The plan was summer sweets, which got me all excited about dessert, but instead we were told to come round a table with two takoyaki stoves, which you can buy in electronic stores here. The sensei was a shy young man who represented a yakisoba sauce company (C. would have had a field day).
The class was mostly in Japanese, but since takoyaki and yakisoba were no mysteries even for foreigners like myself, I bumbled my way through the class quite easily, helped by three lovely young ladies.
After the lunch and a little bowl of shaved ice dessert, we worked it all off with an hour of Bon dancing, commonly danced in village festivals in August to celebrate Obon, the month of the dead. You repeat a series of coordinated arm and leg movements while moving in a circle in tune to some trance-like chanting with basic instruments.
The eclectic plan aside, this was more of a fun social gathering than a cooking class. For next month they're promising to teach us what to do with okura, the stuff left over from making beancurd, but who knows? Maybe a spot of fan painting instead!
After all that effort for a sweltering Saturday morning I cooled down by walking through the famed Nishiki Market and buying a basket of eggplants and some fleurs du jour, before heading to Takashimaya to splurge on European bread. Our regular bread was out, so I got a cumin-flavoured half-loaf, which went well with an impromptu French onion soup the next day.
And what unbelievable luck! The already culinary Saturday ended in a superb Cantonese dinner made by a professor friend and chef extraordinaire!