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Saturday, July 14, 2018

AROUND THE WORLD FOOD TOUR

Day 73 of the Lower Puna Eruption, and activity continues, although this subject dropped off the list of major local headlines in the Star Advertiser.  Oh, but there is a new island off Kapoho, about 25 feet in diameter and only a few yards offshore.


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I spent most of yesterday putting together a PowerPoint for my talk to 15 Craigside this coming Tuesday, July 17:


Let me know if you want to come.  Security here is pretty tight, so you can't just show up.  Note the free food and drinks at 2:30PM.  The write-up is a bit too focused.  I'll start with what I ate growing up in Kakaako, and Matsuda Saimin is one beginning.  In fact, Fuj's family will be featured.  Also, it's more than the food that makes a meal memorable.  The setting, people involved and so on are more relevant than what you eat.

Let me quote just one anecdote:

Kee Hyong Kim obtained his PhD from Penn State University, and at a relatively young age, became the first Minister of Science and Technology for South Korea. Our first meeting was awkwardly disastrous, for I was staying at the Lotte Hotel, about three miles from the Hilton Hotel in Seoul, where dinner was to be held with Kim, another Kim, who was head of the Korean Intelligence Agency, and Doe Hwan Chun, who had recently stepped down as president of the country. I left my hotel half an hour before dinner time, but saw a long line waiting for taxis. It was raining. After ten minutes with the line not at all moving, I went to the streets, but only got wet attempting to flag a taxi down. In desperation, I hired a hotel car and chauffeur, who got me to the Hilton 35 minutes late, for the traffic was a mess. Visibly drenched, I charged into the dinner room to see them casually discussing national politics. No one seemed particularly upset about my tardiness. Dinner went well. Only a few weeks later, former President Chun was jailed on charges of corruption, treason and mutiny. He was sentenced to death, but was eventually pardoned by President-elect Dae Jung Kim. There are a lot of Kims in Korea.

That was a quarter century ago, Dae Jung Kim went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 and Kee Hyong and I came great friends after that meal.  He is credited with spurring South Korea's advanced industries.  He was largely responsible for the formation of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.


One problem with South Korea is that they have the highest suicide rate of industrial countries (the USA is half that of SK).  Another is that they have a penchant for throwing former presidents in jail.  

Here to the left are Chun and another, Roe-tae Woo.  Past President Park Geun-hye is now serving 24 years behind bars and additionally had to pay a fine of $16.9 million dollars.  You ask, why isn't Trump in jail?  Good question.

Just the above could have served as a whole lecture.  Or, what about my "Best" day, which occurred in Vienna three years ago, mostly around St. Marks Square, when I met my Blue-bar Pigeon at breakfast, had a lunch at Quadri, all featuring white truffles, and was visited by this pigeon.  I'll just show some photos:


I might add that virtually next door was a theater where three centuries ago Antonio Lucio Vivaldi composed most of his Four Seasons, and the San Marcos Chamber Orchestra was providing a one time only performance of this set, and tickets were long sold out.  But when I inquired, one was magically made available.  Photos and recordings were expressly forbidden, but I just had to sneak-in a shot.


On my walk back to my hotel, a moonlight setting.  What a day.  Again, just this few hours period could well have served as a full lecture.  But I need to crystallize everything I've ever eaten into 45 minutes or so.

Speaking of food, yesterday I joined my Blue-bar pigeon for lunch at Marukame:


To a bowl of Paitan Udon, I added an onion burst and ume/chiso musube.  Hidden in that cover is a bottle of beer.  I must have sat there for an hour, just watching humanity walk by.  This is essentially the main campus of Hawaii Pacific University, and the people didn't look as great those from Seattle, but much better than Anchorage.  There was an element of danger, for a few dregs of society sauntered through, including, by my guess, at least half a dozen who could have been criminally insane.  However, the positives made up for the worst.



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