Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cooking with Mari

With a food-centered agenda for this trip, I did a little research and found a home-style cooking class we could sign up.

We met our host, Mari, and four other travelers outside the appointed metro stop at 5:00 and headed to Mari's apartment to learn how to make a typical Japanese dinner.

I really enjoyed seeing a (I assume) typical Tokyo apartment.  It is, as you may expect, quite small.  Here's the dining room/kitchen.  I believe their bedroom is just on the other side of that screen.

Here's a close-up of the poster on the wall:

The green balloons are each signed by guests from their wedding.  (I wonder if it's on Pinterest?)

Next to that is a world map:

This is a terrific idea on her part - with so many foreign guests coming into her home and making small talk, I imagine every cooking class has a "gather 'round the map and discuss geography" moment.  I also really liked seeing a map where Japan is the center of the layout.

The cooking class was high on student-participation.  We all alternated between chopping and stirring and taking photos.

(Jason using his Eagle Scout skills to de-bone the salmon)

It was also fun to see what typical kitchen utensils they use here.  Chopsticks are used in abundance.

Mari measuring out miso paste.  She had three kinds on hand (red, brown, and white - the "white" is the yellow stuff in the bag)

Here's our finished meal:

(Clockwise from the top)

Sakana no Nanba-duke (Marinated salmon with vegetables)
Imo-mochi (potato cake with a sweetened sake-soy sauce)
Miso soup (with dashi make from scratch!)
and, of course, rice.

And here's our group:
Marilyn (from Austrailia), Laura and Taj (from New Zealand), Jason and me, and Wendy (another Aussie)

We were pretty close to the Ginza district, so we walked back to our hotel.  Along the way we found the stunning Kabuki theater:

and generally just admired the city-ness of Tokyo at night:

While Jason stepped away to take a picture, I decided to try out a vending machine.  

A former student, Maya (who is Japanese and who visited here a few years ago), recommended I try "Pocari Sweat" while I'm here.  I did, posting this photo to Facebook for her:

She replied, "OMG so much yes cant eve english right now"

Considering the label's description, "With the appropriate density and electrolytes, close to that of human body fluid, it ca be easily absorbed into the body," it's not half bad.

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