Sounds of the restaurant while I ate

Had dinner at a restaurant run by a woman from California, serving California inspired dishes with local, seasonal Japanese ingredients. Everyone in the restaurant was speaking English. The only Japanese person was the one waiter. The woman who runs the place and cooks everything, Katy, came up to me when I entered and had a mini conversation with me about where I'm from, why I'm in Japan, etc., and went on to explain the menu to me. Her hospitality was impeccable. It made me realize what it is about food that I really love—the community brought together by it, not necessarily the flavors themselves. 

I've also come to realize that, while I've had some pretty delicious meals in Japan, Japanese food is not my favorite. I admire the mastery of techniques and high level of specific skills involved with Japanese food, however, there’s not too much fun or rule breaking going on. It feels all very technical. I miss the alternative because that’s how I like to cook.