Wayo Women’s University in Japan (Week 1): Thursday

10384747_10154305883285274_5042768613462521135_nWe attended Yanagisawa sensei’s first year food lab. The five of us got dressed for the class in a lab coat, hair net, bandana and slippers. The lab rooms were amazing and much larger than the food labs at Brescia. The lab is divided into three distinct rooms based on their purpose: the lecture and showcase, the kitchen and of course the dining room. Although we do not understand what the teacher was saying, watching the demonstration was just as, if not more, fun as watching a cooking show on the Food Network. After watching the teacher demonstrate the meal we were about to make, we headed into the kitchen area. We were each assigned a number and we joined one of the groups of Wayo students. In these food labs all the students make the same meal, and today we made four dishes. The first dish was a ginger simmered mackerel, then rice with sake and green peas, a tofu dressed vegetable salad and then dessert was rice flour moulded into dumplings with “matcha” (green tea). We all worked very hard with our own teams to make this delicious meal and were able to chat using limited English or Japanese that we have learned. Even when we couldn’t communicate with our words, the girls in this lab taught us so much using gestures too. Both the Wayo and the Brescia students enjoyed being able to work together and discussing the difference between life in Canada versus Japan.

Later on that day we were able to view a “Shokuiku”– a nutrition education showcase that students had prepared to try and to promote eating healthy and the Japanese food guide. We were all amazed to see the Japanese food guide, it looks like a spinning top to symbolize exercise and the top part is a glass of water. We were all very impressed and excited to compare the differences with the Canadian food guide. As part of this education fair, we were also able to check our bone density and luckily we were all very happy with our results. Next we went to a presentation on milk from a large dairy company that was promoting a new campaign called 3-A-Day. From this company we got lots of Japanese pamphlets, milk, cheese and yogurt. And as it turns out this day was World Milk Day!

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Next it was time to join the tea ceremony club. To enter the Tatami room we had to remove our shoes and wear socks. We entered the room and walked along the sides to sit on the outer sides of the room. The proper way to sit is on bended knees and on your heels which we learned is extremely difficult!! This club is run by a teacher who works with the students to educate them on the proper way to perform a tea ceremony. First, the girl serving dessert (Hantou) bows to us twice and we have to bow back with your hands on floor in front of your knees. Then she enters the room and places your dessert down and you have to bow again once she does. Once we finished the sweets, the girls came around again and placed our tea in front of a black line. We then had to bow then use our right hand to bring the tea to the other side of the black line. Then you pick it up and place it in the palm of your left hand. By using your right hand you turn the cup all the way around twice clockwise. We then drink at the spot of the design by taking small sips to get every last drop. After we were done drinking, you had to clean the spot where your lips touched the cup, turn the cup twice counter clockwise before putting it down.

After experiencing so much and learning so many interesting facts and even cooking methods, we were all on our way to our home stays ready for a good night’s sleep.