The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sore Feet

This past weekend was kind of fun. On Friday, 3 of the teachers and I went to a nice restaurant in Kashiwa for dinner. Very cheap and quite tasty - it was Korean-style barbecue which means they bring a little grill with charcoal to your table, and you cook your own meat and vegetables on the grill. It's fun to cook your own food just the way you like it. Then we went to a Japanese style bar. The other teachers aren't shy at all so they were trying to talk to the people at the other tables almost immediately. The people around us didn't speak much English but everyone seemed to find it very amusing and a good time was had by all, as they say.

On Saturday I went out with my friend James (a former teacher here) and his girlfriend. We met for dinner and then went to a tiny little hole-in-the-wall bar where some friends of his were playing with their band. The bar held about 30 people, and was packed. The band was actually pretty good. The one thing that really surprised me was that the volume was actually set to a reasonable level. So often you go to a show like that and the music is completely deafening. Anyway, not particularly memorable music (I'm not going to go out and buy their CD) but they were decent. Obviously big fans of 80's Brit pop...

On Sunday I met a friend-of-a-friend who got roped (by the connecting friend) into showing me around Tokyo. She was born and raised in the city and so knows it pretty well inside and out. Nevertheless, we managed to get lost looking for a tiny little sword shop that I wanted to check out, located in a residential district near the Japanese Sword Museum. We did find it eventually, and now I know how I'll spend my money when I win the lottery.

After that, we wandered over all of Tokyo for the rest of the day. I can't remember what we did because it was so exhausting. Actually, it was quite fun. We went to the really tourist-y places in Tokyo, which is nice to do once in a while. It was also fun for me to practice my Japanese for the whole day, but that too became mentally exhausting by the end of it. I was dragging my feet and speaking gibberish by the time we sat down for supper at a yakitori restaurant. Yakitori means "fried chicken" (on skewers) but it really encompasses a whole variety of delicious little foods on sticks. My favorite was miniature green peppers, stuffed with swiss cheese, and then wrapped in salted pork. Try that on the barbecue! Delicious. And here's an incredibly simple (and presumably more healthy) snack that I really enjoyed:

Mix one part hot chili sauce (Korean or Chinese style) with 4 or 5 parts red miso paste (available at any oriental grocery store). Quarter a cabbage and then just rip off bits of cabbage with your fingers, and dip them in the sauce. It doesn't sound like much but it's really good and really addictive.


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