A Stack of Buttermilk Choir, a Basket of Japan, and a Glass of Novel, Please?

Had pancakes out at the Pancake Manor in honour of Baby Brother’s 18th this evening.  My dear parents’ youngest child is now officially an adult.  Chotto kowaii, ne?

As it was actually meant to be a proper meal, ate a tasty creamy mushroom crepe along with my regular basket of awesome chips, and devoured my customary stack of buttermilk pancakes afterwards.  Truth, the chips and the buttermilk pancakes go fantastically well together, and that is usually how I eat them.  However I do not usually enter the pancake manor with the intention of actually eating properly.

I’ve been craving Pancake Manor fare for quite some time – it was my first time back there since coming home, and I remember spending a fair amount of breath glorifying these pancakes to some of my Japanese friends as I reminisced about their fluffiness.  And I had a picture of a buttermilk stack on a card to show my school kids as an example of food that Australians like.

I am Australian.  I like these pancakes.  Makes perfect sense.

Though we made our reservation at the newer location in Garden City instead of the original place in Brisbane where we usually go, food-wise I don’t think it made a difference.  Tasted pretty much the same – awesome – though I did find an unexpected hole in my top pancake.  The menus were exactly the same – tall, narrow, and plastic.  The wait-staff were clad in the familiar all-black that most wait-staff wear.  But when it comes to atmosphere, the Brisbane location wins.  No question.

The Pancake Manor in Brisbane resides in an old church.  Stain-glass windows.  Booths made out of pews.  It’s just lovely in there.  And though I hear the service isn’t as great as it was a while ago, it is this Pancake Manor that’s bound to several prominent aspects of my life.

Firstly, the Pancake Manor is linked with my choir.  The Queensland University Musical Society (QUMS) is a very important part of my life.  When I first entered uni in 2006, I was coming out of a high school that had no real choir – it just pulled together a group of interested singers whenever it needed to pretend it had one.  To be in a real choir again after five abstinent years was amazing, particularly entering a choir that was performing such amazing music when the most complicated thing I’d sung in the past was “Walk Down That Lonesome Road,” when I was in grade 5.  QUMS was pretty much my entire social life at uni, too.  Study, family, and choir – that was my life.  Funny how it’s pretty much the same now, only I’m substituting writing for study.

Right, the link.  Every year, QUMS sings at a midnight ANZAC day service in the city.  And as the Pancake Manor is a twenty-four hour place (on Fridays, Saturdays, and public holiday, I think) it’s the perfect spot to go for coffee and such at two in the morning after the performance.  A lot of tables have to be pushed together to accommodate us all.

Next, the Pancake Minor is connected with my Japanese experience.  Not that I found any passable pancake places over there – if I had I wouldn’t have been lusting after them, so.  Suppose they might have been there, and I just wasn’t looking right.  No, the link comes from my interview to be accepted into the JET programme, which would send me to Japan if I got through that stage.  Which I did.  Hooray.

I’d passed the application round, filling in questionnaires and writing a self-promoting essay, and I’d been working myself up something terrible about the coming interview.  It was my first real-real job-like interview, and from what I’d read on the internet, the JET programme interviews were particularly nasty.  Go in expecting a police interview, was perhaps the grimmest advice I read.  But I felt really good about my interview, afterwards.  Talked to a lovely little panel of both Australians and Japanese, answered a bouquet of questions about myself and a few what-if questions about how I’d handle particular situations in Japan, and as they knew I spoke some Japanese I was asked to give a simple self-introduction.  Then I asked a few things of them as all the websites recommended I do, and then it was all over.  Needless to say, went and had celebratory pancakes with my sisters after that.

Finally, just as most everything I dredge up to warble on about is, the Pancake Manor is linked (however obscurely) with my writing.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned anything much about this story – may have dropped the name Joan in that ancient blog about naming novels.  Anyway, wrote the first seven chapters of this story in five days, my biggest writing explosion to date.  Many modifications must be made before any more actual progress comes about, but it’s fairly high up on the waiting list.  It’s set a few years after my first novel, and a few of the same characters pop up.

Anyways, back to the pancakes.  I had to give Joan and her sisters a rendezvous point where they could meet and debrief after assignments.  It had to be a place they could meet at any hour.  A place they could be inconspicuous.  That serves alcohol.  And in which a well-earned dessert could be enjoyed.  The Pancake Manor was just the obvious choice, though I’ll not mention it by name, and I’ll disguise the menu.  Was having a lot of fun giving the pancakes new names – Chocolate Lovers, Tropicano, and Health Nuts.

The Pancake Manor and I.  We have history.  It was even my plan to rush there the moment I finished my first novel to partake in joyous celebration.  Was in Japan when that goal was reached, so that never happened.  Oh, wells.  Shall save up that jolly moment for the next big writing milestone:  next novel’s completion, finding an agent, publication.

Whichever it is, looking forward to it.


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