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7 January 2012 (Japanese Gathering)

January 7, 2012

今日はイスラエル在住の日本人の方主催の新年会BBQに行って来ました。

ほうれん草の胡麻和え、カブのお漬け物、手巻き寿司、けんちん汁、春雨サラダ、お稲荷さんなど、
色んなお惣菜に加え最後のデザートにはなんと手作りお餅入りおぜんざいにきのこのおはぎ。
懐かしい日本の味に感動の連続でした。
BBQというとメインはお肉のはずだけど、私は肉以外のものにひたすら夢中でした 笑

We went to a New Year BBQ hosted by a Japanese woman living in Israel today.

Some of the homemade dishes on the table: spinach gomaae, pickled kabu, temakisushi, kenchinjiru, harusame salad, inari sushi, and for dessert, handmade mochi in zenzai and ohagi with kinako powder. I was completely overwhelmed and overjoyed with the familiar tastes of home. Typically in a BBQ the main would be the meat, but I was too busy with anything but.

普段の生活で会うイスラエル人や、ユバルの知り合いの集まりや結婚式などで会う人たちには、
私が日本から来たことを伝えると大抵びっくりされます。
日本のような遠い場所から、しかもイスラエルでの生活になんの保障もないのに
私がやって来たことがあまりにも現実からかけ離れたことみたいで。
日本を離れる時も、ほとんどの人にびっくりされました。(て言うか、皆引いていたのかな 笑)

でも今日のような集まりに行くと、
約20年前にイスラエルにまだ日本人がほとんどいない時に来られた方や、
イスラエル人のパートナーと会ってまだ間もない時にイスラエルに来られた方など、
私自身の状況よりもっと大変そうな方もたくさん。
すごいな、と思うと同時にとても励みになります。

日本では作ろうとも思わなかったような(簡単に手に入るので)料理を
こっちでは恋しさのあまり作る気になること、
イスラエルの水の質や空気があまりにも乾燥しているため
最初のうちは肌や頭皮がボロボロになってしまったこと、
それなのにイスラエルには「化粧水」がほとんどといっていいほど存在しないこと、
などを始め、普段感じていること、疑問に思っていることなどを色々話し、情報交換してきました。

今後くじけそうになるたびに、今日お会いした皆さんのことを思い出し、頑張れる気がします。

The people I meet in my daily life as well as those I meet at Yuval’s gatherings are mostly shocked when they learn I came here all the way from Japan. It seems just too much of a foreign concept to them for a person to come from such a far away place with no guarantee of success. Most of my family and friends in Japan were also shocked when I told them my decision to come to Israel as well.

But when I go to a gathering like today’s, I meet people who came to Israel nearly 20 years ago when there were hardly any Japanese, or those who came to Israel very shortly after they met their Israeli partner. Their situations make me feel like I have it pretty easy.

Some of the other things we talked about included how we are inspired to try cooking things we never imagined cooking back home (because it was so easily accessible), or how some of our skin and scalp really felt the effect of the harsh quality of the water in Israel as well as the extreme dryness. I was always wondering if I was alone in the skin thing, so it was nice to know others experienced it as well. Strangely though, I am not having nearly as many problems in my second winter this year. It may be because of the Japanese skin products I brought back with me and am using, or maybe my body is adapting.

The next time I’m having a bad day and get the urge to pack up and go back to Japan, I’ll think about the women I met today. Maybe it’ll make me put down my bags.

Much love,
Kaori

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