The festive season, part 2: Australia comes to Tokyo, via Malaysia

January 12, 2007

On the 25th, after attending Mass in the morning at Roppongi, and then attending class at school (yes – this is Japan, remember!) I returned home and began preparing dinner for eight people.  I had decided to do the traditional Australian thing:  roast beef, with roast vegies, gravy, accompanied by lots of wine.  I’d found a couple of kilos of (non-Aussie) beef at a local grocer’s, as well as all the other ingredients.

So at 4.30pm, I went down to the cooking room to begin. First problem: the instructions for turning on the oven were all in Japanese, and the meanings of the knobs and switches weren’t obvious. I had to call Emiko, my Japanese friend and guest-to-be, to come and help me turn the oven on. Even she had trouble.

In any case, the oven was too small to cook both beef and veggies in, so I had to turn both of the rooms ovens on and cook them separately. After two hours of this, the room was quite warm – just the atmosphere I wanted, to let my friends know what an Australian Christmas is like. I was running from oven to oven to preparation table to stove and back to oven in a ‘Merry Christmas’ short-sleeved shirt with a Santa cap on. I’d drunk quite a few G&Ts to keep my spirits up.

Hot, tipsy, wearing stupid clothes – yep, it was just like an ordinary Australian Christmas.

By 7.30 the food was almost ready, the guests had arrived and were tucking in to the salmon, sour cream and crackers, everyone produced a bottle of wine, and soft jazz music had created a nice atmosphere. Luckily, I wasn’t alone in preparing food.  Jess from Malaysia had prepared fried shrimp patties, a chicken curry, and a delicious noodle dish. So it was an Aussie Christmas with Malaysian characteristics thrown in.

I had a ball.  After the stress of purchasing, planning and preparation, I sat back and enjoyed myself. I think the others did too.  There was plenty of conversation, and we ended up leaving the cooking room at around 11pm.

I’m sorry there are no pictures – in the rush to prepare I forgot to bring my camera. When I grab someone else’s pictures of the night, I’ll post them here.

I hope that your Christmas was similarly enjoyable.

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