……It’s Pam’s birthday and that made it a very special day starting with seeing Toyonshima, the ‘shortest’ of the current sumo wrestlers. He’s in the top 3 and thanks to Pam’s friend we learned how much fun it is to see a small guy defeat a giant by skill alone. Acttive duty sumo wrestlers must wear the traditional styled hair (top knot) and Kimono when out in public. We met Toyonshima outside the hotel as were about to start our day.
Our first stop was the home of Junko.
While quite large by Japanese standards, the home had a small kitchen and it’s a wonder we didn’t burn the place down cooking! We were given a recipe book covering the items to be cooked, starting with ‘Sumeshi’, or vinegar steamed ‘sticky’ rice. When the rice came out of the rice cooker it was transferred to a ‘Hangiri’ or large wooden tub. The rice had to be cooled with a hand held fan.
At this point, after much hand washing, we were all given aprons and took turns chopping, stirring and doing various tasks to get the sushi prepared. Pam demonstrated great skill in every task.
When we got to actually making the ‘Rolled Sushi’ we were laughing so much it’s was a wonder anything got done!
Beautiful…..and sooooo delicious!
Next stop, a traditional wooden townhouse, a so called ‘Machiya’, characterized by black wooden slats in front, a narrow frontage, and a stone walkway leading back through the kitchen all the way to the rear garden. Time for our Calligraphy class. Called Shodo in Japan, the Chinese characters (known as kanji) are combined with the letters forming Japanese syllabary (known as kana). The Chinese Buddist monks introduced Calligraphy to Japan in the 6th or 7th century.