This evening Fukunari-sensei treated me, Andrew, and another HPAC friend to an incredible Japanese dinner in Osaka. After several Japanese course dinners I'm starting to realize a trend to the order. The appetizers (this evening was eggplant jelly, a tofu-corn soft gel, and chicken); followed by sashimi (octopus, tuna, sea bream, and one unknown); the first course (a whole cooked fish with delicate soy sauce seasoning); the second course (miso-rice sauce over fish with several vegetable garnishes); the tempura (sweet potato, fish, shrimp, pepper, and broccoli) with seasoned salt or sauce; and the rice finish (octopus and village-potato rice) with tsukemono (pickles). It was a delicious dinner.
Throughout the course of the evening Fukunari-sensei engaged each of us in our varying degrees of Japanese ability. And then she paid the bill. She carries herself with such grace and generosity that it is hard not to feel taken care of and to reciprocate the respect. We three English speakers all deferred to Japanese for the evening in her presence.
An incredible amount of strength in such a small woman. Many things to learn from her.