Thursday, February 02, 2006

Japan: Food You Can't See

Yep, I'm back.

And I'm sad. Not SAD really, more maudlin. I'm sure I haven't got a real reason to be like this, but I am. My vacation is over and I'm not getting another one until I'm finished my current contract and find myself back in Canada, or wherever.

Japan was great. I love it there. I surely hope that anyone who is in Korea working seizes the opportunity and close proximity to go and have a good visit. Every time I'm there I remember how in love I am with the place and the people. I want to chop up Japan and its people and whirr it up in a blender and spread it on toast. And eat it. YUM! Sweet!

I saw a bunch of my friends, including the fabulous Lala. We spend a lot of time not talking enough, and then I get the chance to hang out with her and remember again how much I love her and how she continues to impress me so much with her honesty and affection. Plus, she's so super cute. Sexy.

I saw my adopted Japanese family. Things didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, as I had a blow-out with my great friend which I'm still not sure what it was all about. She was pissed at me, which made me pissed at her, and resulted in a drunken tear-soaked explosion of "I love you's" and "I'm sorry's." It's all good now, but I hate when stuff like that happens, especially if I suspect the hard feelings aren't genuinely warranted but are, rather, projections of ones feelings about other things. Knowing that I tend to be more of a "flee-er" than a "fighter," I had visions of me boarding a ship back on Monday. I'm glad that didn't happen.

I've been wanting a digital camera for quite awhile, but this weekend was an example of why it would probably be quite a drag. I had access to a camera, my friend offered to lend me hers, and we even charged it up so it was ready to go. Then I spent the weekend forgetting to bring it along, and thinking "man, I wish I had a camera so I could blog this!"

I would have shown you the food at my friends' Izakaya. I didn't order it. If I had ordered, we would have had "yakkionigiri," (grilled rice balls) eggplant gratin, beef on sticks with garlic chips, and "buta burra" (pork.) All deeeeeelicious items on the menu. I would have taken photos of the "basashi" (raw horse meat) my friend Dai-chan was eating, and the big pigs feet the table of businessmen were eating next to us. As it was, we got a smorgasboard of meat on sticks - all yummy, save for the chicken hearts. We ate "tebasaki" (chicken wings on sticks) which is one of the best things at my friends' restaurant. Outstanding. I was wondering why the bones looked so clean on the plates of my Japanese friends compared to mine. Then I realized they eat everything besides the bone, that cartilage "knuckle" thing included. In fact, you can order a whole stick filled with chicken cartilage. Ick.

I would have taken photos of the two lunches of ramen. When I was in Japan, I didn't eat a lot of it, yet find myself CRAVING its salty goodness since I've been living in Korea and all I can find is instant (let's face it, crap) ramen. The shop we went to today just REEKS as you step in the door. It offered "tonkotsu" (pig bone) ramen. After it comes to the table you press whole cloves of garlic and sesame seeds into it. There was a small glass container of the shop's special spicy miso on the table as well. My friend and I ate almost the whole think with our ramen and gyoza (fried dumplings.) Mmmmm mmmm mmm!

If I had brought the camera, I would have snapped pics of our Monday meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant. Their "ebi mayo" (massive shrimp tempura in a mayonnaise sauce with broccoli and cashews) is to die for. As is their "tantanmen" (spicy noodles in a peanutty ground meat and green veg soup) and their "mapo tofu" and "tenshin han" rice covered in egg and brown sauce. Again, mmm mmmm mm!

I would have also taken pics of our meal at the "sushi-go-round" where I was the champion and ate 6 plates full compared to Lala's hungover measly TWO!

Tomorrow I'll tell you more. For now, I must take my maudlin ass to bed. I hope you had a great New Year. I was looking forward to seeing the new year's 1st moon, but it was cloudy in Japan. Did you see it? Did it look full of promise and excitement?


Kirk said...

Hi Jelly - Am enjoying your post - though I do wish you you some food photos - LOL! Sorry your vacation is over, though I've enjoyed the posts.

Lala said...

Hey there. I suck. Sorry. Just now getting around to looking at your blog after months of neglect...and you had sweet things to say about me...thanks, chic! Love you!