Dear Readers,

How goes it with you all? I hope it all goes well. Just before I launch myself into tapping out a few verses of poetry about the fish restaurant I promised to deliver as per my contribution to last week’s newsletter, I would like to tell you about one interesting little thing that came up in conversation with my daughter Emma the other day; she’s just returned to Japan after a 2 and a bit month stay in Canada, and as well as hoping to see some improvement in her ability to communicate in English I was also hoping and praying that her stay had cured her of her very bad habit of leaving the toilet light on after carrying out her seated business. However, it hasn’t, and when I confronted her with : “I thought your stay in Canada would have helped you get rid of your bad habit of leaving on the toilet light after paying a visit, but it obviously hasn’t”, she said, “the lights were on 24 hours so I never had to think about it”. “24 hours? Really? I can’t believe it!, I said. “Well, it’s true, email the school and ask them”, she said. “I think I will, I said, and by the way, what have you not done? “I haven’t switched the light off”, she said. “Well, switch the bloody thing off” I said in a big roaring rasping voice Okay, sorry!, and there’s no need to shout”, was the response. Thankfully Emma’s English has taken somewhat of a turn for the better and I believe with a bit more help she can now move forward to enter into an international school from this coming September – most of my summer will be spent helping to support the process, so I doubt there’ll be much spare time to have amuch of a family holiday this year, but life goes on, it has to!

Until next week, remain healthy in both mind and body, and when the reasons are absolutely clear why sacrifices need to be made within one’s family for a family member, don’t question why you need to make them, just make them and think about what you’re going to get back in return from the person you made them for.


The lady at the till
Having bits of conversation waiting in anticipation for our meals to come to the table.
Horse mackerel, bean paste soup with small shellfish added to provide a savouring flavor.
Some small plates of pickled seaweed and a bowl of hot steamed rice, all for the very reasonable price of 1050 yen each.
At that point I knew, we knew, we’d be back again.

I began to skillfully tease flakes of fish away from their bone with my chopsticks.
Skills honed from having the same dish so many times in the past, but very rarely as tasty as this.
Mackerel, freshly seasoned by the salt of the sea, so succulent and juicy.
A collection of food so right that you would request it on your last living day or night on earth.
Rice, fluffy and not too white, and not too soft to the tooth.
This meal in front of us told no lies, it was full of the goodness of the truth.
My wife and I continued on with having our bits of conversation, which by now had mostly turned into talking about the food in front of us that was steadily disappearing.
The restaurant itself, comments on the web, which not surprisingly were all very good.
With almost every flake of fish and small pile of rice, that was either picked up with or helped onto the top of our chopsticks, we used the word nice with the word price more than twice.
“This is nice, it’s really nice and such good value for the price”.
After having our very satisfactory fill we made our way over to the till to pay.
My wife asked the lady tending to the till how long the shop had been in business for.
We learned that the restaurant had been serving the same lovely dishes, based mostly on cooked and raw fishes for the last 70 years or more.
The food really was that good and we both lamented that we could have ordered the meal again and eaten it as easily.
Exchanging one or two more pleasant words as we made our way over to the restaurant door, we slid it open and out we went.
Before sliding the door shut we made sure our parting words to the lady at the till were full of the same quality as the food we’d just eaten and the time we’d spent.

A poem by Stephen Austwick.