Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Post Mid-Year Seminar Gluttony

The weeks leading up to November 12th (also a birthday of one of my two favorite nephews, whose small present is not yet in the mail) were fraught with puzzlement over just how I would do a 70-minute presentation in front of other ALTs and Japanese teachers on a topic about which I know zero and had no business presenting, and on which I kept getting different answers about what was expected (or even how long it would be, since we were told initially that it was a 5 minute blurb kind of thing, which is kinda not the same). It wasn`t the most amazing presentation I`ve ever done, but it wasn`t as terrible as I feared after the first rough 5 minutes. Once I announced that I was nervous, I was fine.

By the end of the night, though, all was cured by tabenomihodai, the best invention. Ever. Definitely not my first time, certainly not my last, but absolutely the perfect way to remind me of another reason I love Japan, even at the end of a long day when I didn`t.

Quickie Japanese lesson (important stuff, you`ll see):
  • 食べる(たべる)(taberu, becomes tabe, said like tah-bay, for purpose below) = to eat
  • 飲む(のむ)(nomu, becomes nomi for purpose below) = to drink
  • 放題(ほうだい)(houdai) = as much as you wanna
You can just tabehoudai, or you can just nomihoudai, but if you get to tabenomihoudai, it`s a thing of joy. It`s fairly popular here if you go to the right places. Our group makes a point of finding those places.

So a bunch of us turned up at a shabu-shabu (lots of meat and veggies, cooked in broth as you go, right at your table) restaurant on the 21st floor of the Cred Building in Okayama City. The restaurant is called Shabu-yo (しゃぶ葉) if you are ever in the neighborhood (and if so, the menu is here). At first there was one of those odd conversations with the host at the front when we asked about doing tabe- and/or nomi-houdai, and they said they didn`t have it (?), though we`d seen the poster ad on the elevator(??). Then they brought out a menu to display what they did have, and there was tabenomihoudai (ummm, !?!). I get it that the tabehoudai part is often called Viking (said like "biking" バイキング), and that`s what they call it, but it`s the same thing. If there is some nuance that I`m missing, again we get back to the idea that some folks here refuse to even try to infer when you say something pretty damn close. In this case, I`m convinced we didn`t make a mistake, but I have no clue why all the confusion. We remained vigilant, patient, persistant, hungry and thirsty until it worked out. It worked out.

When it worked out, it meant 2 hours and just 3180 yen (roughly US $30), and we ate and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank. There were trays upon trays of meat, and I have never felt more carnivorous in my life. I wrecked my stomach for days with all that meat, feeling like I was always full somehow even when I was hungry a day or three later.

The view up on the 21st floor was really nice, too. We had a view of the castle (been, love) all lit up. City lights are always awesome. My night pictures never turn out, so you`ll have to just imagine. I do have these, though:

Only For You, I Am Absolutely!
Random Sign Somewhere Before the Restaurant
Okayama City, Japan
Thursday, November 12, 2009
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Meat. Trays. Of It. Endlessly.
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Shabu x 2
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One more quickie Japanese lesson:
過ぎる(すぎる)(sugiru) = lots of meanings I won`t get into here, but one means to do something in excess, like when you tabesugi (short form, eat way too much) or nomisugi (drink too much). Not sure, but I suppose you can say tabenomisugi (if sex were included on the menu, it would be the trifecta of gluttony). Whether you can call it that or not, I did it, and it was a good way to celebrate a nephew`s birthday in spirit (though he doesn`t eat meat, so maybe I was just balancing things out to make the world right ) and no longer care how the presentation went.

4 comments:

  1. great job! giving presentations freaks me out! never knew that aspect of japanese cuisin--so interesting!

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  2. Hi there! God I miss you but I'm glad you are having fun! Thanks for the birthday celebration on the opposite side of the world. Closer to home, I also tabenomihoudai on my birthday...OK more of the nomihoudai part. But still ate. Too much.

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  3. The delicacies of Japan intrigue me. And I'm so the pickiest eater on the planet, but maybe it's your fabulous photographs that have me tempted.

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  4. The Japanese culture holds new surprises every time I visit here. Glad you're doing so well too!

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