Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Hula New Year Party

Yesterday my hula group met at the “most famous sushi restaurant” in our town for the annual New Year Party. As with everything else here, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen until it did. I thought I should probably dress up a bit, but I also knew it could be a sitting on the floor kind of traditional restaurant, so I had to take that into account.  I ended up wearing plaid pants, a white shirt, a black sweater and slip on shoes.  As it turned out we did have to take off our shoes but there were low chairs to sit on.

Having just been in Okinawa, I recognized the shisa in the corner of the room.

Four people didn’t get to come to the party. One has the flu, one had a minor surgery, and the other two might also be sick, but I couldn’t understand why they weren’t there. Two months ago the one who has the flu told me everyone in Japan gets a flu shot and that she couldn’t believe I wouldn’t get one too.  If you can get the flu after getting the shot, why get the shot?

The people who drove to the party drank ginger ale or tea, the rest of us had beer.

The meal was a set menu and there was a lot of food.
Everyone was amazed that I could eat with chop sticks and that I could eat raw fish.  Now really, if I couldn’t use chop sticks, wouldn’t I be very thin? 

First, there was a little salad with a dollop of mashed potatoes on the side.

Next was a shallow dish of vinegar with crab, salmon, cucumber, and several kinds of sea weed.

Seafood au gratin came next. I don’t usually like creamy rich things but this was very delicious.

 This was an egg custard dish that I didn’t eat.  The waitress told me there was no meat in it, but the person sitting next to me said it contained tori niku (chicken), so I gave it to someone else at the table.  I don’t like to take any chances with meat.

We had a delicious miso soup, but I forgot to take a picture of it. You’d think all of that would be enough, but there was more to come.  When I showed this picture to Ted, he thought this was a platter for the table, but no, this plate of sushi was mine and every other person had one just like it.

The ending was two pieces of pineapple and a perfect strawberry.

All during the meal, everyone was talking non-stop and all at once, so I didn’t understand much.  One topic was about coloring your hair and using mascara for touch ups around your face and along your part when grey hair starts growing in. I’ve learned a few tricks for trying to understand what is being said.  There are a lot of foreign words, like mascara, that are used in Japanese. When I hear “mashta” (---mashita), I know it is past tense of something, even if I don’t recognize the verb.  Then, there are words that are used often, like snow.  It’s hard not to talk about the snow here – there’s just so much of it!

Mid-way through the meal, there was a little competition for a gift bag.  People of all ages play a rock paper scissors kind of game for everything here.

One person won and received the bag, but then everyone got a gift bag.  Like I said I never really know what is going on. My bag had a strawberry dish scrubber, a man’s handkerchief, and a package of dark chocolate cocoa.

After being at the restaurant several hours, we all left and walked to another restaurant several blocks away and had coffee and more talking.   It was a fun party, but I have to tell you, I was tired when I got home.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I can imagine you were really tired - all that noise and talking.