Just want to share with you some pictures of the lovely event I attended recently, a reception to celebrate 40 years of ASEAN-Japan relations. It was held at the fabulous Kempinski Hotel (formerly Hotel Indonesia). It was my first time to ever go to Kempinski and I wasn’t disappointed.
I was more or less expecting the usual reception, starting with some introductions, a toast/cake cutting and then enjoying some food and drinks while mingling with other diplomats and their spouses. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many interesting activities going on throughout the reception ballroom even before the opening ceremony.
The very first one was an enormous lego version of Traditional Japanese architecture. It was impressive indeed… with it’s signature large gently curved roof. What a wonderful and fun way to show a country’s architecture – LEGO! I feel so bad that I didn’t take a picture of it!
I was too excited to bump into my favorite fab duo… who were busy trying to master the art of origami!
Tables full of fun info on Japanese culture set against the gorgeous interiors of Kempinski Hotel.
As we walked along we noticed many people holding bowls and chopsticks, enjoying HARAKO MESHI (a traditional dish from the Miyagi Prefecture composed of salmon & salmon eggs on rice topped with nori). Everyone seemed to be enjoying it immensely, so we made a beeline for the booth.
It was so tasty! The best thing about it was when we got our bowls, they handed us the recipe too! So cool! Not only did we get a taste, but with the simple recipe they gave, I might just try making it!
As we moved further down the ballroom, we saw people holding flutes… of SAKE! I was so excited because ever since the farewell reception of the former Japanese Ambassador, I’ve been looking for the brand of sake they served. It was unlike any sake I’ve ever had before… so smooth and sweet that it converted this non-sake drinker into a sake-lover! When I took my first sip of the Ichinokura Sake, I knew my search was over! I finally found my sake of choice!
Here’s another interesting table… one for AKABEKOs. Traditionally Akabekos are red but these Akabekos were white with the flag of different ASEAN nations and guests are invited to write down their wish (for ASEAN & Japan) and sign. Mine was “Pagkakaisa” which is Tagalog for unity.
Akabeko (赤べこ Akabeko?, red cow) is a traditional toy from the Aizu region of Japan. The toy is made from two pieces of papier-mâché-covered wood, shaped and painted to look like a red cowor ox. One piece represents the cow’s head and neck and the other its body. The head and neck hangs from a string and fits into the hollow body. When the toy is moved, the head thus bobs up and down and side to side.
They totally remind me of the dog figurines that bobble their heads that were super popular in the dashboards of cabs and jeepneys in the Philippines years ago. I’m pretty sure they were based on Japan’s Akabeko!
We didn’t get to enjoy sushi this time coz the line was too long. Instead we went to the shortest line, which was for the yummy tempura! Which they prepared right in front of us. Between this and the Harako Meshi our tummies were happy.
It was a lot of fun learning new things about Japan in such an interactive manner. There were many more tables to explore, but we also wanted to make time to chat and catch up with friends. Not only did we see displays, but we got to touch, taste, try and see how things were prepared. We also got to take home some interesting (and informational) things like the harako meshi recipe and the different prizes for the games and traditional Japanese activities that we participated in. (Radha were is my Japanese doll?!?)
Best of all we got to do this while catching up with Diplo Friends over some good sake. (Check the men out in their spiffy suits!) TD and I are both outgoing and enjoy attending these Diplo-Receptions.
I know it’s weird but I just had to take a picture of the gorgeous ladies room of the Kempinski Hotel. So luxe! I especially adore the beautiful gold tiles!
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