Sunday, August 27, 2006

A new rating scale

We decided today that the awesomeness of a house/apt will from henceforth be judged by the number of didgeridoos present. Today's total was 5, 4 of which were handmade. where you can get your very own!!

My Tokyo eikaiwa folks invited me to a flowing somen party. A what? A flowing somen party is basically built around the idea of creating the most nonsensical way to serve food to your guests.

It involves constructing a 10-12 food long slide out of halved bamboo stalks, and putting a hose at the top. You have a catch-all at the end of the slide (the one today was a bucket with two river fish swimming around in it, topped with oven cooling racks), and a somen master at the top. People line up with chopsticks in hand to catch the somen as it flows down the chute in the cold water. You then dip the captured somen into your sauce bowl and slurp away. There is a lot of missed noodles, laughter, photos, and of course LOUD slurpy noises.

On top of the somen, there was smoked river fish, smoked eggs, smoked cheese, sesame balls, edamame, potatoes, mountain vegetables, cactus sashimi, chocolate cake, pumpkin cake, and mass quantities of beer and tea. It was a feast, and the company was better than I could have ever hoped for.

The host family, the Okadas, live in Tonami, in an old-fashioned Japanese farmhouse. The father is a craftsman/artist who has two Harley Davidsons, and makes things out of wood above his garage in his spare time. The wife is a sweet beer drinking woman, who is incredibly humble about her cooking. Their son made his appearance after lunch... Dreadlocks, Rasta t-shirt, and didgeridoo in hand. We sat in the living room playing his massive purple and green didge, and two of his father's handmade wooden ones for about an hour or so. He busted out the bongo and a mouth-harp as well, while I jammed on guitar for a bit. Their daughter has recently passed away, but they display her psychadelic paintings all over the house, and proudly show the pictures of her traveling in India.

Put all this together with wacky obaachans who continuously hug and giggle and you have a nearly perfect day. I was sent home with a tissue holder (fabric pocket to hold tissues) that one of the obaachans made for me out of gorgeous brown kimono silk, and a bungload of smoked eggs and pumpkin cake! Omiyage! They have these parties once a month or so, and I was invited to next month's, where one of my new grandmas is going to perform tea ceremony, and we will probably help harvest some rice.

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