Japanese Store Mitsuke!!! 2012年3月19日

Kalpana Karkee
Seattle Washington

We were new in Seattle, having just moved 2 month earlier from Virginia. We knew from our earlier stay in Seattle that it rains a lot and the weather is always cloudy. But on the day we drove into the city in spring, the Emerald city welcomed us with a beautiful sunshine. The lakes exhibited their blue color and Sakura was in its full bloom, reminding us of our Dai-ni-no-Furusato (second home) Japan. We just need DANGO to celebrate Ohanami: Dango ga hoshii na.

We enjoyed the beautiful spring of Seattle while being busy settling down. Two months just flew. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and my husband decided to take me on a drive to show me his office and around downtown Seattle. Mild sun of May felt so warm and pleasant. Kimochi-ii! We drove the up-hill and down-hill roads admiring snow capped hills in the horizon, beautiful lakes, space needle and Seattle landscape. The Mt. St. Helens looked just like Chokai san.

We reached my husband’s office and parked in the parking lot. He said “let me show you something, you will love it”. We climbed up some stairs and came to another parking lot. We walked along to the end and suddenly I realized WOW!!! What a scene. Is this KIKI’s machi? There were many private boats berthed alongside wooden piers, some boats were about to leave, people were on the deck with kids, dogs. May be going fishing or just a boat ride. Some were kayaking, sea planes were landing and taking off. Sea birds were flying around too!

Driving towards Seattle downtown
along interstate I-5
Looking towards Lake Union
from my Husband’s Office

It was Lake Union. I remembered Majo-no-takyubin (Kiki’s delivery service), Umi-mo-yama-mo-aru-machi. I love being in Seattle, I told myself.

On the way back home, we drove through Bellevue city. Suddenly, I yelled at my husband “turn right, turn right”. He was confused, ‘why?’ he asked. ‘There, I saw a Japanese grocery store!’ I was so excited, dai-hakken-da!

We went inside. How exciting, they had everything: umeboshi, tsukemono, sake, umesyuu, natto, furikake, ochatsuke. Ureshii, Ureshii!! My husband was looking for kaki-no-tane. Actually there are some Chinese, Korean stores selling kaki-no-tane but the taste is different from Japanese. We found Japanese kaki-no-tane. The lady who was arranging the shelves was Japanese and we talked in Japanese. She told us the Japanese kaki-no-tane was a limited edition (genteihin) so we grabbed a bunch. We also bought umeboshi, umesyuu, omusubi, tsukemono and, of course, DANGO for our Ohanami.

I was very happy because of my precious find (dai-hakken), and my husband was happy because he got the kaki-no-tane for his otsumami for the evening. We had a great day indeed.

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