I have been reading those old books of mine lately. Those books that I brought them with me to Singapore decade ago. Over the years, they follow me around in several big boxes as I wander between different rented rooms. I couldn’t left them behind because each of them almost represent myself at one particular phase of life or a record of certain moment of life. Those books are not written by me but somehow I left a part of me in them during reading.
“The Kitchen” is the last book I read before I ended my long holiday. It is a short story written by a Japanese author named Banana Yoshimoto. The story is about the journey of Mikage Sakurai, a young lady after the decease of her grandmother, in which she grieved the death of her only kin in the world, lost her way in life and then slowly figured out how to put her life back together through a series of activities in the kitchen.
When I first read it as a teenager, I was so fascinated by the author’s brilliant description of despair, solitary and sorrow that is so penetrative to one’s heart. I was young back then, I felt it but I did not truly understand it. Now at this age, I am shocked to realise how much I have understood so far. I would not say I got everything crystal clear but I know the power of impact of “life” on us.
I did not understand why Sakurai fell asleep on the kitchen floor, right in front of the noisy fridge in every sleepless night she had. I did not understand why she spent the whole summer in a stranger’s kitchen obsessively learning how to cook. And of course I did not understand why she is living again after the summer.
I now realised (after 6 years) why my marriage went on the right track after my kitchen is done; why I spent so much time in the kitchen during my PhD years and even wrote my thesis facing the kitchen; and why I insist to get a meal done regardless how tiring and busy I am.
Cooking is never the solution to overcome challenges in life, neither the kitchen. I guess it is the sense of security and warmth I got from a home, not a house.
Today I woke up before 7 am on Sunday after so many uneasy nights due to a bucket loads of negative emotions. I got myself a dough from flour and water and yeast. Eggs and ham are lining up in the fridge. While waiting for the dough to prove and rise, I am now sitting beside the noisy fridge again and writing this post, feeling peaceful and calm as the sunlight gradually breach through my kitchen windows. The house is so bright now. I am going to wake L up and we are going to have pita bread as breakfast to end our hectic July.
I am not going to turn off the burners in my kitchen anyway, so I think I can face anything coming to me, even though I knew how ugly they are.
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I attached the recipe of matcha pudding in this post because this is the closest I can find in my database currently to match this post: A Japanese-flavoured dessert with a great book from Japan. 🙂