Easter – Food, Games and Japlanning

Greetings. I’m writing part of this post on my epic train journey from Cardiff to Truro, looking out on the tumultuous sea, and enjoying a glass of the moving-house white. A Sicilian pinot grigio, served from a plastic cup. The faux leather lap of luxury.

The last month has been a blur, and an emotional rollercoaster. A blurry theme park attraction. I had my first pathology exam, then didn’t receive an offer for a transfer, then received a transfer offer on Tuesday. As of August this year I’ll be working in the South West of England. While I’m excited for the next life chapter, I’ve just about settled in Cardiff and have a great bunch of colleagues and friends here. The world of pathology is a small one, so I expect our paths (pun not intended) will cross sooner rather than later.

Japan!!

Honeymoon Two, Big Honeymoon, or Honeymoon the Second takes us almost six thousand miles East to the Land of the Rising Sun. Sarah’s first, and my second time in Japan. My first adventure in Nihon was in 2015 on my medical elective. I spent seven weeks observing vascular surgery, suturing puncture sites, producing microscopic slides, and being wined and dined by a variety of professors. Mysterious private bars and hostess clubs abound.

Tokyo Tower, from my 2015 trip

Our honeymoon will be a more condensed two week trip, taking in Tokyo, Okinawa, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hakone. There will be food, drink, snorkelling, karaoke inevitably, and plenty of bullet-train rides. All of that and I haven’t even finished editing the photos from 2015.

Games: Am I even playing them? (Spoiler: yes)

Infamous Second Son has reared its head again. It’s no Witcher 3, praise be Geralt, but it’s enjoyable with a variety of missions and basic side quests. Find the spy, destroy the hidden camera, find the audio log, fight a bunch of people. The gameplay does become repetitive when you have to do those tasks over and over again to complete each district. This is only required if maxing out your abilities is the main aim, which it probably will be. I ended up with 100% completion, something I haven’t done in a long time. Second Son is the third installment in the series, though I haven’t played the first two games.

One of the many powers available for you to play with

One of the most novel and least violent aspects is the spray painting mini-game. The controller get tilted sideways and used as a spray can to stencil a variety of creative designs with a good or evil slant, affording you the respective karma bonus. This was really a case of using all of the functions of the PS4 controller including the tiny tinny speaker (it doesn’t sound great), the touchpad, and the sensors/accelerometers.

And who could forget the antagonists. I was laughing then, and I’m still laughing now. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the D.U.P., headed up by a strong independent woman, Arle….I mean Augustine. The developers either had a great sense of humour, or never even thought of putting “DUP” into Google once. Kind of them to give us Northern Irish gamers a wee chuckle.

Easter in Cardiff

My first Easter spent in Cardiff didn’t disappoint. A jam-packed culinary exploration with family and friends taking in a mix of traditional and modern British cuisine, Italian, and Japanese. And there was a little time for sightseeing. One of the highlights was the Clink, a restaurant staffed by prisoners working toward an NVQ in catering. There was no dramatic security on the entrance, and we weren’t stopped and searched. No, it felt like a slightly odd training restaurant. The food, though not the best I’ve had, was well presented and flavourful and overall at £45 for four courses, coffee and a mocktail represented decent value for money. (Photos courtesy of Claire Douglas)

Perhaps in preparation for our Japanese trip, we had lunch at Yakitori #1 in Cardiff Bay. Great sushi and salmon teriyaki, and it was surprisingly deserted on an otherwise very busy lunchtime. I suspect most of the folks out and about were after more traditional fare from a chain restaurant, but I was determined to try Yakitori #1 on a recommendation from work colleagues and wasn’t disappointed.

Italian came in the form of I Giardini di Sorrento on City Road, and though the food wasn’t quite up to the standard of Cafe Citta, it was an enjoyable experience and probably better for larger groups as Cafe Citta is tiny. On top of everything else, we discovered a new (presumably royalty-free) rendition of “Happy Birthday”. A version so catchy, you may never again forget it. And it goes a little like this…

…unfortunately it’s too catchy for me to unleash upon the world right now, ignoring the fact I have no idea where to find that particular version. As soon as I rediscover it, I will share it with y’all.

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