Hakka No Togame

 

My blog name may sound strange in English. The reason is it comes from Japanese. It has a special significance to me which involves an ex girlfriend, travel across the world and around one hundred and thirty hours of TV.

The Japanese Kanji for hakka no togame is 白霞罸.

The first two characters together represent the name Hakka (romaji) / はっか (hiragana). When two consonents  are written together in romaji to pronounce it pause slightly before the consonent and pronounce it sharply and clearly. Kind of like Ha-Ka rather than Haka.

Names in Japanese have underlying meaning, in the case of Hakka 白霞  – the meaning is 白 – white and 霞 -haze.

The third character 罸 means punishment, penalty, censure.

Therefore hakka no togame / 白霞罸 can be translated to something like ‘white haze punishment’.

Why on earth would I call my blog white haze punishment? We have to go back around ten years to answer that.

I moved to London when I was around 28. After moving to London I had what I would call my first real grown up relationship (girlfriend).

My girlfriend was called Corrine and was from Singapore.

We used to love going to cafe japan in north london to eat delicious Japanese food.

When we were relaxing at her apartment one night she put on an anime movie. The movie was one of the ‘Bleach’ films.

Bleach is a super popular long running anime which is now finished.

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Tokyo Dining

Prepared like art, with heart,
Eaten with care, flavours rare,
Japanese food is really that good,
Cooking and dining are national pastimes,
Ramen is a passion and,
Sushi a fashion,
That powers Tokyo life.


Colourful restaurants; from counter bars to tatami mats,
Natural flavours, fresh, chosen with care,
Attention to detail, clear to see, delicately prepared,
Haru, Natsu, Aki, Fuyu; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter,
Often seasonal; food and tableware.

Traditional meals, that are
Humble small dishes, with
Rice to fill you,
Fermented soya to increase your life,
Vegetables and seaweed to nourish you,
Fish or meat, just a treat,
All arrayed in front of you,
Tea afterwards as a sweet?
Candy, chocolate and cake? – simply no need.

Hidden behind green and red lights,
Small alleyways, with restaurants side by side,
That’s beautiful Japan,
Beer and skewered meat; just what I need.

Just one word of warning,
Be prepared,
If the food is good,
To wait in line.

Tokyo dining; a social affair,
Friends, food and sake, the perfect afterparty,
Salary man and lady; who work so hard, can finally relax,
Even alone, you can be part of the counter dining family.


This is kind of a poem I wrote today after completing the first 5 days of the wordpress bloggingU writting201 (poetry) course. The photographs are from both 2014 adn 2015 of restaurants and food stands in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve been wanting to write something about these photos for quite some time. But I had been putting it off, as I was going to write something quite long winded. Today I had an idea, why not just try to write a simple poem about some of the things I love about Japanes food / dining.