Tag Archives: curry

Pizza Weiner

Apartment smells like lemongrass and an Indian knick-knack store, some Japanese jazz pianist tickling recorded ivories as I struggle against a bottle of wine corked harder than Life Goes On. Kiki wanders the place unaware of his impending playdate with visiting cat Momo, who ultimately will not return anything considered affection but will happily play with his toys. On the stove simmers a curry, newest iteration of a recipe I’ve been working on the last few days, originally a variant on Palak Paneer Tikka, heavy with softened onions and some grated ginger for a base, but evolved now into something almost Cambodian, heavy with amok spices, coconut milk the primary liquid, a few tablespoons of tomato paste held over, Japanese cottage cheese giving it a little more thickness.

These are the best parts about living in a place which is mine: I can cook whatever I want, I can keep the whisky next to the potatoes, I can light cheap, dirty incense, and my Wii remotes always have charged batteries. In my closet there are unfinished plastic robot models, still waiting in the boxes, next to a dozen tiny jars of paint, used exclusively to articulate bloody armor holes and shot eyes on an Eva-01.

After we and our friends finish eating I find the night capped off with a little two-player Battletoads, endlessly retrying the third level, the speeder bike stage, you know the one. Later, there is a resounding victory for Russia against China in some NES Ice Hockey, and then a quick couple minutes each of Mega Man X2 and Star Fox, with a Twinbee 3 chaser.

Having ruminated on the topic for a few days now, I can safely compose and present to you this informative chart about coconut milk:

Things That are Really Great About Coconut Milk
1. Good in curry
2. Fun to open with the pointy part of the bottle opener like those big cans of Hi-C that we used to get where you put the vent hole on one side
3. Exotic?

The best part of the Super Bowl on Monday was that I got to watch it this year, albeit on a recorded time-delayed stream that sometimes dipped down to fifteen frames a second, making it feel a little like watching football on a slide projector that a child was advancing after eating a variety of sweets. The Pittsburghers did Not Win the game, largely by fault of their own and not necessarily due to the fortitude of the opposition. But I did my part, by consuming four cans of Asahi Super Dry and conjuring up arcane, infernal curses against the televised men, curses unlike any of those some of the surrounding Japanese surely had ever theorized were even grammatically possible. At one point The Black Eyed Peas performed some musical numbers, and then Slash rose up through a trap door in the stage, and then Usher descended from the heavens as though a spirit, and then with fully two minutes left to go in the game, the entire recording ended, having automatically stopped after pulling four hours of video. Our host graciously spoiled the game for himself by pulling up some highlights on the Internet and showing the last drive to us–another man had recorded parts of his own recording off the television, then posted this recording on YouTube. It was, I believe, the closest I got to approximating how it might have looked to witness the disappointment on shaky feet in a Pittsburgh bar, though the destructive oblivion I’d have medicated myself into some years ago was absent.

– One of today’s convenience store lunch items, purchased for 210 yen, titled merely “Rappers” and taking a form somewhat like that of a burrito, only inside is a “Pizza Weiner”

– Favorite local breadery named DONQ, which I am sure I have mentioned in here before but just felt like pointing out again because it’s called DONQ
– Lost 800 yen the other day attempting to win a cute-ified stuffed version of an Evangelion character out of a crane machine at Namco Land, firmly cementing my crane game skills as having officially atrophied forever, never to return
– Spent an hour watching the annual school Karuta card game contest, during which the students need to listen to the teachers say one of one hundred famous poems and then reach for a card that contains the final lines of the famous poem (which they have memorized), and also during which I was privy to the twistedly enjoyable screams of agony and pain emanating from my three hundred and twenty first year high schoolers beaten to the cards by fractions of a second

I took it upon myself this weekend to talk Jessy into watching our first Bollywood movie together, mainly because I had located a real whopper: the most expensive Indian movie ever made, clocking in at around $36 million, this one, titled Endhiran, features the second-most famous Asian actor (after Jackie Chan) and the almost inconcievably beautiful Aishwarya Rai, both of which change costumes at least three times in each outlandish song-and-dance sequence. The greatest parts of this movie, aside from the plot itself–which revolves around a scientist who invents a super-robot who begins to develop emotions and attempts to seduce his girlfriend–certainly arrive near the end of the film, when the robot and his dozens of clones begin to gratuitously destroy everything. Even better? Halfway through the THREE HOUR picture we get a single scene of the robot walking slow-motion toward the camera, having just decided like any man that he is going after Ms. Rai, lifting his arms up as if to say “so what” and then a huge, comically-styled INTERMISSION bumper on the side of the screen.

I have since proceeded to download three other Bollywood movies to fill this new void in my life. I trust that a silly Indian man–with a full head of hair so thick it could be sold as a two-man toupee–and a variety of attractive women warbling like injured felines will do the trick.

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Ret it Be

Shinki-bus stinks like wet country, but I take it–it services the rather remote area where we’re to be trained for three days by the Board of Education. I leave from Sannomiya station, a multi-level transport hub bigger than Sears and busier than Krispy Kreme. It’s an hour-plus trip that stops to pick up old ladies from isolated benches roadside amidst Maxvalu supermarkets and rice fields. As with all places I’ve so far been in this country, the cicada calls are deafening and, in conjunction with impossibly high overhead power lines, virtually define the landscape. I step off Shinki-bus and there they are, out here in Yashiro, ree-ree-ree-raaaaaaawwww.

I refuse to concern myself too explicitly with the occasionally redundant training seminars, satisfying my requirement of compulsory attendance but preferring instead to let my thoughts drift to our meals, which are frequent and enormous. By day our chefs, one older and with a shagtop haircut and classic ‘stache, prepare curry, shrimp katsu, and strange “tofu hamburger,” then at night when the Kirin flows pull worn acoustics from god-knows-where and hammer out 60s and 70s rock like there aren’t 45 English-speaking 20-somethings clapping and singing along. One of them, the younger one, rolls a pack of cigs into his black t-shirt sleeve like an anachronistic 5’4″ James Dean.

Between songs we are mindful of our poker hands, elements of a foolish no-limit game played with toothpicks broken in half and devoid enough of any value to prevent anyone from folding their shitty cards. 4-5 offsuited takes a pot before we forget about the game all together.

Their repertoire is dumbfounding. When they play Johnny B Goode to heed our rabid calls I see the young one morph into Michael J Fox from Back to the Future, kicking the air to cheers, thrusting the guitar around the like some sort of primitive implement. The kitchen becomes a concert hall: I sip beer and rest my elbow on a plastic milk crate containing a dirty chef’s apron, figure this is the strangest venue I’ve ever caught a show, industrial food prep in governmental training compound, rural Hyogo prefecture Japan, 1-2-3 o’clock 4 o’clock rock.

The morning after, one man from the Board of Education rubs his face in fatigue as though tenderizing choice Kobe beef, having imbibed far more than the requisite beer the night before. The other staff and teachers vary: half-asleep, half-awake, toeing the line between feeling patronized and liberated.

As we finish our dichotomic breakfast (rice and miso soup among American-style bacon, french fries, and coffee), I carry my tray back to the kitchen and there’s our shagtop rockstar for a night, two hands on a paddle stirring an honest-to-god cauldron, sweet aromas. He gives me a nod. I rinse ketchup off my chopsticks.

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