Sunday, May 22, 2011

Domo Transport

Early in our marriage, my wife had the opportunity to work in Japan for a year as an English teacher. I was lucky enough to be able to visit her several times and got a chance to experience many things in a non-tourist way. The people that Kristin taught treated her (and my, by extension) wonderfully, and I got to see many things that were outside the tourist experience.

On one occasion, we went on a long drive through the Japanese countryside. As lunchtime approached, we were far from any city - but we came upon a country restaurant that seemed rather run down and downtrodden. However, when we went inside we found a wonderful country eatery that catered to locals, and the food we had was among the best I'd ever tasted. Combined with the welcoming attitude of the owners and the rich, almost ancient, surroundings, it was just an incredible experience.

I assumed that this was going to be a memory that could not be repeated - and because of circumstances it probably won't. However, our visit to Domo instantly transported me to that place, that time and that food. Everything seemed to line up to recall that experience; from the wet rainy weather, overcast and darkened interior and friendly staff, the experience was thick with familiarity, and the culinary mix caused a flood of memories.

Given the overwhelming nature of this recollection, it is hard for me to focus solely on the food (although I don't think this was a single-sensory experiment). It was wonderful. But the overall experience was what will stick with me, and I can't wait to take Kristin there for her version of the same. I suspect it will make her cry.

One brilliant thing was to bracket the meal with light rail transport. In my memory of my Japan visits, nearly every thing that I did started with a train ride and ended with a train ride. Somehow (and even though this isn't directly related to my personal experience), this seemed to make the whole experience "right".


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