I have done some consultancy work and receive a nice chunk of cash. I determine to spend it on the finest food and wines for a farewell, farewell dinner. I am off to California in a couple of days and will not return for 5 months.

First to Hanada san’s amazing wine shop. She is so sweet. She gives me a Furoshiki and a very tender card.

A good friend.
How nice of her.

Arisa and I go down to the Itoman fish market to stock up. Best sashimi and truly unbelievable fish soup. The latter is more like a stew and consists of a lot of fish bones and crab shells.

Before the trouble starts.

A main reason for enjoying these dinners so much is that I can use the beautiful silver cutlery that I used as very little boy and indeed my mother used when she was a little girl etc. etc.

We foregather and drink very rare champagne style sake.

This bottle has been in my fridge for many months. The fact I have not drunk it, I take as a proof that I am not alcohol dependent
The best oysters with sashimi. Wine from the Alsace.
I serve up shells and bones to an unsuspecting group.
Authentic and full of bones. Remarkably the people seem to enjoy it. I think this is mainly because they can sop up the liquid with the great bread that Arisa san brought.

Next comes octopus coctel. This is a Mexican dish that cannot be beat.

This is octopus and shrimp with tomato, clamato, avocado and stuff. It is amazing
This is what we drink, not very Mexican.
Tomomi san makes a salad that melds very well into the plate.

Onto the Foie Gras, which Arisa san cooks to perfection.

With cornichon and tomato.
Very good with the Foie Gras.

We are all getting very full but are driven to continue.

Lamb chop with guacamole.
Cake, strawberry, pear
We forgot to take a picture in the heat of battle but here is the dessert wine we drank and one of the exquisite Japanese pears that Ichiro san brought.

Completely over the top. I will only eat lightly boiled eggs and drink water for the next week.

What a wonderful evening. Thanks to Tim and Mary for the cake, thanks to Izumi sensei for the great wine, thanks to Ichiro san for the beautiful pears, thanks to Arisa san and Tomomi san for their support and expertise.

But in the end, is there any greater pleasure than sitting around a well furnished table with good friends and laughing?

Farewell, farewell.

Thanks to Tomomi san for most of the photos.

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2 Responses to OTT

  1. Jenny Watson says:

    Hi Neil
    Maybe you already know but we wanted to let you know that Alison’s husband Steve died a couple of months ago. George phoned Alison up recently for a chat and she told him – Steve had had poor health heart related for several years. She said when he was in hospital for last six weeks she was allowed to see him only half an hour each day due to covid. Alison’s mum died a couple of weeks ago.
    Thinking of Alison prompted me to look you up – found your amazing bird and nature photography and records of your sailing adventures in Okinawa – we never did make it out there to see you!
    Good to see you are alive and well -we are too! The St. Andrews 50 year reunion myself and Caroline had organised never took place but I met up with Ann Craig-Mcquade the other night and had a trip down memory lane with her reminiscing about our student days. I last saw her at a 20 year reunion on the west sands.
    From your most recent blog you must be in California now, we are still in Edinburgh though in normal times spend as much time as we can in the winter months in the French Alps.
    All the best,
    Jenny and George

  2. Very sad news, poor Alison!
    Thank you for letting me know.

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