Being relocated to a new country can be an amazing experience, though one not without its difficulties. One of the greatest of problems, particularly for the spouses or partners of those being relocated, is making friends in a new place where perhaps we do not know the language.
One great way of dealing with this is to join classes. In and around Nagoya there are plenty of classes at which you can meet new people. The below are just a few that focus particularly on enjoying Japanese culture.
With a different experience for each of the four seasons, cooking with Chef Shuji can take you into bamboo forests, through over rice paddies, and even amongst the ukai cormorant fishers of the Nagara river. From there it’s back to the 100 year-old Yamakyu Restaurant, where all the culinary delight takes place. Master Chef Shuji has 30 years of professional experience and there are a variety of workshops and cultural experiences in which you can participate, including picking the organic vegetables or catching the ayu sweet fish that you will be cooking.
Aki lives in the suburbs of Nagoya and she welcomes you into her home for an introduction and instruction of both Japanese cooking and the culture of the Japanese household. She thanks her Japanese chef husband – whom she met while studying in L.A. – for her cooking ability, and also her mother-in-law, which to me spells ‘harmonious household’. She has various recipes, and two courses: a traditional Japanese tempura meal or Kawaii (decorative) sushi rolls and each include tea ceremony. Classes can be held in Japanese, English or Spanish.
Kayoko teaches the basic Moribana style of flower arranging from her home close to downtown Nagoya. She speaks fluent English and can also tell you about the history of Ikebana and how it relates to the seasons while she demonstrates her gifts. After it is all finished she will serve Japanese tea and sweets.
Meeting every second and fourth Saturday, Ikebana Communications is a flower arranging class that focuses particularly on meeting and making friends.
Judging by the fact that Ms. Suzuki charges only for the cost of materials used, the lessons at Hana-no-ki-kai (literally an an opportunity with flowers) are genuinely about sharing the information about this elegant art form, as well as meeting those who share an interest. They meet on the fith Sunday of every month.
Have you ever wanted to try on the elegant Japanese traditional clothing of Kimono? Perhaps you have one of your own but haven’t a clue how to put it on. Akemi Yoshida invites non-Japanese women to join her in enjoy trying on a variety of different kimonos while learning about Japanese culture every second saturday from 13:00 to 15:00.
Noriko’s Events are exclusively for the non-Japanese to enjoy and learn about the Japanese culture and traditional crafts such as hand sewing Yukatas, Kimekomi, Calligraphy, Ikebana and Tea Ceremony. Noriko also guides participants on fun and educational trips on occasion.
The Cross-Cultural Exchange Association, or the “CCEA,”is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting cultural exchange, international understanding and friendships among women of all nationalities living in the Nagoya Area. Social activities, general meetings and special interest groups are some ways in which members develop friendships, discover the local community, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of Japan and other countries.
Mark Guthrie and Ray Proper
Photo: flickr.com "DSC02208 European Floristry Class" by dutchbaby (CC BY-SA 2.0) -Modified