A little bit of Japan in India – Delhi
I was about 5 when my parents took my brother and me to visit Japan. My parents Rosemary and Jasbir Sachdev, were the architects for the Indian pavilion in Osaka for Expo 70. I still have a few memories of the trip; taking the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo and being told it was the fastest train in the world, a Japanese temple and garden and a house with sliding doors and tatami. I remember some of the pavilions of the exhibition – the Indian pavilion, of course, with the Mughal inspired water falls, the slightly overlapping white roof, the split levels and the white tiger, Dilip. The others I remember were the Australian one, because it looked like a giant bird/crane, the brightly lit Swiss pavilion, the sun sculpture of a Japanese pavilion, the mono rail, the bubble car ropeway and the American pavilion.
This was just after the Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin moon landing and my memory is that the whole exhibition was about it. I remember walking along metal walkways, which were probably supposed to feel like a spaceship. And I remember seeing a lump of moon rock. It was very exciting.
My favourite memory of that trip was of a round, glass kiosk at a station that sold sweets; there were just sweets wrapped around the entire store. I had never (or even since then) seen so many lovely colours and beautifully wrapped confectionary. My mother said she had to drag me away from there. Have to take Naira to Japan before she gets too old for sweets.
I found a clip on YouTube and ¾ s of the way through you get a glimpse of the Indian pavilion-
My father who made most of the trips would bring back rice crackers or Senbei and at the age of 4 1/2 I developed a taste for them. My husband and daughter (and the entire family – parents, brother and his family) love them and my daughter started eating them at about the same age as I did.
A little corner of Japan in Delhi is a Japanese grocery store, Yamato-ya in Safdarjung Market, which is on our Delhi list when we visit my parents. It’s tucked away in a corner and I don’t remember how I found it. I’ve bought lovely pottery bowls as well as noodles, sauces and vinegars and of course my soy, salty, slightly fishy senbei yumminess. You also get sushi and sashimi grade fish.
The photographs are from a stash of senbei my husband brought back from a recent work trip to Hong Kong. My favourite is the one with the Nori (seaweed) wrap and my daughter loves the one below she calls sausages but we basically love them all.
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SCO-19, Huda Market
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