Sunday, 1 July 2007

Frogs, a pig, and a pint

There's a lovely little street just down the road called "Frog Street". Today (and yesterday) was their 'festival'. It's a short street, and pedestrianised - one of the few bits of city planning Matsumoto has managed to get right.

(Time for a quick whinge? I think so: there's a total abomination of a building going up in the middle of this historic riverside street, where no other building manages more than two floors above street level. In fact, that was the old rule - nowt taller than the castle. Despite concerted local opposition, a block of flats is going up in the middle of Frog Street. Blend in it will not.)

Anyway, it's got lots of little shops (stalls really) - selling traditional snacks such as hot bean paste in fish-shaped dough-shells, knick-knacks, snacks, memorabilia, bread & cakes, and...lots of replica guns. You know, the realistic kind? The kind where people get shot by accident? Then again, in Japan the cops have their sidearms on lanyards; so it's a safe place really, right?

I always think so, and on a day when Britain is on 'critical' alerts because of bomb threats in London & Glasgow. But then again, I've never seen a pig, a big fat black pig, calmly grazing through rubbish bags before - in the middle of town. I'm glad Tim was with me, otherwise I wouldn't have believed my own eyes...just give me a few days to scan his pictures?!

But then something even rarer. Free beer. Not just any old beer either, Yona Yona Porter & Real Ale. From the cask. Fresh, real, ale. Tim & I were going to have a swift half & call it quits - I know, unlikely? But how do you turn down a round from the landlord when he comes over to chat about his favourite pub in Bronte country, Timmy Taylor's "Landlord" & Marston's "Pedigree". For a little while there, the both of us were drifting back to sultry summer evenings in English beer gardens, skylarks & cut grass...