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She had all her favourite (packaged) dry foods and customs-acceptable jars of all sorts of weird stuff sent over, but like myself she wasn't a big eater. One meal a day, mostly. At supper time.

Very slim at the hips and very dainty, those Geisha eyes and body language.

Naturally graceful, the Japanese ladies.

But funnily enough she did develop a taste for fish and chips from Burdock's, which was around the corner from her place on Castle Street. We'd eat from there at the weekend. Rest of the time she did nice things with a wok and local ingredients, then added her Japanese tricks to give it a home flavour. Some stuff was great, other dishes just pain weird, but never boring. Or bland.
Ah shure I had many a Burdock's meself, I lived around the corner/above it. You know that apartment block adjoined to Jurys? That's where I lived - penthouse. I could throw a stone from mine and hit yours on Castle Street.

Colman's mustard: I used to bring a couple of jars from Dublin when I got home but nowadays they even sell the powder version up here, which I prefer: I can boost it a bit by using white wine for the paste, then a little red chili oil/essence and mix it up. Can't eat a prime steak without Colman's.

That'd be criminal - an offence to all decent cud-chewing bovines.

Even Val's.
Jaysuz, you're always doing crazy things with food Mowl 😆 Steak = pepper sauce (and d'onions of course).
 

Mowl

Member
Ah shure I had many a Burdock's meself, I lived around the corner/above it. You know that apartment block adjoined to Jurys? That's where I lived - penthouse. I could throw a stone from mine and hit yours on Castle Street.

Nice location: I'm sure you enjoyed the bells of Christchurch as much as we did.

Of course, it being Dublin, something had to be not quite right about her apartment. Brand new build when we moved in, everything sparkling clean and perfect, totally untouched. Until she opened the curtains to show me her view of 'the battlements of Dublin Castle' which were effectively this:



Except in various shades of grey. The walls went up another ten feet above our window, fucking grim.

Add in some lashing rain, constant alarms going off, the smell of fish and chips all day and night when the windows were open, stupid cunts ringing the doorbell for no reason, and an elevator that someone in the block thought was a toy to be sent up and down and up and down whenever I needed to use it.

Jaysuz, you're always doing crazy things with food Mowl 😆 Steak = pepper sauce (and d'onions of course).

Medium button mushrooms, loads of them. Red onion, quick fried: almost raw.

Back in Dublin the selection of Finnish food items was always threadbare, but Morton's of Ranelagh imported Fazer chocolate, stocked mämmi at Easter (vile stuff) and sold smoked venison/deer and smetana, a sort of Finnish crème fraîche but far more bland.

These days the local Finnish shops carry lots of recognisable British items: Colman's English mustard, plus the many variations of same, YR Sauce, Worcester sauce, Heinz beans, Nescafe instant (I don't drink real coffee too often, the ticker goes mental) Heinz tomato sauce, and lots of traditional English teas: breakfast, Earl Grey, fruit versions, etc. But you pay over the odds for them.

The Mammy regularly sends the brother in Pennsylvania his boxes of Irish stuff: crisps, bacon, etc.

For Mowl?

Pfffffzzzzz - nothing: an occasional cheque to 'buy yourself something nice to eat..' for the birthday.

But you gotta make do with what's available, and having just the one meal a day at suppertime, it's got to be good and wholesome. Last night was the last of the bolognese I cooked on Friday night with (oddly enough) Japanese-style short-grain white rice. Had to wash and rinse it several times, but the finished product is delicious with a minced pork sauce. Sticky, soft, and milky on the tongue.

As for tonight I haven't decided yet: but as I recall, on this day twenty-one years ago I was in Dublin when the towers were hit and as the day went on I was glued to the screen for the news. I lived above 'The Best Of Italy' deli along Dunville Avenue in Ranelagh, so I got herself indoors to make me up three fresh medium-sized 'meat feast' type pizzas for the evening.

It was an odd day alright, like all the clocks had stopped and time froze in its step.

Not a day for cooking or fussing around, every window wide open and the news at top volume. Shocked pasty-faced people everywhere, one cigarette after another, calls and texts flying, the Mammy in Ballyer in an awful state, the sisters in Australia and the UK fretting.

I'd just gotten home from an early job that morning, flicked on BBC world service and the first tower had just been hit. I was sitting staring at the box when the second plane banked and came around for the second tower. Everything stopped. Shock, stunned silence, even the news presenters couldn't believe what they were seeing, trying to describe what I could see with my own two eyes. My Finnish lady worked in the British Embassy here in Helsinki: I texted her to tell her to get out of there and go home. That kind of muted disbelief.

