Sumo Table Jokes 

Today I had the most traditional Japanese meal, with the Sumo team of Kasugai! While the Sumo matches were taking part in a 34 degrees weather we were cooking in the backstage. Seeing a live Sumo game is definitely a must, what impressed me the most is that Sumo is not all about who wins or who loses, they respect each other’s time for attacking and they have a, let’s say, ritual before taking the move to winning . The whole lead is amazing, the pressure and the softness all combined to give a 1 minute game between two people, I never thought I could find it so interesting. Of course the games were followed by a traditional lunch for Sumo players, there is no table and we have to sit this time not the traditional seiza position but actually with out legs crossed because of the mass of the Sumo players. No hurting legs this time! The dishes were coming one by one and we had to wait until everyone was sitting and holding their chopsticks to start eating. The main plate was a Niku 肉 based dish with pepperoni and sweet Chinese sauce, delightfully hot. The next plate is a tomato sauce with rice and cabbage roll pickled and served hot, it’s the spiciest dish from the table ( well not actually a table more like a big wood plate). Next we have a bowl of dashi 出汁 soup with onions in which we have to insert the Udon うどん noodles (largest Japanese noodles) one by one again from a big common plate. Next in line are the sashimi! Sashimi is actually just raw fish assorted in different methods, I never knew there was an order to eating fish, today we started with Tuna まぐろ and next Salmon 鮭 and finished with a radish salad that we had to clean the soy sauce and wasabi plate with. Between each fish that you take you need to also eat pickled ginger to take the previous taste away and let your mouth savor the next flavor, this was quite an interesting thing. The last of our dishes was the 煮物 Nimono which is actually a soup with boiled vegetables and meat with a fried or boiled Mochi that takes all the strong aroma. This is quite an interesting dish that I ate for the first time, it had a very strong flavor and you needed to eat it slow, during the whole meal so basically between every dish I mentioned earlier you had to eat a bit of this Nimono bowl. The lunch was very long as we sat and talked for a very long time, even though now I understand most of the casually spoken Japanese I couldn’t understand any of the jokes the sumo players made, indeed Japanese table jokes are either extremely hard to figure out or I still have not acquired quite the understanding for the table manners. Today was a very traditional experience, sitting front row to a sumo tournament, cooking and eating with the Kasugai Sumo team and visiting the Sumo traditional practice house. All in all I really need to work on understanding Japanese humor and table jokes.


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