Hole in the Wall

Surprised to see inside!

Surprised to see inside!

I just have to tell you about the little “Hole-in-the Wall” bakery I found on the steep path going up to Senkoji Temple in Onomichi. It is called Neko no Te Pan Kojyo (Cat’s Paw Bakery) which is a very fitting name since the city of Onomichi cares for its many stray cats just like Hemingway’s cats in Key West.

Neko no Te Bakery, Onomichi

This is the whole shop! (Neko no Te Bakery, Onomichi)

We had to climb up a steep slope to reach it but it was worth it! We were surprised when we opened the door! The shop was like a little pocket with a shelf and antique drawers for the bread and biscotti!

Inside the tiny bakery!

Tomoko inside her work space (note the stone wall)

I spoke to owner, Tomoko Nagai and she let me take a photo inside. Built up against a stone wall, she uses every inch of space for baking. She gets up at 4:00 Am and creates yummy-smelling loaves and sweet rolls! Natsuko bought a packet of Cranberry Biscotti and i had Tomato Bread! It was delicious! Next time I want to try her Campagne loaf! Don’t they look delicious!

Campagne Loaves

Campagne Loaves

You should definitely go here! It’s closed Tues and Wed! (050-5532-4716) Located below the Senkoji Temple!

Earlier in the day we visited Tomo-no-Ura to see the breathtaking view of the harbor from the Taishoro hall. ( 対潮楼)in FukuZen ji Temple. Here, the delegation from Korea stayed in 1711.  One member, I Pan-Un wrote calligraphy with brush and ink, saying “The best view in all Japan.”

"The Best scenic view in all Japan"

“The Best scenic view in all Japan”

I had visited here over twenty years ago when it hadn’t yet become such a tourist spot. After the airing of the TV drama about Sakamoto Ryoma, Tomo-no-Ura became crowded with tour groups. Twenty year ago, the head priest talked to me and decided to show me a special treasure room, full of statues of Buddha…and one very special one which he allowed me to photograph. Unfortunately that photo turned out black! I was hoping to find this rare  Maria Kannon statue and see the old priest again, though I wasn’t optimistic that this was even the right place or whether I would be shown the statue.

Fukuzenji Temple, Tomo-no-Ura, Fukuyama

Fukuzenji Temple, Tomo-no-Ura, Fukuyama

Maria Kannon

Maria Kannon

Upon inquiring of the attendant, Ms. Yokoi, I was told that the priest passed away 8 years ago and yes, the Maria Kannon statue was still there and now on public display. I was able to find my Maria after all!!

Rear view

Rear view

If you look at the back, you see the hidden cross. After Christianity was banned f路m around 1597, many Christians worshipped secretly. To them, this rather feminine-looking Buddha represented Maria and they thought of the hidden cross behind the image as they prayed.

From there we drove to Onomichi with the intention of visiting the 56Cafe and other abandoned- house projects. A group of young people are restoring and reusing old stores and houses. We happened upon a “Knit-Cafe” (a play on the word Net-Cafe),  where a group of young women and their toddlers were gathered to knit and chat with one another! You are welcome to join the group any Thursday between 11:00 and 4:00. Just bring your knitting project and instructor Iwai-san will help you with any problems. Just 500 yen and that includes a hot drink!

Iwai sensei and her Knit Cafe group

Iwai sensei and her Knit Cafe group (the table is an old well!!)

I really loved this idea as I am concerned that indiscriminate use of the internet alienates people from each other. We need to get together and just talk and do things useful with our hands. This is just such a great idea!! They are holding an exhibition of the things they made starting Nov 28! Stop by and see! (Kitamura Yohinten 北村洋品店 尾道市三軒家町3-23、080-6323-9921)

Katsuhiko Nobue, owner of Reco-Do shop, anti-nuke activist?

Katsuhiko Nobue, owner of Reco-Do shop, anti-nuke activist?

Inside the shop

Inside the shop

Reco-Do  レコー堂

Reco-Do  レコー堂

TomonoUraOnomichi 023

Finally I got to see inside the Reco-Do record shop. It is a hodge-podge of antiques, records,CDs, politically- aware magazines and organic vegetables on sale! Interesting! It is open periodically and events and live concerts held there.

Natchan and Itsumi Sato at Panis Angleles

Natchan and Itsumi Sato at Panis Angleles

Cream-filled Rolls at Pani Angeles

Cream-filled Rolls at Pani Angeles

TomonoUraOnomichi 036

We also enjoyed the bread at Panis Angleles and met Itsumi Sato.This bread was very nice!! It is very near knit cafe! (0848-25-2428) (closed Sat, Sun, holidays)

We finally attempted the climb to the mountain-top temple in Onomichi, Senkouji. There is a ropeway for the faint-hearted and we were wishing we’d taken it! On the way down, Natchan said she had “kneequakes!” ( Her name for shaky knees!)

I would skip the Air Cafe as, though their burger and coffee was OK, the owner was sitting there at the table talking loudly on his cellphone for most of the time we were eating!

Good burger, bad manners!

Good burger, bad manners!

Cell phones: a bane to personal fellowship!

Cell phones: a bane to personal fellowship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoneko and Sueko

Yoneko and Sueko

Ending on a positive note, we walked through the “Shotengai” market street. It was so quiet as most of the shops are closed on Thursday. In front of a health food store we met Yoneko ( 80 years old!) and Sueko!As always, the people of Onomichi are so friendly! Yoneko insisted on giving me a heat-and-eat packet of sanma (fish)! I enjoyed talking with them!!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. todaysillustrationtomorrow
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 14:53:46

    That’s too bad about aircafe! Neko no Te pan’s bread looks so good! I would’ve gotten the coffee coconut biscotti or Matcha biscotti i see peeking from the drawer!
    Maria Kannon is pretty neat!

    Reply

  2. Shimona from the Palace
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 09:38:59

    I found this article fascinating – so many interesting places to see. I can almost smell the bread in the Cat’s Paw Bakery and I loved the picture of the loaves, some of which look like the challah that we Jews eat on Shabbat (the Sabbath).
    I do so agree with you about cellphones!!!

    Reply

    • leahmama1
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 10:00:34

      Thank you for reading and for your comment! It takes a long time to bake a loaf of challah bread.? I think slow and simple is the best way. I have to limit my time on computers and learn to treasure moments talking with people face to face!

      Reply

  3. milliemollymandy
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 06:28:34

    I agree completely with your comment about the internet alienating people. It’s just too easy to read about it rather than do it. (On a positive note though, without the internet we wouldn’t be able to share in all these experiences of yours, so it’s not completely bad).

    Reply

    • leahmama1
      Nov 23, 2013 @ 12:17:26

      Thanks for reading! Yeah… we have to be judicious about how we use the internet! I wonder if I can start something like that knit cafe thing.?? We need more places to gt together and do things with our hands!

      Reply

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