Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This is how you BBQ in Japan

A couple weeks ago we were invited to have a BBQ with friends at Taura Ume no Sato (Taura Plum Park).  In my planning for the meal I ran over my normal cookout recipes:  macaroni salad, potato salad, deviled eggs.  About a week before the BBQ my friend said she would bring the main course and I agreed to bring dessert.  Well, I'm glad it was dessert I ended up bringing, because Japanese BBQs are a bit different from those I've hosted/attended with my American friends.  

Hiding from the sun as we are almost at the top of the hill

So, that beautiful Sunday morning, we made our way to the JR station, rode one stop to Taura Station and then hiked 3 miles to the park.  Oh my...we almost melted on our way up that mountain...yes, it's only a couple hundred feet high, but daggonit, we sweat out at least five pounds walking in the insane heat and humidity and I'm almost certain we climbed 7,459 steps!  

The view from the top was amazing though!

At the top of the hill we continued on to the other side, into the trees and then down a path for a bit until we arrived at the campsites.  There's no parking here, so if you are going to BBQ, you have to lug everything up the MOUNTAIN and through the woods to this site.  Well, not quite everything.  

See that cabin in the picture below?  Well, there is a very nice gentleman in there that will rent almost anything you can think of to cook your meal!  So convenient!!!  There's also a little tram that runs from somewhere at the bottom of the MOUNTAIN to the camp entrance.  This is so you can get your camping gear-tents, sleeping bags, etc; but no people-up without killing yourself from exertion.
After we took our shoes off, and immediately took hold of one fan per person to try and air dry some of the 8 pounds of sweat dripping off our clothes, Junko got a checklist and walked around the cabin with the campground-man as she told him all the things she needed to fix lunch.  Special rice cookers,
it's a nice little kidney-shaped tin that you load with rice and water then heat on low for a few minutes, medium for a few minutes, high for a few minutes, then flip it over and let it sit for 10 or 20 minutes, I can't remember the exact times), pots for boiling, cutting boards, knives, several bowls, silverware, bowls, cups, the works!

The office
Here is the cooking station.  There are four...two on each side contain a large sink, stove, and tables for preparation.

Here's a better view of the huge sink and then the two stoves and then the other sink.

There are toilets (the cabin on the right) and I'm not sure what the other cabin is for.  I didn't go over there to explore.

There are a few platforms for tents to be set up....there are two in the center of the picture below.

Here's a view of the tent area next to the cooking area., while the boys all worked to get the fire started the girls started pealing and cutting.  Mackenzie actually asked if she could help!  Usually, Princess Maki-chan prefers everyone else to prepare her food and serve it to her.  :)  She peeled and cut carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes.

While we were cutting and Kris, Isao and Uta were getting the rice going and the ground beef and curry sauce cooking, Garytt and Kenta took some time to be boys!  They chopped wood...and listened to Kris tell the story of when he took a hatchet and chopped off the end of his finger....gasp! Garytt insisted he would be careful (I forgot to take a picture of the bruises and four or five cuts on his hand where he wasn't so careful, good thing the hatchet wasn't sharp at all).

The veggies are now in the curry so Mackenzie and Momo-chan are cleaning off the loaner dishes.

Once lunch was ready, the boys plated the rice and curry for us and we all sat down to eat an amazing lunch!  The curry was so delicious!  We will definitely be adding eggplant and potatoes to our curry in the future!  Delicious!!!

Garytt really liked this tree trunk seat.  It's hard to see, but he's covered in dirt from head to toe...a sure fire sign that he had a fun-filled Boy-stuff kind of day!!


Once we were done eating, we cleaned up all the dishes and then Kris, Isao and the kids ran to the Ninja Park to play for a bit.  After they were thoroughly sweaty, they returned for drinks and some sitting time to cool off.  Since it was after 2 the heat started to subside a bit....a tiny bit.  We had ourselves some dessert and then returned all of our gear to the office before setting off toward the car and train station. We made one more little stop at the Ninja Park so the kids could run a bit more, then we walked our way back down the MOUNTAIN.  It wasn't as bad at 3 pm and at a downward direction.  We hitched a ride back to the base and then walked home.  What a fun day!!!  Who would have thought to eat curry at a picnic?  It was so perfect and delicious!  The heat tried to knock us down, but we sweated our way right on through :) 

We found this plant at the campsite.  I'm not sure what it is, but it has neat little water holders built right into it!