Japan: Rising Sun, Jet Lag, That Oceanic Feeling

I was up this A.M. @ 5:10 due to jet lag.  Having slept on the flight over, the night at the hotel here passed quickly and fitfully.  Asleep @ 11, up @ 1, up @ 3, up @ 5.  Call me Pollyanna, but I love the pleasant dislocation of travel: The heightened senses, the dulled senses, the breaking of routines.  The SF-based, ex-Jersey poet August Kleinzahler described how he used the strangeness of travel to enrich his senses by visiting his elderly parents in his childhood home in New Jersey and how the rush of emotions was thrilling.  This is like that.

The first two fishing boats left past my window as I was getting up.  Yuichoro Yamawaki, the GM here, explained last night over dinner with his manager and ex-chef, Tadaaki Nakano, that this is the fishing season for abalone, uni, anago, hamo, sea bream, and octopus.

Speaking of which: We had an eight-course kaiseke style dinner–small plates, served sequentially–that included baby tuna sushi (so cute!!!), yuba (tofu curds) with boiled vegetables, and hamo (eel) with cucumbers and seaweed.  Everything was so delicious that it really was transcendent with the clear winners the yuba and hamo.  Delicate, simple, small bites.

Meanwhile, back in the room, the Japanese aesthetic kicks in.  Views of the ocean across the full length of windows, recessed lighting, three verandas, and as the early morning hours go by, the light keeps changing.


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