Let’s talk about my favorite thing: food!!
Japan has given me a plethora of opportunities to experience new food culture for which my stomach is grateful. Some of the notable foods that I’ve tried are zunda mochi, taiyaki, katsudon from the mall (my personal favorite), sea cucumber, hoya, just about a million local veggies, almost a million and one different fish variations (I don’t even like seafood all that much…), and we went for yakiniku where I tried at least two different types of animal tongue ~ this was the most delicious experience of my trip!! But I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ll ever like natto; I tried it a few times and I just can’t do it, waayyy too sticky and beany.
I asked one of my coworkers what his favorite food is and he said rice, and honestly, I get it. My appreciation for rice has increased 10 fold since I’ve been here. It’s so versatile and it’ll always be there for you. We eat a really tasty variety at work. At work we also have amazing chefs! I’m so thankful for the delicious food they make, they’re amazing!! This past week I was helping out in the kitchen a lot because the other two interns who were assigned to the kitchen team both left. I was happy to step in because it meant I got to sample all of the food. The kitchen has its perks to be sure!!
Besides getting extra food, the kitchen has been a very interesting experience. I’ve become closer with the chefs who are so funny and nice to me! They let me help out with the cooking (after the dishes are washed of course). I make croquettes and karage frequently, I learned how to cook a certain fish (the name now eludes me) the traditional way over a fire, and they even trusted me with the grill during one of our cook outs. In addition I’ve been picking up a lot of social and cultural points that I hadn’t outside of the kitchen; this has been a really fascinating part of the kitchen. For one, I’m experiencing Japanese humor up close. The concept of the “straight man” and the “funny man” is new to me and at first I didn’t really pick up on it but now I’m hyper-aware. They had to explicitly tell me that it was a joke several times, but now that I realize it’s a joke they still feel like I’ll never understand their type of humor – they’re probably right, it’s just different than mine. The kitchen also creates a sense of community between coworkers. It doesn’t matter what team you’re on, everyone helps in the kitchen during meal time and we always eat together. Several times we had too many guests and all of the staff ate in the kitchen. Those times were fun because everyone is enjoying each other’s company in a smaller space than usual. Food just brings people together, sometimes closer than they were expecting!
Now for pictures of the yumminess!