Thursday, 7 March 2013

Class Trips: Fukuoka Archaeology and Making Okonomiyaki

So because I've been incredibly slow updating the blog I'm cramming a load of events into a couple of entries! Yay! This ones about two of the trips and activities we've been doing with NILS.

Fukuoka Archaeology 13th Feb

The first we did recently was go to the ruins of Fukuoka castle coincidently the week after we went with Eiji and Erika! Within the grounds of the castle (which is now a huge park) is an archaeological dig and small museum of the Fukuoka Korokan which was a guest house for foreign emissaries and merchants from the 7th to 11th century. The remains were only found in 1987 and they're still digging them up. Apparently there were some in Kyoto and Osaka but only in Fukuoka has remains been found.

(The Korokan museum - the most of the dig site was outside)

After having a gander at that we wandered over to the castle ruins where all the plum blossoms were coming out. The area was once again filled with Japanese people with huge cameras. Funnily enough there was one Japanese guy who was taking pictures of the blossom with his phone who began talking to Hirose-sensei, and to me in broken English until he realised I could understand him better in Japanese. He then proceeded to take me around the area showing me and Hirose the different types of trees and what shots of the blossoms would make good pictures. Apparently there were 16-18 different kinds of plum tree in the park and they originally came from China.

(Awesome old Japanese guy shows us blossoms)

More wandering happened as we walked through the park to the other side where the Fukuoka NHK building was. For those who don't know NHK is like the BBC in Japan and they have a station in Fukuoka that airs to Fukuoka and the area and that's free and open to the public. Well the studio where they were filming's not open unless you get there before the show starts but there's a glass wall so you can see filming going on. We were going to sit in on a show but there was a horde of small children who were going to take up all the seats, so we just looked around at the displays (including their long list of morning and historic dramas) and then headed out to the shrine next door. (It's Japan, there are shrines everywhere)

This shrine was one that Hirose had been to a lot when she was young to feed the pigeons which is what we did too!!! While Wes and I were distracted taking pictures Hirose had wandered off and bought each of us pigeon food. We were immediately swarmed (in a non-terrifying way) and fed them and they ate out of our hands and it was awesome!!!

(Me being amused by pigeon on hand)

Okonomiyaki 20th Feb

The next activity a week later (20th Feb) was making Okonomiyaki in the class room!!! Beforehand though we had to go over a huge list of cooking vocab (that I still need to memorise). With Hirose and Gaku's guidance we then made okonomiyaki! Now Hirose had already admitted to us that she still lives with her family and cannot cook at all, so this was certainly an entertaining endeavour. Or at least I thought it would be when it came to her turn to cook. Turns out she made is better than me! >_< Mine was too big and needed 3 people to help flip. Wes made his perfect (of course) so from now on I'm getting him to make all the okonimiyaki for the two of us.

Oh, what is an okonomiyaki? Well it's one of these:

A lot of people say it's a pancake but it's really not. Here's a recipe that gives clear directions for anyone who lives near an asian market/Japanese supermarket and wants to make them at home.

How we made it was first shredding up a huge amount of cabbage. 

Then whisking the okonomiyaki flour with water. 
Then we chopped up some squid and fried it and stuck it on a plate. 

We each got our own bowl and put some of the mix in with a huge ton of cabbage and an egg and mixed it all together. 
Then we friend some bacon, added the squid, covered it in the okonomiyaki mix and 

Then cooked til golden brown and not soggy (or if you're me, really soggy and bairly cooked)
(This was Wes')

Then cover it in okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo (cannot be western style), seaweed flakes, bonita and things that taste like deep fried rice krispies.

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