We have a new housemate since last weekend. He will be here for one month and will work in that time as an intern at the University Hospital, which is just 10 minutes away from the house. I happened to be there when he came to Ebisu’s, and when he climbed the steps, I noticed his luggage: He carried – or rather, hardly carried – a large suitcase and a huge backpack, and I already wondered how much stuff a guy can possibly need in a single month.
Well, I watched him prepare dinner one evening, and now I know what he’s been lugging around: It’s food. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our special needs when it comes to food, and we all like to have familiar stuff, even on vacation. A Finnish houseguest filled half the freezer with dark bread, Koreans take their kimchi everywhere (it’s even available at every Korean airport in the duty-free section), Australians are rumoured to bring their Vegemite wherever they go, and I have to admit that when I was in Europe the last time, I stuffed my suitcase with bread and special Austrian sweets (Punschkrapferl, Mohnstrudel, Nusskipferl,…) as well. And with Nutella, of course.
But I think that our new guest lifted the whole thing to a totally new level. When he made a curry dish the other evening, he used a special kind of spicy Thai-sauce, a bag of curry made with some meat, and: two cans of pre-cooked rice, everything brought over from Thailand…
I can understand the sauce, and even the curry – but the rice? Seriously? Japan produces about 120% of their national rice-consumption, and even so, I am sure there is Thai rice to be found somewhere. Bringing staples like this with you is just odd… At least, there will be lots of empty space in his bags that he can fill up with souvenirs when he’s leaving.