Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Taking Classes, Keeping Busy, Indoctrinating Myself in Japanese Culture

Soba noodles are one of my favorite things to eat here, so I jumped at the opportunity to take a class in how to make them!  My basic conclusion is that I will NEVER make them, they are so difficult and time oriented and I probably would have to make them ten million times before they even resembled something close to what they should be like.  I suppose such is the way of hand-making any sort of pasta-y thing.  Here, the soba sensei cuts us a mean noodle lickety-split.
Rolling out the dough.  Soba is made from buckwheat flower and it smells really nice when you are kneading it and rolling it.
The art of Japanese calligraphy is called Shodo and from my basic introduction to it, I found that choosing a Chinese character to draw and drawing it for over two hours its really challenging.  As the artist, you must interpret and embody the feeling of this character and then learn to perfect this, or at least arrive at some level of refined form.  Ok, I am in no way licensed to talk about shodo in any sort of informed way, but that is just sort of the bare bones.  I chose the kanji for forest, which is mori and for two hours drew it and after about three trees worth of practice I really couldn't tell if I had made progress in any direction.  Everyone taking the class was middle aged and seemed pretty adept and focused.  This man is working on the kanji for wind.  At one point he added water to his ink to make it a light grey so that it had a lighter feeling, I was amazed at the flexibility of this art. 
The beginning of making soba noodles.  It take many hands to make a noodle.  You have to knead this play-dough like rock of dough until it is ready to be rolled out.
The Ikea of Cooking Schools!  ABC Cooking is a cooking studio located in my favorite mall, right next to my house.  It is full of pastel-y bright colors and men are not allowed!  You can chose from a variety of Japanese and international cuisine, bread and cake courses to be personally instructed in by a very cute instructor.
We made a pork curry.  To be honest, I will never make it again... it was a little weird.  Giner, garlic, onion with ground pork, ketchup, soy sauce, grated coconut and curry powder.  It tasted great, it was just the ketchup/coconut combo that turned me off.  
The studio is full of cute friend-couples.  The only requirement for the course is that you bring aprons and slippers.

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