What a great opportunity to have our children at international schools. Their friends and teachers come from all over the world. It was the number one selling point when deciding whether or not to take this job opportunity. But, there are also perks to being a parent of a child attending an international school. We are offered the chance to take classes or go on tours around the city, have someone explain a Japanese grocery store; there is always something to sign up for. I signed up for an informal cooking class organized through the social committee at Connor's preschool. Three Japanese moms demonstrated how to make a few simple, (there is nothing simple about making sushi rice) kid-friendly, Japanese foods. It was a great experience as we were in the comforts of someone's home and the moms/instructors were super.
In order to remember the necessary ingredients I learned to take pictures, so that when I am at the grocery store I break out the camera and look at the pictures to make sure I pick out the right item from the shelf. Someday I hope to be able to recognize the characters and figure it out, but for now I will rely on the camera. I have also learned that once you find some Japanese food item you want again, you simply bring the packaging with you to the store. Seems obvious, but I wouldn't have thought of that little trick on my own. It reminds me of working with my special education students and bringing them with their pictures to the grocery store. Let's just hope I don't throw a tantrum when I can't find what I am looking for. It's these pieces of information that we gain from others who have been here even a few months longer than us to help make day to day life manageable.
Below you will see the women 'fanning' the sushi rice to cool it down before handling it. Next, I am a little stressed as I press the rice onto the nori, but at the same time trying not to smoosh it, just move it across - really not possible. And finally, a much easier task - squeezing rice into a ball or triangle (onigiri) with salmon flakes in the middle and then punching out nori shapes to make it kid friendly. Unfortunately, Nicholas and Connor couldn't be fooled.