Monday, March 3, 2014

Great Italian food in Tokyo and the art of mirroring. And what to do if a guy doesn't like you.



The other day in Tokyo, living a Travelife, I met up with a friend at my favorite neighborhood Italian joint.

It's not a famous place, but it's almost always my first choice for Italian when I don't want some place fancy. It's very under the radar because it's located on a very sleepy street -- and unless you speak Japanese or know the area well, you'll never find it.

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A GREAT BARGAIN

The food here is excellent and the price is unbelievable -- what a great combination. Their o-makase lunch (which means to basically leave the menu to the chef) is all of 4000 yen. This comes up to US$40 which, for Tokyo, is a steal.

Actually, it's almost unheard of.

FIVE COURSES FOR US$40

Grilled squid to start

The US$40 o-makase lunch was five courses, and each was really very good. We began with a starter of grilled squid, followed by a gratin of oysters, and then a bottarga spaghetti.

For the main course, it was grilled pork, which was so tender and juicy that it reminded me of the Iberico pork that sometimes finds its way to Tokyo's top supermarkets. When Iberico pork makes it to my Kinokuniya supermarket, for instance, I buy almost everything I can get my hands on and freeze what I don't use immediately.

Oyster gratin as a second course

THE BEST PORK IN THE WORLD

Iberico pork is truly the best pork I've ever tasted. Way better than Japanese kurobuta because it's not just soft, but also incredibly tasty.

I like to grill Iberico pork chops with just a bit of salt and pepper, and some seasoning. It's so juicy it doesn't need much for enhancement. When I taste this fresh off the grill, I feel like everything's right with the world.

Very tasty pork as a main course
WHAT TO DO WITH THE EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE

Anyway, over lunch, the topic of conversation was a guy.

Yes, my friend had fallen in love with a guy who so far refuses to return her feelings, for one reason or another.



"I thought he liked me," she said. "But he never seems to take it to the next level."

Maybe he doesn't like you enough, I almost said out loud. But I decided to keep this to myself for now. Instead, I said: "Maybe he's busy. Or just not ready for a relationship."

THE ART OF MIRRORING



Somehow, I find my girl friends can accept this kind of reasoning way better than "he's just not into you."

She then asked: "What should I do then?"

The multi-million dollar question every single time. I'm no expert, but I always have a standard response. I said: "Just mirror him."

"Mirror him?" She asked.



WHAT TO DO IF HE'S EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE.
OR JUST NOT INTO YOU.

I explained: "Copy him. If he keeps in touch with you a lot, then do the same thing if you want to. But if he's dropping off your radar screen for one reason or another, do a disappearing act yourself. Find something else to do or someone else to talk to."

I added: "You certainly don't want to be texting him 10 times a day if he's not doing the same."



"What good will that do?" She asked.

I shrugged. I really had no perfect answer for this question, but that's certainly what I would do if I were in her place.

But I said: "Well, you level the playing field, for one thing. And I guess you'll find out very quickly if he really likes you or not."



THE BOTTOM LINE

She said: "Maybe he's just emotionally unavailable. Maybe he really likes me, but he's just emotionally unavailable."

I said: "Who knows? And does it really matter if he is? The bottom line is, he's not doing anything about you."





WHAT TO DO

I guess she already knew this was coming, because almost immediately, she wailed: "What will I do if he doesn't like me?"

Again, I had no perfect answer for that. Life's not always fair and people don't always get what they want -- or who they want. Everyone knows this, but it's always just so difficult to accept.



So instead, I finished off my glass of red wine and replied: "His loss. Make sure it's his loss. You're the one he let slip away."

And that's how an afternoon in Tokyo ended, in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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