Friday, February 16, 2007

Yakitori Dinner

Yakitori Dinner

I plan to spend a full day carving waxes, but start the morning with a brisk walk to the fish market for some exercise and to buy some fresh sashimi and sushi.

Art takes off on a long bicycle ride and John plays online chess while I work on my dragon pieces and listen to a book on tape. John tells me I need to carve a different type of dragon’s head and I think he is right. I work for over 4 hours on just the head of the new dragon. Eventually John tires of online chess, bungees his skateboard to the handlebars of his bicycle and rides to the skate park. I continue working several more hours on my dragon and try not to worry too much about John.

Art and John both return safely. Art bicycled to Chinen on the south eastern point of the island to the Sefa Utaki. This utaki or sacred site is one of Okinawa’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. He is exhilarated.

We have dinner plans with Rena tonight. Rena lived with us for a year in Santa Cruz, some 6 or 7 years ago and I am very much looking forward to seeing her! Back home, I would have most certainly cooked dinner at home but we want to take her out for a meal and ask her to choose a restaurant. She drives us to a district where there are dozens of yakitori restaurants dotting the side streets. Red paper lanterns denote these establishments and glow invitingly. They are primarily drinking establishments that serve small plates of skewered meats and vegetables. The first one she chooses is full so we drive to another one. These places are notoriously small consisting of just a bar and a few small tables. This yakitori has one of its 4 tables vacant. The bar is filled with customers, and the air hangs heavy with cigarette smoke and the smell of frying meats. Rena orders a number of small plates for us to share. A bowl of cabbage is brought to the table. She tells us that traditionally you eat a little yakitori, then a bite of cabbage. John inhales his portion of each plate served. We order three glasses of different kinds of sake and the waitress brings three small empty glasses on tiny saucers. She fills each glass to the brim and overflows the sake into the saucer below. We have“sake” tasting, sipping from the saucer and each of us chooses one glass. (John orders another soda.) There are many young couples out tonight and they talk and smoke and drink. Their ashtrays are filled with cigarette butts. I realize I am not in “Kansas” any more but I am enjoying every minute of the second hand smoke.

Rena calls a daiko taxi and we ask her if they are expensive? She tells us that they cost less than a regular taxi after hours. After midnight taxi fares increase. Its 11:30 before we pile into our regular taxi and head back home.


Unknown said...

It's great to see how you're settling in. We can't wait to join you.

jackieb said...

Hi Marty,
I asked Scott to help me figure out
how to write you back. Maybe this will work. I wrote you some on your martymagic site but that is down you said. Love your writing, I am reading a person I was unaware existed--even after all these years. Terrific word pictures of your days! I can taste the food, smell the flats at low tide and get tired after all the bike riding. Thanks for sharing this with us. Take care.
love, j