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Tokyo cohabitation

KITCHEN

WARS

by Marie Teather

And in the kitchen that oven sits there.TJ develops a relationship with her that only a man and a piece of machinery could.

An oven means luxury in a Tokyo apartment.

image: iStockphoto/Nicolas Loran
image: iStockphoto/Nicolas Loran

I have never had a prouder moment during my Japan years than recently, when a select few were invited round to see the new addition to our coupledom. TJ and I had of course revelled in excitement about how our lives would change for some time now. How the spontaneous excitement of dashing out for late-night fodder would have passed, how we would need to plan a weekly shop together. Oh, the smugness in how we’d grown. Everyone gathered around and with decent manners they cooed, they ahhed. We tried not to show-off, so in mock embarrassment we joked how small she was (but we loved her anyway). Our guests said ‘don’t be silly’.They were clearly jealous and most probably bored. We gathered around her in the kitchen, the christening about to begin. TJ reached over to crank her up and a second later our little oven was alive. She was breathing, clicking and emanating gas. We were cooking. InTokyo, rents don’t come cheap. Apartments with more than two measly little hobs are so far up the accommodation ladder it had taken the best part of a year and a couple of job promotions for our hard work to warrant this new, almost lavish living. We told friends and family back home of our upgraded lifestyle.“We have an oven!” TJ told

his mum,“we have a carpet!” I told mine,“we can see trees outside our windows!” we told all who would listen. Everyone from old school friends to the window cleaner thought times in Tokyo must really have been tough. After two weeks of us sprinting to the kitchen, yelling over our shoulder to the fake defeated, “Let me cook for you baby, this meal’s on me,” the strain in the relationship begins to show. One day TJ told me that I just didn’t make lasagna like his mother could. The words cut like a knife but still it wasn’t

a total surprise. In this modern world of Gordon

microwave, which balanced precariously on the

top of my second-hand refrigerator. “Here,” I said, sloshing the red goo onto a slice of convenience store bread,“this is what English girls cook.”

I don’t recall seeing him again but at some

point in the ensuing years I had concluded that unlike his Japanese counterparts, a modern day, equality–supporting English gentleman would

never expect their girlfriend to cook like their mothers used to.

I was wrong. Men love women who cook, but

a modern man has to be better at it. And in the kitchen that oven sits there. TJ

In secret, I read Delia Smith, wondering if she can deliver me some kitchen-maiden sex appeal, but it seems ownership of the kitchen has been lost.

Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Anthony Bourdain who have been marching the ‘testoromnes’ back into the kitchen with gleaming knives and too much attitude, the news has been out there for sometime:Women Don’t Cook These Days. I tried to remember the last time I cooked

and back there in my days as a singleton, I find

a vague memory of serving an ‘English’ meal to

Japanese boy-interest from long ago. He was sitting on the floor of my small tatami room as I pulled a bowl of bubbling baked beans from the

develops a relationship with her that only a man and a piece of machinery could. He explores her cooking abilities whilst revelling in his own culinary mastery. Hearty lamb shoulders and roast potatoes are paraded from the kitchen while I feel awkward and forgotten. In secret, I read Delia Smith, wondering if she can deliver me some kitchen-maiden sex appeal, but it seems ownership of the kitchen has been lost. Let the battle of the bathroom begin, no man, no matter

how modern, will conquer that one.

BAB

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Brunch - Sat & Sun - 9 AM to 4 PM Lunch - Mon thru
Brunch - Sat & Sun - 9 AM to 4 PM
Lunch - Mon thru Fri - 11 AM to 4 PM
Dinner - Every day - 6 PM (last order at 10 PM)
Open late everyday!
Phone - 03-3505-4490
URL - http://www.sujis.net

Being A Broad July 2008