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  • Writer's pictureNigel W. Ruddock

Anyone for baby squid?

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

A Japanese Spring Sunday (日曜日) 31st March l

It’s fun having friends in Eastern places. I should be thankful I live in near a cosmopolitan city like Frankfurt and work in music. That has helped me make new contacts. Over breakfast this morning, in a very British way, I felt I had to comment on the weather. The sun was out, so it was an ideal opportunity to learn the expression今日は晴れています “kyo wa harete imasu” in other words “it`s sunny today. I could have also said “Kyo wa hare desu” – just another variation. I also needed to tell my lovely host about the delicious sake which I had drunk the night before. You just can’t get it in Frankfurt I explained. She had knocked up a delicious egg and salad at lightening speed..

.....a great start to the day.

Do we get breakfast as well?

Later the ironing board came out, and she began to iron bank notes, I was reminded of the expression “money laundering”, but the notes hadn’t come out of the washing machine. No, today was a tea ceremony in Tokyo with friends apparently. You bring clean money to births, marriages, birthdays and tea ceremonies. But not for funerals. If you did it would look as if you were expecting a death, and that is definitely not on.

You bring used money in this case.

I have to get out in the sun and walk up the hill behind the house to find a little park Misako-san had mentioned. Find it I did, and I was rewarded by spring flowers, cherry blossoms and rape seed. Yes, this yellow flower is regarded by us as merely agricultural. Here it is planted in parks for its simple beauty. The place is very peaceful

...natural and wild...unusual in Yokohama...

A couple of people bringing the dog for a walk, a baby in a buggy getting some fresh air, and there is a photographer. There is something endearing about all this photography. It’s very much a part of life here. In the UK it would probably be greeted with cynicism. Strange bird calls herald some rather handsome thrushes with white around the eyes and russet bellys. I enjoy a doriyaki - a sort of muffin filled with bean past....

the petals are beginning to fall.....this is such a classic Japanese scene. The notion of wabi sabi...comes to mind .....the melancholic appeal of the impermanence of all things - especially the modest, the rustic, the imperfect, and even the decayed. So different from our Classical cultural ideals of perfection and permanence.

Another rendezvous today. I head for Yutenji via Naka-Meguru in south west Tokyo to meet up with friends from Tokorozawa

Takayuki-san obviously knows of a good eating place, and when we get there it is heaving. Eating and drinking is such a big thing here, and it is so sociable! We start off with a huge bottle of Sapporo beer, and graduate on to Schucho on the rocks with lemon. At bewildering speed a rapid succession of dishes arrive: Yakatori (delicious chicken on a skewer, tempura (fried pumpkin in this case – yummy!) and baby squid….I draw a line at the latter…

I just can’t. But the idea isn’t just to stay in this one place. Oh no, it’s then on to a quieter bar. Lovely little snacks are produced, and my friends enjoy a nice red wine ...

......whilst I opt for the plum variety.

I am always grateful for the reliability of the Tokyo Metro after such evenings. I got a direct train to Yokohama, which was great.

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