My new found Japanese friends invited me to try natto, a stinky smelling but healthy delicacy which Niigata prefecture is famous for. Yuko brought along Maki and Yumi, while I extended the invitation to Alden, Farhana and Konan. We shopped for the ingredients to make natto sushi at Harashin, a supermarket down the hill.
They already made rice earlier, so we just had to prepare the rest at school. Yes, that's right, you read correctly. Apparently, the final year students have their own study lounge. So for each department, there is a room in which they can hang out and study together. There are even refridgerators and microwave ovens for them to use.
First, pour some sushinoko, a powdery substance into the rice and mix it well. I understood then where the sweetish sour taste of sushi comes from. Then prepare some nori (seaweed), cut into palm size squares for the sushi.
Next, open the prepacked natto, pour some shoyu (soy sauce) and mix well. It looks like something from Alien vs Predator. Fermented soy beans with really gooey stuff all over it. It should have an even more sticky feel after mixing for 10 minutes or so.
Get the rest of the ingredients prepared - cut the kyuri (cucumber - looks like zucchini to me), mix the maguro (tuna like fish) with mayo, make miso soup and voila, you have easy-to-eat sushi.
Singgih, an Indonesian student who will be going back to his country this year, Seki, the grrls's senior, and Mr Megillan (I'm very sure I got the spelling wrong), their Canadian lecturer also came to join us for the party.
It was a good time exchanging information about each other's country and culture. Alden and I taught them how to use "lah" at the end of sentences, just like how most of Japanese sentences end with "desu". Konan was telling them that when Alden and I speak Manglish, he cannot understand a word. So most of the time, we end up speaking proper English.
We actually planned to cycle to Niigata City, which is about half an hour's drive from Niigata University, after dinner. But because it was still raining, we decided to stay back and chat more with our Japanese friends. Since they insisted that they treat us this time, we promised to invite them to try our national delicacy the next time we meet.