Back in March, I joined a class that taught how to make “traditional” bentos (Japanese style lunches). We learned how to make staples that are particularly popular in kids’ bentos: rolled omelet, potato salad, seaweed salad, karage (fried chicken), and octopus weenies.
I went with some friends and it turned out to be a fun afternoon. We cooked from 10 AM to 12 PM and everything was made from scratch. The potato salad was surprisingly easy and tasty. The karage turned out healthy since it was pan-fried without oil and rubbed with a dry spice mix. The rolled egg was delicious and actually rolled.
Most of the instructions were in Japanese, although the teacher tried to make allowances for us poor foreigners. The good thing about a cooking class is you can learn by doing.
Our team was dubbed “Team Hungry” because while everyone else patiently waited until the end to eat, we couldn’t help but sample the food. When you’ve got a plate of delicious karage or fresh-sliced carrots, or potato salad staring you in the face, how are you not supposed to pop a bit into your mouth?
Afterwards, we were given a bento box to put our lunch in, and then time to eat! Or, as they say in Japan: いただきます (itadakimasu)!
Afterwards, the group of us — all the Assistant Language Teachers in Fuji that are part of the JET Programme — went out to coffee together and then karaoke. All-in-all, a very nice Saturday.