Thai cooking in Joyo

We met on Sunday morning in the rather cold and rainy weather at 9 o’clock in front of Tenjin Nichigin. Being about 25 people, the group consisted of students from Kyushu University, seven exchange students from Thailand who were going to instruct us for the cooking, Sayo-san and me as Groundwork staff and of course Otani-san, our very trustworthy bus driver and organizer. Last-named came to pick us up in our own Groundwork bus.

About approximately one hour later we arrived at Joyo. Before going to the Firefly and Stone Bridge Hall where we were supposed to cook, we were shown Groundwork’s Kawaguchiresidence that was restored by Groundwork itself in 2009. Its beautiful traditional style impressed even the Japanese among us.

After we had discovered theKawaguchiresidence we finally went to the Firefly and Stone Bridge Hall. We were divided into four groups in order to prepare four different dishes. The cooking part was as much fun as eating the food afterwards, everybody was talking, laughing and getting to know each other, and people from the town who just came by occasionally stopped, watched and joined us.

In the end we had a delicious green curry, a spicy Thai salad, a noodle dish with prawns and a rather spicy mix of mincemeat and vegetables. As dessert we had a sweet soup made from coconut milk and pumpkin. Tea was drunk by the litre as we were not used to the spice, even though the Thai students told us that they usually make it a lot spicier.

The meal was finished and all stomachs were well-filled when we went down to the river. There we gathered at the riverbanks, chatting and skimming stones. Some of us could even make it across the whole river, others, like me, were less successful.

When you’re having a great time it passes by quickly, and so we soon had to get on the bus again. Otani-san drove us back to Tenjin safely where we arrived at about 4 o’clock. We said good-bye promising the Thai students to show them how to prepare Japanese food the next time (or, in my case, to join them being shown how to prepare) and were glad to have spent a very delicious and enjoyable day. At this point many thanks to the Thai students who did a great job by instructing us, to the students who organized the trip and of course to Otani-san and Groundwork for offering the location, for the organization and for the safe transport.

(written by Sonja)