About twice a year myself and a number of my foreigner peers are invited over to Mrs. Murao’s house to eat fantastic food and engage in international exchange. I’ve written about this before, but it’s been a while so I figured a re-up was necessary. Mrs. Murao works as a cooking instructor, and with the help of several of her students they slaved away to prepare us a feast. We needn’t do anything more than just show up and eat, but I always make sure to bring along a bag of oranges or something as a token of gratitude. I also have a bit of a reputation for exterminating whatever is on the table, so I’d like to offset the damages.
This time around all the usual faces were there, both hosts and guests, though we did have a female first timer who had only recently moved to the area. None of us men had ever had to share the guest list with a woman before, and we weren’t totally sure how to feel about it. In the end, we had to acknowledge that these ware different times that we were living in and it was time to embrace such change.
Anyway, as we waited for everyone to arrive, we made small talk about the school exchanges we are all doing this week. We were also each provided a Santa hat to help get in the festive mood. Before long we were seated and digging into the first course of pizza, soup, cabbage rolls and bread wads. This was all excellent, and while I may have gone a bit overboard, I was still excited about whatever was to come next.
OH! Be still my heart! The main course came next and it was a succulent roast beef. Of course they were only bite-sized bits, but it still tasted better than anything I’ve had recently. I probably had more than my fair share here, but that’s what happens when something sits idle before me. I at least give people plenty a chance to take more themselves, but I have no shame in killing something off.
Following up savory was sweet, which this time included a sort of Christmas cake, and a seasonal Japanese desert called shiruko. This is a very sweet bean soup with some mochi pieces placed in it. The flavor in doses is great, but if you can picture a soup made of liquid jellybeans, you would probably understand that it can go on to be a bit much. This was all paired with a nice tea.
Finally, came the part where we ‘pay’ for the meal, with our dignity. This usually involves us fumbling to think of a song that we can all sing together, only to be outdone by them. This time however, we were able to take advantage of the season and share in some Christmas songs. This worked especially well, since we all actually know the lyrics for them. We did a rendition of Silent Night, where they sang in Japanese and us in English. The other one was The Twelve Days of Christmas, where there being 12 of us made it convenient to for everyone to cover one day. They countered with Rudolph.
Throughout the meal, and especially the part after we’ve paid our dues were the event tends to drag on a bit, we talked about a slew of things. Of course there was a lot of talk about different Christmas traditions, debunking some of the preconceptions about the holiday, and also catching them up to speed on our lives, our winter vacation plans, and whatever else was coming up in the future. Three hours of gluttony and gab later, we starting dropping hints that it was time to hit the ol’ dusty trail and finally the night came to a close. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one of these. They are great for breaking up the work week and to see friends over great food.
This card was a work of art from Gary to the hosts. I think I’m on the one on the front left.