Yesterday, the Japanese students on our floor threw the international students a welcome party! It was absolutely amazing. The decorations were amazing, and the music ranged from a wide variety of boy bands, so we all belted out the words to our favorite One Direction and BTS songs together. It was a great way to meet with other girls on my floor and I feel so much more connected with everyone!
The food that we ate was called takoyaki, which is a round Japanese snack that is cooked on specially molded pans. Tako means “octopus” and yaki means “grilled.” Takoyaki typically contains diced octopus, but it can be omitted if that’s not your thing. Osaka is known for being the home of lots of amazing dishes, with the two most well-known being okonomiyaki (a savory fried pancake that deserves its own blog post) and takoyaki. Most of the girls on our floor are from the Osaka prefecture, so they wanted to share their taste of home. It was absolutely delicious!
The girls didn’t just make takoyaki for us, they actually taught us how to make it! The first step was to fill the mold with batter, then add whatever you want in your snack! At first we started with standard ingredients like green onions and small slices of hot dogs, but by the end we added more daring food combinations, like kimchi and cheese, into our takoyaki! So once the food is all packed into the mold, then comes the hard part: you swirl the batter in a circle, and then flip the entire takoyaki piece upside down with a thin wooden chopstick. That sounds easy, but I can personally tell you that it’s NOT. It definitely took me a few tries to slowly flip a sad, lumpy piece of takoyaki while the rest of the girls were cheering me on. After you (eventually) flip the takoyaki a few times to make sure that it’s fully cooked, you stick it on a wooden skewer, add sauce and mayonnaise, and enjoy!
Overall, the takoyaki party was an absolute success. I was able to get closer to all the girls on my floor and it made me feel much more welcome. I’ve been having a hard time to adjusting to living in Japan due to the fact that it’s so different from America, but the kindness of everyone last night was truly out of this world and soothed my anxieties. Everyone who showed up was so warm-hearted and I can’t wait to make more amazing memories with them in the future!