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Weekend Catch Up

This past weekend was one of the three day variety, and I managed to pack in plenty of activities, most of them revolving around food.  

Friday night after work I attended a small party with three people that I know from work.  Two of them were my students, and one was not, but all of them were eager to go out after work and blow off some steam.  

The original reason to have the party was that the party organizer, one of my students, couldn’t believe that I had never really tried what they call “HORUMON” in Japanese.  What it is actually is beef offal, which is not my favorite.  He insisted that I join him for a dinner, and he was hoping to see me suffer through a meal full of disgusting raw organs. To be honest, I was fully expecting to as well.  But he made the mistake of taking me to a really nice restaurant that served HORUMON in a Korean style, which made things much better.

First, most of the offal came grilled on skewers, just like yakitori.  If you didn’t know that it was beef anus, you probably would eat it without hesitation and ask for seconds.  I knew it was beef anus, but I ate it anyway.  

Most of the food we had was pretty standard in the HORUMON world.  We ate several different stomachs of beef including the bumpy and slightly grotesque “sanmai”. The sanmai was served raw, along with beef heart and pancreas.  The saving grace here was the sauce – lots of spicy Korean sauce, sesame oil and salt.  

Our host and organizer, Mr. Morimoto, was a little disappointed that I seemed to be liking everything.  He started ordering more and more things, consulting with the other guests in Japanese (because he thinks I can’t understand it) and specifically looking for something that would gross me out.  The closest I came was beef liver, but since it was grilled I had no problem.  

After dinner Mr. Morimoto and I had some gyoza together and some more beers, and I went home a little later (and drunker) than I expected.  

Saturday night we had Bill and Yuko over for dinner.  Bill is a resident inspector who works at Kawasaki.  He acts as the eyes and ears of the customer during day to day activities while in production.  He has been doing this kind of job for a long time, and he has lots of good stories.  Bill and I have gone out to dinner a few times and been to a few standing bars.  It was the first time to have him over to our place.  We talked with his wife, Yuko, who doesn’t speak much English, and separately we talked with Bill, who doesn’t speak much Japanese.  It was interesting to hear about their life together from two different points of view.  They are both really nice people, and they seemed to like the burritos, salsa and guacamole that we served.  They live in the same town, ten minutes walk from our place in Okubo, so it was easy for them to stroll back without having to worry about a train.

Sunday we decided to stay in most of the day.  We did a little grocery shopping, but mostly lounged at home.  We booked some travel for this summer, which was a big relief.  It’ll be fun to work on the details later.  For dinner I grilled up some monster burgers.  Kuniko had found a source for some large size hamburger buns, and so we did a test run.  They turned out nicely – but I was plenty full after that monster burger.  I guess my stomach isn’t as big as it used to be.

Finally, on Monday we took a little walk in the morning, and then celebrated White Day a little late.  White Day is actually on March 14th, but since we were both busy on that day I instead decided to celebrate it on a day that we could both enjoy it.  We had a small chocolate cake from Demel and a Blanc de Blancs champagne from Gremillet.  I was trying to replicate the same feeling we had when we ate chocolate cake and drank champagne back when we visited Demel in Vienna last summer.  

We also watched “An Officer and a Gentleman” starring a very young Richard Gere, and I could really feel the culture differences over the years. Maybe it is combined with living outside America for so long, but the movie was full of “WTF?” moments for both of us.  Still, it was free to watch so no worries.

Finally, Kuniko got in the kitchen for some therapeutic cooking on Monday and made a big pot of vegetable soup for our dinners this week, and also made a Cobb salad as a test run for next week.  We had the salad for dinner and it seemed pretty good.  We’ll serve it to the Tada family next week when they come over for lunch.

All in all another great weekend.  I like the three day weekends a lot – I wish we had more of them during the year!   

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