As the day went on it seemed impossible that this had happened. Complete strangers in the streets looking at each other with heads shaking in total disbelief. I went around to Deveney's offie for a few beers in the evening and hung out with Martin, the owner: an old mate I often worked for. As his customers came and went, he tried to put a cheery angle on things, but people were fumbling with their wallets and purses, staring at the screen. Mute.

It kind of reminded me of my first trip on mushrooms: the way even the most banal of things suddenly took on another more impactful hue. Disconnect, more gestures than words, stumbling rather than walking. It took a while to accept that suddenly the world was a different place, but we all knew that things had changed, and changed utterly. I spoke to the brother over in PA in the evening, for once in his life even he was stuck for words.

Twenty-one years: goes by so fast.
 
Nice location: I'm sure you enjoyed the bells of Christchurch as much as we did.
Good location, great apartment.

As for the bells, I suppose you get used to them, bit of a pain when you're trying to sleep off a hangover on a Sunday :)

Of course, it being Dublin, something had to be not quite right about her apartment. Brand new build when we moved in, everything sparkling clean and perfect, totally untouched. Until she opened the curtains to show me her view of 'the battlements of Dublin Castle' which were effectively this:



Except in various shades of grey. The walls went up another ten feet above our window, fucking grim.

Add in some lashing rain, constant alarms going off, the smell of fish and chips all day and night when the windows were open, stupid cunts ringing the doorbell for no reason, and an elevator that someone in the block thought was a toy to be sent up and down and up and down whenever I needed to use it.
Jaze 😆 At least you had a decent amount of light coming in I suppose.

Medium button mushrooms, loads of them. Red onion, quick fried: almost raw.
S'all good with mushrooms, my onions would be well fried though.

Back in Dublin the selection of Finnish food items was always threadbare, but Morton's of Ranelagh imported Fazer chocolate, stocked mämmi at Easter (vile stuff) and sold smoked venison/deer and smetana, a sort of Finnish crème fraîche but far more bland.

These days the local Finnish shops carry lots of recognisable British items: Colman's English mustard, plus the many variations of same, YR Sauce, Worcester sauce, Heinz beans, Nescafe instant (I don't drink real coffee too often, the ticker goes mental) Heinz tomato sauce, and lots of traditional English teas: breakfast, Earl Grey, fruit versions, etc. But you pay over the odds for them.

The Mammy regularly sends the brother in Pennsylvania his boxes of Irish stuff: crisps, bacon, etc.

For Mowl?

Pfffffzzzzz - nothing: an occasional cheque to 'buy yourself something nice to eat..' for the birthday.

But you gotta make do with what's available, and having just the one meal a day at suppertime, it's got to be good and wholesome. Last night was the last of the bolognese I cooked on Friday night with (oddly enough) Japanese-style short-grain white rice. Had to wash and rinse it several times, but the finished product is delicious with a minced pork sauce. Sticky, soft, and milky on the tongue.
There ya go again 😆 Bolognese.. with Japanese-style short-grain rice (I have it with spaghetti as everyone knows).

As for tonight I haven't decided yet: but as I recall, on this day twenty-one years ago I was in Dublin when the towers were hit and as the day went on I was glued to the screen for the news. I lived above 'The Best Of Italy' deli along Dunville Avenue in Ranelagh, so I got herself indoors to make me up three fresh medium-sized 'meat feast' type pizzas for the evening.

It was an odd day alright, like all the clocks had stopped and time froze in its step.

Not a day for cooking or fussing around, every window wide open and the news at top volume. Shocked pasty-faced people everywhere, one cigarette after another, calls and texts flying, the Mammy in Ballyer in an awful state, the sisters in Australia and the UK fretting.

I'd just gotten home from an early job that morning, flicked on BBC world service and the first tower had just been hit. I was sitting staring at the box when the second plane banked and came around for the second tower. Everything stopped. Shock, stunned silence, even the news presenters couldn't believe what they were seeing, trying to describe what I could see with my own two eyes. My Finnish lady worked in the British Embassy here in Helsinki: I texted her to tell her to get out of there and go home. That kind of muted disbelief.

As the day went on it seemed impossible that this had happened. Complete strangers in the streets looking at each other with heads shaking in total disbelief. I went around to Deveney's offie for a few beers in the evening and hung out with Martin, the owner: an old mate I often worked for. As his customers came and went, he tried to put a cheery angle on things, but people were fumbling with their wallets and purses, staring at the screen. Mute.

