Since starting learning Japanese I haven’t had the opportunity to practice with anyone. I find that the best way of learning something is to teach others about it, and so I jumped at the opportunity to be restaurant selector for my friends Christmas party – Japanese was obviously selected – and I used the meal to share a little Japanese language and culture.
We went to a small restaurant in Edinburgh called Harajuku Kitchen (here is their site). The food was delicious – as it is every time I have been there. It’s a Japanese restaurant that serves up the most amazing food; fusing ‘traditional family recipes… with innovative AA rosette level flair’. The atmosphere is lovely, with the overall feeling of being round at a friends house for some relaxing company and comfort food. It was nice to catch up with my old friends, but served as the perfect opportunity to try out some of my Japanese, and teach everyone some Japanese facts that I have learned.
After we were all seated with drinks and after raising our glasses one friend asked me what cheers is in Japanese. For a second I panicked, thinking ‘oh I mustn’t embarrass myself in front of everyone!’, but luckily my memory penguins kicked in and I shouted ‘KANPAI!’ which we all repeated together in unison.
Kanpai or かんぱい means to toast or drink in celebration of something, and means colloquially ‘cheers’.（*＾-＾*）
Being a traditional restaurant there were no knives and forks, only はし (chopsticks), which gave me the chance to educate my friends on chopstick etiquette. I had remembered a few facts on the spot from a YouTube video I once watched by The Double Chen Show (see here :3) about how to use them – DON’T LICK YOUR CHOPSTICKS, no matter how much yummy sauce is covering them.
I also was remembering words that I had recently (conveniently) learned about going out to dinner. Two examples that I gave to my friends were おかんじよう meaning menu, and たべます meaning to eat. Even these small snippets of the language that I could remember served to encourage me to keep at it.
It was nice to be naturally remembering words in a real life context and so I’d recommend going to a Japanese restaurant with a friend or two who would be willing to sit and endure the continuous flow of silly facts and broken Japanese.
Sayounara for now, Jooosiekins XXX