The Last Shabu-Shabu


Hanezawa Outdoor Dining, originally uploaded by bloompy

After a 3-day winter-like weather that brought rain and cold wind across the city, Tokyo re-emerged into the sunlight on Thursday, although unaccompanied by the glory of the cherry blossoms. Today the Hanezawa Garden, a favorite restaurant near where I live, offers its last shabu-shabu lunch and dinner for the season. Beginning next week, the Korean BBQ will again be featured as the main and only attraction in the outdoor dining at this elegant restaurant complex.

I was given a seat that was partially shaded by the tree; yet giving me full access to the bath of light available in front of me. The cherry blossoms in this garden still retained some of their flowers, but the look was pretty much emaciated. Throughout lunch, the petals were blown by the wind and fell down to the earth as if scattered by the hands of the gods and goddesses. The effect was magical. The shower of petals looked like a summer snow.

As lunch progressed, the comfort of the shade left me exposed to the mighty sun. Unlike the winter sun whose effect one could hardly feel, this one made its presence known. While enjoying my book -Marco Livingstone’s David Hockney- I felt the heat becoming slightly unbearable. The presence of a standing waiter nearby provided a much-needed temporary shelter, but alas, his shadow went with him as he was called by a customer at a far-away table. I was once again exposed.

I am not complaining. After a three-day insistence by the grey winter weather to stay in the city, I welcome the change of weather. Spring, hopefully, is here to stay.

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