Every so often I have the opportunity to participate in a Japanese cooking class. I normally jump at any chance to learn how to make something more traditional than the stir fry I end up eating most nights. Hyuga’s CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) put together a tofu and soba cooking class way out in Togo. Togo is a small, mountain town that merged with Hyuga about ten years ago. I have only ever been there a handful of times and only for taiko performances.
The class was held in a community center there next to Togo’s big road station. Road stations in Japan, also known as Michi-no-Eki, can be destinations in and of themselves. There are local products stores, restaurants, and sometimes even farmers markets held at the road stations and the toilets are always nicer than anything you’d find at a truck stop in the US.
The people attending the event were an interesting mix of ALTs, high school students, and older people. First, we were broken into groups of six or seven. Cameron had us play “Heads Up” as an icebreaker. Unfortunately, the first round was animals and I embarrassed myself a few times when I couldn’t remember if turtles were amphibians (they’re reptiles) or if koalas were omnivores (they’re herbivores). Other than that, I think the game went pretty well.
After the game, our group was sent to make Sobu first. I had a lot of fun taking pictures and stealing the occasional finished noodle (I was starving).
Once the noodles were done, it was time to make some tofu.
After that, the liquid we squeezed out is poured into a frame (not pictured because I was too hungry at that point to focus on taking pictures) and left to sit until it forms the block you saw in the first picture.
We ate with our groups, finished chatting, and then headed home. I was full for a while, which was great. Though I still definitely prefer udon noodles to sobu.