Thursday, February 11, 2010

Farewell Party 2010

パンダの会 (Panda's Party)
It was the annual farewell party for the international students from the fifth grade of Nagaoka National College of Technology today. The theme for the event was "Panda Party", just like what you see in the colourful banner above haha! The location was same to last year's place - Suyoshi Community Center, which is situated around fifteen-minute walk from our dormitory. This year however, we used a different hall and hence, we had to walk through several other halls, which I suppose they are used for kindergarten kids.
Walking through these rooms, we got to see the environment, in which we usually see in Japanese shows and dramas. In other words, we saw small little tiny cute cute stuff in these rooms haha! Here are a few examples.
Shoe boxes and notice boards, decorated with colourful pictures.
Cartoon-characters school bags, hanging on the wall.
The classroom, which holds about 30 kids.
Kiroro and Keroro haha!
Textbooks and reference books on the racks.

Even the toilet slippers are decorated with Disney characters!
Reminded me of the antique telephone at my grandparent's house.
*Disturbance from girlfriend who asked me whether she looks old while I'm so busy blogging rght now =.=|| And now she is telling me that she's gonna restart her modem haha wtf*
Haha, ignore what's written above is you don't get it. In fact, everything written above has nothing to do with the farewell party haha wtf! Now, let me tell you the real version, no bluffing already this time; I promise! Otherwise, I will turn Pinocchio, okay?
This event is called 餅つき・送別会 (Mochitsuki・Soubetsu-kai) or "Mochi Pounding-cum-Farewell Party". It was held specially for the fifth year school leavers, who are gonna graduate in a month's time.
Time really flies as my three years in Nagaoka Kosen will finally come to an end this March, and I will begin my new university life in Chiba.
Okay, I will stop myself from being emotional; otherwise I will not be able to finish typing this entry haha! If you are interested to read a detailed entry about mochi pounding, I have blogged about it here. However, I will do it again this time, in brief though.
So, first thing they do is to utilise the technology by using a machine to make the mochi easier to be pounded.
Move the mochi into the huge wooden mortar, called 臼 (usu).
Bai, my third year junior was the first to start pounding the mochi, and I took over the task later on.
Okay, all ready, get set, hold the wooden mallet as high as possible.
Come let me teach you a secret to get a perfect pound.
Just before you pound the mochi, think of someone you hate haha wtf!
But then, sometimes the mochi can be a little bit mischievous, that they would stick to the mallet; just like how semen stick to your hand after you ejaculated (idea was from girlfriend, don't blame me haha!)
The solution? Soak the sticky hand mallet into the pail of water.
After the mochi is done, it is transferred into a steel pot filled with some water.
While waiting for the second round of mochi to be ready, we played around with the tools haha!
Some of the lecturers and students who were there.
Second round started, and this time, I was the first to go.
O-M-G! I was gonna hit the uncle's head!!! Sorry pak cik!!!
School principal also joined the mochi pounding.
See, he was damn bersemangat today, that he carried the mallet so high, it almost hit the ceiling haha wtf!
Who said girls cannot pound mochi?
Even after the mochi was taken out, smoke was still visible from the wooden mortar. The mortar was smoking haha wtf!
Mochi, which has been transferred into a steel pot.
The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes, usually a sphere.
The small pieces of mochi are then dipped into various flavours, for instances, red bean paste, soy sauce, sweetened fine groundnuts, or even walnut sauce. This is the red bean paste, called anko.
As for this one, they were dipped in soybean flour or kinako.
The girls took charge of the shaping and topping the mochi with the read bean paste and soybean flour.

I told Joann that I was the Santa Claus for the day because I was gonna arrange the bananas, snacks and chocolates on the table. But she got jealous and tried to pull away one of the two plastic bags. She failed, and she came charging down at me lol!
Then, Carine who saw that quickly ran to us to make sure we didn't fight haha!
"What, wanna fight isit now?"
Back in the cooking room, Tada-san who has been working at the dormitory office for 28 years, was busy preparing something else. It is a soup which contained among others, dried squid, bean curd, fish cake, leeks, sweet potatoes, konjac, and some other weird stuff which I don't know haha!
This is like the compulsory, must-have dish in every farewell party for us. But to be honest, it was nothing compared to our very own authentic bak kut teh, or tom yam kung, because it was just a simple soup without much flavours.
See how happy Tada-san was, while we was preparing the portion soup for everyone lol!

The soup, enough to feed 50 people.
Both kena scolding from Tada-san haha!.
Food and people were already there; time to start the event very soon.
The main menu of the day; the white stuff in the soup is mochi.
So as usual, the event started with the speech from Iwata Sensei, the current President of the Yukitsubaki-kai. It is an association made up of past and present lecturers of the school, who takes lead in organising various activities related to the Japanese culture for the international students here. He just underwent a surgery on his shoulder recently, and we were glad that it was a successful one. But then, let me tell you a funny story happened halfway when Iwata Sensei was talking.
After he told us about his cancer and surgery, he proceeded to talk about other stuff. He continued to talk enthusiastically...
And talk...
And talk...
Until something happened. Awkward and a little bit embarrassing for him, but funny for us nevertheless. Tada-san walked up to him and told Iwata Sensei, "Errr, if you still continue talking, I'm afraid that the mochi is gonna turn cold. Mochi is better to be eaten while they are still hot, you know?"
Haha, imagine you are talking to so many people, then suddenly somebody come up to you and potong-jalan by saying that. Damn potong-stim and paiseh, can! Iwata Sensei smiled and sat down immediately, while the rest of us had a great laugh until we had stomachache haha! Everyone was so anxious and hungry already by then, that we totally forgotten about the kanpai session. So, a few of us asked everybody to stop eating and kanpai first.
Where can start eating without kanpai first, right?

