It was amazing seeing Hirafu transform. We arrived early October and there was still green all around. The rolling fields were being harvested for sugar beets, potatoes and everything in between. Then in just a few short weeks, my first real Autumn. The leaves were turning from a brilliant yellow, to sunshine orange and fire engine red, before finally falling to the ground.
But then there was the village transforming from a quiet little community into a bustling hub for skiiers the world-over. The beginning of December saw everyone open ready for the season ahead and day-by-day the transformation was evident. On this particular day we arrived at work rather early. It was about mid-morning glancing out from the Café window when I noticed 2 van’s park across the road. But not just any van’s, food van’s! There was one complete with Japanese red lanterns and plenty of flags blowing in the breeze. In the distance I could just make out the sign on the second one, ‘Thai Green Curry’.
So, it was back into our gumboots and over the road we went. The one adorned in red was a Japanese ramen noodle van. But today it was a taste of Thailand we were both after. Japan is an amazingly beautiful and diverse country, but, we really do miss the smack-you-in-the-face flavours and spice of Thai cuisine. The van did just that, Thai green curry. There was regular for 500¥ and the large for 800¥. While waiting for our 2 large, we happily frollick with the 2 dogs tied by the front.
On the long walk back across the street in our gumboots, we can already smell what lies ahead … Once the lid is removed that smell just permeates and excites our nose. There are two compartments, one with white rice which also has some un-polished rice added to the mix which gives a great texture. As for the curry, well, after a few months already in Japan it was a very welcome experience. There were chunks of tender chicken, some vegetables and even basil in a nice spicy soup.
Sure it was packaged curry paste, but hey, for a ski resort in the middle of Japan it was aroy-maak.