Every time we visit Japan, we always visit Aya’s friend Kio. They met way back in the fifth grade and have kept in contact all these years. She was even one of Aya’s bridesmaids in our wedding. I find that quite impressive considering the long distance between. It would have been very easy for them to lose touch with each other. Through their friendship I met Kio’s mom, Izumi, at our wedding party in Japan. And with the power of Facebook, her mom and I are now “friends.” She doesn’t speak very much English and I don’t speak Japanese, but we both understand the same language; FOOD.Continue reading “HULA’S KITCHEN: PART 1”
The music concert at our elementary school is pretty lit. Who would have thought that an elementary school concert would be such an event? We have assigned seating, an intermission, an epic bake sale, a giant raffle, and even food trucks. It’s the main event of the year where everyone and their families attend. To make it convenient and enjoyable for everyone, the PTA tries to make sure there are not only food options, but good food options. With the school being a Japanese/English immersion school, we always try to represent both cultures. In addition to the food trucks, the PTA decided to make and sell Japanese bento boxes to include with the bake sale. And somehow, I found myself at a three hour planning meeting discussing content, container sizes, color, price, and presentation.Continue reading “BENTO BOXING”
The only knowledge I have of blowfish is from an episode of the Simpson’s I saw while I was in college (I think my eight year old daughter actually knows more about the fish than I do). What I took away from that episode is that blow fish is poisonous and if not prepared properly, you die. So when my father-in-law asked me if we wanted to go out to a blowfish restaurant, it took me a minute to answer while I recalled this highly accurate information I learned from an American cartoon I saw 20 years ago, and debated my own consequences. It felt like the culinary equivalent of sky diving. Was I ready to be this close to death? And with my children? Well, Homer Simpson lived, so I decided to give it a try.
Every time I visit Japan, Aya’s parents always ask if there is anything specific I’d like to do or try. They have done an excellent job at showing me Japan beginning from my very first trip fifteen years ago. I’ve tried all of the most popular Japanese foods, and even some of the not so popular ones. I’ve seen the scenic sights and the city sights. I’ve gone to the hot springs, and sang karaoke. I even saw my favorite enka singer in concert! After all that, it still seemed like I had a list of things that I wanted to try. During our previous trip, I requested the KFC Christmas chicken dinner (it’s a big deal there). But now, it’s getting harder to find things I haven’t tried yet. That was until I discovered matcha.
Chloe attends an all Japanese pre-school. And while it’s incredible to watch her develop a second language and get to experience her Japanese culture, it often sends me out of my comfort zone. I could easily just do drop-off and pick-up and nothing more, but I’m determined to not be invisible and be the involved parent I want to be. I have been involved, but sometimes it’s not always in ways that I would expect, or prefer. I don’t know if it’s a Japanese custom, or just-at-this-school custom, but the school likes to have a group of parents from each class to “perform” for the kids at the holiday party. That’s how I found myself doing a synchronized dance about rice with a group of moms at the holiday party.