Cucumber Contribution

Kappabashi is a neighborhood in Tokyo that's famous for shops that sell the plastic food displays used in restaurants windows. The area is named after kappa, reptile-like river creatures often mentioned in Japanese folklore. Last week I visited a small shrine dedicated to kappa tucked inside the side streets. I laughed when I saw cucumbers, in varying stages of decay, adorning the shrine's offering box and statues. According to legend, kappa like to eat cucumbers. That's why cucumber roll sushi is called kappamaki.