Thursday, October 01, 2009

ichigo-es to ichinomiya

what happened to my sad mac? a friend who used to work for apple suggested replacing my own hard drive. the apple store was going to charge me $400 to do it, so i figured it was worth a shot. after some texted counsel on which kind to buy, i galvanized myself for the trip to pc depot (having no clue what hard drives cost and very little money with which to find a solution). i felt certain of my choice to risk the repair when i saw a hard drive with twice the capacity of my previous one cost $60! i have always loved messing with machines, so i was actually pretty excited to give it a shot. pulling out the old one was cake...(i even had the right tiny screwdrivers), and i could see how much corrosion my little soup spill caused on the exterior. i guess it's amazing it lasted this long. i unscrewed the case and voilà--my computer brain laid bare.

here's the new one on the left and broken hard drive version 2.0 on the right...good thing i got serious about backing stuff last year. after more texted counsel on formatting the hard drive and reinstalling everything, i was up and running a few hours later. gerry, thanks a BILLION! dear reader, if you have a macbook too, consider printing out these instructions in case the worst happens to you.

so after returning to my regularly scheduled life of googling knitting patterns and recipes, facebooking, skype, and downloaded tv, the thing i was looking forward to for over a month (or two?) was my friend megan visiting from tokyo. we had a short holidate planned for september, and i was super excited to see her familiar face after nearly 9 months! the night she arrived, i came down with a sore throat, but i was determined to squeeze as much fun as possible from our visit. like any good vacation, it pretty much revolved around food.
so in japan there is a popular dish called omurice (from omelette rice), and the ubiquitous version is a football-shaped omelette on flavored rice with a dab of ketchup. the idea never really thrilled me, and i had certainly never ordered it in a restaurant. however, there is an omurice restaurant a few blocks from my house, and anything that close is worth a shot, right? when our first choice restaurant was closed, megan and i meandered over, having no idea what we were in for at Bill's Cafe. first of all, the sheer number of choices was staggering: white sauce, demi glace sauce, tomato sauce, chili, ketchup... there was an array of meats or vegetables that could be mixed in, and you could choose the typical style or torotoro, which is defined as "sticky, oily, or brimming with melted fat," but as you'll see if you watch the prep video on Bill's Cafe's page, should be defined as "shiny yellow barf on a plate."
i ordered tomato sauce over fresh mozzarella cheese, and like most things with those two ingredients, it was divine. i could almost forget my aching throat.

we both ordered the dessert set, and things just kept getting better. not only did we get a scoop of homemade ice cream, a tiny carafe of pudding, but we also got to select from the daily cakes, and my melty bitter chocolate cake did not disappoint.

that same night we met my adult student ichiro, a fun, friendly clothing line owner with whom i spend class time talking about motorcycles and clothes (man, my job sucks ;p ) and his girlfriend (younger than me!) in nagoya for one of nagoya's famous foods: tebasaki, or chicken wings. by that point the evil sore throat phlegm had all but paralyzed my vocal cords, and i spent the night honking out my amazement, like a pubescent donkey, over the raucous din of yama-chan's packed five-story chicken wing palace.

spicy with salt and pepper, cooled with beers, and made perfect by learning the perfect technique to strip the meat cleanly from the bones in one bite, the tebasaki really were that good. ichiro treated us, and i felt blessed to have so much fun and good food in one day.
megan and i had more great meals with friends, lots of good talks, knitting, and some shopping, but finally we had to say goodbye, a shame since she was a perfect house guest. "old friend" time has been extremely rare in my new city, and it was like a big dose of home having her here.

we waved goodbye in nagoya, and i headed home alone on the 80s-riffic seats of my local train.


  1. いいなぁ〜!いつか僕もエルちゃんの家を訪ねたい!

  2. aw, sounds like you had a lot of fun!! sorry to hear you were not feeling great though.

  3. I had a fantastic time! Thank you!

  4. Hey, do you cook Japanese dishes? and, do you think your mom would like a Japanese cook book? I found one at my fav store, TJ Max and want to give it to someone who would really enjoy & use it. It has lots of pics!


  5. hi norma! yeah, i cook japanese food. i dunno about mom...she doesn't seem that interested in japanese food, but you could send it to her, and if she doesn't like it, she can send it to me. thanks for thinking of us!