Every so often I find myself really missing Japan. The gleaming row of vending machines opposite my tatami lined flat, selling everything from freshly pressed shirts to dodgy burgers. Or bumping into my students whilst perusing the fascinating aisles of assorted fish, tofu and vitamin drinks in our local supermarket. Hanging around with friends in Ueno park, scoffing Makudonurado in Harajuku and cycling around late at night with my front door unlocked and wads of yen in my pockets. After a couple of life-changing years teaching English out there, it’s the people I really miss. Like Takahiro my deaf student who was mercilessly bullied because, as another teacher explained to me “the nail that sticks out must be hammered down”, or Kasahara sensei, the kindly science teacher that taught me how to make the most delicious yakisoba; and of course Masa and Kei.
I’ve written up the lowdown on yesterday’s antics at the UKFBA food stall. Once again, those lovely folk at Channel 4 food have published it here:
I whined a lot about being tired the next day, but emails like the one below made it all seem so worthwhile:
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 2009 17:55:47 +0100
A huge thank you to Sig for being such a fantastic fellow trades-woman and to everyone who came down to see us!
287 Upper Street
London N1 2TZ
I’ve been meaning to visit Ottolenghi’s for such a long time – there’s been many a time that I’ve admired those pretty rose-hued meringue stacks and luscious looking salads; the red and white exterior sleekly defined next to the plethora of cafes and restaurants on Upper Street. I usually glance briefly and longingly over from the other side of the road before rushing along, late for yet another appointment, only to be met by an impatient beautician instead of one of those friendly (yet frazzled) white pinafore-clad waiters. I’ve been reading Ottolenghi’s recipes in the Guardian for years now, have made his gorgeous macadamia and caramel cheesecake recipe at home and read endless glowing reviews of his food – so yes, my visit was well overdue. An impromptu visit from my future in-laws provided the perfect excuse to finally make the pilgrimage to Angel on what was an absolute scorcher of a Bank Holiday Monday.