Ever since I left my work teaching Japanese at the college in the US, a professor and her husband whose research is Mongolian literature have been keeping in touch with me and supporting my current work of running a cafe in Japan, and they always treat me when I come back to Boston. This time they invited me to a Chinese restaurant. Since it is around the time of Chinese New Year, they served a special hot pot and lobster meal which I never have a chance to eat.

First, I saw two coconuts by the pot on the table which were cut on top. Waiter of the restaurant came to our table and poured the coconut juice and sarcocarp into the pan. I learned that if the coconut is young, the juice is clear but if it is ripe, the juice becomes opaque like coconut milk or oil. Some Jujube and wolfberries were already in the pan. Then, chunks of chicken were put in and we waited for several minutes. Then, taro and a kind of mushroom were put in after. It became a very good soup which I have never tasted in Japan. We also enjoyed Chinese green vegetables and lobster which were cut in pieces and seasoned with ginger and scallions. They were also so good!!

Everytime I come back to Boston, they take care of me like this and I haven’t returned anything to them. I feel so bad about it but I really appreciate their warm support to me while I am running a cafe in an old Japanese house in the countryside.