First stop Japan

I’m writing this post on a train as I leave the light-studded apartment blocks of Tokyo behind me, on my way north to Narita airport. I am also leaving with fond memories of food, family, pottery and footbal.  This holiday season my wife and I are taking a little break from the New Zealand summer to enjoy the northern hemisphere and all its wintry delights.

First stop Japan! Where my wife’s family are from. Oh yes I’m already starting to feel the cold, good thing there are some of my favourite foods to warm my tummy. Winter warmer number one for me is the noodle based dish ‘Ramen’, there is nothing like getting a good sweat up over a bowl of noodles in steaming hot salty broth while you watch the noodles being made about two metres from your table.

Number two winter warmer in Japan is oden, another broth-based dish that is set in the middle of the table and shared amongst family. We were fortunate to share oden with my wife’s cousin who made the broth using a dashi (stock) made from flying fish. The broth infuses its liquid goodness into the surimi, eggs, daikon radish and other goodies that make up the dish.

Japan is also one of the best places to indulge in one of my other passions, pottery. We were lucky enough to visit the home of one of the most internationally celebrated potters, Yamada Shoji in the little town of Mashiko. We strolled through Yamada’s former studio and museum where many of his pieces and pottery from his own personal collection are held.

The train is nearly at our stop, just enough time to add our unexpected football game experience. Through a friend of my wife’s cousin’s husband we scored tickets to the Club World Cup third place play-off. We watched Chelsea vs. Corinthians at the ‘International Stadium Yokohama’ massive crowd (68,000) lots of fun. Next we fly off to Germany for the Christmas markets, a quick trip through Belgium then on to the UK, will post again in the New Year; have a good one!