Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Not to change the subject, since there isn't one yet - only the title so far - but I'm getting to it, in my rambly fashion: lately Echo and I have been going once a week to one of our favorite free springs, one we revisited after it had dried up a few years ago and we were recently told it had started running again below Hira mountain.

We go there on Wednesdays, in preference to other days and springs we know because it gives us a chance to eat lunch at Hot Station, our favorite as-yet-uncrowded slow food restaurant around here. Located behind Hira Station on the Kosei railway line and seating maybe 16 real friendly people, Hot Station is run by local obachan (grandmas) that serve set lunches of home-made quality like grandmas used to make (and still do in some lucky households hereabouts). Small seasonal menu of excellent food, and a few items (kimpiragobo, miso, breads, rolls, cooked rice, sweet beans and bento dishes, among other things) always on sale near the vestibule.

What can be better than having a meal prepared by hands that have been preparing the same meals in the same way for 50 years or more, from ingredients grown and made by those same hands, all in the same way those hands were taught by other longlived hands, the line going back hand-in-hand over centuries, reaching back into times when food was still exactly and only food, no thought of fastness, still serving the actual basic purpose food must serve, i.e., to nourish and nurture those who are cared for? Not to kill tongue time or do a Las Vegas number for jaded taste buds, but to show a cherished body and its attendant functions that someotherbody cares about all this, cares about you, puts a pinch of love and joy in the growing and preparing, joy that does something for the flavor, love that grows it right, as those who care know it must be grown; creates it right as something so worthy deserves to be created- the miso, vinegar, tofu, rice, sauces, vegetables - cooks it right, the same care everywhere that you can view in the layout, sense in the flavor and freshness, and live in how good it makes you feel to eat it and be, your cells individually dancing and singing afterward, carrying you along for the fun, that kind of food?

We spoke to one of the busy ladies that run the place, she said it was started a few years ago by a group of 8 now-elderly ladies who sometime back in the 70s had gotten together and formed a company to create and market the miso they and their families had been making for centuries using their own locally grown soybeans. About 5 years ago in the same locally grown spirit, spurred as well by fading traditions of kitchens and foods, they started the restaurant, serving meals made the old way, using local farm products.

So if you're hungry at lunchtime in this lakeside neighborhood, be sure to drop in. Best misoshiru around, and all the other items are the fresh-best too, you could only maybe get better food if you had a couple of grandmas of your own. Barring that, Hot Station is the place to go on Wed. Sat. and Sun. between 1o and 5 (Nov-Feb, 10~4:30). They don't really want to make a full-time job or a full-fledged business out of it, just have a place to prepare and serve their locally grown produce to locally growing folk, like they've always been doing. You can tell they're in it more for love than money.

They also have a steady spring running outside, where you can fill up on your Wednesdays, if you prefer slow water.


Edo said...

Hi Bob,
Thanks for this tip. Sounds like a gem. We'll definitely be making an outing to this joint for lunch when we get back to Japan sometime in the spring.
Continued happy wintering!
Edo + Junko (from Bandung)

Robert Brady said...

Let's do lunch...

Edo said...

You're on! Will be in touch.

Robert Brady said...


Victor said...

Love that Kyoto area miso!