How to describe, let alone alleviate, the sense of dislocation I feel since I returned from Japan. Whilst I was there, I felt…home, from the moment I touched the runway. I felt as comfortable and excited in the urban press of night-time Tokyo as I did halfway up a volcano in the morning sun, watching a lone, startlingly metallic, jewel-hued beetle that looked as though it had been dipped in liquid titanium. I even felt fine in the relative discomfort zones that occurred  surrounding cancelled flights and lack of sleep. One thing that helped, was food. Joyfully and with a will to savour every experience, I ate 3 times as much as I normally would.

Here is what I ate: purple potato salad of a variety native to Kagoshima, purple potato paste (from same source) coupled with orange slices of fresh seasonal persimmon. Savoury egg custard with chicken,  striped pink fish cake and ginko bean with crunchy, transparent seaweed. Mango pudding with mint and cream, sashimi, miniature clams, Japanese pears,  freshly ground wasabi, organically reared beef, Korean barbecue style, marbelled with fat and melting in the mouth. Freshly prepared, chunky onigiri, fish roe, boiled chestnuts, deep-fried sweet potato chips, Indian curry and iced coffee, cinnamon and chestnut mochi, marron flavoured organic ice cream, nato and sour plum with green beans, scrambled egg and minced chicken, lemon truffles, spiced butter chai and green Thai soup, sour plum candy, ginger root butterscotch, sugarcane, osake, macadamias in chocolate, liquorice seaweed, vast quantities of rice and miso soup and some the best coffee I’ve ever had, (including when I lived in Amsterdam.)

I barely noticed the fact that I have a gluten allergy – indeed this is one part of the world where it hardly matters.

(Came back with large amounts of sour plum sweets which I’m rationing until I run out…hopefully I can find a London outlet for this dependency – possibly the Japan Centre…)

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