Digging Around the Neighborhood for Spirituality and Spice

Along the way to campus, just over the bridge linking Tokyo and Kanagawa, lies small-town Shin-maruko. A district of Kawasaki, Shin-maruko is home to small shops and residences (however, it’s not so small that it doesn’t have a Kaldi Coffee Farm!).

Friday was ladies’ lunch day, and our trio was excited to try something new: JAGA Indo-Nepal curry and naan. The lunch set was a bargain: all you can eat rice and elephant trunk-sized naan, a salad, a drink, and two small curries for 950 yen. Two of us chose the lassi, and I’m glad one was me. I’ve never ordered one before, merely took a sip from a friend’s, but I know better now than to pass on the opportunity. For my curries, I had the vegetable and seafood varieties. With a hint of coconut, the daily special, seafood curry, was great. The vegetable one, though only a “1” on the spice scale, was still a bit much for my bland taste preferences. I didn’t bother to try my friend’s “3” one. The naan was monstrous and delicious. When it first arrived, taking up half the table, my friend and I with the same lunch set thought it was meant to be shared. In came naan two and we barely knew what to do with ourselves. Two hours later, my fullness came, declined, and returned as I nibbled away at the giant bread still remaining. We were all pleased with our choices but absolutely stuffed.

After lunch, joined by my boyfriend, we ventured over to a nearby shrine to explore. Despite all the places I’ve visited and all the strange temples and shrines I’ve seen, none compared to this one. Vividly colored foxes in all shapes and positions lined the rocky facade in front of the main shrine area. Tori (arches) lined the entrance and a large, bright Mt. Fuji statue (replica?) stood on the other side. We weren’t sure what to make of it all but were pretty amused (except our noses weren’t really enjoying the stagnant water smell coming from the small ponds in the shrine area). All in all, a worthy site to take a quick peek at.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve lived in the suburbs of Tokyo, and I’m finding new things all the time. That’s the thing with big cities – you have to expect to be surprised, over and over again.

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