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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Sunshine and the Gloom: Reprise

After my successful date with Tomomi last night, I awoke to a sunny and generally pleasant Sunday, this being one of the mildest winters on record. I had an appointment with my old salaryman friend Tanaka-san at 4pm; he wanted me to transcribe the lyrics of a Country&Western song his partner was planning to sing in Osaka (大阪). I met him at Breaks Cafe at Ueno Station, and transcribed his lyrics. After that we marched briskly through the settling cold and madding crowds, down the bleak concrete lanes, to the Himonoya Restaurant in Okachimachi (御徒町). Tanaka-san had spotted the place from the train on the Yamanote Line as he passed on his daily business, and he was keen to check it out. Naturally, the shout was on him.

Himonoya, specializing in sundried cuisine, at Okachimachi (Japan, 2006)

The servings started with a complementary cabbage -- you better believe it a whole cabbage, which we ate with a smearing of slightly spiced mayonnaise. I am not a green veg buff by any means but this cabbage tasted amazing -- "it is fresh," Tanaka-san succinctly remarked. There followed a series of sundried seafood dishes, in the himono tradition -- Tanaka-san sent one of them back to the kitchen for having too much akaimono (red stuff) inside. Apart from the fish, the menu boasted grilled nasu (eggplant) and fried duck (鴨つくね) served with what looked suspiciously like a duck's egg. Who said the Japanese weren't adventurous eaters! There were also plenty of onigiri rice balls, some of them of tremendous proportions. Scary! Naturally, a full spread of Japanese rice wine and beers accompanied the feast. I took a few photos, and sent one or two of them to Tomomi. I returned home feeling elated, basking in the afterglow. The gloom in my heart was lifting. It's funny how your life can turn around, so quickly.

With a new job and a new girlfriend, I have achieved the aims of July 2006. So, let's bask for a while! Breaking free from Kidea is a longterm goal, and I have already come quite far, with 2.5 free days! Since money is the key to power I should focus on repaying my credit debt. There are too many  interesting things happening in Japan to worry about the implementation of Intermediate International Vagabondancy just yet. However, I have laid the foundations of this coming phase of my life.

Himonoya: 5-19-6 Ueno, Taito Ward, Tokyo, Japan. Phone: (03) 3831 8804.

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