I had never been to a Japanese themed evening before (besides having a meal at a Japanese restaurant) so last Saturday was a first. Inspired by the Belfast Film Festival events we'd been to, our friend decided he could probably improve on it and declared himself El Presidente of his creation. It isn't a public festival, the guests were just the usual bunch of us and the location the regular place. So it came to be that on Saturday night after watching the Crues put 4 past Distillery that afternoon, we headed to El Presidente's place for Japanese night.
On arrival with a box of beer under the arm, we loitered in the kitchen to see what delights were being rustled up. El Presidente (I think he'll appreciate this alias being kept up for future blogs) was busy cooking us a starter of Miso Soup and main course of Teriyaki Chicken with Sushi rice and roasted vegetables.
The soup was OK, I think they maybe should have renamed the packet 'Salty Soup' but I quite liked it anyway. Our main course was delicious, we all sat with our chop sticks and made it through the entire dish without resorting to forks. We were all quite proud of because although we can all use chop sticks there is always usually one. This 'feat' was aided, I have to admit, by the lovely rice and our hosts' cooking, this rice is different to your usual long grain or Basmati in that it tends to clump and stick together somewhat even though it's light and fluffy. El Presidente had also cut the veg and chicken into chopstick sized pieces so that was also handy. Saying that I can't remember anyone leaving even one grain of rice. Mains nomed, it was time for dessert.
El Presidente's girlfriend the Primera Dama, had also been busy in the shop and the kitchen and brought with her the dessert which was two varieties of Mochi and also pancakes with fruity yoghurt dips.
And yes we are this childish sometimes...
I'd never seen Mochi before and they were rather odd, nice but odd, the texture was the main thing - kinda soft and sticky but yet almost like jelly when it was cut or torn in two. As far as the pancakes went, I thought I didn't like pancakes but it turns out I just hate Crepes and actually like pancakes... darn you mislabelling peoples of the past! They were all delicious and I think as we were chatting and listening to some Japanese themed music, we pretty much finished the whole lot off... very glad we went to the gym the next day!
Dinner over it was into the living room and set up was a table filled with all sorts of Japanese themed things ready for some valiant attempts at origami and Japanese language themed fun:
The evening was spent with innocent and rude origami intermixed with innocent and a not so innocent phrase book followed by watching the 1986 film - Laputa: Castle in the Sky - in Japanese with English subtitles turned on. The origami was good fun, with the two sided origami paper the things you make really do look more like what they're supposed to represent. The wee jumping frog was a pretty straight forward as was the penguin that I was rather proud of.
I then got a little adventurous and attempted a Star Wars X-Wing but sadly I went wrong somewhere. On about the 4th repeat of the first several pages of approximately 14 (about half an hour) I must have got a fold wrong and it didn't come together correctly so it was a big flop.
Norngirl made a friendly frog and a bat. Primera Dama made a rose and a frog but the best of the night went to El Presidente and my sister-in-law who, after my sister-in-law had finished her breasts, both took to the complex task of paper man parts. Apparently a phallus and testes are tricky to make in paper but with great persistence they managed to pull it off.
The film was good, a bright and colourful fantasy movie though we were baffled as to why kids so young were living by themselves but sure... floating castles in the sky... it's easy enough to put questionable social welfare to one side for a while.
After the movie was over we gave the dubbed English version a quick watch for a scene and it was worrying how different they were. For instance; between the two the bad guys personality changed and instead of 3 minutes, his English language dubbed version was only willing to give them 1 minute - inpatient much! So life lesson learnt: watch movies in the language they were made.
Time caught up with us and that was the end of our lovely Japanese themed evening and a fun dander into little pieces of Japanese culture it was too. Can't wait for the next instalment of El Presidente's festival now - up next is Joss Whedon night.