It's like meeting the in-laws times ten!

So that night, tired from the full afternoon of paperwork and meeting tons of people, we went to a welcome party in our honor with all of Luke's co-workers from the Junior High School.

Of course it was over dinner....and with booze!

I have to say I really enjoy the Japanese way of life. Sure they work very hard, way harder than any culture I know, but they know how to relax as well. That's probably why there are a gazillion festivals throughout the year. They need to party hard to make up for working hard. I am down with that.

So, we go to dinner. Yet again at an amazing traditional Japanese restaurant. Still in my suit, feet killing me and cursing whoever invented pantyhose, I take my heels off at the door and put them in a locker. We are shown to our table with some of the other teachers who are arriving and I go through the formalities of meeting new people. There is a set way to do most everything in Japan right down to what to say to someone when meeting them for the first time. Very exhausting.

Luke and I sit down in the seats of honor. In Japan seating order is very important. I meet each teacher as they come in the door. Luckily one of the first I meet is one of the English teachers Luke will work with. She sits by me and is able to introduce the other teachers and tell me what they teach in English as well as translate most of the evening for me (once Luke had a few drinks it was hard to get him to talk in English! haha).

I think in all we ate about eight courses of food that night and lots of alcohol. I discovered that at this restaurant they had free drinks for two hours so everyone wanted to know if we would try something else. We tried everything on the drink menu! We ate family style (one plate of food for a group of people and you serve yourself) which you don't usually see in Japan but that is how I would rather eat with a group of people. The first course was a salad with a tangy Japanese sesame dressings and plate of sushi. We also had individual small bowls of tuna (raw) and potato cubes (raw).

Kirin Beer was ordered to drink, which tastes just like Bud Light! Another Japanese custom is toasting and the ritual of drinking. We all had small glasses, like a juice glass, for our beer which was filled up. After every sip it seemed, and especially after each toast, someone would fill up your glass. It never gets empty! Hard to know how much you are drinking but rather fun to watch.

After the salad and sushi was a fish course which was by far my favorite. Fried breaded fish, kind of like Long John Siver's but 1000 times better! The Vinegar-like dressing reminds me of Long John's. You must really be skilled with hashi (chop sticks) to eat like this. Everything is eaten with hashi, even big pieces of fish. Great fun!

Then there was a squid course (which was served in a pot over two small candles), a pork ribs and potatoes course (the potatoes were their version of french fries), and a desert course of orange gel (kind of like Jello). The pork ribs I have to say were very tasty but again hard to eat with hashi! My favorite drink was called a sour (flavored Japanese spirits) that tasted like oranges and Luke's favorite was the grapefruit sour.

By the end of the night everyone was pleasantly full and happy from drink. If I could eat like this every day I would!


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