“Wuhan,different every day! It has changed a lot in past several years – high buildings can be seen every where, and the transportation is more and more convenient, ” said Shimada Koji, a Japanese who lived in Wuhan for seven years.
Shimada Koji, 70, is now running Dingwu (Chinese: 顶屋), a small restaurant mainly selling curry in Wuhan. Born in an ordinary family of Fukuoka, Japan, he didn’t follow the normal path of life to work, marry and have children, but spent his time traveling around the world since the age of 35. The countries like America, Italy, France, Netherlands, Swiss, Denmark, Sweden…all had his footprints.
At his 60s, the old man came to Wuhan and settled down, opening a small restaurant by the Central China Normal University. This hash house once became the hot gathering place among the young people who love Japanese and curries in Wuhan and even surrounding cities .
“Japan is known for sushi, ramen and curry, the former two of which need professional skills to make while curry is a home-cooked food, ” said the old man, “I’m willing to bring good-tasting and affordable curries to every one.”
The curries selling in Dingwu are bought from Japan, and other accompaniments are carefully selected from local supermarkets. The aging man taught all his employees to cook curries, without any reservations. However, only few people can meet his requirements in precise mixture and taste. Till now, he goes to Dingwu to check the food every day to ensure the mouthfeel unchanged from the start.
In addition to curries, Dingwu also called together many people who have interest in Japanese: college students, white-collars, job hunters, those who planned to go abroad…. The old grandpa prepared teaching materials for the attendees and acted as Japanese teacher himself. He even gave award to those who persisted in learning and made progress. “I only want to provide an exchange platform between Japanese and Chinese, from food to culture,” he said.
One year ago, the old shop of Dingwu was pulled down, then it moved to the side of Wuhan University and opened a new branch store at Jiedaokou, where the Luoshi Road and Wuluo Road meets in Wuhan. Though did not advertise, many old and new diners turned up and attracted by its fame.
Wuhan is fast-changing, but time is slow-moving in Dingwu. Similar decorations, unchaged taste and same shopkeeper are always waiting for those who ever stopped and those who want to have a stay.