Friday, September 22nd,2017
Sorry for the long wait. I’ve been so busy with the move to Japan and just got really behind on my first visit to Japan. At less, there are only a few more days I have to write about and I should be caught up. Hope you enjoy.
Today I’m so tired of all the running around and seeing amazing places and meeting new people that I just need a break. I took the day to just spend some time with myself and just relax and catch up on some writing. And some much-needed sleep. It’s been over a week since I’ve been in Japan and I haven’t had much time to reflect much about my trip or what I’m going to be doing in the next few days. I’m leaving for Osaka on Monday and then I have to leave for Taiwan on Thursday. I don’t want to leave Kyoto. I love Kyoto so far. I love all the traditional houses and shrines. I love the people and food and how it’s not so crowded and busy. I also love how quiet it is here in Kyoto. I remember being in Osaka on Sunday and how noisy it was and having lots and lots of people everywhere. Osaka is very lively place at night unlike Kyoto and I prefer the quiet neighborhood. I’m really going to miss the peaceful lifestyle here in Kyoto. I do have some planes later on tonight with Dana. We are using the MeetUp app again and we are going to try out a cooking class. Should be interesting and I can’t wait for tonight to meet new people and to learn to make some Japanese food. I love learning how to cook different kinds of food. It’s always fun to make food and eat it together with other people. It’s even better when you with a group of people who are learning the same thing as you. We can all struggle with learning to cook something new together.
Getting to cooking class
Walking to the Cooking Class
Dana recommended using the app Meetup to meet new people. I use Meetup in Taiwan but I didn’t think about using it in Japan. She told me about a cooking meet up where we will learn how to cook Oden. (Not udon, but oden). The first thing that came to my mind was udon noodles. Not realizing it was hot pot. All week I thought I would be learning how to make udon noodles. I was way wrong.
We needed to arrive at the place around 6:15 pm. and the cooking lesson would start at 6:30 pm and last till almost 9 pm. We decided we would leave around 5 and just walk to the place. I Googled the direction and took some screenshots. It was going to be a 45-minute walk and we needed to leave around 5. Hopefully, we won’t get lost and we get there ok.
It was an interesting walk. Saw some cheap food, beautiful traditional houses, and just enjoying how peaceful the atmosphere is. Love walking around Kyoto. We didn’t get too lost. Google maps told me where it was and I just followed that but Google maps were slightly wrong about the street. It was just one street off. Google maps tried to take us to Starbucks. But we found someone to help us. Instead of just telling us how to get there, she just took us there. This is the second time this happened where a complete stranger will go out of their way to help you and will even take you there. I just find this amazing and so sweet of these people to go that far just to help a stranger. It turned out that it was a building that we passed and we had to go upstairs the second floor.
Learn how to cook Japanese Oden (not Udon)
We finally arrived at the meeting place. We were 20 minutes early but that’s ok. We got to meet the instructor and the person who organized the whole thing. Turned out the assistant is the cook’s daughter. The daughter new English and so did her mom. We had to pay 2,000yen for the class. Which is fine because most places charge more than that because it’s a tourist trap. We had to take off our shoes and put on slippers before we could enter the kitchen. She gave us a paper that had the recipe and the directions. Then she loaned us an apron to use that we have to give back before we leave. Slowly, people started showing up. We got to meet most of them. We had about 12 people that showed up for the cooking class. What shocked me the most was that everyone was ok with using English with us. No one was nerves or acted shy about using English. They acted very confident in there speaking and if they didn’t know something they would ask. It was really nice to see this.
