Monday, April 16, 2012

Family Adventures: Why Japanese Food Is Vitally Important

Image via Facebook

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Japan is a big part of my life. Not only did I spend two years of my young adulthood teaching English in Yokohama but my sister and I were both born in Japan. We were diplo-brats, as my father served at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo for seven years. We left when I was three. It was Dad's last overseas post. We spent the rest of our childhoods in suburban Maryland.

But Japan has been very important to our family ever since, not least in our gastronomical adventures. During our family trip to Europe in 1984, our favorite restaurant in Paris was a yakitori-ya. Sushi restaurants were a popular choice for birthday dinners for many years.

Vermont is not exactly overrun with Japanese restaurants but we decided to try out a new one for lunch on Sunday: San Sai in Burlington. They have a wonderful spot with a view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks beyond. The prices are a little high but the service is good and the food excellent. I went with chirashi. I generally prefer sashimi to sushi so I can control the amount of wasabi, not subject to the whims of the chef. Chirashi's so pretty, too - not really essential to the flavor but visual presentation is very important in Japan, especially where food is concerned. Overall, a great lunch.

Photo via New Ko Sushi Japanese Restaurant - not exactly the same as what I had but a reasonable visual approximation

We had our broomball playoffs this weekend. We're telling our students that we finished in fourth place. I don't think any of them read my blog but just in case, that's my official position here, too. I'm already excited for next season in the fall, though we need to get to work recruiting people who will show up for games. There's plans for kickball this summer. I passed on the spring season but the team did well - for real this time. They finished in second place out of four teams. The league for the summer season is much bigger. The first place team gets to go to Vegas for nationals!

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  1. 'I generally prefer sashimi to sushi so I can control the amount of wasabi, not subject to the whims of the chef.'

    This says a lot about you, I think.

    1. Are you saying I'm a control freak? I've tried to let go. I really have. But I'm very particular about wasabi. I prefer to mix my own bloody mary, too, for similar reasons. Except in that case, I really like it hot.

    2. Understand.

      My alter ego :

    3. Ah, but see I'm actually not that way with most food at all - just wasabi and tabasco.

      As for the rest of my life, the conductor in me wants to control a lot of things but, in truth, in learning to teach, to parent, indeed to live happily, I've learned to let go of much of that need. I suppose I am still a planner by nature but I've grown to enjoy My Wife's draw-a-number-out-of-a-hat approach to many things.

    4. It is wonderful when our companions are able to influence us toward a more balanced state. I am a far less rigid person as a direct result of the last ten years of being married to the person I call a dandelion puff. He's brilliant and reliable as the sun, but he floats about in such a way that I never was able to naturally do, before. He's a back roads sort of person whereas I have certainly tended to be a beeline sort of person -- rarely to maximum effect.

      To randomness. Better yet, to the complexity and texture which arises out of letting go, even just a bit.