Thursday, 6 October 2011

Domestic dining in suburban Tokyo

During a recent visit to Japan I was invited by the Suzuki family to share a meal with them at their home in Musashi-Kosugi, a suburb of Tokyo in the prefecture of Kanagawa, around 50 mins by train from Shibuya station.

I expected sushi and noodles to dominate the menu, just like it does in most Japanese restaurants overseas, but that could not be further from the truth. The Suzuki's did prepare an extensive range of dishes and snacks, unworthy of the word 'meal' and which classified more as proper 'dining'.

Apart from the fact that everything was freshly prepared and home-cooked, prepared just hours if not minutes before we arrived, there was a number of dishes I had never heard of, prepared with ingredients unknown to me, which resulted in trying a few flavors I'd never tasted before. Among other dishes, the meal included fresh sliced raw fish, sashimi, fermented soybeans, natto, Japanese home-cooked staple and pork cutlets.

Yankee Marley, from California, Alex (a Taiwanese-Canadian) and I could not keep our fingers of the endless range of dishes, bowl after bowl, plate after plate. The Suzuki's hyperactive kids could not stop (nor they were made to) running around the kitchen and constantly jumped up and down the couch, while an enormous television played a surreal gameshow in the background.

While chewing my natto, I came to realise that the Japanese are not only extremely friendly and polite, they simply know how to give you a good time. When I headed back to Central Tokyo later on that night, with tickled tastebuds and a smile on my face, I could only come to one conclusion: Jummy Japanese, you taste like more.