Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Posole and Kodomo Kai

Lena's kindy teacher Marcia's mother Sylvia is in Japan, and came over for dinner tonight. Marcia is from the US, but her mother is originally from Mexico. Maia's mother Harumi arranged the dinner, and it was originally going to be at her house, but we changed the venue when her father-in-law became ill.

Harumi loves to cook and loves to try new foods, so she was very eager to get Marcia to cook something Mexican for her. Marcia insisted she can't cook, but lined her mother up to cook something for us when she came to visit. They decided on posole, a corn-based soup, and Harumi ordered the canned 'hominy' corn from FBC.

I decided to cook some Japanese dishes too, because we couldn't expect Sylvia to come all this way and do all the cooking! I cooked 'nikujaga', a beef and potato dish, and fried tofu with a mushroom sauce. Harumi brought miso soup, and Emiko (Takumi and Eri's mum) brought a yam and pickled plum dish.

The Posole was a chicken stock soup with the hominy corn. The soup was made with just chicken, onion and garlic, then we put in the cans of corn. When it had cooked through, we put it in bowls and added the condiments - shredded cabbage, chopped radish and onion, oregano, lemon juice and a red chilli pepper. It was delicious!

Slyvia and I had a glass of wine, and after Marcia turned up after she finished work, I gave her mother a framed photo of her on her birthday a few weeks ago.

Everyone had to leave early, as I had a meeting to get to!

At 7:30 I had to be at the Kodomo Kai. Literally meaning 'Children Meeting', it's a group of mothers, or sometimes fathers, of the children who live in the local area. The main purpose is to arrange to have the children walk to school together, meeting up at each successive house. The parents also share out street patrol duties, and a few other things. It was quite a challenge for me to sit through the meeting, 90 minutes of Japanese, and pick up enough of an understanding of what was being discussed, and anything I was supposed to do. Luckily, kindergarten mums seem to get away with not doing much, no doubt to give them some time to get used to things.

They arranged dates for 'rajio taiso' (see July 21), people to go on street patrols and on duty at the school swimming pool in summer, and organized a barbecue. I'd never met any of these people before, and had no idea what to do or say. So I just sat! Luckily you can get away with that here, and people will put it down to your being shy or unsure, not rude or snobby. At least I hope they did!

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