Monday, 22 October 2012

But you know he'll always keep movin' / You know he's never gonna stop movin'

Sakae, Nyarutarama

There is a moment, somewhere at the beginning of a relationship, when you're both too scared to say it. The tension is electric - fizzing, popping and sparkling. Yet you're both too afraid to utter those three little words for fear that all might be lost, that the universe might suddenly become wrought and you'll be left vulnerable and alone. Empty. Three little words. You can't just throw them around. They are the ultimate human connection, the final expression of intimacy. We wouldn't even be here without them.


Teppanyiki is made for Kigali. All those awkward meals with colleagues are made that little bit more managable by a bit of theatre. The chef is going to set fire to some shit at the end of the day, which should help to fill those dusty conversation gaps.

Despite the Japanese pretensions, Sakae is actually a Korean word which roughly translates as "Brightly lit shed".

Squeezy holds up her phone to show me the sms message. Three little words: I lov u

"Who's that from?" I ask, wondering what Squeezy has been up to for the last couple of weeks.

"A taxi driver I used when I was out shopping yesterday".

"You must have made quite an impression."

"Clearly. I've had 14 missed calls from this idiot. Would you mind ringing him and telling him to back off. I don't like the fact that he knows where I live"

I use Squeezy's phone to ring up Taximan. I make up a story that I am Mr Squeezy and that I am a big man with a big dog and he should stop phoning and be respectful to ladies and fear god.


The best thing about Sakae are the tempura vegetables. Be they carrot or potato variety, they always look like somebody has cut off an old man's ear and deep-fried it. Is it just me who likes this kind of thing?

Sushi on the other hand, is of the sort you only ever buy in a plastic box at a railway station cafe when the only other thing they have left are shop-soiled egg and cress sandwiches. Let's not even go there. Some people might tell you that the sushi is good here. Those people are talking nonsense.

Various tasty morsels come thick and fast off the teppan with a friendly Kenyan chef (they're all imported from Kenya, and live in the house opposite) doing the performance grilling. It's all a bit like watching a busker doing Jerry Rafferty's Baker Street. The grilling is all well and good, but you're just waiting for the big sax riff to kick-in when the food finally lands on your plate. 

It's a bit of an expensive do, but what comes off the grill is good quality. Tofu Okonomiyaki works well (even for a confirmed tofu-hater like me), the beef is good enough to eat rare, and it's always a pleasure to be able to horrify Rwandan friends by eating squid.

"I can't eat those things" says The Don "they look like sea monsters"

"They are sea monsters"

"Exactly. You foreigners are funny people.." he shakes his head "Eating sea monsters..."


Squeezy's phone.


Sakae, Nyarutarama. On the road to the MTN centre, follow the signpost on the right hand side.

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