It kind of reminded me of my first trip on mushrooms: the way even the most banal of things suddenly took on another more impactful hue. Disconnect, more gestures than words, stumbling rather than walking. It took a while to accept that suddenly the world was a different place, but we all knew that things had changed, and changed utterly. I spoke to the brother over in PA in the evening, for once in his life even he was stuck for words.

Twenty-one years: goes by so fast.
I had only shortly arrived in Sydney on 9/11 and had just that very day moved into an apartment, so after ringing everyone I knew in Australia (two numbers), I watched it unfold on the television for the remainder of the night and throughout the morning, on my tod.
 

Mowl

Member
I got to thinking about Yoko again over the last few days. She was an amazing lady. She made a deal with her parents that if they gave her one year for herself to travel after her foundation year at college, then she would agree to the terms and conditions they had in mind: into the administration end of the family business with the Shisheido Cosmetics Concern, and an arranged marriage to a man she met when she was a kid, but didn't know anything about.

She had a very stubborn way of going about her life wishes: she played bass in a Japanese punk band called 'Nukey Pikes' who played thrash metal style disco: they did a cover of 'Dancing Queen' by Abba. Verses sang in this Japanese shouting and screaming style, then the chorus in broken English:

'Danzig Queens, shee-la-beat-onga-tammar-eeens, yah-yah'

Manic, crazed shit. She wore her bass down around her knees like a true punk. Played on one string mostly, but she looked great and was clearly having great fun. Japanese people keep it all hidden away though. You have to take the time to unpick their locks and discover who they really are.

After her time was up, we lost a good friend who died after sharing a pill of ecstasy with his buddy. They went into the john at the IFC in Temple Bar on a club night, and Rory (Galway DJ, ran 'Feet First' club nights) had a heart attack, died on the toilet room floor. Devastation. The sweetest bloke you ever met, gone, in seconds. A terrible waste. So Yoko and I had to deal with that and getting her packed for Kyoto and a new life.

She called me on the morning of her wedding day. I asked how she was doing and she said okay. I asked about the man she was marrying and she replied: 'oh, juss some guy' and laughed her gentle laugh. I couldn't imagine how it was for her, I know she felt nothing about him but she made her deal and knew she had to follow through on it. She never betrayed any heartache, but I knew she loved me very deeply. I was sad for her when I suppose I should have been happy: she knew where her life was going. She accepted it and got on with it.

After that she disappeared and I never heard from her again.

I've tried to locate her but no joy.

I guess she has better discipline than I.

I tried to learn from that.

Tough life lesson.
 

DS86DS

Member
Administrator
Imagine Val trying to interact with a robot waiter in downtown Tokyo, that would be hilarious.



 

DS86DS

Member
Administrator
Should Japan possess nuclear weapons?

 

Mowl

Member
Val wouldn't last five minutes in Japan,

His nature as a loudmouth twat would see him booted out as soon as his plane landed.

The man lacks all sophistication and manners: his missing teeth don't help the smell of him either. He'd be refused service everywhere he went. Except down the docks when the weird fish from the nuclear disaster come in the early mornings. The smell off Val might just about be masked by rotting fish heads and tails.
 

DS86DS

Member
Administrator
The Japanese take etiquette very seriously. I'd imagine they'd be shocked by Val at the dinner table with his slurping, farting and talking while munching on a mouthful of food.
 

Mowl

Member
Mouth breathing while trying to eat a mouthful from a slice of meat that's still red hot from the pan. Dribbling down his vest and telling people his 'funny jokes' which are about as funny as malaria. No idea about how to address a man or especially a woman, he'd walk right up to someone's wife and start rambling on about wind turbines and slurry while she stands there aghast.

Val in the restaurant with all the dishes whizzing by on a miniature train set rail: takes plates off, sniffs at them, then pokes at them, then puts them back on the rail while everyone looks at him like he's a stray mutt who stole a jumper and managed to get in and sit down. The smell off him making everyone gag.

He tries some saki - then tries to start a fight with a Geisha over table manners and Japanese customs.

Goes out for a walk on Rippongi, tries chatting to young Japanese people who run away from him and he follows them but loses them in the crowds. Decides to go for a cuppa tay in a traditional Japanese tea room, refuses to take off his mucky shoes and strides in demanding to know why there are no chairs, only low tables. He eventually tries to sit down cross-legged but starts farting and the smell rises and drifts slowly across the tea room, the Japs all heading for the door with their fingers gripping their noses closed.

Wonders why people keep bowing down to him and decides he's the king of Ireland.

Gets asked to leave and starts another row - then refuses to pay for his tea.

