Sukiyaki

Original Text: Sukiyaki


Samantha Renee B. Balboa CN#2
IV-5

Sukiyaki. A japanese meal that usually brings forth images of a steaming hot pot filled to the brim with simmering broth, thin slices of beef, napa cabbage, mushroom, soybean curd, welsh onion and raw egg. Not for me. Sukiyaki does not stir feelings of hunger but of embarrassment. I stay away from it not because I do not like the taste but because of a moment I associate it with; my first experience of the authentic Japanese dish.

I remember it painfully well. I was lucky enough to participate in the Japanese exchange program last May 2010 and it was my first dinner with my host family. My host mother was preparing dinner and my host sister and I were helping her. My host father, they told me, was at the golf course and would be arriving soon in time for the meal. While I was deveining the shrimp, I felt so happy with them. My host mom was cracking jokes while my host sister was asking me about my country. I did my best to regale them with colorful accounts of the Philippines. When we were done, I was told to unpack my luggage and rest in my room (which I instantly fell in love with the moment I stepped inside it.) I sat alone on the bed, comforted by the warm fluffy blankets and the cool feel of the hardwood floors on my feet. I prayed and hoped they would like me. I wanted to feel accepted and loved by the people I have never known and have only met. After a while, my host sister called me and told me dinner was to be eaten in the tatami room; a traditional Japanese room with floors made out of straw mats. As I entered and my host mom and dad smiled at me, an inexplicable fear settled in my chest and had my heart thumping in fear. The smell of dinner did not reassure me but instead made my stomach turn; I felt faint and dizzy. Yet despite all this, I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, smiled, and sat down. My host mom immediately started fussing over me; She gave me rice, explained the different ingredients she used and even the cooking process of some of the dishes. We had Sukiyaki, bean-starch Vermicelli salad with prawns, tomatoes and cucumber, miso soup with japanese radishes and mushrooms, and for dessert, an Avocado with soybean curd. The sukiyaki, they told me, was to be eaten with raw beaten eggs. I tried to nod but my head was like a creaky rusted hinge; I could not move it. They were all staring, eagerly waiting for me to take the first bite. All I could think about at that point was: “Don’t disappoint them! Do something, quick!” So I picked up my chopsticks, reached out for some beef and put it inside a bowl of beaten eggs. It went plop! The beef was taunting me, daring me to eat it. I swirled it around for a few moments and picked it up again. The eggs were dripping in copious amounts. I gulped. Leaning forward, I opened my mouth and shoved the meat in quickly. My host mom, dad and sister then started eating.

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Revised Text:

Sukiyaki is a Japanese meal that usually brings forth images of a steaming hot pot filled to the brim with simmering broth, thin slices of beef, Napa cabbage, mushrooms, soybean curd, welsh onions and raw egg. Not for me. Sukiyaki does not stir feelings of hunger, but of embarrassment. I stay away from it, not because I do not like the taste, but because of a moment I associate it with; my first experience with the authentic Japanese dish.

I remember it painfully well. I was lucky enough to participate in the Japanese exchange program last May 2010, and it was my first dinner with my host family. My host mother was preparing dinner, and my host sister and I were helping her. My host father, they told me, was at the golf course and would be arriving soon, in time for the meal.

While I was de-veining the shrimp, I felt very happy. My host mom was cracking jokes while my host sister was asking me about my country. I did my best to regale them with colorful accounts of the Philippines. When we were done, I was told to unpack my luggage and rest in my room (which I instantly fell in love with the moment I stepped inside it.)

I sat alone on the bed, comforted by the warm fluffy blankets and the cool feel of the hardwood floors on my feet. I prayed and hoped the family would like me. I wanted to feel accepted and loved by the people I have only met.

After a while, my host sister called me and told me dinner was to be eaten in the tatami room, a traditional Japanese room with floors made out of straw mats. As I entered, and my host mom and dad smiled at me, an inexplicable fear settled in my chest and had my heart thumping in fear. The smell of dinner did not reassure me but instead made my stomach turn, I felt faint and dizzy.

Despite all of this, I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, smiled, and sat down. My host mom immediately started fussing over me. She gave me rice, explained the different ingredients she used and even the cooking process of some of the dishes. We had: Sukiyaki; bean-starch Vermicelli salad with prawns, tomatoes and cucumber; miso soup with japanese radishes and mushrooms; and for dessert, an Avocado with soybean curd.

The sukiyaki, they told me, was to be eaten with raw beaten eggs. I tried to nod but my head was like a creaky rusted hinge, I could not move it. They were all staring, eagerly waiting for me to take the first bite. All I could think about at that point was, “Don’t disappoint them! Do something, quick!” I picked up my chopsticks, reached out for some beef and put it inside a bowl of beaten eggs. It went plop! The beef was taunting me, daring me to eat it. I swirled it around for a few moments and picked it up again. The eggs were dripping in copious amounts. I gulped. Leaning forward, I opened my mouth and shoved the meat in quickly. My host mom, dad and sister then started eating.

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