Gaku's strolling2

The Tanuki with a Passion for Soba (buckwheat) Noodles. (Part One: My Home Province)

Have you ever heard of “animal diviation”?
More formally, it is called “personality psychology”, and is a branch of psychology that evolved from studying countless anecdotal cases to classify human personal traits (i.e. personalities) into twelve different kinds of animals. You could think of it as a branch of statistics that is practiced by many different people including teachers, doctors, business executives and students.
A friend of mine told me about this “animal divination”. Using only my birth date, he classified me as a “well-polished tanuki”.
When my friend revealed to me what I was, I almost cried out “Alas, you found out!!” You should never underestimate animal divination! A tanuki, of all things!!
(Note) Tanuki (from Wikipedia, April 8, 2015): Japanese raccoon dog. The tanuki has been significant in Japanese folklore since ancient times. The legendary tanuki is reputed to be mischievous and jolly, a master of disguise and shapeshifting, but somewhat gullible and absentminded.
<Traits of the Tanuki>
Let me explain what the characteristic traits of the tanuki are. I was told that my personality fits the following profile.
1.Values personal experience and achievements in all matters.
2.Patronizes the same stores and restaurants.
3.Prefers all things old.
4.Skilled in the art of turning other people’s stories into one’s own story.
5.Possesses groundless self-confidence.
6.Has a soft spot for anything that is an “ultimate masterpiece”.
7.Likes to divide roles.
8.Is liked by older people.
9.Waits for one’s turn.
10.Needs to have one’s presence felt.
11.Can pretend to be other animals, but the disguise is flimsy.
12.Tends to have been a quiet child.
13.Likes soba (buckwheat) noodles.
<List of People who are “Well-Polished Tanuki”.>
1.John F. Kennedy
2.Steven Spielberg
3.Ryuzo Saki (novelist)
4.Nobuyo Ohyama (voice actress of Daraemon fame)
5.Riyoko Ikeda (Manga artisit, creator of Rose of Versailles)
6.Tetsuya Takeda (singer/actor)
7.Yuuka (model and TV show host)
I was surprised that almost all of the descriptions above seemed to apply to me. After hearing the words “likes soba noodles”, “John F. Kennedy” and “Steven Spielberg”, I became a believer.
<Soba Noodle Restaurants: Part 1 / My Hometown, Part 2 / Shinshuu, Part 3 / Asakusa, Tokyo>
So much for the lengthy preamble. I would like to introduce some great soba (buckwheat) noodle restaurants that the “well-polished tanuki” likes so much.
The introductions will come in 3 parts divided by location: my hometown, Shinshuu (i.e. Nagano prefecture) and the Asakusa district of Tokyo. For today, I will introduce 4 soba noodle restaurants in eastern Shizuoka, near my hometown. The selection reflects my personal preference.
1.Soukian (Gotenba city, currently closed)
2.Kyouyoukan (Fujinomiya city)
3.Kagaya (Numazu city)
4.Fukuden (Numazu city)
All four are great restaurants, each with their distinctive styles. Unfortunately, Soukian is currently closed (as of March 6, 2015). It was a popular place where a line of customers waiting to get in would form every day. I worry that the shop owner may have become ill since he was too busy. I hope the restaurant will reopen soon.
1.Soukian (Gotenba city, currently closed)
A soba noodle restaurant so famous that its parking lot was always full of cars with license plates from outside Shizuoka. I always appreciated their courteous service and attentiveness, like trying to avoid having a customer share tables with other customers as much as they could.










2.Kyouyoukan (Fujinomiya city)
This restaurant is a 5 minute walk from the shrine of Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha, which is a sacred place for any Mt. Fuji photographer. The proprietor of this restaurant received training at Gion Gonbei in Kyoto. Among the delicacies you can enjoy here are Kyoto-style oyakodon, bamboo shoots from Kyoto in spring, anago (conger) in summer and maitake mushroom tempura in autumn.














3.Kagaya (Numazu city)
Of the many soba noodle restaurants I frequent, this is the place I visit the most. Since the place stays open throughout the day without a break, you can visit during off-hours and enjoy your soba in relative solitude. I am a fortunate man to have such a great soba noodle place near my home.










4.Fukuden (Numazu city)
The spring vegetable tempura and the assortment of seasonal entrees served here are delicious. The photographs of mountains taken by the restaurant owner are stunning too.