My most recent culinary discovery here in Japan is a variety of yam called nagaimo. Unlike other yams, these are actually eaten raw. The way to prepare them is to simply grate them by hand, which turns them into this heavenly, gooey white paste that looks a lot like marshmallow fluff. It doesn’t taste anything like potato. Instead, it just has a really mild sweet flavour that goes well with buckwheat noodles, or even just served on top of hot rice with a bit of soy sauce and wasabi.
Apparently, this type of nagaimo isn’t too easy to get your hands on, but we were lucky enough to find some at this old traditional vegetable stand just outside Rakuhoji Temple in Tsukuba. They were a really great price, too, at just 300 yen which comes out to about $3.
After doing a bit of shopping here, we walked up the stone steps to the temple. I had no idea how incredible it would be! There are peacocks, roosters, ducks, and all sorts of other gorgeous birds freely wandering about. It’s truly awe inspiring, and definitely adds to the spiritual aura surrounding the temple grounds.
They are not tame or captive, but they’re still quite approachable and some of them seem to feel totally comfortable hanging around within inches of you. When I was in India, I was constantly hearing the calls of peacocks but they were always quick to hide themselves in the jungle if they sensed a person nearby, so this was a really neat experience for sure.