When we moved to Tokyo in 2004, during the first few months every evening on my way back home I was taking one of the small residential street around Tokyo university, and every evening from one of the house in that street a delicious smell was tempting me, a smell that was the promise of a delicious Japanese dinner. It could be the smell of dashi, the smell of soya sauce, the smell of tempura, or the smell of sesame oil. At that time it was a smell that I really envied because we were unable to cook it at home, even just to find the ingredients was hard, cooking them was just impossible, and because we had no money to afford wasting food by trying silly recipes (an habit that I have kept actually, I only try recipes that I know will work for me). I called this street the “rue du supplice” because I always took it when I was very hungry and when I knew dinner would be some somen with ketchup and fried or scrambled eggs (what we lived on for a few months before being adventurous with the Japanese cook book!). It was a real ordeal and a real pleasure to take that street, the fantastic smell… only later once home emphasized the monotony of our dinner.
Last night, I had this very same feeling again passing one of the house nearby the university when I smelled the sesame oil… it made me craving for some real Japanese food. But since we have some guests I cooked some traditional summer recipes from Provence: oven grilled summer veggies, soupe au pistou, fougasse etc… so this all Japanese food craving is still waiting… soon probably..,