In a Foreign Land


After arriving in Tokyo a year ago, my cooking skills have noticeably improved. Since being here I’ve grown accustomed to the high prices of fruits and gradually accepted the limited variety of vegetables. These new restraints have meant I’ve grown in creativity in the kitchen.

The excellent quality of beef here is impressive though finding a whole beef shank can be quite difficult. Even when cooking for family, Japanese people seldom buy such large cuts of meat in one go. Thus, when I make braised beef, I often feel a hint of regret: it’s so tasty and I always want more.

This regret serves as a reminder. It reminds me that I am in a foreign land, having escaped familiar constraints, and that I have to adapt to new rules. Even tastes and dietary habits need gradual adjustment. Even the most cherished connections to memory and security must be carefully unfolded, organized, and stored, making room for new changes.

— Ariel Wu