You Can Take the Girl Out of Japan ….


… and she’ll still find a way to gorge herself on delicious Japanese food. Here, we have a cup of umeshu and the sashimi appetizer at Ukiyo on Exchequer Street :

Followed by orders of kimchi, kimchi chigae, rice and bulgogi (which are, obviously, not Japanese, but that’s what we ate after the sashimi. 美味しいかった!)

You can take the girl out of Japan and she’ll get herself that Japanese food whether she has to buy it (see above) or make it herself (see below). 

First she dips the veggies and the shrimp in the batter … then she fries it up in the brand new wok while nikujaga simmers on one of the four burners ….

Then she eats, and remembers a time when she woke up to the sound of the JR train, or the yaki imo vendors shouting; when she rode to work next to men in black suits, kids in military-style school uniforms, and obaa-chans in kimono. When she bought a negitoro onigiri for lunch and ate it hunched over the communal desk at school, dreaming of the CocoIchiban Curry House next door. When she made sure to face her kids at all times, lest she lowered her fort’s defenses to kancho penetration.

She remembers a time when she studied verbs on the train home and gauged a day in terms of “Good” or “Bad” by how well she spoke Japanese. When summer meant matsuri, mugicha, and nagashi soumen; fall meant matake, sanma, and momijigari; winter meant nabe, marron, and crab; spring meant sakura and beer. When she slept on a futon. When she capped off her day by heading down to the local izakaya and when the grill cooks saw her coming, they automatically brought out three beers for her and her two buddies, who they knew would be along shortly. 

And the boys would arrive, toast their beers – kanpai! – and launch into a debate while she tried to read every item on the menu. And she’d order fried potato – golden, with a pat of butter melting on top – crispy tako no kara age, and several kinds of yakitori. Gyu rosu. Negima. Kokoro. Reba. Zuri. And invariably, she’d ask the waitress for “nippon.” And the boys would remind her for the hundredth time – it’s nihon. Ippon, nihon, sambon. And she’d nod. And forget immediately. 

This post has been brought to you by WanderFood Wednesday.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wanderluster says:

    Will you come cook for me? I’ll be sure to think of you when I find Japanese food here in Vietnam 😉

  2. Danielle says:

    Natsukashi!!! (Is that appropriate when it’s making me a little teary, too?) Strangely, the food I miss the most is the red octopus, of which I’d buy a portion of a very thick tentacle and wonder just how big the whole thing was! I think I’ll have to make a seafood doria when Winter starts a-comin’ in.

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