Lately I have been seeking out efficacious ways of bringing my life into order before embarking——assuming for a moment a maritime metaphor for matrimony——on the journey of marriage. The ultimate longing under discussion is a quiet life of humble spiritual devotion, but there are many physical aspects to this. If our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit as the Apostle Paul assures us in his first epistle to the Corinthians, then physical discipline is holistically intertwined with spiritual wellbeing and with the creature’s relationship to the Creator. The important first step in my budding personal renaissance has been getting out of bed at six o’clock rather than at seven o’clock. This has allowed for a revolution in my diet. It has eliminated those unfortunate occasions when I barely have time to throw leftovers into my lunch box before scampering over to the junior high school to rummage through the staff snack basket for breakfast.
This is what my breakfast table typically looks like these days (breakfast on the left, box lunch on the right). Since it consists entirely of items commonly eaten by local folks it is cheap, and it is supposedly quite healthy as well. For supper, I am trying to move away from the typical curry rice → mabo-dofu → stir fried rice cycle that is so tempting to a bachelor. Unfortunately this challenge is made difficult by my lack of knowledge regarding what to do with local vegetables and seafood. Nevertheless, there is a new principle at work in my life: rice mixed with kochujan and sesame oil ≠ supper.
My Most Important Vegetable
I have also begun eating a lot more natto. It’s a vegetable, it’s cheap, and I don’t need to cook it. I just mix in mustard, shoyu (soy sauce) and minced leek (there’s another vegetable right there). According to one of NHK’s food specials I should stir my natto 424 times before eating it but I can’t count fast enough so I just approximate. Those only marginally acquainted with natto who want to be possessed of a more academic knowledge of this most noble of stinky foods should take a good long look at this History of Natto and Its Relatives compiled by scholastically inclined soy enthusiasts who have gone to the trouble of quoting natto historians and tracing the fivefold mythology of the birth of natto.