Monsoon season is officially upon us. There’s been a glorious break in the rain this morning after four straight days of downpour. The rainy season is called tsuyu, or “plum rain” as it coincides with the plums beginning to ripen. Apparently we can expect this ark-worthy rain until mid-July.
On Saturday, we braved the elements and headed to Shibuya in search of Kuumba du Falafel. A wrong turn out of the train station sent us in the opposite direction, so no falafels for us, but we’ll try again someday. Apparently the owner of the restaurant begrudgingly serves some of the best falafels in Tokyo. An interview quoted him as saying “If there was somewhere else that sold [good falafel], I’d close this immediately and go and eat there every day instead.” Reviews say the service is rough and the owner closes the shop at random, but it’s all worth it for the food. We’ll see!
Luckily, in a bit of serendipity, we ended up near another restaurant we’d been wanting to try, but was closed on our first attempt. Nagi Shokudo vegan restaurant is buried under the sidewalk on a back street in Shibuya. It’s a tough find, but having stumbled upon it once before, we were able to find it pretty easily this time.
The food was fantastic. We ordered the “A” set and the choose-your-own set. Both came with a cup of miso soup and bowl of brown rice. The “A” set was a deep-fried soy meat sautéed in a dark soy sauce with green onions alongside a green salad and a relish plate. There were several options for the choose-your-own set. We had tofu curry, deep-fried soy meat in chili sauce and falafel.
I get the sense it’s popular with vegan/vegetarian tourists as another group of Americans came in after us, but there were also a few Japanese people having lunch. We’re learning more and more that vegetarianism is not a popular or even well-known diet in Japan, despite the country’s Buddhist history and the Buddhist’s traditional vegan diet (shōjin ryōri). It’s certainly not experiencing the trend-bump that the diet has seen in the U.S. in recent years.
After lunch, we did what one does in Shibuya and hit the shops. I gather it’ll be a popular rain-dodging activity in the next few weeks. The best stop was on the food level of the Shin-Q Department Store across from Shibuya Station. An excellent wine shop sampled some New Zealand wines, a couple of which we brought back with us. We completed a very French dinner menu with a loaf of rustic bread from one of the bakeries and a wedge of stinky brie from a cheese vendor.
All in all a successful rainy day in Tokyo. Hopefully we’ll have a few more dry days mixed in before cabin fever sets in.