It’s been yet another bad week for me, which is why I haven’t been around - again. Last Friday (December 2nd), I was rehospitalized due to my surgery wound getting badly infected. I know it was the right decision, yet being stuck in a hospital room is such a depressing thing. And the food, the awful food, does not make things any better. To make things worse, a fever and some kind of reaction to the antibiotics I had to take to combat the infection had totally robbed me of my appetite.
As I lay there in my small, chilly room alone, trying to find a comfortable position on the hard narrow bed, I wondered sadly if I would ever find food interesting again. Even things that were actually edible looking on my dinner trays, like fresh fruit, had lost their appeal. Everything smelled awful.
Then I started to dream, about the food I used to like. I don’t know if people normally have dreams with smells, but I could smell ramen (Sapporo style chicken-and-pork, flavored simply with salt) soup, and yakitori being cooked on a charcoal grill, and the sharp sweet odor of almost too-ripe strawberries. In my somewhat delirious state, I was hallucinating about food.
The food I thought about the most was sushi, specifically the one that I like to call Last Chance Sushi. This is served by a small sushi-ya, Kyokatsu, that is located within the restricted zone of Terminal 1 at Narita airport. They’ve positioned themselves well, and their storefront signs say it all.
Every time I leave Japan, always from Terminal 1, I just have to get some sushi from Kyotatsu. I always get a takeout box rather than eating in. Slowly munching my way through the sushi pieces as I wait at the gate helps me pass the time as I combat the depression I feel as I wait for my plane, the plane the will take me away from Japan again. When will I eat good sushi again? Soon, I promise myself, soon.
I have such mixed feelings about Japan. The food and the fun and my immediate family draw me back, keep me tied to it. Family problems and numerous sundry stresses draw me away and ultimately contribute to the decision to live elsewhere. But ultimately, it is my homeland, and I can never change that.
Most of us don’t know when our last flight away from this world we live in is scheduled to depart, unless we’re being executed by the state. But if we did, wouldn’t it be nice to have a last chance sushi place to visit, just before you board? Perhaps I was being rather morbid, but these were the types of thoughts that filled my mind last week.
I’m so glad I’m back home again.
(And a related question, though I may have asked this before: if you knew you were ‘going away’ forever, what kind of restaurant would your Last Chance place be and what would you eat there?)