Thursday, 12 September 2013

Quintessentially Japanese

Quintessential... of the pure and essential essence of something: the quintessential Japanese art of origami. 2. of or pertaining to the most perfect embodiment of something...

My Japanese maple tree in the garden bursts into life this week

There can be nothing more quintessentially Japanese than Origami and how lucky are we to have two Japanese house guests to share and delight us with their skills at paper folding...

Go on tell us more, I can hear you ask? 
We are a Homestay family, who open our doors to international guests who come to study in Melbourne. On Sunday, we had two lovely Japanese nurses move in for the week.

We learn on arrival, one guest  is a Japanese food model and fellow blogger - can you imagine the pressure of the week knowing that everything you serve up with be photographed for a well respected and established Japanese food blog?!

Now I have two approaches to cooking, first and foremost I love rustic cuisine - think of the dessert Eton Mess with its smashed up meringues
...'of course they're shop bought Darl, do you think I have time to whip up my own egg whites?'

The second is that I get away with serving up a lot of things as Australian - burnt sausages, soggy this that and the other.  (I exaggerate, it's not quite that bad...!) 

I know, I know I have no shame, but I love the fact that most of our house guests have never left their country of birth and are heading off into the big unknown when it comes to the delights of Australian cuisine. So I generally don't panic about the food...

I am helped by their English language course, where the first lesson is generally on manners and etiquette. Thus having mastered the word 'delicious' earlier in the day, they are keen to use it...and I am happy hear it.

They always say 'Your food is delicious'
And I always reply 'Thank you. That's very kind of you to say so'

We manage to blend the manners and customs from both cultures quite well. Before eating, Japanese people say "itadakimasu," a polite phrase meaning "I receive this food." This expresses thanks to whoever worked to prepare the food ... My Kids never itadakimasu me for anything I serve up, so I love this!!!

Now let me take you back to Sunday evening about 10pm at night, when I, blissfully unaware that one of our house guests is a renown chef and self confessed foodie and have just offered the options of cereal or toast for breakfast... Gulp!

I'm up bright and early the next day ( ok well was a somewhat sleepless night... ) to forage around in the back of the fridge looking for inspiration.

Fortunately I find a brand new batch of my husband's lemon curd in the fridge - perfect. Together on a pretty plate, decorated with some of the many fresh lemons we have in the garden, we do rather well for breakfast. I am now looking forward to seeing that in publication in Japan!

Our second guest tells us that she too also cooks but she prefers running. I offer up daughter Number two, our Sporty Spice as a running partner to show her our local running route, along the old railway track and through the park... She tell us she runs marathons, but so used to having a few things lost in translation, we ask how far she would like to go. She replies
'42 km's'
'Mum will take you instead', my Sporty Spice offers!!!

We have just had the most wonderful week with our Japanese homestay guests. We counted up. These are the 23rd and 24th guests from Japan we have had in the past five years. We hope there will be many more!

If you follow these photos above, you should be able to recreate the quintessential Japanese art of origami to make a rabbit. It's not quite as easy as it looks but it should keep you out of mischief until we meet again- have Fun!

Today I'm participating in Alphabe Thursday thanks to Jenny and her Alphabe - Thursday blog.

The instructions were to link a "Q" post

Jenny Matlock

I am also participating in Thursday favourite things thank you to Katherine and Angel. 
Have a wonderful Thursday!

Thursday Favorite Things

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