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Monday, November 27, 2006

And so it began. Friday night I was completely exhausted and decided to go to bed early. However right before I turned in around 10, I got an email from Kae asking if 2:30 would be an OK time to pick me up. I thought, wait, isn't Ikuo picking me up at 11:30 so I can start cooking early? Nope, turns out he had plans. Alright, problem number two done and dealing (problem number one was that I made my veggie dip dressing and it tasted nasty by no fault of my own...as far as I'm concerned)

Saturday morning, since I had time to kill, I took my time packing up two boxes (of which this is the largest) and finished up making my little Orange and Cloves with Ribbon decoration.

This thing smelled great and it looked great outside the bag but I was too stupid to have taken a picture of it. Currently, it's at Kae's house hanging by the door. It's really cute and smells great but only when you stick your nose up to it. It didn't exactly have the effect I was going for but it was still nice.

I then spent the entire day cooking and all in all, I didn't have any major problems. My little problems consisted of:
1. Being an hour late
2. Because I'm new at this, I'm not the greatest at timing everything so some of the food started out on the cool side instead of hot. Also, the room was cold but the rest of us were warm under the Kotatsu so the food continued to just get colder as the night went on.
3. I over cooked the pumpkin mini pies (of which I have no pictures, sorry) though they still tasted great.
4. Because this is Japan and not America, there was no gravy boat. Instead, we used a tea pot. Very cute, however Kae forgot that a big ol' tea leaf had gotten stuck in the spout and when it tried to pour nothing came out. We ended up using a ladle instead.
5. I added too much salt to the mashed potatoes
6. The stuffing was too hard (it's the boxed stuff, how could I have gone wrong?)
7. We ended up with a crap load of food. I should have remembered that not only do Japanese people not eat as much as Americans, but also, regardless of the taste, since it is American food, it is foreign to their stomachs and therefore they can't eat as much. This happened to me when I first came to Japan. Yes, I started out loving Japanese food but it still took some getting used to. My stomach wasn't up for change.

So in the end, Kae invited three more guys over. The husband of one of the women who was already there (the guy is also a fellow teacher at Odochi) and her other son and his friend (the son of another woman who was there). Why all three of those boys weren't invited in the first place I'll have no idea but they were all Sumo wrestlers so they ended up finishing off the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and most of the tacos.

Did I mention that this event was held in the room that I normally sleep in? Remember that picture I took so long ago? Well, now you can see just how big it really is. It held 18 people comfortably. This is one side of the table. We split the stuffing, mashed potatoes, tacos, and salad into two dishes so no one had to pass very much. There were also two plates of sushi and two small pizzas that Kae made.

The second half of the table.
I wanted Dad to cut the turkey because it's a tradition but when I saw that he had no clue, he was all more than eager to give up the fork and bread knife ;) I didn't know what I was doing either and since it's only half a turkey and laying on it's side anyway, it was a bit difficult to even look coordinated while cutting along the grain.

Right to left, Mom of sumo wrestler son and wife of my fellow teacher. We all call her Li, next is the son of the woman Li is talking to (outside the picture), next is my fellow teacher lounging around because he's totally stuffed, and finally is Li's oldest son who picked the turkey clean. Mom would have been proud.

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