July 06, 2005

A Whole Lot of Nikujaga

Last night, I managed to scrounge up some culinary aptitude from the depths of my being, a being which is often found in Family Mart or one of the many yaki-tori restaraunts in Wakayama, not wanting to cook because I am utterly lazy sometimes. Looking in the Japanese cookbook I got from my predecessor (one of the many useless things I recieved from him, but one of the very few that I kept until now), I decided to concoct for Yuka and myself a delectable improvisation of the traditionally winter-themed dish of 肉じゃが (literally, "meat & potatoes"). Opting to bypass the devil's tongue option for my specialty dish (this ingredient being one of the most tasteless and disturbingly squishy food items I have ever consumed) , I got into the thick of things when it was dashi time. Going heavy on sugar and mirin, a little lighter with the shoyu (soy sauce) and sake, the food was, as my dining guest proclaimed "最高”ーfabulous. This afternoon, I brought the leftovers to school to eat as lunch (saving a very significant 350¥in bento money), stuffing myself full of more meat, potatoes, rice, and a few straggling onions and carrots. Maybe not as 美味しい as last night, but hell, I must not complain now that I have 350¥extra to spend on useless items at the 100¥Plaza. Taking a mid-afternoon alfresco lunch break, I made my way to said paradise of cheap (with nuance of "shitty quality" definitely applicable to all) goods, and indulged my penchant for buying useless Doraemon goods that I will probably never use. Considering that Japan is a country pervaded by Doraemon paraphernalia, I find no end to my collector's ambition, nor do I really have one. But, to add to my Doraemon towel, teaspoon, coaster, balloon, comics, I now am the proud owner of a 100¥ Doraemon whistle and a chewer of extremely sugary and untasty Doraemon gum.

Now I am stuffed and realizing that I have a lot to do this afternoon, the most important thing not being to toot my Doraemon whistle. Time to go back to work, oh I am still here. Reading along in many books, studying Japanese, finding life mysterious and beautiful in Japan, as anywhere. The rain stopped today after almost a solid week of sticky, muggy, rainy days. Tomorrow is 七夕、tanabata, "the star festival" celebrated on 7/7 to commemorate the meeting of two stars, Altair (the shepherd) and Vega (weaver)--in Japanese it is Hikoboshi and Orihime--who meet on this evening and this evening alone. According to the story, Orihime's benevolent father allows her to marry the boorish but sincere Hikoboshi, but after they neglect their work, they are separated from each other and can only meet on this one evening. Maybe in some way it is significant of loving someone romantically--you want to see them more than time or work or any other limit allows. Even if you had every second to spend of your life with someone you love, still there is a feeling that that would not be enough. Traditionally people will write wishes and proverbs and poems on strips of paper and tie these to bamboo branches in order to have them come true, or to make offerings to the god of good handwriting. Maybe I will go see the stars tomorrow night, if I am lucky. They certainly beat the lights at the Tokyo Pachinko down the street.


Blogger pik said...

I can't believe that Doraemon balloon is still inflated.
Also, whatever you might level against the fit-inducing lights of Tokyo Pachinko, they help me navigate home when I'm drunk. Which is occasional.

10:11 PM  

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