I remember the Saturdays I used to spend back home in N. Ireland. It would involve quiet afternoon ciders in the pub, maybe a frame of snooker and pretty much that was it. ‘Low key’ doesn’t even begin to describe it, and I wasn’t happy. Of course living in Tokyo has its downsides – I miss my mates (and the cider) a lot, but I get to see and do so much cool stuff now that the pros outweigh the cons.
It’s quite ironic really. I used to be the senior writer on the Northern Ireland Tourist Board advertising account. It was my job to entice visitors to my country – yet I personally couldn’t wait to get out of it. As I stood in Asakusa last Saturday watching a group of Japanese women dressed as swans, I thought to myself: “It took balls for me to ditch everything and come out here on my own and I’m proud of myself for doing it.”
The same goes for anyone who sticks their swan neck out and chooses to travel.
If Saturday was all about swans, Sunday was all about skating. SUPRA’s final tour for the year saw the team come to Tokyo for a display in Miyashita Skatepark. The place was packed…
I had African food for the first time the other night. Actually that’s a bit of a ridiculous statement; like me asking what you had for dinner and you replying “European food” or “American food”. To be more precise, it was Nigerian grub – cooked up by a guy called Lucky on a small stove behind a tiny bar in Shinjuku. Bit of an odd vibe that place. There was a suited gentleman at the end of the bar with a burnt face, a hilarious African soap opera playing on the TV, and Lucky-san standing there in traditional Nigerian dress serving us both Happy Hour Carlsberg.
So yeah, Nigerian food. I’d never really tasted anything like it. There were plantains fried in palm oil which tasted a bit like a spicybananapotato, a new vegetable which I h
ave just made up. There was also a chicken-stew type dish which was served with something called fufu – a mashed-potato looking thing made by boiling starchy vegetables together and then pounding them into a dough-like blob. I wasn’t sold on it – but to be fair, fufu is probably the cutest name I have ever heard for a food so all is forgiven.
fu-fu / fu-fu / Noun: Fluffy white mashed-potato type blob