I found a piece of New York in rural Japan.
The mountains and hills stand guard over the prosperous fields of Kamikawa.
I asked Alyssia: “Why is the little dosojin wearing a bib?” Apparently the locals dressed these crossroad deities with clothes to pay their respects. In return, the statues protect the village from evil influences. There is a small amount of money at the statue’s feet, flowers, and a food gift of corn.
Alyssia and I drove up into the mountains north of Kamikawa to visit the tofu factory, which also services the Emperor. There was a filming crew and airplane stewardesses milling about the factory when we arrived so we wandered the adjacent garden while we waited for them to leave. We found this kid and pregnant goat enmeshed in a pile of weeds and broken squash plants. The mama goat looked ready to pop!
Inside the factory store, I bought organic tofu, miso, soy sauce, and strangely slimy pickled potatoes. We slurped up soy sauce ice cream and made a general mess of ourselves.
Mounds of gorgeous purple eggplants rest.
A Totoro and Chibi-Totoro mural decorates the exterior of this roadside Japanese pear store. Fruit (and meat) is incredibly expensive in Japan (a special square watermelon can fetch up to $100.00) and make for great gifts, or the rare treat. These pears are in season and are reasonably priced (4-5 pears for 600 yen/about $5).