After everyone arrived we watched the chef talked about what we are going to be making and how to do it. She spoke mixed English and Japanese and sometimes would have her assistant translate stuff sometimes. We learned a lot. Then we split up into our groups. Also, the chef invited some of her friends to join in on the cooking. They knew how to cook so they where there to help us in our groups. We started making the hot pot stuff first and we also had another group who did the side dish. We all helped each other out in English and Japanese. We also made dessert. Luckily the chef friends were there to help us or I would have missed it up big time. I couldn’t remember much what the chef said about how to cook this. I just remember some of it. Haha
The other women where helping Dana and me on cutting the food. I never worked with this type of food before. We had daikon radish, konnyaku, chikuwa, Satsuma-age, boiled egg, oage, negi, and kanpyo, There was some stock for the soup too but I didn’t have to do anything with the soup part. Just help on cutting up the food. There was one part I thought I knew what I was doing. It was just to cut a lime and squeeze the lime juice in the Japanese salad. Easy enough I thought. I cut the Limes in half and waited for the salad to be done. Well, that wasn’t correct. You had to (what the chef said, put medicine on the lime first to make it greener and stronger in taste). I rubbed the salt on the outside of the lime and I started to smell the lime. Then we cut the lime into wedges. Luckily, the chef had some extra lime we could use since I missed it up. Haha
After the food was all done, everyone helped out with setting up the table and getting everyone food laid out on the table. Then the chef came up to me and asked if I was a Christian. I had to ask her to repeat that because I haven’t been asked this question by a stranger since Thailand. She repeated the question and what I heard the first time was correct. I told her yes and she asked me if I could lead everyone in prayer. I don’t know if she just wanted the experience of having someone pray before the meal, but I was happy to do it.
Everyone gathered around the table and I waited for everyone to be seated. Then everyone was dead silent. I don’t think they knew what to do. As I folded my hands I saw some of the other women having problems. They had no idea what was going on or even how to pray over a meal. Then I realized no one here besides Dana, the chef and I knew how to pray. To me, it was a simple concept but for the Japanese women, it wasn’t. I should have known better than to assume that everyone would know how to put their hands together and bow their heads. I would be in the same boat if I went to a shrine. I would have no clue how to pray in their shrines or the basic things you do in a shrine. Then the chef realized the same thing I did and she explained to everyone what to do in Japanese. Then everyone had their head down and hands folded. I was so nerves. I’m not use to being put on the spot like this. I took a deep breath and said a silent pray for myself asking for the Lord to guide me through this. I bowed my head and started to pray. I just stuck with a simple prayer. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for our meal that we are about to have today and thank you for letting us being together and share this amazing experience together. In Jesus name, Amen’. Like I said, simple. But when I raised my head, it happened again. No one had a clue that the prayer was done. Neither did the chef. She had to open her eyes and see that I was done to let everyone else know that I was done. Everyone else started to open there eyes and unclosed there hands. But no one started eating yet. Dana asked what are we suppose to do next? Since no one was eating yet, there must be something we have to do. The chef said we start eating when everyone says,”Itadakimasu“. Then the chef said it first then everyone at the table said it at the same time. Then everyone started to eat. The food was amazing!!! I like hot pot but this was a Japanese version of hot pot. All our hard work has finally paid off.
Clean up Time
Most people were done eating, but no one was getting up yet. Everyone was waiting for everybody to be done eating. Everyone just waited patiently for everyone to finish their food. Dana was the last one to be eating. After she finished her food, the chef said, “Gochisosama” then everyone else said, “Gochisosama”. After that, everyone started getting up and clearing off the table. We picked up our plates, bowls, and silverware and took them to the sink to be washed. I helped with the washing and someone else did the drying and another person put the dry dishes away. It was great teamwork. We got everything cleaned up pretty fast. After the clean up was done the chef gathered us all together to say a few parting words and said goodbye. We took a group photo and we had to start saying goodbye to everyone.
After we were done talking to everyone, Dana and I were off to our hostel. Dona and I just talked about our experience and how much fun we had cooking and just trying the new food. We finally made it to our hostel and just got around to bed. It was a great day of meeting new people, cooking, and just having a great time. I would love to do this again if I get the chance too.
That is all for this post. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. It was a great experience that I will never forget. Please remember to follow me on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook. Have a nice day.