As I suffered from food coma, my memory is a bit rusty so pardon my cherry picking of last week’s recollection.
The 1st of January to Fukuoka is the 25th of December to Melbourne. It’s so important that the hospital allowed Chika’s dad to return and spend time with the family for two days.
Like any annual family celebration, we simply sat in front of an insane amount of food. They ordered an extra box of Osechi Jubako (special food in a box) since their granddaughter was present this year.
There’s this Japanese movie about a samurai ghost that couldn’t eat mortal food but liked to smell and admire them anyway.
That’s how I felt by the end of day one – I could only feast with my eyes as my stomach noped out.
It even pushed me to do a short run around the neighbourhood.
We could not finish the food after three days.
Whatever’s left was barbequed later.
Hana received her new year clothes, which we used again for her faux 100-day celebration.
I said ‘faux’ because it hadn’t been 100 days since her birth; it was simply easier to bundle two celebrations in one for grandpa’s convenience.
Okuizome is a Japanese tradition which the baby is (pretended to be) fed certain dishes in hope of having abundant of good food for the rest of its life. Part of the dishes was a bowl of real stones, as by ‘eating’ them, Hana would grow strong teeth.
Shortly after the ceremony, grandpa went back to the hospital.
The first day of work for the rest of Japan, we went to a soba restaurant in the mountains.
Our soba dishes came with entree, pickles and fruits.
But the atmosphere, the old couple who greeted us and spoke to Hana as if she’s their own granddaughter, I suspected, was the reason they’d been awarded a Michelin bib gourmand.
Ryuji finally brought us to the ‘all chicken’ ramen place in the city, the one I missed the last time.
It was so intense you could taste a whole chicken in a bowl, but also a good break from Fukuoka’s usual tonkotsu culture.
Facebook informed me that my last post reached 10 times the number of my followers and asked if I’d like to pay money to reach more.
I also went back to Canal City to collect my glasses.
Before that, I visited the Asian Art Museum to see Kishin Shinoyama’s exhibition.
It focused heavily on his celebrity work, but I had to see his ‘birth’ and ‘sumo’ enlarged in full glory.
With the same ticket, I could also visit the exhibition next door for free.
And that’s when I saw the Anish Kapoor sculpture sulking in the corner.
It was so unexpected like a celebrity cameo in a movie, I wanted to laugh.
I managed to see the New Year lights and skating ring at the Tenjin Hikari Square, the extremely long queue of businessmen paying respect to a shrine, the different types of rice cookers and refrigerators, the underground food section of the department store.
In the end I spent the longest time on deciding what cakes to bring back for the family.
The family also encountered a pest situation:
We heard noises from the altar in the living room near the ceiling where the ‘gods’ live.
We laid out traps and caught a rat, only to realised the noises were still there – it had a partner.
I joked and said if there’s a third one I’m leaving a one-star review on Airbnb.