The boy in Hokkaido inspired a long work about…a boy in Hokkaido. Why would parents leave a child in the mountains? Why would the consequences of this decision be unknown or limited?
Then, too, work on the cognition behind longevity in Japan. Why do people choose to delay gratification? What delays are related to the planting of Western institutions on the Zen Buddhist hegemony that ended during the Meiji restoration?
Then, too, daily lessons, via the internet, to buttress my German.
All within the setting of two weeks of exploration: Very good dry rubbed pork ribs at Smoke Shop, an unpleasantly frozen chicken parm sub at Meridien Food Mart, first rate pork belly sliced thinly at H Mart, Icelandic lamb at Whole Foods, and really easy-to-follow Sichuan recipes from Fuchsia Dunlap.
Dinerstein’s book on postwar cool had a great intro, and the TLS review was intriguing, but the book was way overwritten, poorly or hardly edited, and seemed to be a throwback to the mumbo-jumbo of 1960’s existentialist canards.
I just put my three pairs of white jeans into the wash. Summer is now over.
It was a summer of noodles for me.
I’m not one for eating sandwiches or salads in restaurants. Each bite is the same as the bite before.
And while Boston now has many very good noodle joints, the salt and fat in the food served in these places makes them a treat rather than go-to. On top of that, $14-17 a bowl?
So I learned how to make cold noodles at home. Nothing tastes better in the summer. The trick is to get great noodles. There’s a company in California selling terrific noodles; these are about $4 for two servings, and the wonderful H Mart sells them.
I learned how to make cold, spicy noodles using Korean oil flavored with hot peppers. I learned how to make cold sesame noodles using a Japanese recipe. I learned how to make cold Sichuan style noodles with tofu, ginger, and shallots.
It was all flavorful, vegetarian, and relatively healthy.
The chief downside is the social isolation. Few experiences in restaurants are more fun than slurping noodles with others slurping noodles.
Hunkered down in front of my computer and writing about longevity in Japan, and a boy lost in the mountains of Hokkaido?