Last night was my Japanese class’s annual end-of-term りょうりパーチ イー(cooking party). Held at the end of the Summer term each year, this event has become something of an institution, popular with both students and teachers alike. The idea is that everyone cooks a dish from their own country. Given the huge diversity of nationalities at the school, the results are always interesting. And last night was no exception.
Big M joined me for the evening and it was a good opportunity for her to meet my teachers and some of my friends from school. But of course the real reason was to enjoy the tasty treats cooked up by my fellow students. We weren’t disappointed.
Last night’s fare was a gastronomic trip around East Asia. No Indian curries this year – alas – but some fantastic Thai curries, some Vietnamese dishes, Chinese dim sum and gyoza and some really tasty spicy Korean dishes. Plus, some Japanese favourites like tako yaki (sort of fried dumplings with octopus in side), onegiri (sort of rice sandwiches) and various chicken dishes.
Naturally, your humble scribe – being no slouch in the kitchen – rose to the occasion. This time, with a chicken and asparagus pie. Although I have to say, my effort looked a bit lame alongside some of the wonderful creations cooked up by my more talented colleagues.
The thing that I really enjoy about the cooking party is that it really brings it home to me how lucky I am to have experienced so many different cultures and made so many friends with people from every far-flung corner of the globe. The more I learn about people, the more I come to realise that most people are basically the same, and if we each reach out just a little, we are rewarded with friendship and a shared humanity that is enormously satisfying.