Friday, August 17, 2012

Food for (Tokyo) Thought

Luggage + Shinkansen

Exactly a year ago, I moved to Tokyo.

Tokyo is a blend of all the following: big, exciting, beautiful, stylish, expensive, glamourous, stressful, exhausting, crowded. Some days, Tokyo makes me so frustrated- it seems like I am working so hard and not getting anywhere, or I think I don't belong here and never will. Other days, it's the complete opposite, and I feel like I could live here happily forever.

This year has been so much fun, yet very eventful. Thankfully I found some treasures here, in the form of friends and neighbourhoods, and I grew to adore Tokyo. This city literally never sleeps, and looking back on the past year, I wonder if I ever did sleep. In Tokyo, I found a comfortable nook I'm pleased with, and I'm hoping the next bit will be a little more... still.

In other news, all this thinking has made me hungry, and I took part in some memorable feasts. First, some delicious Korean fare in Korea Town (Shin-Okubo), where my lovely friend Mayo and I sampled a bit of gamjatang (spicy pork bone soup), bibimbap (rice and vegetables with a fried egg mixed in), and kimchi chijimi (a kimchi pancake). Eating Korean food is always a treat since I left Seoul, and walking the streets of Shin-Okubo makes me reminisce about my time there, with the K-pop songs blaring and spicy aromas.

Second, my friend Danny, with whom I traveled the length of Japan through various transportation modes, threw a BBQ party at his house. It's a bit of a rare occurrence to hold house parties in Japan, but it happened, complete with a backyard, wooden picnic table, grilled Thai-style tuna and chicken skewers, homemade potato salad, chestnut-based veggie burgers, sweet corn, baguette, and copious amounts of alcohol. It was a scorching hot and sticky summer night, with a soundtrack of cicadas, and it made me like August in Japan.

To celebrate my one-year anniversary in Tokyo, I should just sleep endlessly to recover from the past year, but instead I'll head to Summer Sonic and find more treasures to write about.

Kimchi chijimi:
pancake batter with kimchi and spring onion

Korean table and the plethora of dishes

Grilled corn + potato salad: Am I back in Canada?

A real, outdoor BBQ party, with a Japanese touch


aiko said...

Hi Vivian! Aiko here. LOVE your blog already xxx

Alex Crist said...

Love your blog but am curious: do you have any idea what's in that "gamjatang,"--the "spicy Pork bone soup", or in that "Thai-style Tuna"?
Thanks, hope everything is well.

Vivian said...

Aiko- Thanks!! I'm so happy I met you! xx

Alex- Thank you. Here is a detailed description of gamjatang, it's a staple in Korean food, and usually very spicy:

As for the Thai-style tuna, my friend made it according to a family recipe. He marinated the tuna in a chili sauce (I think) with various spices, and I remember coriander being used. I could asked him for more details, I'd love to re-create it!