I finally had the pleasure of catching up with Prof Komiya after more than a year. He brought me to The Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur.
Nestled in the leafy residential area of Taman Seputeh, it's like a Little Japan to Japanese expats and residents, while for me, it felt like I've just stepped into Japan for the afternoon. I was surrounded by Japanese people (or at least Japanese-speaking people!), Japanese signboards, and Japanese characters.
It's like a clubhouse where everything Japanese could be found - restaurant, travel agency, library, minimart, salon, souvenir shop, community hall, florist. It's not a big piece of land, but knowing how nifty they can be with limited space, it's amazing the variety of services they have in the Club.
Even the restaurant reminded me of a typical Japanese cafe with its tatami mats and 障子* screens. Since it was quite a hot afternoon when we arrived, I decided to order the 笊蕎麦*, perfect for summertime. The first time I had it in Niigata, they served it with ice cubes on the bamboo mat.
I couldn't help but look all around me at the people dining there. Most were housewives bringing their kids out, some were there to grab a bite while reading their favourite magazine. This is probably one of the few places you'd see so many Japanese people, and being able to savour authentic Japanese food.
I got even more excited when I saw the rows of manga lined on the wall in the restaurant - I wish I could stay there the whole afternoon and catch up on クレヨンシンちゃん!
After showing me around the Club, we decided to try the desserts at the little cafeteria downstairs. It was drizzling outside anyways.
For awhile there, I had forgotten the names of the Japanese confectionery, but seeing them made me quite happy again. These were certainly homemade, nothing fancy, but certainly brought back memories of cute Japanese dessert.
Always meticulous in their presentation, even for something as simple as a rice cake stuffed with red bean jam. I would have eaten 大福* with one big gulp, but decided to be polite and sliced it with the wooden spatula provided.
The 葛饅頭* with its transparent jelly-like texture was chilled just nice for a summer dessert. Both were served with green tea.
After feeling very 懐かしい*, I asked Prof Komiya if there's some sort of membership to enter the Club. He told me he could help find someone as a referrer if I was really interested to join. Hmm, very tempting!
障子 【しょうじ】 (n) shoji (paper sliding door);
ざるそば 《笊蕎麦; 笊そば》 (n) (uk) zaru soba (soba served on a bamboo draining basket with dipping sauce)
大福 【だいふく】 (n) great fortune; good luck; rice cake stuffed with bean jam
葛 【くず】 (n) kudzu (Pueraria lobata) (type of vine); (Japanese) arrowroot;
饅頭 【まんじゅう】 (n) manjuu; steamed yeast bun with filling
懐かしい 【なつかしい】 (adj-i) (See 懐く・なつく) dear; desired; missed;