So, after so many abrupt interruptions, we finally got to eat peacefully haha! The school principal was the next person to give his short speech. This time, Tada-san didn't stop him halfway already haha! It followed by some words from Tada-san herself. I am sure she was praying that Iwata Sensei wouldn't walk to her and ask her to cut-short her speech as revenge lol!
Sato Sensei, who represents the current teachers in the school was next to stand up and talk.
Prof. Takada Koji, the school principal.
Tada-san, who has seen different batches of international students for twenty years and gonna retire this March. Actually, she has been telling us she's gonna retire for the last three years already but every time, she is still around. Maybe she missed us a lot haha!

Sato Sensei, whom we owe a huge gratitude for taking us to so many trips for the last three years.
Although there were performances as side-events during the farewell party in 2008 and 2009, it was a much simpler party this year. No performances whatsoever; nevertheless, it was still an interesting one which we enjoyed it a lot. It was done in a more informal way, in which we could share ideas and crack jokes when somebody was talking.
Take this for example. Maruyama Sensei asked everyone what was the thing that we find it most surprising after coming to Japan. Some said sorting the garbage into different categories (ゴミ分別), some thought that the drinkable water from the water tap in Japan is surprising. We then asked Maruyama Sensei in return, what was the most surprising thing when he visited Malaysia last summer. His answer was quite humourous!
It was concerning Malaysian toilets. No, no, it has nothing to do with the smell; we all know we have the most fragrant toilet in the whole universe haha! He said he find it amusing to see water hose inside toilets. The problem is, he didn't know how he was supposed to use it. Interesting part is when he made the gestures using his hands haha wtf! And everyone was still halfway enjoying their mochi that time that he kinda pointed to his backside lol!
My question to every Malaysian out there, is our toilet bowl really this big? Haha!
Kubota-san, who is one of the library staff then stood up to give her two cents from her time in Malaysia two years ago. Again, it was about toilet. It makes me wonder, are the toilets in Malaysia that interesting, that they attract so much attention from the Japanese lol! This time, it was about the size of the toilet bowl. She thinks that our toilet bowl has XXL size and wonders how people are supposed to sit on it. "Is it safe enough to sit on it, and our butt won't fall into the toilet bowl?" she asked haha!
Tada-san then replied, "It was specially made for sumo wrestlers; that's why it's huge!"
That is why I said the farewell party today was simply awesome! We don't have to have performances, crazy moments like that was enough to make it a memorable one!
Pineapple-cutting session, to see who cuts pineapple faster.
School principal teaching some Japanese idioms to these curious boys.
With the uncle who used to work in the dormitory office and Yamaguchi Sensei.
Tada-san. Wonder if she would invite us to pluck strawberries at her house garden again before we leave.
The three stooges with Tada-san haha!

Before I end this long entry, credit to Hong Yao as some of the pictures in this entry were taken by him.
One final group shot to end the event and this entry.


fufu said...

so fast soubetsukai huuh?? is there another owakare party before you guys leave nagaoka? i wanna go nomikai with my buddies in both hiroshima and osaka!! bully kohais, ikki saseru, yakiniku, osama game, etc... miss those old days in japan >< anyway enjoy with them before you head to chibai dai ya lol

Kae Vin said...

Don emo la.

and your semen joke ==

You are going to start a new journey in Uni while I am going to graduate from Uni ady. How ironic! :(

Robinn T said...

alrighty there u go with the comment in ze comment box~

hmm i can rarely whip up jap food because the resources in malaysia is quite limitted.. nor i barely have time for it neither >.<

anyway, just asking again, how'd end up in jspan? through jpa or jasso or something else?


calvin said...

@ fufu:
this is considered late already, as i have friends in other colleges and universities who has had their farewell party in january!

there would be another farewell party for us next week, and we all are looking forward to it =D

my last few weeks in nagaoka. gonna miss this place before i start a new life in chiba :)

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
you emo when you're leaving your hometown as well, right? it's a normal thing-lah!

correction; that is not a joke from me. it was from miss girlfriend. i asked her, give an example of something sticky, and semen was the first word that came out from her mouth haha!

a more ironic thing is when you are gonna be a dad while i just gonna graduate in a couple of years xD

calvin said...

@ tempus:
hehe, finally you posted your comment here. thanks!

i'm a jpa scholar at present. did my preparation programme in kl for two years before coming to japan in 2007 :)

Robinn T said...

owh i see.... u must be damn smart to be able to get jpa in japan~ well im hoping to get the monbukagakusho scholarship to i can hit there by next april... haiz... dun know la~

calvin said...

@ tempus:
brain alone is not enough. i was lucky to be given this scholarship.

so, i suppose you are applying for the monkasho scholarship right now. all the best to you and who knows, maybe i will see you in tokyo next april!

good luck!

Unknown said...

WOW, Mochi in Japan looks like FUFU in Ghana....
FOR sometime now I have been trying to find friends who will help me find machines that can pound FUFU/MOCHI without sweat...
Any suggestions????

FOR pics on FUFU Pounding in Ghana check Google...