A shabu shabu dinner at home in Tokyo. And all about painting as a hobby.

So last night, in Tokyo, living a #Travelife, a friend from Manila came over for dinner.

We were supposed to go to a sushi restaurant. But there I was, looking for a good excuse to have shabu shabu, and he was it.


I have a good supplier of excellent wagyu in Tokyo so I can prepare excellent shabu shabu anytime. The secret to a good shabu shabu is having meat with enough marbling — but not too much as it’ll be too satiating — and having wonderful sauces with depth.

You must have a sesame-based sauce and a ponzu-based sauce for a proper shabu shabu.

So after lunch yesterday, I went all the way to Azabu just to get the equivalent of two kilos of prime wagyu shabu shabu for dinner.


This wagyu supplier also sells a very special thick shabu shabu sauce made from real sesame paste — not the commercial bottled kind you usually get — and so I make my own shabu shabu sauce using this special preparation and thinning it out, plus adding some special condiments.

I add garlic to the the sesame shabu shabu sauce, and a yuzu chili powder to a special ponzu sauce I make from a ponzu concentrate from Mount Fuji.

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When he got to my house, this friend sat on the sofa in the living room while I got the champagne out of the fridge.

Then when I got back, I found he was looking at four very large oil paintings hanging on one wall in my living room. This wall was hand-finished by an artisan in dark grey plaster, so it gives the paintings a rather dramatic feel.

He looked like he kind of liked these. Then he asked me: “So who’s the artist?

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In Manila, he collects art, you see, and he knows that I do, too; although I don’t collect art as seriously as many other people I know.

I said to him: “I painted those.




Yes, one summer many years ago, I’d painted a lot of oils in one go at my weekend home in Mount Fuji. Most of them are hanging around the walls of my home in Tokyo.

He looked surprised.

“Seriously?” He asked me.

I was. And he said: “You should continue. They’re very good. They have a Mexican feeling to them.

Many people who’ve been to my home in Tokyo have said that my paintings have a Mexican touch as well. But last night’s comments certainly made my day, on just another wonderful spring day in Tokyo, having shabu shabu with champagne and an excellent bottle of Rhone, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.