Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coming of Age Day (Monday, January 12, 2009)

Another Japanese holiday, meaning another Monday off.  This one is for the 20-year olds.  Being 20 in Japan means that you’re an adult.  You get to dress up in your prettiest kimonos, get your hair did, and are now allowed to drink, drive, and vote. 

I spent the day in Niigata City.  I had kaien-sushi with my grandma and her best friend, Yasai-obasan.  It took a while for us to find the place, but we finally found it and of course I did all of the eating while they had a bite of one sushi and said they were full.  And again, I left obaachan’s place with 2 bags of tangerines, 2 massive bottles of soy sauce, a platter of salty mini fish and vegetables, a can of seaweed, and some anko, or sweetened red bean paste. 

On the way home, I stopped by at Futoshi and Ru’s place for some home cooking.  Ru and her friend went snowboarding, and Futoshi did the cooking.  He did an AWESOME job making nabe, a regular Japanese winter meal.  It consists of various kinds of meat and vegetables, boiled and simmered in a seasoned soup in a huge communal pot.  I love hanging out with Ru and Futoshi because it’s always such a relaxed atmosphere.  The conversation is light and funny, but also educational as we explore the differences between cultures.  One of the hilarious stories that sticks out is the one they told of the previous weekend when they had a Japanese friend and her half Japanese/half American son over.  The son was writing a letter to his father.  ‘to daddy …’  Futoshi is a thinker and spent that night thinking ‘I wonder why Americans begin letters with +0 (plus zero)’ and then it came to him ‘OH!!  It’s TO Daddy.  That makes sense J

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