Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kom Jug Yuen

Thursday January 3, 8:53 p.m.

I did mention a few entries ago in the last year that I was going to meet my old Japan buddy, The Satyr, for lunch last Saturday. And I did. The snow was coming down to the extent that any memories of the Winter That Never Was the previous year disappeared completely. Before I met up with him, I took temporary refuge in that anime/manga store just down Spadina for about 15 minutes or so. Of course, it's nothing compared to some of the emporia in Tokyo, but saw a respectable number of translated manga, CDs and figures. If I were on more secure financial ground, I would probably be investing some of my cash into these things, especially on the "Haruhi Suzumiya"series, but I'm gonna have to wait somewhat longer.

Anyways, I met The Satyr at about 12:30 in front of Kom Jug Yuen. It'd been over a year since I saw the lad with the rest of my old Movie Gang back in Tokyo. The last time was when we had that dinner at the Akasaka Hooters (deep-fried pickles....well, a work in progress). We got in, sat down and started catching up on friends and movies. It'd been a very long time since I was in ol' KJY. Another friend of mine, The Entrepreneur, and I often hit this place in the early 90s. I was happy to see that the place hasn't changed all that much. The wooden tables, the Chinese lanterns and the hanging meat at the front were all there. I guess the reunion wasn't just for The Satyr and was also a re-meeting with an old culinary haunt.

We both ordered what we had wanted for years there. Meat on Rice. In The Satyr's case, it was just the char-siu on rice, but I splurged to have BBQ duck crammed in with the BBQ pork as well. Splurge, of course, is a relative term with Kom Jug Yuen. I think it just cost me $6. And there was that lovely simple soup with chicken, stock, slices of ginger and some greens. Good meal for a cold day.

The chatting continued on as we made our way around the corner and to the Second Cup on College St. just across from U of T. That place was also one of memories for us. The Satyr used to work part-time there while I went there on Saturdays with the oft-huge crowd of Language Exchange members from the JCSA. The Second Cup was the transition point between the Exchange site at the International Student Centre and the various restaurants that the Japanese/Canadian crowd headed for. The Satyr told me that he and the staff behind the counter had to get their battle gear up and ready to handle the sudden influx. It certainly wasn't that way on the 28th. For one thing, the JCSA wasn't in session over the Holidays, and for another, I heard that the even larger group now is more or less heading to the closer Starbucks. So, it was nice and quiet and empty when the two of us had another reunion with an old place. It was good seeing The Satyr. Hopefully, perhaps someday, maybe some of the others might come and visit, although Movie Buddy will probably be not one of them since he became a father for the first time last year.

At this point, I would think that The Satyr will be getting ready to head on back to Japan in a couple of more days. In a way, I envy him since he's going back to the city where I had lived a pretty happy life for many, many years. But I'm settled back into life in Toronto, enjoying a proper Winter this time around. And perhaps making more trips over to Kom Jug Yuen.