but not the smile off my face when I think about that meal. Not till today.
Duration of the journey:- Exactly 16 hours and 36 minutes (In Japan, you can be exact about the time!).
Cost of the journey: – Around 23000 yen.
Cost of the meal: – Exactly 8900 yen.
Result: – One happy but paining stomach, one great lesson in diligence, and a ride through Japan’s fabulous trains!
There are some things at some places which only a lot of money can buy……