If I have the $$ and only one place I could jet off to now, it would definitely be Nippon. It’s a pretty random thought that was triggered by a certain Matsubara san.
Matsubara san is actually my dad’s supplier for many many years. They claimed to have known each other for 40 over years *gasps*. He is probably the first Japanese uncle I have ever known and remembered the most (other than the ‘kobe’ beef uncle aka Kakei san). He is also probably the only fellow I would entertain when it comes to having business dinners with his suppliers. I remember him very very fondly because he was the one who drove us all the way to the mountain top so that I could see, smell, touch and play in my FIRST ever SNOW at about 10 years-old. And because of him, my baby sister of 2 years old then, also saw snow for the FIRST time ever…she is that LUCKY (and unlucky becos she caught a chill and fever after that).
Subsequently, we went back to Japan almost every other year. Those trips were a blur because I think we did not really get to meet him. Then comes year 2005. We went back to Japan again. I remember this very well because I was fully in-charged of the family’s itinerary. Including the trip to Niigata to meet Matsubara san. It was quite an adventure for we dropped at a wrong stop. Interestingly, what i rem of this famous ‘rice’ city were rain, hot yummy tako balls and my first ever formal kaiseki-ryōri treat from him that stuffed us to the MAX!
4 years ago, before our wedding, I met Matsubara san again. Interestingly, with his new wife, very pretty and very young. I feel really bad till now because I still havent emailed him the photo that we took and……. I forgot where is it…….and I lost his email adress.
Subsequently, he came back yearly but for some reason, I was never able to join them for meals.
FINALLY, we met again last Friday. He looks the same, honestly (think it really got something to do with the food and water in Nippon). As smiley and friendly as ever. THIS TIME ROUND, he brought his own camera *LOL*. He was happily taking picture of my Ks. The feeling is rather surreal that someone whom I met when I was a kid is now taking pictures of my kids. Small K is almost at the age when my sister saw her first snow. Can’t help but to sigh….how time flies….
Told Matsubara san that we will bring the Ks to visit him, hopefully, very soon. And told him that I hope he will also be the one who bring them to see their first snow in time to come. And thanks to him, I am feeling all warm and fuzzy about Japan again.