Lauren Guz: Cooking Classes

For my CIP I took cooking classes at La Carriere.  I was the only foreigner in my classes which made it a really interesting experience.  In the first few classes I wasn’t able to understand most of the directions, and had to rely on watching more than listening, but as classes went on I started to pick up more and more words.  Eventually I could ask about specific cuts, what heat to put the stove to, etc.  My Japanese in regard to specific food and cooking techniques was probably not 100% correct, but I was able to get my meaning across, and being able to communicate better translated into the food I made, which also became better and better.  I also had opportunities to talk to Japanese women, ranging in age from 18 to 70, which gave me many opportunities to practice all speech styles, from casual to polite and even keigo.

After a long day of regular college classes and studying, listening to Japanese for a few hours could be tiring, but it was always worth it when I could sit down with the women and eat the delicious food we had made.  Everyone was always really nice to me, and it was a great experience.

It provide me a place and a role in Japanese society as an actual individual and not just a foreigner.  Usually when I try to integrate myself into Japanese society, my role in the setting would very much be defined by being a foreigner.  However, when I was in the cooking classes I was just another student there to learn how to cook.

3 thoughts on “Lauren Guz: Cooking Classes

  1. You took a great leap out of your comfort zone with these classes and I’m sure that they’ll help you prepare great dishes in the future! In the first few weeks, how did you deal with the situations where you didn’t understand what your instructor was saying? Also, what was your biggest takeaway from having the opportunity to talk with such a diverse age group of Japanese women?

    • At first I really had no idea what they were saying. I had to really by watching very closely and writing lots of notes during the first half of class where they made the food and explained to us. While we were cooking ourselves, if I ever forgot something, I would casually look around at other people and copy them. However, the more I went the more I understood, and also by asking questions and listening to the answers, I picked up on a lot of the words, and was able to better understand instructions in the later classes. It was really fun talking to the women and hearing all of the kansai ben. The younger women, closer to my age, tended to be much more shy, where as the older women were always excited to talk to me.

  2. Lauren,
    I’m so happy you enjoyed your cooking classes! What type of food did you cook? Did you prepare French and Italian recipes or Japanese ones?
    I understand the struggle you faced the first few classes; since I work at a café for my CIP I also had a difficult time at first naming kitchen utensils and other words related to cooking. But in the end, we learn so many new useful Japanese words.
    Also, I am thinking of taking cooking classes in Kyoto during the summer, could you please send me more information about the class you took?