A few of the students from TT 2012 wanted to organize a Yakaufune outing on the Tokyo river but bad weather forced us to make a change of plans. We met instead for an outrageously fun and amazing feast at Erakokyuu Nakameguroten a traditional Japanese seafood restaurant. After a rendezvous in Nakameguro one chilly evening we walked under a canopy of budding sakura towards the restaurant which was situated on the canal of the Nakameguro River. After coming upon a the brightly lit exterior, we entered a rustic and lively setting primarily constructed out of wood. Expressively painted murals of sea themed images, including a rendition of Botticelli’s Venus–covered the walls, hand drawn banners listed the daily specials and colorful paper lanterns hung from the ceiling.
A price is set per person for all-you-can eat and the meal was served at a steady pace throughout the evening. We started off with a hearty miso soup flavored with fish bones, heaping bowls of sashimi and daikon, squid, crabs, salmon and roe, enormous clams, and Japanese fried chicken, mugs of beer and green or oolong tea.
Ensun Ahn said that everything is caught and selected that day and even the scraps of seafood are used in the soup stock. I stretched my culinary boundaries to eat some things, mostly raw, but couldn’t muster up the strength for others–particularly the “crab brains”–the innards of the crab which are considered a delicacy.
The meal evolved into laughs, stories and an exchange of gifts. One gift, scented eye pads, from Akie Asahi, heated up immediately once they made contact with the skin. We squealed with laughter as she explained their use the then said— “1 2 3 “zzzzzz!!!” I used those eye pads a few nights throughout the training and they do put you to sleep immediately! Mana Sasagawa gave me goody bag filled to the brim with treats and Tomoe Honjo, an illustrated book on kimonos. She explained that she was one of the youngest experts on kimonos in Tokyo and carefully wrote out translated segments in key sections of the book. I looked around the able and realized that my students were now friends, and even felt in some ways like family especially since I was so far away from home.
I told them that I would always be able to offer help with their careers in the years to come. We made an agreement to meet at Nozomi Kadokura’s new venue Tulsi Yoga Studio in the weeks ahead, which included the presence of a few more students. That too was a special evening where we practiced teaching and gave informal evaluations and feedback followed by a pot luck, treats and gifts.