For meze, we ordered Hummus and patlıcan salatası (similar to Baba ghanoush). Oh dear lord, there are not enough words in my vernacular to describe how satisfying it felt to indulge in this after so many years. The dips tasted homemade. Having it with hot and fluffy Turkish bread warmed me inside out. How I have missed Mediterranean cuisine.
Bah Kut Teh (meat bone tea) is one of those dishes that I often ate at the hawker centre growing up. It’s a pork rib soup slow cooked in a broth of herbs and spices. Despite the name, Bah Kut Teh has no tea in the soup and is a reference to the oolong tea which is ordinarily served alongside the soup. The older generations believed that it cancels out all the fat in the soup. Hmm… about that…
I was hell bent on never living in Tokyo. I’d heard in the grapevine that people here are rude, that it’s overpopulated and that people are racist towards foreigners. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time in Tokyo for both work and pleasure – I must say – that the rumours in the grapevine are false.
Cutting the belly – seppuku or harakiri – is a form of Japanese ritual suicide originally reserved for the samurai: the medieval military class. The purpose of Seppuku was to achieve an honourable death. The practise was sometimes used to die voluntarily rather than fall into the hands of their enemies – and likely suffer torture. At other times, it was used as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offences or had brought shame to themselves.
Jiyugaoka. It’s only ten minutes away from the overcrowded and overrated Shibuya – but it has a lot to offer the jaded foreigner that’s been here for too long. I’ve been coming to Jiyugaoka for work the past couple of months. The neighbourhood reminds me a lot of Melbourne: where I lived for five years.
Akasaka has quickly become my favourite neighbourhood in Tokyo. It has all of the international amenities and none of the annoying tourists. The streets are full of restaurants from all over the world. The bars are chic and woman-friendly. I’ve been coming to this area for work and I LOVE it. There isn’t much to see or do as such – but if you’re a foreigner that’s been in Japan for a while and are longing to feel at ‘home’ – Akasaka will sort you out.
I’m riding the Green Car. It’s unbelievable that this train is so empty. There’s legroom. Empty seats. Food on sale. A tray table to eat my bento. Would I truly be able to enjoy this if not for the slow and steady ascent I’ve had? I was Mr. 8 of Pentacles not so long ago, packed into commuter hell; sharing my midnight misery with the masses. I didn’t like it – but I accepted that it was part of my journey from the ground up.