|Tenderloin frying up on a rock|
In a couple of days, I will be meeting up with a couple of my dining friends to take part in the foodie festival of Winterlicious in Toronto that usually starts up around the end of January and goes on for a couple of weeks. Its seasonal counterpart is Summerlicious which is held this year smack dab in the middle of July. JTM has told me that New York City has had a similar festival called Restaurant Week.
The last time I met up with my friends about a month ago was to try out the newest branch of the Guu izakaya franchise. It turned out to be located in an area of Toronto that has its share of trendy and tainted patches, and this particular restaurant was in the middle of a pretty desolate street. But considering it was so frostbite-cold that Sunday night, I wasn't surprised that there was no one on Queen Street outside of us Japanese food lovers. Anyways, one of my friends was showing me his latest listening list on his cellphone and one of the names that he recommended was a rather odd one: Ms.OOJA.
I had never heard of this singer before but according to J-Wiki, she was born in 1982 in Mie Prefecture and began singing at the age of 17. Her genres are listed as club, hip-hop and R&B. After spending a few years as an indies artist, she made her major debut with her first album "VOICE" in June 2011.
Giving a few of her songs a try on YouTube, the one tune that got my ears was a particular track on "VOICE" called "Baby Don't Know Why" which is a bouncy number that kinda straddles the line between R&B and straight pop. Written by Ms.OOJA and composed by her and TAZZ, I was also struck by how much she sounded like Hikaru Utada（宇多田ヒカル）in the first minute before her voice went a bit lower. I will have to explore some more of her discography.
So far, J-Wiki doesn't have a clue about what her real name is. However, it does list her favourite foods which seem to be rebasashi (liver sashimi) and beer. Therefore, Ms.OOJA would probably be quite appreciative of how izakaya have become a mainstay in the Toronto culinary scene. But to be honest, I can't stand liver and I don't drink copious amounts.