Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Growing Up Again, in Japan

I always learn more than my fair share with Fukunari-sensei.  Today my added bit of advice was on the topic of cooking.  It was born of a question that I had about one of the example sentences in which one speaker stops another from adding ingredients in the wrong order.  "You add the sugar before the soy sauce, you know."  The grammar was new enough and the cooking concept unfamiliar enough that I looked to her for clarification.  And that was when she taught me a helpful Japanese pneumonic device for cooking:  SA, SHI, SU, SE, SO.  The S line of the Japanese alphabet will remind you of the order in which you should add, SAto (sugar), SHIo (salt), SU (vinegar), SEuyu (soy sauce), and miSO (miso paste).  I ran down the number of cooking faux pas I've been committing my whole life, especially in Japan, especially regarding miso.

I'm a child being raised again.  I'm learning to speak, learning to listen, learning to read, and learning how to harness the deliciousness of things in Japan and life in general.  Every week I arrive to her door and take off my shoes, put on her house slippers (Yes, it is cold, I agree when she asks) and enjoy the tea she brings to me.  Every week I toddle out from her front gate and assuredly press the button on the elevator to take me back to the first floor where my mind takes control again and I forget that I'm 4 years-old.   But I live in Japan, and will surely be reminded again, soon.

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