Sunday, September 25, 2005

Caught in a Demonstration / Oyako Donburi @ Tsuzuki’s

Yesterday was eventful. Earlier in the week, Mr. Tsuzuki invited me and Sakai over to his apartment for beer and oyako don. That afternoon, I went to Monoprix supermarket near Hamra to buy some toiletries for my apartment. I took a cab on the way back but was caught in a traffic jam. The traffic jam was caused by a political demonstration, which closed off road linking downtown Beirut to the Hamra shopping district. My apartment is on the other side. I was going to be late.

The cab then refused to take me to my destination as it was impossible to go through the demonstrators gathered by car. Eventually, I had to cut through the demonstrators to get home on foot. For the first time I found myself in the middle of a political rally albeit I was just passing through. If some rioting breaks out, I would be caught standing in the open holding nothing but two shopping bags filled with tissue papers, napkins and tooth-paste. It would be an amusing sight but I made it home uneventfully.

The demonstration stopped just outside Mr. Tsuzuki’s apartment to form up for a political rally. To get to his place, I was forced to make a huge detour and arrived half an hour later than the appointed time. Sakai was late because he too was caught in the demonstration.

Mr. Tsuzuki is a down-to-earth guy. It is a rare trait for an ex-TMC Division General Manager. He is always cheerful and very easy to get along with. Yesterday, he lost his golf buddies to business trips so he decided to do some cooking at home and invited us over to taste it. I like this dish and I am quite proud of the oyako don I prepare (Oh, the shame!). This was the first time I tasted oyako don in Nagoya style although I don’t think there was much difference. It would be nice if furikake was available to go with the rice but alas we are not in Japan. Nevertheless, it was a nice meal and a small lesson in home cooking.

Sakai, being the “rice bucket” as usual, downed 3 big bowls, practically clearing out the rice cooker. In the midst of my second helping, I reflected gratefully that I’m indeed fortunate to have Asian colleagues here to share and to care for each other.

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