Saturday, 1 September 2007


Updates are coming somewhat less than thick and fast these days I’m afraid because I’m properly into work now. So I’m pretty freakin’ busy, and hitting the internet café until 3 or 4am doesn’t seem like much fun considering how knackered I’ll be the next day. But hopefully I’ll be online in my domicile within a month or so, and then… ‘gee’ and ‘whizz’ you just try and stop me.

This week I finally tried Sapporo Soup Curry, which is a hugely popular local dish that (well, this is what one student told me) they’re starting to sell in some places of Tokyo, because – word to the wise – Sapporo is where it’s at, food wise.

And by it, I mean food. Sapporo is where food's at, food wise.

Good food, maybe I mean good food.

No, seriously, x-percent (where x is a LARGE NUMBER) of Japans fish, meat and vegetables comes from Hokkaido; and implicit in everyone’s assertion that Sapporo’s food is so good is that they keep the best for themselves. Apparently there’s an organic market somewhere near me, and one student asserted that Hokkaido’s farmers have a 200% self-support rate. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what that means, or what ‘self-support rate’ is, and either way 200% seems improbable, but the meaning was clear. Hokkaido farmers rock you sweet and long baby. Yeah! You know what I’m saying!

And so far I totally agree, pretty much every little ramen, sushi, soup curry or whatever place here is great. Every Friday I meet a bunch of other teachers and associated friends for sushi and I eat scallops so thick that the discarded shells must be like dinner plates. What’s even cooler about this culinary superiority is that the local speciality dishes are really simple. I’m no expert yet, but there’s Jingiskan (basically Genghis Khan?) that is a really simple, delicious lamb barbecue dish derived from Mongolian food, and soup curry. Soup Curry is exactly what it says: thin soupy curry served in a bowl with a variety of meat and veg mixed in, maybe some rice to mix in with the last of the soup. Having tried it I’m pretty amazed, it’s just a childishly simple variation on curry, but it feels and tastes pretty unique. It’s not like mulligatawny soup, it’s more like a curry. It’s not like a thin curry, it’s like a soup. It’s a masterpiece of culinary genre-bending. I assume that it works incredibly well in staving off the cold in winter too.

In other news I finally met another British person. Seriously, since I’ve been in Japan (maybe five or six weeks now?) I haven’t met a single other British person. It’s been Americans, Canadians and Japanese all the way. I knew that there were another couple of guys from Britain in Sapporo, and now I’ve met Dave, who is of course from Lichfield. So we can assert our nationality and gang up on the Americans who still outnumber us. Anyway, all the Japanese people think that British English is way cooler that American English. F’real.

Also last night I had it confirmed that I wasn’t imagining the biker with the musical horn that plays the Godfather theme. I mentioned the biker gangs riding through Asabu, and Yuka, who lives nearby-ish jumped in with the Godfather theme, and started talking very fast in Japanese. I mentioned that I thought it was awesome and she shockingly disagreed, but either way we both agreed that the concept of baby yakuza was kawaii.

I wanted to write another TV update too, but it looks like all the youtube videos of the awesome Sushi Oji have been stomped down on by The Man. I'll try and find a way around that.

Not soup curry or jingiskan, but the destructive wake of an all-you-can-eat pan-global buffet we visited as a farewell meal for Matt who was going back to the USA. The green stuff is melon slushie, which was almost all sugar so I loved it. The pit in the middle of the table is a gas lit grill to cook your meat on.

Not only did they have bowling shoes in clownishly big sizes for me, but they were day-glo too! Sadly not pictured are the racks of Hello Kitty bowling balls.

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