It has been an interesting time if you're into Japanese pop culture and you are a foodie. Since returning from Japan back in late 2011, a lot of Japanese cuisine has rooted itself into the Toronto firmament: ramen, izakaya food, cheesecake and now it seems as if Japanese-style pancakes have arrived in The Six.
This is quite an ironic development. In my final year in Japan, this Hawaiian franchise decided to take a chance and see if their pancakes could make some inroads in the notoriously fickle nation of foodies. And these were just the usual flapjacks with the gimmick being that they were merely the base for a huge tower of whipped cream; the whole thing looked like the dessert version of a part of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Well, the owner of the franchise didn't have to worry. Appreciation and interest were proven by the hours-long lineups. Admittedly, the dish was very Instagram-friendly.
Now, folks in Toronto might be getting into the really fluffy Japanese pancakes which are whipped into these inflatable cushions of egg yolks and other ingredients. I went to one such place a few days ago that opened up recently called Fuwa Fuwa. Nice pancakes and not a single drop of maple syrup to be found anywhere near my plate....quite eggy in taste and texture.
I was inspired by this sweet to introduce "Sweet Inspiration" by Hiroshi Sato (佐藤博...see what I did there?:)), the opening track from his 5th album "Sailing Blaster" released in June 1984. Provided lyrics by Cindy Yamamoto（シンディ山本）and composed by Sato, the singer-songwriter-musician is in his Howard Jones voice once more to give this quirky and boppy fun tune an even fluffier lift...like Japanese pancakes.
Wasn't initially sure how to definitively categorize "Sweet Inspiration". Although it's got the hint of City Pop through some of Sato's arrangement and instrumentation, I can't say that it is a downright piece of the city. In the end, I decided to play peacemaker and say that it can be both City Pop and straight pop. I'm fairly sure that Sato and Cindy wouldn't mind too much. It's still a pity that both of them are no longer with us.