Meg Beneville: Kyoto Cooking Circle
For my CIP, I decided to take a Japanese cooking class. I’ve attended classes at the Kyoto Cooking Circle of Wings Kyoto and really enjoyed learning how to make many different Japanese dishes and interacting with the teachers and other students. The classes are very gaijin-friendly, and I’ve met people from all over the world, including Australia, Korea, and Spain. Many of them aren’t exchange students but are teachers or expats living in or near Kyoto. The Japanese people attending the classes all seem to have an interest in learning foreign languages or meeting people from different countries. They are very welcoming and we usually talk while we cook. I always get to practice my Japanese, and because we receive the recipes in both Japanese and English, I can compare the two and often figure out what different ingredients are in Japanese based on their English translation. I’m looking forward to trying out some of my new recipes when I get back to the States.
One thing that I’ve observed while attending cooking classes is that even though some of the other foreigners have lived in Japan for years, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can speak Japanese. I was really surprised to hear one woman who had lived in Kyoto for over 5 years struggle with very basic phrases. This is not a judgment on other people, but rather something I’m very sympathetic towards, as I can imagine that moving to Japan without a formal way to study the language must be very difficult. It made me think about how lucky I am to be at a time in my life where I can come to Japan for the specific purpose of learning Japanese, and that I could do so at KCJS, where I am receiving such high quality language instruction. I’ve realized that there is a huge difference between living in Japan as a study abroad student learning about the language and culture, and what it’s like to live in Japan as an adult who ended up in Japan and is just trying to live daily life.
Unfortunately, Kyoto Cooking Circle only meets once a month. My original plan was to take several different cooking classes, but I was surprised to find that Kyoto Cooking Circle in the exception in that it is very affordable. Other classes I looked at were as much as 5000 yen per class, which was completely out of my price range. Because of this, I need to supplement my CIP activity with something else. So far, I’ve helped out with an English lesson for Japanese children, which was a lot of fun. I’m also looking forward to attending some KIX in the next few weeks.
What has been your favorite recipe to make?
Definitely いちご大福 (strawberry daifuku)…nom nom nom
Glad to hear that you’re having fun! 😀 KIXS should be starting up again soon. I’ll let you know when it does. Now, on to the questions! Do you do mainly Japanese style cooking or is there western cooking too? Are there any new kitchen devices you have been using that you don’t use in the states?