When it falls, it comes down all at once.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’m talking about winter in Niigata. When winter hits Niigata, the snow piles up quite a bit.
To clear up some misconceptions, only certain regions of it get so much snow you have to leave from the second floor. Only certain small regions put sugar on their natto. Poppo yaki is delicious.
… Indeed, let us talk about poppo-yaki.
Poppo-yaki, otherwise known as steam bread (neither of them is the official name. Different people just refer to it differently) is apparently not sold in any prefectures outside of Niigata, but by no means is it a Niigata specialty. One time I even heard it only ever went around Agakita, but I’m starting to wonder lately. Do they sell by the sea-side or in other prefectures now? Anyways, it’s the sort of thing I can’t even imagine being packed into a box and sold like that.
If you want to picture it.
… As the one who wrote that, I get it’s a peculiar choice of words, but I’m pretty sure those who know about it will nod. Well anyways, it’s bread. It’s fried. The steam or poppo part of its name come from the fact that the water vapor comes out of the bread making a sound like a steam train when it’s being made.
For comparison’s sake, let’s say you have an exceptionally normal manjuu. The ones sold around hot springs, filled with black bean jam, those brown manjuu. Appearance-wise, it’s like one of those was stretched into a cylinder, but it’s a strange food that doesn’t contain any filling. If you trying eating it, the taste and texture actually hold up marvelously. A steamed bun? Maybe. It’s tasty. It has a sweet scent. To those who don’t know it, please do try it out if you’re ever stopping by Niigata. Yes, while it tastes splendid, once it gets cold, that’s it. It’s over. If possible, you’re best off eating it on the spot.
If you can find that good stall, that is.
It’s pretty easy to spot in the summer-time, the season where there are numerous festivals. I hear they open up shop a lot in the Seiroumachi shopping center, but I couldn’t say. To anyone who’s interested, I pray for you.
Now, I’m changing the topic a bit, but in ‘The Sneaker’ magazine’s ‘Play Pro’ column, one of my short stories is going to be published in the December 2004 edition. I think it’ll be out by the time this book is released. It’s a springboard for O-Ri-Ga-Mi, so if anyone reading this is interested, why not give it a read through?
To my editor in charge, I thank you for giving me a second book. I do think it’s because of me you’re always painstakingly wracking your brain, but I’ll be very happy if you stick with me. Though I wonder about all the strange purchases you’re making in Akihabara.
2c-Galore. I was a bit late to the party in seeing the work you did for volume one, but they were wonderful illustrations.
I’m looking forward to what you’ll do for this volume.
And finally, I hope all the readers can enjoy this book.
Hayashi Tomoaki, August 2004