The following extract is from my as yet unpublished and unedited memoir from my time spent in Japan teaching Irish cooking to Japanese housewives and students.
I was also on my way to becoming Japan’s first Nepalese born Irish/Australian/American celebrity chef.
I was later to become the first Nepalese born Irish/Australian/American celebrity chef to be deported from Japan, but that’s another story for another day.
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For that is what you have become to me now and much as I might try and maintain an amicable friendship I feel that the battle lines have been drawn as such that we all know where we stand now. For my part I shall endeavour to educate and humour you, being the reader, with my hopefully urbane (hah) and witty (wishful thinking) observances on life where ever I may be at the time. I shall also throw into the deal the musings of my gradually sobering brain.
It has well and truly been hung out to dry these last few weeks and is nearly in a state of monkish deprivation due to the predicament that I find my self in. For your part, the reader, you should promise to give me at least 10 minutes of your time so that you may peruse my scribblings in a leisurely way and thus be better able to absorb my thoughts and thus understand my condition.
96 hours and counting
Just last Saturday I made a rather rash decision on one hand but on the other it was the most rational thing I could do. I decided to do away with a long time friend of mine. You could even say that we were wedded in blissful harmony and were bedfellows for some 15 years or so. I remember the early days of our courtship and all the sneaky rendezvous we undertook. I remember the initial dislike we had for each other but we seemed to work things out and persevered to see things through.
Ahhh, I can remember many a time when we, or more accurately I, were punished for our friendship and closeness in school and later persecuted for it in the work place. For where ever I went my other half was sure to go. Socially we were inseparable and quite often the belles of the ball or the bollocks with the trollops. To say that I feel no remorse over my actions would be untrue but a part of me, namely my sentient portion, is jumping in the air with joy while my dependant half is still craving their company and familiar feel and scent. Another hour has just passed since I ended their mortal coil and I hope many more hours shall pass before they ever consider rising from the dead. Some of my acquaintances have been guilty of the same crime but have gotten over it and moved on with their lives. And so they should. If I get to 96 days I’ll be happy and if I get to 96 years I’ll be old. It’s just like that David Bowie song;
“Ashes to ashes – dust to dust- planet earth is blue and there’s nothing we can do”
Washing your Buttocks
While I was in Shinjuku the other day I felt the need to have a ‘movement’ as some might say. It must be noted that here in Japan even though it is a very technologically advanced country squat toilets are still very common so it always pays to know of the nearest western style toilet at any time. I decided to duck into the nearest department store where the toilets are always up to par and without charge too. While waiting for several minutes for a cubicle to become vacant I couldn’t help but wonder what was taking the occupants so long. I could hear flushing and ripping and scrunching and wiping but sadly no unlocking of the latch so I went to another floor to try my luck there. I was able to saunter straight into the cubicle of my choice and plop my derriere down on the heated seat. I might add that the heated seat really does add to the experience especially in the winter months. It was only when I turned my head to the side that I caught sight of the user manual for this fully automated bidet, buttock washer and dryer.
The instructions informed me of the best way to wash my buttocks; their words not mine, and dry them. I was able to adjust the temp of the spray and also the water pressure to a setting of my liking. If that wasn’t enough there was also a hot air function to give you that dry feeling. I shit you not. It was half way through this experience when I pulled out my mobile phone cum camera and started snapping away. Then it struck me why people took so long in these toilets. They were either pissing themselves laughing, taking pictures or giving them selves a bit of a wash and tickle. It is made clear that the bidet function is only for women, as if men don’t need a good ball washing now and again, they get very sweaty in the humid heat here. I have the pictures to prove what I say.
Free Willy With
Ginger and Soy!
I went for a business meeting the other day in an area called Ueno Park. Ueno Park was the scene for one of the TV shoots that I did in spring during the cherry blossom festival. All I can remember of that day was the Irishness of the weather and its persistence in making my kidneys ache and my nose run. I will be able to show you video evidence of the shoot in question but only if you happen to be on my travel route, otherwise you’ll have to wait your turn.
Anyway back to the meeting .I was meeting with the president of a Conniaku company, pronounced cognacoo, who was interested in selling my recipes in the form of this cognacoo stuff. Its just like fruit or vegetable jelly, nothing special at all but it seems to hold a certain amount of affection in the Japanese heart. After our chat we headed for a nearby restaurant of sorts and had a few beers and some tempura. Because I was the guest I did not really have much say in what I was gonna eat or drink and to cut a rather un-pc story short I found my self being presented with a plate of whale sashimi and some soy, ginger, chive and cress to gobble it down with. In all honesty its not that bad, unless you are the whale that is, and kinda looks like dark red meat that has been tenderised a bit.
It was tender and succulent and surprisingly easy to eat. A wry smile came to my lips as I thought of all the tree hugging, don’t cull kangaroos, land rights for gay whales, tofu rocks and vegetarian activists that seem to inhabit every other organic nook and cranny in Melbourne that would no longer be seeking my counsel in all matters gastronomic.
Bicycles are everywhere in Tokyo and as a result can become a bit of a nuisance to the average pedestrian. Not that they are dangerous, not at all for people cycle rather slowly here and generally have a basket of shopping or a few kids perched precariously on the bike and their person and thus are less likely to speed. Space is at a premium in Tokyo so much so that they even have special elevated parking for bicycles just like they do for cars. They also have bicycle registration and if you dare to park you bike on a forbidden part of the pavement you will be issued with a parking ticket. I don’t know how much the fine is but if you liberate a bike from a train station and thus are not registered to it you have nothing to fear. Bike locks here a sick joke, think of the locks that you used to pick for fun in school and there you have it. However if you are a Gaijin here and working illegally I would advise you to refrain from pedalling your way around the city for it seems to be the first indication to the police that you have overstayed your welcome and have turned native without the proper documentation. It’s not looking good for my fitness levels that’s for sure.
P.S. I don’t know what’s worse; my spelling, my grammar or my punctuation! Next stop Denver.