It’s official. I’m leaving Japan. The past week has been a celebration of my past 3.5 years here. Since Friday night last week, it’s been one farewell party after the next. Old friends. New friends. Colleagues. Bosses. And so on and so forth. And the party isn’t over. The celebrations are still in motion. There’s lamb slow-cooking on the stove as I write this.
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.
It’s been a while since I blogged. And it’s not because I’ve got the blues or anything like that. I’m in a big transition phase right now. It’s time to pack my bags and get ready to go. And no, it’s not a holiday this time. It’s a move. Whenever I move from one period of my life to the next, I find myself thinking about where I was when it started, and where I am now. And boy have I come a long long way.
Who doesn’t love dumplings? I feel it’s one of those things that you can find in just about every cuisine. Meat wrapped in flour that’s either boiled, steamed, pan-fried or deep-fried. Yum yum yum! So my friend Noza taught me to make chuchvara – boiled dumplings served with either soup or tomatoes and onions.
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.