Goes out and gets completely lost in the city and has to ask a taxi driver to take him back to his mini-hotel cubicle. Realises he can't fit in so he leaves the door open with his manky feet and socks stinking out the entire corridor. Decides to have a wank and only stops when a staff member passing him starts screaming at him to get out. His socks and underpants all piled up on the floor by his cubicle.

Ireland's best ambassador ever, right?


 

DS86DS

Member
Administrator
I wonder what Val would make of the pet robot dogs?




"Shure she'd be no use herdin' the sheep"

 

DS86DS

Member
Administrator
Does anyone else feel like there's been a major decline in the quality of Japanese tech, at least within the electronics department? I remember growing up in the 90s when Japanese technology was synonymous with high quality, cutting edge developments. Companies such as Sony and JVC were releasing beasts of tvs, boomboxes and hi-fi systems. After the decline of Atari, companies such as Nintendo, Sega and Sony were the undisputed champions within the realm of console hardware.

Fast forward three decades later and it seems like the Japanese tech sector is falling behind that of South Korea's and even the American consumer electronics industry. Sony has all but quit the smartphone business and is almost non-existent within the sphere of laptops and PC hardware. The PS5 has to be one of the ugliest and bulkiest consoles in gaming history relative to the competition, aka. the Xbox Series X. No quick resume, no backwards compatibility beyond the last generation...the average person would nearly need to consider investing in a new TV stand just to fit the thing into their current set-up. From what I've seen on YouTube, the PS5 UI looks absolutely horrible and not very user friendly. Games I grew up with on the PS1 and PS2 are accessible on the XSX, along with those from later years such as PS3 titles. Some such as the original Red Dead Redemption are playable on the XSX and X1X in 4k with a better overall performance than the 360 titles. Not only did Sony refuse to make even the base games from the PS3 era backwards compatible, they hid them behind a pay wall on their online service. Having removed titles such as the original Red Dead Redemption from online, people on PS5 / PS4 are left with no means to play such titles bar trying to make room for their dusty old PS3 on a tv unit already struggling with the dimensions of the PS5. Either that or fork out another hundred euro on a second hand PS3. Rip off merchants such as CeX are already taking advantage and selling nearly two-decade old PS3s for over €200 due to them being backwards compatible with PS2 titles. On the XSX / XSS, everything from day one is there and available with the click of a button, irregardless of generation. Nintendo really takes the biscuit with the Switch. I only bought one this year having swore off of it for years, hoping something better would come along, or a proper home console akin to the SNES. I love portable games devices as much as I do consoles hooked up to the TV, yet the Nintendo Switch seemed like a jack of all trades and master of none. I realise Japanese companies are in love with gimmicks yet that's not really the problem, aka. so long as it doesn't interfere with the functionality of the device elsewhere. The Switch Oled in handheld mode is not only uncomfortable, but the way in which the weight is distributed makes it feel like the heavy console could snap or damage the joy cons attached to it at any moment. Even then they feel wonky when attached. While the games for Switch and NSO online for retro titles are a win-win, the Switch has to be the worst console I've ever used in terms of comfort and ergonomics. I don't even bother with it in handheld mode, using it solely in docked mode... defeating the so-called purpose of switching. Part of me feels like I'm using a substandard home console all so the gimmick of portability can be built into the price. Sony Xperia phones are another pet peeve of mine. I can count on both hands the number of Xperia phones I've had and owned, only for the touchscreen to go south after a few months.

Maybe it's time to move beyond the idea of Japan being top dog within consumer electronics, yet it would be nice if at least Nintendo and Sony got behind the times as they have some amazing first party titles hidden behind substandard hardware relative to their peers. As for phones, computers and audio, there is still a lot of healthy competition out there. Japanese cars and motorbikes remain attractive options for anyone looking to get from a to b. Overall, Japan is still producing technological marvels - but nothing akin to its heyday during the 80s, 90s and early 00s. As Japan is a mountainous land thin on natural resources, technology and consumer electronics are an important mechanism for it to compensate for its shortcomings elsewhere. You'd think they'd get back to basics and do what they do best, if only to benefit themselves as much as anybody else. A resurgence of decent Sony phones for instance would provide well built and well designed phones with great audio and overall specs, all at a reasonably healthy price tag. Such a presence would certainly give rip off merchants such as Apple a run for their money and their charging over €1k for phones solely because they happen to have a piece of fruit stamped onto the back of them. Japan waking up would provide a much welcome benefit for consumers everywhere. I understand these are first world problems yet it's irritating all the same, more so as we have come to be so dependent on technology in our daily lives.
 

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