The truth is much more mundane: we spend most days at work and most nights at home. In fact, we eat at home about three nights out of four, depending on how crazy things are at work. A lot of what we eat is essentially American, but often with a couple unexpected substitutions or a little Japanese twist. Nana, who is really the field marshal of our kitchen, does a great job with a limited palette, given all the things we just can't get, or can't get cheaply enough to eat on a regular basis. She manages to keep our diet fairly healthy, too - though not so healthy that a weekly trip to the ramen shop can't put my cholesterol right back through the roof.
Anyway, here's a brief look at a week of meals at our place.
Like many weekend meals, this one was a joint effort: I did the fish, Nana did the potatoes, and we both kept an eye on the veggies.
Nana does most of the weekday cooking: she says it relaxes her, whereas cooking at the end of a long day just stresses me out. I usually go for a bike ride instead. It's my job to clean up after the meal, at which time Nana usually curls up on the couch in a metabolic stupor.
Other weeks, we'll pop into Menchanko-tei, a Fukuoka-based chain that specializes in noodle soups in the style eaten by sumo - with smaller portions, of course. This Wednesday, I opted for a yasai banzai ("10,000-year vegetable" or "longevity vegetable") menchanko, while Nana stuck with the classic. Those at the top are fried burdock sticks. Burdock is this freakishly delicious and healthy root vegetable that's cheaper than dirt in Japan.
The little side bowl in the lower right is for cooling and seasoning your noodles. Nana likes hers unadulterated, but I usually take mine with a hefty dose of yuzu paste, a condiment made from a bitter Japanese lime, soy, and a liberal dose of hot pepper.
On Thursdays, we're so busy we can't even remember to take a photo. Thursday is the only day of the week we're committed to getting out of school on time, as that's the only way to make our 4:40 Japanese lesson downtown. Luckily, the lesson lets us out right between Daimyo and Tenjin, two of Fukuoka's culinary hotspots. There's no telling what we'll end up eating on Thursday - though this time it was just a simple Hakata ramen.
Fridays, when we eat at home, we usually throw something together from all the perishables left in the fridge. This usually takes the form of some kind of omelette or stir-fry, though occasionally pancakes are involved.
Yesterday, however, was parent-teacher conference day, so we didn't get out of school until late. Solution? Dinner with two of our Japanese colleagues, at a local place known for its hand-made udon (chewy wheat noodles). I had some udon soup and Nana had some soba (buckwheat noodles), each with another portion of fried burdock.
Seven nights, three home-cooked meals - the sign of a week a bit busier than most.