The new (wannabe) anchor (pretending to be) reporting live (actually not even that…) from Minamioguni!
So what do you do with your free time when living in a small town in the middle of the mountains? Is there anything to do on the weekends or is watching the grass grow the only way to make time pass? Well, of course not! Here in Minamioguni there are heaps of things to do on the weekends. So this time I will share some of the finest weekend exclusive spots that Minamioguni has to offer!
And right about now, you might wonder, “wait what about the new pets thing???”. Don’t worry! I will get to that at the end of the post so keep reading!
First of, the bakery Kongari Panya-San! The name literally means ‘Well-baked bakery’ and is run by a married couple who only opens up the store on weekends.
You can see the small sign announcing that the ovens are in action as it peaks out through the thick green leafage.
They even have a lovely small porch with a few seats where I definitely would have enjoyed my breakfast if it wasn’t for the raging storm and pouring rain.
Once you step inside the small bakery you are enveloped in an overwhelmingly pleasant aroma of freshly baked bread that cues an uncontrollable flow of saliva in your mouth. I arrived at 9:00 in the morning, just an hour after opening, and still, some of the most popular picks had already sold out! So if you are looking for a good reason to get up early on a Saturday or Sunday, Kongari Panya-San might provide the proper motivation!
And here is my harvest! From the top-left, Sesame seed-cheese bun, next to it we have one of my favorites, custard cream bun, or as we used to call custard cream when I was little, grandpa’s cough! Yummy… Anyhow, to the bottom left we have a perfect example of pure genius, sweet-potato bun! Soo good! And lastly, a good-old cheese bun!
It was my first time going to Kongari Panya-San but it was well worth the visit and everything tasted so good that I don’t even feel bad about shoving bread after bread down into my tummy! I truly understand why it’s so popular and look forward to a second visit, but hopefully with better weather so I can enjoy the porch properly!
Let’s head on to our next weekend-exclusive destination! This could even be a one-day trip because guess what? Next, we are heading to lunch!
Where are we?? In the middle of nowhere? I can barely even see any houses? Are we supposed to eat straight from the rice-fields or what? Is that only allowed on weekends or something?
Wait! No, no, stop! Look behind you!
Bushes, great! So we are eating leaves now?
No, no, look closer. See that opening? Why don’t you step in and let yourself be absorbed into a magical world that makes you feel like you accidentally stumbled straight into a movie by Studio Ghibli. Ah, no need to wait while I’m rambling away, go ahead!
Hah! What did I tell you? Pretty sweet right?! Welcome to the lunch restaurant aka cafe ‘Mori no Jikan’! The name means ‘Forest time’ and is true to the atmosphere of the restaurant which is literally hidden in the forest just beyond where eyes can reach.
A few steps in you will find this hand-written sign. To summarize, it explains among other things that this is the forest. And in the forest, there is no insecticide so you might meet an ant or some other friendly bug. And if some leaves are caught by the wind, they might sail down and slip into your cup. Do you know why? Because this is the forest! The sign also kindly points out that there are seats inside if someone might feel uncomfortable with the natural happenings of the forest.
And speaking of the forest, definitely no exaggeration! The green garden captures both the wilderness of nature all while overflowing with love and detail from the hard work that must have been put into creating this healing space. The trees and bushes encapsulate the garden like a natural dome which enhances the otherworldly feeling even further.
And right in the middle of it all sits this lovely little building that radiates with warmth and truly seems like something that suddenly manifested straight out from a fairytale.
This is where I had the pleasure of enjoying my visit, right next to the open hearth. Hard for me to imagine anything cozier than this! Fun fact about Jikan no Mori, it recently re-opened after being closed for a while. Why did a place like this ever close you might ask? It got too popular for Kumi-san (the mastermind behind Jikan no Mori) to keep up which forced her to close. Kumi-san values the relaxing atmosphere which is why the restaurant can’t get overcrowded. To stave the hoards of customers this time around Kumi-san has decided to take pizza off the menu. Probably a wise choice!
I don’t even know what this is, I just liked the picture. “If you have time to post random pictures then what about the food??” you might say! Well then, without further ado!
You know, I’ve always found that savory waffles are amazing, and it’s something we eat fairly often in Sweden. The thought has hit me many times that It would probably be a hit here in Japan as well. Well, someone beat me to it. A crispy waffle with savory pork meat, poached egg, and a killer salad! It’s hard for me to gauge the taste because I think anything consumed in this atmosphere will taste great. But as far as what my taste-buds told me this tasted fantastic! Especially the salad combined with the waffle really hit right home. I forgot to take a picture but there was actually a mushroom soup before the waffle which was stellar as well. And remember, I’m the person that until recently couldn’t eat mushrooms at all!!
Since I didn’t want to leave I decided to order coffee and dessert as well! Japanese custard pudding. It is a classic in Japan and you can find it pretty much wherever you go. But I can say with certainty that you won’t find a pudding like this anywhere else in Japan. It is homemade by Kumi-san and we actually sell it at my workplace (the farmers market) as well! So I have tasted it before and it’s soooo delicious! Tasting the full round and rich flavor of this pudding as it melts in your mouth is out of this world. I didn’t know pudding can be this good before I had this!
For anyone visiting Minamioguni on a Saturday or Sunday, this place is a must!
The last weekend exclusive I want to share with you is more like a bonus!
I mentioned my workplace the farmers market Kiyora Kaasa earlier. This weekend two colleagues of mine arranged an event where they tempura-fried locally grown maitake mushroom and asparagus. My two favorites!!! <3<3<3 Yes I visited both days, I could never let tempura-fried maitake and asparagus go uneaten in my vicinity! I wish they would do this every weekend, or every day even! But even though this was a one-time event, there are events every month at Kiyora Kaasa so always worth to stop by. If not only so you can say hi to me!
We are finally here, time to unveil my new pets! Sorry to keep you hanging for so long. Well then, start the drumroll!
??? What might this now be? Well, let me share some light on this mystery! In this breeding-box rests what is to become two…
Japanese rhinoceros beetles!
These are quite common in Japan and are very popular with children!… And apparently 30-year old Swedish guys. If you have experience with Japan you have probably come across these one way or another. To express how central they are in Japanese culture I will borrow the powers of math.
(Summer)+(Children)=Catching Rhinoceros beetles. You see now?
So when they suddenly started selling boxes with the word ‘Kabutomushi'(the Japanese name) at my workplace I obviously had no other choice than to invest! And who knows, maybe they can become friends with my cat Koko-chan?
So wait a minute, what is actually in the box?
When I bought them I, of course, understood that they hadn’t hatched yet and imagined something like the picture above. A normal and non-threatening cocoon or pupa-like thing that would before long burst releasing two awesome and cool-looking rhinoceros beetles into my loving embrace…
Well, I was wrong… As I got home I googled to see if I needed to do anything special to keep my new family members happy until their arrival.
What I saw shook me to my core…
Well, have a look for yourself…
WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BROUGHT HOME?!?!?! This is neither cool nor un-threatening! Giant alien space-worms ready to eat my brain!!! And there is two of them!!! I looked closer at the box and true enough…
There they are, the disgusting little bastards!!!
Uuuuh! And they keep crawling around in there as well!… It gives me the creeps…
But now that they are here I have no other choice but to welcome them into the family with love and care… Even though it will require quite some effort… Look forward to reports on their continued growth here on the blog!
That will be all for now! Hopefully, I won’t have nightmares from writing about this right before bed.
See you next time!