I left Ise in the morning and took the train headed for Nagoya to change up to the local line up to Takayama. Once I got to Nagoya, and picked up a sandwich for my next train, so many people started to pack in so I was glad I had reserved a seat.
Next to me and really surrounding me, was a group of Thai people who have come over on their vacation. It was interesting, because the girl that sat next to me was single, traveling with 3 couples. Through our talk, I learned a lot of interesting things about her and her trips to Japan, which always included Takayama. She said something that I thought was interesting, specifically for her self awareness in being surrounded by couples, she was absolutely not looking for a husband, and was very content in a life that can be fulfilled by her own being. While we were the same age, I was impressed by her articulation in English, highly accented, but the words showed so much thought and meaning behind them, that I was impressed.
She and her group made me remember how fun Thai people are, and I instantly got excited about being able to return to Thailand in the next few weeks.
After we arrived to Takayama, we went our separate ways, but Takayama is quite small, so we ran into each other a couple of times.
After walking around the village of Takayama, I was surprised that it was as big as it is. Iâ€™m not going to call it a village. But actually a town. The town part of the area had a lot of old houses that still lined a street selling foods and goods to the town. I had read that Takayama wasnâ€™t as touristy as other places in Japan, but Iâ€™m sad to report either the timing of me being here, or the misinformation that may be out there about Takayama, is this little town is very touristy.
In the evening, I checked out Tripadvisor to see what restaurants were around the town, and I found the oddest thingâ€”a #3 highly rated restaurant that was Mexican! Most people know my rare disinterest in this cuisine, but I had to see what this â€˜Japanese Mexicanâ€™ food was all about. Plus it was literally a few blocks away and I was able to get there quickly.
I walked in, and a little Japanese man was manning the grill and I had a seat at the counter. We soon started chatting and he was telling me his story of his interest in Latin America and the Mexican culture. Back when he and his wife first started their lives together, they tried to have children and couldnâ€™t. So they opted to take an opportunity to go to Mexico for him to study the cuisine, and start creating the plans for a restaurant back in Japan.
During his time in Mexico, he said he went to Guadalajara and would take his notebook, draw pictures of the dishes, watch how they cooked, and did everything by hand note wise. He took his notes, impressions, and thoughts about how to recreate a sense of Mexican food within the confines of produce or ingredients that are found in Japan.
It was a fun dinner, and again, I love these random meetings and listening to stories of people and their journeys through their own lives.