Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Have and to Hold

Being in this new land of many things, I have the benefit of sampling quite a number of new foods.  Lots of interesting little sweets and candy, all uniquely and beautifully wrapped, various ways of cooking noodles, different soup broths, different ways of cooking and frying veggies and meats, new combinations food with endless variety and ingenuity.  So many different possibilities.  And yes, in answer to the first question nearly every Japanese person asks me after we've met, I do love Japanese food.  And it's really true.  When I'm not here, I miss it greatly.

This new birth of culinary and confectionary possibilities has brought me to wonder something slightly disturbing: how many delicious foods in the world have I never eaten?  And as sad as this is, it leads quite gracefully into an even sadder question- how many delicious foods in the world will I never eat?    Oddly enough, despite the pleasure that I enjoy in trying a new food, realizing a new mixture of sweet and/or savory, I have come to accept that I rarely yearn for experiences I've never had.  Before I came here, I didn't know that I would miss kinako powder or anko paste, nor did I regularly crave miso.  I knew not the joys of a well-prepared tempura spread, nor the mirth of an okonomiyaki party.  And despite all my new experiential acquisitions, I have not, nor likely will I enjoy some of the more beloved of Japanese foods:  Kobe beef, yakitori (grilled chicken), ramen in its traditional ham outfit.  Such are the sacrifices of a meatless diet.

With all the new experiences I have, I have new desires.  Worlds become possible.  The stars beckon my visitation, a new mochi calls my name.  Enjoy me, they say.  But woe to me should I ever seek one uninvited.  Woe to me should I ever look back upon them with yearning.

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