A Sukiyaki Saturday
I picked up Ai at Old Orchard at around 2:30 PM and she helped me study Japanese for a few hours. My reading packet asked me some questions about Phenomimes (a word that she knows from her ESL class that I’ve never heard in my life and that my dad, who has a bachelors in English, also doesn’t know) which are apparently words that use sounds to describe things that don’t make a sound. For example: “きりきり痛む kiri kiri itamu”, to have a sharp pain; “ふらふら歩く fura fura aruku”, to walk in a wobbly fashion; or “ペタペタ peta peta”, sticky. The fact that I’m not aware of these words in English, I’ve never even heard of them in fact, is sheer proof that sometimes people who learn a language later in life know it better than those who speak it naturally. They work so hard to understand grammar and the rules of English, so they do everything precisely, and we don’t even think about it when we write in our native language.
When Ai was helping me study, I made a decision: I’m going to attempt to take the Japanese Proficiency Exam Level Two this coming December. The tests are ranked from four to one, four being the easiest and two being the hardest. I passed level three this past December, and since I’m not in classes right now, I need a little bit of extra motivation. I will need to memorize somewhere around one thousand Kanji and six thousand vocabulary words. Its not going to be easy, but even if I don’t pass it’ll be nice to know where I stand. I don’t, however; intend to fail. Failure isn’t something that I usually consider as a possibility, so if I decide to succeed, I probably will.
After we were done studying, we drove to Kazuma’s house for a Sukiyaki party that we’ve been planning for a while. Andrew drove on his own (ask him why, his blog is on my blogroll — Life’s a Journey) and I drove Ai and Myself. When we got there, Kazuma and his friend Sayuri were already preparing the Sukiyaki. Now, before tonight I’d never had Sukiyaki, so If I didn’t know what it was, you guys probably don’t know either. Its like, a lot of meat and cabbage and mushrooms and tofu all boiling in a pot of some brown mystery liquid (the bottle is in complicated Kanji, so naturally I can’t read the ingredients). Sounds like soup doesn’t it? Well, its not, because here’s the catch. Before you eat it, you crack a raw egg into your bowl, mix up the egg with your chopsticks, and then dip the meat and vegetables in the raw egg. Now, all of our mommies told us since we were kids “don’t eat raw eggs, you’ll die of Salmonella”. When Andrew asked Kazuma why its ok to eat these eggs raw, the answer, roughly, was “because they are Japanese”. You know what that sounds like to me? It sounds like “We use magic to make eggs that don’t kill you. That’s right, magic eggs. we call them Dragon Balls”.
Sorry, I made a stupid joke.
In reality, their eggs are more organic and the chickens are raised in a cleaner and more controlled environment than we raise our eggs in, so its probably OK to eat them raw. After all, Rocky did it when training to fight Apollo, right? If Kazuma’s been doing it his entire life, and he’s still alive, I’ll probably be OK. But then again, he bought these eggs in America… who knows where they came from. Well, I’ve talked about this for too long. If any of my readers know more about the issue of Japanese people and Raw Eggs, please feel free to comment on this blog. I want to know.
PS — take a look at my friend Andrew’s blog: Life’s a Journey. I made his new custom heading, and I’m sure he’d like the traffic on his blog.