I don't go to Asakusa very often, as it's "far way". For Tokyoites, anything that's on the opposite side of the city is usually considered far, especially when it involves nearly one hour of commuting. Yet, I always feel a sense of achievement when I get out of my usual stomping grounds, and going to Asakusa was a good Saturday day trip.
This time, instead of hitting the touristy path, we explored the lesser-known, local areas. We found an old, nearly abandoned shotengai (covered shopping street), an abundance of craft stores selling beautiful dolls for the upcoming hinamatsuri (Girl's Day), and took refuge from the chilling February winds in the coziest, warmest Edo-period tempura shop, where I ate the best tempura of my life. It even surpassed this one in Shinjuku. The battered squid and shrimp was served on a bed of rice, along with pickled vegetables and a delicate yuzu-flavoured soup, and green tea.
It was probably one of the coldest days of the winter, a major change from the last time I visited Asakusa in July. On the way back home, we stopped by L'Institut Français du Japon, where I reveled at the sight of French books and magazines- as you may know, my mother tongue is French (I learned English at the ripe age of 17, while being an exchange student in America for one year). I miss reading books in French and being surrounded with them made me feel at home. I vowed to frequent L'Institut on a regular basis.
It was such a fun day, and a good reason to stop hibernating in February. All I want to do in winter is sleep, take baths, and eat. I wish I were an animal.
|Tempura set, this stuff is out of control.|
|Keeping warm with tea|
|A cool, detailed mural on a side street|
|Old shotengai are the best|
|I found warmth in the form of a boy|
|Perusing the books at L'Institut Français|
|A better view of the tempura|
|And the soup!|
Last two photos, thanks to Maaserhit Honda.