Friday, March 28, 2014

Global Cafe this week: Japan - a country of sushi eating samurai

Global Cafe is a very interesting weekly event held at International Center of Purdue University on Friday from 5.30-7.30 PM where students from a particular country can present about their country, culture and importantly share an authentic dish of the country with the attendees.

Today, the Japanese students association did a session on Japan. I am writing down some of the interesting and new things I got to know here.

Japan is a small island with a very high population. Sushi is considered as the most favorite food among school children. Washoku is the traditional meal served in traditional restaurants which includes a soup and about 3 side dishes. This is considered as an intangible heritage by UNESCO.
Takikomi Gohan is another popular Japanese rice dish which they shared with us today. It was delicious and following is a picture I took before I start eating it. :)

They clarified the actual meaning of Otaku which means a person who is dedicated for a certain hobby or a favorite activity. I also heard for the first time that Japan is famous for anime. It might be my ignorance that I haven't heard it before. They showed some famous animations and also an video of real people who mimic cartoons. Anime Otaku are the people who are into animations.

Geisha is traditional female who entertain visitors in traditional restaurants. But they are not prostitutes as interpreted by some movies. They wear traditional Japanese dress and it needs lot of practice to become Geisha. Apprentice of Geisha are called Maiko. Geisha are not seen by general public and their performances can not be recorded or taken photographs of where as Maiko can be seen by public. Cost of visiting such traditional restaurants where Geishas are, is very high.

Budo is different kinds of Japanese martial arts such as Karathe, Judo etc. Some say that Budo descend from Samurai-who are the warriors in ancient Japan. But it is a both yes/no question. Budo is not to hurt anyone else but to overcome one's own self.

They also clarified the difference between Ninja and Samurai. Ninja are the people who were considered as messengers employed in spying etc. They usually carry a small a knife like tool where as Samurai are the real military warriors who carry the traditional samurai sward. But once the Samurai was prohibited in Japan around 1867, currently people have only the dream of becoming a samurai because they are very attractive.

So above is just a glimpse of what I learned about Japan from today's session most of which are new to me and I hope to explore more about certain aspects such as Japanese cuisine etc.
Looking forward to do a session on Sri Lanka with the Sri Lanakan friends in Purude. :)

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