dove-shaped shortbread, and shiroi koibito
a sudden longing to gaze upon your tall poplar trees
- an omiyage of bundled joy
Hato sabur (French - sable) is shortbread in the shape of a dove (Japanese - hato) - a famous confectionery that is originally from Kamakura. Why the dove shape?
Shiroi Koibito, literally translated as "White Lover", refers to a chocolate-sandwich cookie, from Sapporo. What you see in the photo above is the white chocolate Shiroi Koibito.
Omiyage means memento, souvenir or gift in Japanese.
Last night, I got acquainted to Mr. Chris Martin and the band, Coldplay. Last night, my friends and I were at Nihon Budokan (an indoor arena in Tokyo), watching Coldplay in concert, part of their "Twisted Logic" tour - my first time ever watching them live, my first time ever watching a concert in a foreign land.
Today, I'm sitting down at my laptop, working, with Coldplay playing in the background. To be honest, I've never appreciated their songs better. In fact, I've been replaying "Yellow" over and over again, trying to understand the lyrics. But, I still have no inkling to what the lyrics is about. But one thing's for sure - last night was fantastic! The band delivered, as promised.
Chris Martin did a lot of jumping, running, and rolling within that 3 hours. After some time, I noticed that his t-shirt had holes under both arms! At first I thought that he had accidentally tore his sleeves, because of his acrobatics. But after a while, I concluded that it was a fashion statement, because the tear/holes were just too similar and consistent...hahaha!
Coming from a place where it is almost illegal to sit during a live band performance, it was a surprise to see the crowd at Nihon Budokan, all sitting in their seats! It was pretty amusing too to see Chris Martins running freely around the circle of the arena, without rowdy fans making attempts to hug or touch him - which would've happened where I come from, if he were in such close proximity to the fans! Not that the folks in the arena were unenthusiastic about Coldplay, it was just a cultural thing, I guess. That's how people are here.
After the last song, I was sort of waiting for someone to shout "One more!" or "We want more!", for the encore. But I was not surprised that no one did, and instead, everyone quietly left the hall. And finally, it was just us, three gaijins who were politely ushered out because they needed to clean the place up.
Thoughts in 2014
Well, maybe they did call for an encore. Maybe it just got lost in our survival Japanese ;P
"Typhoon number 10 had just called and left. Its aftermath is the clearest blue sky ever, and of course, the all scorching summer heat. I've lived in Japan for over two years now. In summer..."
Revisiting this entry in 2014:
I don't know why I didn't finish this entry or what exactly was it that I had intended to write. But I remember the typhoons and earth quakes in Tokyo, very vividly.
I remember rushing back home early to avoid getting stuck in school during the storm. I remember walking home from the train station, dragged out of course by my out-of-control umbrella! I remember how difficult it was to walk in the midst of the strong wind - my skirt unruly, and my free hand fluttering to save my modesty.
I remember how accurate the weather forecast is in Japan, and how we relied on it all the time.
It happened somewhere at the entrance to Todai-ji, the renown temple that houses the world's largest bronze statue of Buddha. The young monk was walking aimlessly (at least that was what I thought). On his shoulder, he carried a long stick (possibly a small branch of a tree). Along the stick dangled circular-shaped, golden bells, hanging by colorful threads of green, orange, and red.
As he walked around the piazza, he would shift the stick with dangling bells from one shoulder to another. He didn't talk to anyone, he didn't ask for alms, he just walked back and forth.
I couldn't figure him out. I found him fascinating and peculiar at the same time. Hence, the stalking.
Back in Tokyo, at the university, I asked my professor and colleagues about this monk with the bells. Is it a common thing for a monk to do? And is he a monk, in the first place? No one could answer me. Today, more than eight years later, this picture of the bell-carrying monk is still very much a mystery to me.
So, can you enlighten me?
It was home. On 25th March 2007, I left it. I guess never to go back there again.
I lived there for two years. It was a small house with ample spaces for 2 persons. 2LDK they called it for short - 2 rooms (living room and dining room) and the kitchen, to be precise.
My room had 2 huge windows. Each windows had a steel flap/door attached to it, that could be pulled down to protect the window and house from strong winds or typhoons.
My smaller window overlooked a tiny garden and in spring, roses bloomed. The garden was the main reason I chose the house.
Our kitchen was basically the wall fitted with a small stove (with 2 cook top burners plus a griller) and a sink. The small kitchen continued into the dining room, which flowed into the living room.
This tiny kitchen housed more spices than we (my housemate and I) could ever cooked. In fact, the rezoko (refrigerator) at most times held more food than what could be consumed by two people - what with all the halal beef and chicken ordered online (a whole years' ration??).
2 girls who had never cooked triumphed there - Chinese herbal chicken soup, chicken kurma, biryani, the Malaysian soto, curry noodles, etc.
Life was peaceful most of the time. The most serious crisis we had in the house was when pigeons made a nest in our smoke shaft! OMG, did it stank! According to the pest control guy, such "pigeon-invasion" was something quite common in Japan. Looking back, it was quite funny. Imagine a chirping smoke shaft...
In summer, locusts sang. I would open my room's huge window to let some breeze in, as I read a book, listened to music, watched a movie or simply just lie down on my bed, listening to the fading sounds of shoes hitting the road as neighbors walked to and from the train station.
Highmill House, Saginuma - that was the place where love blossomed and was nurtured, hearts got broken and nursed. That was where I last saw you.
a day in fall, somewhere in Otaru, a restaurant its name forgotten - a lot of japanese spoken but not as much understood - we watched his quick hands swiftly snipped claws and tore open shells showcasing white meat tinted with scarlet brightness - three foreigners in search of the soft sweet succulent king crab.
Safiza is a Travel Blogger, Common Reader, Book Hoarder, Art and Nescafe Tarik Lover.