when lesley university wanted to expand its bookstore, it drove out the japanese market kotobukiya from the porter square exchange, leaving a void in the local japanese community. true, i never really shopped at kotobukiya when it was there, but now that it's gone, i suddenly have a craving for japanese groceries. but out of the ashes arose a new market (opened by some of the same people) called ebisuya, now located in medford square, where the rent must be cheaper and local businesses are in no danger of being evicted by ever-expanding universities. ebisuya had it's grand opening yesterday, and i was curious to see the new place.

getting there via bike didn't seem very difficult on paper, essentially a straight shot towards medford center. the hard part was cutting across the hills of somerville. at times i had to stand and pedal, and i was panting so hard it sounded like wheezing. besides the sheer amount of physical exertion required, i also had to keep my eyes opened for 1) sudden open car doors, 2) cars pulling out, 3) car traffic behind me, and 4) the intermittent ice and snow patches. but i realize now that all that danger is kind of thrilling in an adrenalin-junkie sort of way.

my first impression of ebisuya was it was a sparsely stocked market. in fact, it seemed more convenience store than a bonafide market. there was a separate department in charge of making sushi and possibly selling fresh fish, but i wasn't in the mood for either. business was brisk and there were a few non-asian faces, probably curiosity seekers like myself. i didn't want to come all this way and leave empty-handed, so i bought a bottle of jasmine tea for a pricey $2.60 (it wasn't very good, i accidently purchased unsweetened). i suddenly remembered why i never shopped at the old kotobukiya: too expensive. similar items can be had in regular asian supermarkets for much less and with greater variety. in the cambridge-somerville area, the best place to buy japanese grocery items is actually reliable market in union square, a korean supermarket.

i hung out around medford square a little bit, looking for photo ops. what i really wanted to see was more hawks, but old late industrial architecture from the 1800's will have to do in the meantime. for me, the only reason to come to medford square is to try out chung ki wa, that korean barbecue restaurant.

getting to medford square was just half the adventure; returning home was the other half. there was no way to avoid the hills and the ride back felt even steeper. i stopped to take some photos of some rather large trees on main street between bowdoin and wellesley street. it's the exact same kind of tree i saw on rc kelley street in cambridge, except these were just tall instead of wide and tall. i still don't know what kind of trees these are. i guess i'll find out once the leaves come back.