We started out going for a lunch of okonomiyaki, which is one of the most indulgently delicious Japanese/Western fusion foods. It is a thick pancake containing, normally, cabbage and pork, which is liberally glazed with brown sauce and smothered in mayonnaise. There really is no way of describing it without making it sound disgusting, but you’ll have to trust me that it isn’t! Check out the recipe here and try it at home! The picture above isn’t mine, but is from smallcloud on Flickr.
Next we hit the supermarket to buy ingredients for making an English style dinner, dropped them back at Hitomi’s flat, had a revitalising cup of tea (which she had actually bought as a present for Mum and Dad, but since they aren’t here we decided to drink it ;) headed out for a walk. We went to her home town of Okada, which is a a small town in Chita-shi which still has quite a few old buildings. It was a textiles town and many of the merchants houses are still standing, as were the stone buildings used to keep stock and records safe in the event of a fire (these buildings have a name, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is).
Next stop was Hitomi’s parents house, where we arrived to find her dad sprawled on the floor watching TV and her recently-ill dog, Botan, in very genki form, rushing around happy to have some visitors. After some apple, watermelon, a yummy red bean cake from Hiroshima and lots of chatting about the best places to visit in Japan and the reviewing of various travel brochures, it was off back to Hitomi’s to cook.
I was in charge of the main course – bolognese sauce – and whilst that cooked down Hitomi whipped up a couple of awesome salads – one with lettuce, smoked salmon and an apple vinegar dressing (a revelation in sweet/sour salad dressings) and another with edamame, corn, daikon and dried squid, with a curry dressing. The dried squid, which I sometimes eat as a snack, was awesome in a salad and added a nice chewy texture. Apparently she got the idea from a recent kyushoku.
As we cooked and ate, we watched This Is It, which I still hadn’t seen. This Friday, the 25th of June, is the first anniversary of Michael’s death. To me, it’s still as sad an event as it was a year ago, and watching him perform and rehearse brought home again what an amazing talent he was. Although showing his age (and, I think, thinness, exhaustion, lack of spark) in some clips, it’s clear his voice was as clear as always, and his dance moves not too shabby either ;) Such a loss.
Hitomi asked me what “this is it” means… and I struggled to explain it! “The thing you’ve been waiting for”, “the highlight”, “the pinnacle”? It really is one of those terms whose meaning changes depending on how it’s used, and has a meaning that isn’t very straightforward to explain. It kind of assumes knowledge of various other English phrases which is not at all helpful for a non-native speaker!
After that it was about 9pm and time for me to head home after a long and entirely satisfying day out. Hitomi expressed interest in watching some of the World Cup in one of the “English pubs” here in Nagoya, so watch this space for some potential football action!