Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Food for thought

I have been around Little Tokyo for 3 weeks. Had chance to taste some Japanese and Korean restaurants in the area. Yes, Japanese and Korean food is most easily found in Little Tokyo, not other Asian food. Although I miss my Vietnamese food, I feel happy as it is what I find interesting here in Little Tokyo - a blend of Japanese and Korean cultures through food. It is not uncommon in Little Tokyo to see Japanese restaurants serve Korean dishes and vice versa. I remembered the angry-looking face of my previous boss when he saw the book - This is a Big World and There's Lots of Things to Do by the founder and former head of the Daewoo Group Kim Woo Choong - in the office. Let's not talk about this controversial figure and his book. What I recall is my surprise at that time as he told me he never wanted to see anything related to Korea in the office. I remembered when I was at East West Center, there was a seminar series on Japan - South Korea relationship. Till that time that I learnt about the reason that divided the two countries - history. Other than that, I saw the South Korean students side by side with the Japanese fellows with not much difference. They both are smart, hard working among other qualities. Both share interests for food, reading, football (I have seen two Japanese and Korean guys cheering together while watching an Italian football match), etc. There is clearly no reason for tension between them, except for history, which they cannot change, never. As I enjoyed a hot bowl of Udon, topped with Kimchi at the Korean Kitchen (Hibachi BBQ) in the Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo, I wondered why people often focus on differences, rather than commonalities as they go along.


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