You take the mini spatula and slowly slide a little bit over the hot plate till it’s brown and slightly crunchy. You have to do it a little at a time and very very slowly if you want to get the desired results – slightly burnt and crunchy baby food. The whole experience is pretty damn mendoksai troublesome. When I take my first bite, I like it. The flavours are fairly mild so we douse it with chilli flakes, seaweed and fish flakes. It takes us close to an hour to get through the first one.
The table is set for two. It’s been a while since I cooked for another human being. A while since I planned out an evening. A while since I embraced being in the kitchen. A while since I listened to Tracy Chapman and sipped on red wine while nibbling on Camembert cheese. This whole process feels really old to be so new.
I was only in Singapore for a week – but the sakura had already bloomed and were beginning to fade into nothingness. The whole time I was back home, my friends in Japan were annoying me with pictures of sakura on Facebook. I personally prefer autumn to spring – but missing out on sakura season is a sacrilege. Whether you like it or not – you have to celebrate it.
I’m a huge huge fan of Uzbek food. Actually, I’m a huge fan of all food that has a lot of lamb. I’m a big lamb lover. Unfortunately, the Japanese don’t share my fondness for the meat that is often described as ‘gamey’. BTW – it’s only gamey if you don’t know how to prepare it. Cooking lamb well is an art form. And the Uzbeks are brilliant at it.
Everywhere I turn, people are speaking Spanish – America’s unofficial second language. I’m surprised that I can still understand the language fairly well – considering that I haven’t spoken it in some four years. I learnt a lot of new languages in my twenties – but Spanish is my still my favourite. I hear a whole plethora of other languages, too. Some I recognise. Others I don’t. I breathe in and out. It’s my first time in San Francisco, but I feel at home for the first time in a while.
Thankfully, it doesn’t snow much in Tokyo. It’s snowed a grand total of three times since I moved here some two and a half years ago. And yesterday’s snowfall was the biggest. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson when it started snowing. My students stopped listening to me and promptly rushed to the windowpanes to stare at those magical specks of white falling from the sky. The next thing I knew, some of them had opened the windows and stuck their hand out. They were collecting snowflakes and studying them. I’d done the same at their age – but how quickly the novelty had faded for me.
I open my eyes each morning and I just don’t want to go on anymore. Everything feels like an enormous effort. A voice inside me gently whispers, “Not much longer now. You can do this.” I haul my tired soul out of bed and stand under the hot shower. There is cleansing quality to the experience. I close my eyes and let the water wash over me. When I’m done, I crawl back into bed. Terrible. I know. I delay the moment when I must go out and face the world. I delay it till I can delay it no longer. I reluctantly make a cup of coffee and eat my breakfast. In truth, I have no appetite – but if I don’t eat, my body won’t function. I have a physically active job and I can’t afford to leave home on an empty stomach.