PUNTOITALY No33 - January 2023

TRAVEL NOTES A little bit of relaxation Once the course was over, I allowed myself a couple of days to visit Tokyo. The first stop was in Akihabara, the district for electronics, department stores and shopping. Lots of lights and lots of people in constant movement. Entire multistorey buildings and small shops, a continuous and open-air “discount shopping centre”, neon lights on every building, loud and deafening sounds… As I walk, brightly dressed shop assistants with megaphones yell what’s on sale. I realize as I wander from one neighbourhood to another that Tokyo is a city of a thousand faces. Districts such as Shinjuku and Shibuya, for example, are dotted with department stores, theatres and art galleries. The Ueno district offers a magnificent park to walk in, it has a zoo and is home to prestigious national museums. Half of Japan’s student population lives in Tokyo, and the majority lives in the Ochanomizu neighbourhood: it is a picturesque district known for its musical instrument shops and the Russian Orthodox cathedral, St. Nikolai. As I make it to Sunday evening, I had walked so much in the last few days, my legs hurt. Waiting for me at dinner is a typical and traditional Japanese meal. For my first course I am having Soba, a slightly spicy and tasty specialty. They are noodles made from buckwheat usually served dipped into a sauce made with soybean oil and seasoned with Wasabi sauce (green horseradish), pieces of ginger and a nest of onions. As my entree, I had Tempura, lightly fried fish and vegetables. All was accompanied with a good beer, and to finish, a shot of the classic Sake liquor, a distilled drink made from rice. And tomorrow, I travel back home! Image by Roberto Ravera 38