Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm having a pleasant day.

I've been waking up at 8am lately. Summer mornings are so lovely. I'm back in Japan & haven't stopped gloating over my perfect summer in Oregon, but I'll give you a break for now.

I think Julie and I have similar tastes so I always check out her recommendations. Today I read her mention of Fela Kuti and I'd never heard of him before, so I YouTubed him and fell in love. I spent my morning on the balcony listening to his music and eating corn out of a carton. Heaven.

Then I got a craving for coffee jelly, so I threw on a fabulous crochet dress I brought back from the States and strolled to one of the many old coffee shops in dear Nishiogikubo.

Coffee jelly is just what it sounds like, gelatinized coffee. It's really popular in Japan. I was skeptical at first but it's so delicious. It's served chilled and topped with ice cream or whipped cream. The best place to have coffee jelly is at an old kissaten, a Japanese coffeehouse. Traditional kissaten are decorated with a lot of heavy wood and knick-knacks. They always play old jazz and are popular with old people (and me -- I think they're super hip and will have a big revival sometime). There's no fancy espresso menu, just coffee, tea, toast, cake, and Japanese comfort-foods like omelette rice, spaghetti, and curry. Sitting alone by the window in a kissaten, eating my coffee jelly among all the adorable ancient old ladies having tea, makes me feel like a little kid with an old soul. Haha.


Julie said...

Ah! Awesome. Thanks! I am so happy you like Fela Kuti. I love him. Here is another recommendation: Getatchew Mekurya. Ethiopian sax player. Incredible. Also, I like Beach House and Caetano Veloso in the late summertime. Do you like any Japanese bands?

I just checked out your blog profile (I didn't realize you had one until now) and found that you like Wong Kar Wai, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Robert Johnson AND L'Amant by Duras! Whhaaat? That makes me want to hang out with you even more than I already did. Seriously, let's make this happen sometime.

I am really into coffee jelly, too. There's this great place in Kyoto that I know. It's a wooden shop run by this granny and it has little robot tin toys lining the window. Come to Kansai!

Beth said...

I checked out all of that and loved it! I'm a total fogey and don't make enough effort to listen to contemporary music, plus I get really into a few things at a time so I fall behind. In Portland I'd go to random shows to find new bands I liked but I can't do that now. So I really need new music. I DON'T KNOW ANY GOOD JAPANESE BANDS! I don't understand why none of my friends here can teach me about good Japanese music. Who do you like?

I'm definitely coming to Kansai soon! I'll let you know and we seriously have to get together. We can eat coffee jelly and discuss having been separated at birth. Let me know anytime you're in Tokyo, too.

Julie said...

Thrilled out of my mind that you don't know any good Japanese bands, because I KNOW TONS.

-The boredoms (noise rock from Osaka)
-Yura Yura Teikoku (I LOVE THEM. SO. MUCH.)
-Happy End (you will love them. anything any of the members have subsequently done has also been good. 1970s band.)
-Pokopen and Nishiwaki (please just buy this. Slow and great to fall asleep to. best album is sunny spot lane.)
-ROSSO (listen to the song "sharon" this guy is the best singer in Japan for my taste...not sure if you"ll like him, but if you do, his name is Chiba and he's in all the good bands)
-Thee Michelle Gun Elephant (broke up a long time ago and one ex member died last month, but Chiba is in it)
-The Birthday (don't love it, but Chiba is in it so I like it)
-Misora Hibari (post ww2 female singer. So beautiful. Icon. 1950s-60s was her best era but she goes from 40s to 80s. Late stuff is unfortunate. Listen to "Kappa Boogie-Woogie")
-Blankey Jet City (listen to akai tamborine)
-The Sherbets
-The tenniscoats
Anything "GS" - 1960s Japanese Rock. The spiders. The tigers. The mops. The Napoleon. The OX. Start with the spiders and the tigers.

I will write about it on my site when I have time someday.

The Adventures of She said...

I've been getting up early too. I've always wanted to be one of those people who gets up at 5am, goes for a jog, and then drinks a cup of coffee whilst reading a thoroughly impressive journal. This goes hand in hand with my fantasy of owning a great big beautiful house in the Portland hills. BETH I WANT DINNER PARTIES!

Beth said...

OMIGOSH JULIE I haven't heard of ANY of those bands except the Tigers and I am gonna DIIIIIIIIE OF JOY, thank you SO MUCH!!!!

Beth said...

sarah, get rich then and i'll come to your dinner parties. I TOO ONCE DREAMED of beautiful houses and parties but i've dismissed those thoughts since realizing i'll always be a hobo and now i dream of campers and airstream trailers. maybe someday i'll have a trailer at the edge of the woods and wake up in the morning and drink coffee at my little formica table with the window propped open so i can smell the trees. this is good, you can have a fabulous house and good beauty products and i'll be the happiest hippie ever since you'll feed me.

Julie said...

Listen to "kaze wo atsumete" by Happy End.