So after a very long hiatus and rather hectic 2 months, the quater is over and I can finally relax and enjoy a 2 small break from school.
As other graduate students and Masters holders would tell you, grad school is the part of the education process where you never really stop working. Reading has to get done, presentations have to be made and presented, final term papers of 5000 words have to be written and so on. I have paid my dues and spent way too many nights not falling asleep before 2am to tell you that it is a long and very tiring process. I have really enjoyed my classes this quarter, but I am really looking forward to my much lighter quarter that gives me Mondays off! Maybe I will be able to do a little traveling as well.....
I am concentrating in Contemporary Japanese Society, which is a rather small group, and one of us has finished their thesis and is heading back to Singapore. To celebrate, my advisor, Kato-sensei, decided it was an occasion to celebrate and we all got together to have a going away dinner. This is not the first group dinner
that I've attended with Kato-sensei, but it is the first with just the Contemporary Japanese Soceity majors, so I was looking forward to being able to eat so good food since he seems to know all the good and interesting restaurants in town. Last group dinner we had goose nabe, which is the Japanese version of the hotpot. It was amazingly good and the restaurant was located off the main road and actually rather small; which made the evening that much more fun in my opinion.
Last night, we went to a beautiful and hidden away kaiseki restaurant. Kaiseki is famous in Kyoto and it is a preset menu, that is always seasonal, which are usually consist of a couple bites to keep you from getting too full too fast. The best part about kaiseki is that the food is always stunning. So much thought and preparation has gone into how each piece of food is arranged on the plate. Now usually, kaiseki is very expensive, and I mean VERY expensive, and I would have no hope of actually getting into a restaurant that was serving it, let alone actually eating any. So last night was a very special
occasion for me.
Hanamura, the restaurant, is all wooden inside. We were lead to rather large private room towards the back, ordered drinks and waited for our plates to come to us. We had beautiful appetizers of chestnuts, small bits of cream cheese and ham rolled together, then sashimi and a soup, mashed potatoes surrounded a vegetable that I have already forgotten, personal nabe sets, a creamy spinach and mushroom dish in an edible shell, fired potatoes, a light citrus jelly, and then strawberry yogurt mouse for desert. Just some of the most beautiful and delicious food I have even seen and eaten.
Kato-sensei was very nice and we only had to pay ¥3000 each and he paid for the rest. He's sneaky like that with the bill. Nobody else can see it and he just tells us how much we owe him. For a kaiseki dinner, ¥3000 is cheap. If you are ever in Kyoto I recommend splurging on a kaiseki dinner. You will not find anything else so beautiful and Japanese in the whole country.
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