It has come to this: blogging about Facebook.
There’s a book, by Margaret Mason, titled No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, essentially a series of “prompts” to make your blog more interesting. I do think there’s a amount of certain wisdom in that title, however I’ve recently become a Facebook friend of Mitsuru Tabata, who in lives in Nerima, Tokyo, and is currently second guitarist in the psychedelic Japanoise band Acid Mothers Temple (the guys I want to play at my funeral). He’s also a sometime member of The Boredoms and Zeni Geva. That’s him at the top of this post, a happy soul as you can see, and yes that is a hamburger shirt. To be fair he doesn’t always look like that.
And the fact is, Japanophile that I am (with some slightly half-baked plans to go to Japan early next year), I find I’m deeply fascinated by what he has for lunch, and for dinner too. Fortunately a fairly high percentage of Tabata-san’s Facebook posts feature food, both home-cooked and eaten in restaurants.
Certainly some of the food he has at home looks very much the way you’d expect Japanese home-cooked food to look: simple, elegant, exotic in a way but not at all outlandish, and not at all the kind of thing you'd find in a western Japanese restaurant:
And here’s what he eats at his mother’s house (not an acid mother necessarily), which looks even better: gorgeously stylish and appealing. She had me at "stewed smoked herring."
But then, who would think that a Japanese noise guitarist would be eating spaghetti alla pomdoro for lunch?
Much less a BLT?
Tabata is evidently a great fan of curries, and we know that the Japanese do a good curry, it having been taken there, I gather, by the British who imported it from India. Wikipedia tells me that the Japanese navy was introduced to curry by the British Royal Navy, and now every Friday is curry day in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. This may be true, but my dad was in the Royal Navy and he’d have thrown himself overboard rather than eat curry.
In any case curry is now a thoroughly international dish and so Tabatha eats in various curry houses in Japan. Some apparently have more Indian influence than others. This one looks like it could be had in any could English curry house.
This one less so:
But of course again it’s the odd unexpected “fusion” food that really catches the eye, like this one:
Yes it’s easy to believe the Japanese eat hamburger steaks with rice, but this one appears to be varnished with some kind of glistening gravy and those two semicircles of carrot really do look out of place.
Tabata is an international touring musician, and one of his latest posts has him in Holland eating or at least posing with, something called a Lucifer.
And finally he gets to England and gets a curry, in Ramsgate, a place not known for its simplicity, elegance and quiet exotic.
I sure hope that curry tastes better than it looks. The English, they’re so inscrutable.
Meanwhile, unconnected with Tabata-san, the website rocketnews24 - “Bringing you yesterday’s news from Japan and Asia, today” - reviews a restaurant called Maruhachi Sushi, located in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. The most spectacular item on the menu is something called Sexual Harassment Sushi. Yep, really. It looks like this:
It’s a single octopus tentacle and blood cockle wrapped in seaweed. The reviewer, named Kuzo “liked the unique combination of textures in the octopus and shellfish. The seaweed also had a pure taste that was exquisite.” Hey, it takes more than that to sexually harrass anybody I know in the Psychogourmet set. But it does look wonderful.