March 8th was International Women's Day so what better way to celebrate it than to hold a Hinamatsuri? We decided to use a bit of Japanese culture and add our own British twist to it: though Hinamatsuri is traditionally Girls Day, we decided to invite boys to our celebration too. However, the rule was that everyone had to wear something pink.
The Hinamatsuri was held at Sugar and Dice Board Game Cafe in Liverpool, which happens to be owned by two of our JETAA members. Without their help, this event would not have been possible as they kindly opened the cafe on their day off.
We put Hinamatsuri decorations around the cafe and then went about making traditional Hinamatsuri food: chirashizushi. I forgot to take a picture of the simple chirashizushi we made but we used 1 kilo of rice - so you can imagine how huge it was! Everyone then helped themselves to toppings. We had crab, salmon, tuna, prawns, cucumber, avocado, egg, and nori. You can see a picture of everyone getting stuck in at the top of this article, and here is a picture of my chirashizushi...
I know! It's not beautifully presented and the nori was too thick, however, it tasted great! You will also notice a sake cup in the picture. Everyone who attended also got a couple of cups of sake, which was thoroughly enjoyed.
After the chirashizushi, we cooked another kilo of rice(!) and taught people how to make makizushi. Some were successful, some not quite so, nevertheless, everyone was happy.
As if all this wasn't yummy enough, our hosts then gave everyone a homemade cupcake from their cafe. Of course these were in keeping with the theme and had cute pink frosting on them.
We couldn't go to a Board Game Cafe without playing games so to finish off the night we split into groups and had a go at a sushi card game. The basic idea of the game was to go round the group and collect sushi, like when you go to kaitenzushi, and you then got points for how many sushi you accumulate. Here are some of the cards I collected during the game. Like any typical Japanese-themed game, these pictures are really cute, aren't they?
As you can see from my cards, I have a sweet tooth! I got greedy though and collected too many desserts and so had to forfeit some points!! We had lots of fun though!
The evening was a great success. It was very international too, as we had people from not only Britain and Japan, but also Germany and Romania too. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about different countries, meet new people, and bring a bit of Japanese culture to our part of the country. Everyone said they'll definitely go back to the cafe again and it was agreed that more JETAA events like this one need to happen.
As I said earlier, this Hinamatsuri wouldn't have happened without the cafe owners' effort, kindness, and generosity. I can't express how grateful I am for everything they did to help me organise it. We enjoyed a big thank you hug at the end of the night...
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our Hinamatsuri. We do hope you can attend our next event (due to be held in April so watch this space) as it is sure to make you smile, create some nice memories, and give you plenty to talk about.
Kind regards, Corrina Ellis - North West Vice Chair.