Radies and radishes: Part 27

Posted on 13 June 2011

Feasting in the rainy season …

…the journal of a South African vegan in Japan

12 June 2011

Ohisashiburi! My apologies for going AWOL for a month. Alas, I was not on another travel adventure filled with vegan goodness, nor trapped in the storeroom of a dairy-free deli somewhere (a girl can dream). But, no matter; I’m back to blogging again, and I have decided to stay in Japan until my contract ends next July. After that, we’ll see.

Seaweed mozuku, Ryukyu, Okinawa, Japan. Photo courtesy of Carey FinnThe radiation situation remains a concern, but I think it’s being a bit better understood now, and people have stopped panicking. Bottled water is back in some supermarkets, and life is slowly returning to some sense of normalcy.

My ramble this time is about lunch at a Japanese friend’s flat. Hey, stifle that yawn! It wasn’t your average sandwich and black tea affair – it was a 3-course feast. Said friend recently qualified as a cook of sorts, and I really hope she opens a restaurant somewhere someday. Her food is homey, healthy and served in huge portions – just what you need on a rainy Osaka afternoon.

When we arrived, she served up deep-fried bamboo shoots, picked locally by her friends. For those of you who’ve never tried bamboo, it’s crunchy and fleshy, and if fresh, really, really delicious! It was served with some sort of organic seaweed salt to add some flavour. The starter was followed by a home-made vinegar drink – a little sour, or suppai, as they say here, but it felt like it was good for you.

The main course was hearty minestrone soup with organic bread, a garden salad, some steamed flowering cabbage (courtesy of yours truly), deep-fried gluten meat chunks and rice. Dessert was a huge chocolate cake with almonds and banana slices. It was made with soya milk, but actually contained honey as the sweetener, so it wasn’t 100% vegan. 

We ate ourselves into something close to a coma then passed out under the heated table (kotatsu). I was seriously considering kidnapping the Japanese friend and making her prepare such meals for me on a daily basis, but she must have caught on to my nefarious scheme because she flew out of the country shortly after that. She claims she’s travelling around Europe for a couple of months. A likely story!

Other than the feast, nothing new on the vegan front this side of the world. The rainy season has arrived, and it’s getting hotter and more humid by the day. My home garden is flourishing, and hopefully I’ll have a healthy, if tiny-scale, harvest of soya beans, sage, lettuce and tomatoes in a couple of months’ time.

Keep warm as it gets colder in the southern hemisphere!

Next time: Sayounara! The final chapter of my blog.


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