Just recently, I found out about the Farmer’s Market International Parade hosted by CookingDiva. It’s been a while since I last posted about our Sunday Market, one of Kochi’s major sightseeing attractions, so I decided to jump in. CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.
As I wrote in my previous post, the Sunday Market in Kochi city has a history of 300 years, and the number of outside stalls along the street (apx. 1.3 km) is said to be over 600 now. This market begins just across the street (well, almost) from the main gate of Kochi castle, so it must have been very convenient for castle employees in the feudal era. It’s so close that I can’t help imagining the feudal lord or his family members sneaking out from the castle once in a while to browse the stalls despite the rigid class system of that time. :)
The Sunday Market is not a regular farmer’s market; in addition to things like plants, fish, fruits and vegetables, they sell antiques, clothes, toys, everyday items and even hermit crabs! This is the place where you see fresh foods and kind smiles on local ojichan and obachan’s faces.
Coming from the direction of the castle, first you’ll see the stalls of antiques and cutting tools on one side, and those of plants on the other.
All of these patterns are made with 5-yen coins.
Mushroom bed logs and cutting tools.
Ojichan giving advice to female customers.
This is Kochi’s local specialty: imo kempi (deep-fried sweet potato strips with icing). You can see this imo-kempi tower right outside Hirome ichiba.
Aisukurin is very popular here in Kochi.
Sunday Market imoten (batter-fried sweet potatoes). Don’t miss the best imoten in Kochi!
So many kinds of green tea and herb tea!
aka-jiso (purple perilla) only, which means, no artificial coloring.
dashi, soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin.
katsuobushi, another specialty of Kochi.
umeboshi and ume-shu. The tomatoes are what they call “fruit tomatoes” which were bred to improve sweetness. These boxed fruit tomatoes have become a popular souvenir/gift recently, and they can be delivered.
Well, these were just a part of the 600 outside stalls in the market. To fully enjoy the adventurous discoveries, come to our Sunday Market and meet local people! :D Many of them have been selling things here every Sunday since their parents’ generation. The venders are friends to each other, and you can see them chatting with each other and helping each other. When you see an unattended stall, venders at the neighboring stalls will tell you where the stall owner went and when (s)he will be back. Or they might even tell you the price of the goods and where to leave the money instead of the absent stall owner. In fact, this is a good place for visitors (esp. those from Western countries) to see something which is different from their common sense.
I was once told by one of the venders that they have an unspoken rule here which is: keeping a laid-back, almost outdated harmonious atmosphere is very important in this market. Thus, they do not make outrageous efforts to advertise their products to win more customers than neighboring venders. Winning “against” others is not the biggest priority here. For them, this is a place where people who got tired of individualistic competitions can indulge in a nostalgic atmosphere of good old ways in a small countryside. But this explanation just brought some Westerners almost furious: they say that each vender must be wanting to make more money than others, so any kind of creative or loud advertisement should be allowed, because it will create a good competition and as a result will improve the sales of the market as a whole.
Perhaps those Westerners left Kochi pitying conservative and unmotivated locals. But I’m counting on the local folks to keep this laid-back atmosphere for another hundred years or even longer. ;)
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Posted by obachan at 5/30/2006 11:28:00 PM