I arrived in Tomiko’s house early the next morning. She was just preparing her breakfast. So we had a long chat in her kitchen/dinning area while she ate. I’ve enjoyed many delicious meals whipped up by Tomiko in this charming kitchen. I remember gladly leaving my snow boots outside and sitting in this kitchen, near the warm stove heater and with steaming hot food in front of me.
Tomiko showed me one of her kimonos and also the one worn by her new-born grandchild. I love the vibrant red and the intricate stitching.
I don’t know where the time went but it was soon lunch time. I whispered to Tomiko that I still haven’t had soba. The soba in Ono is 一番 (the best)!!! I kid you not. My love affair with soba saw me trying soba everywhere but nothing beats soba from Ono. This day, I tried 100% buckwheat flour soba! And I had it the Ono way—Oroshi soba. It was heavenly… The taste of the buckwheat flour, the freshness and springy-ness of the soba… perfect bliss.
Keeping to my ridiculously tight schedule, I was off to 勝山 (Katsuyama), a city just next to Ono, in the afternoon, with Rie. Rie’s sister, Chika, runs a lovely little café, 楽茶 (Rakucha). Other than their wide variety of fragrant teas and light bites, Rakucha also carries some interesting knick knacks sourced from countries all over the world. I love the cozy interior and warm lighting of Rakucha. I recalled spending some nights there after dinner trying to learn the Japanese language over a pot of tea.