January 20, 2011 | Japanese
I try to go to the Japan Society, but get lost in the Japanese Culinary Center instead.
Although I have been studying plenty, I feel guilty over my lack of Japanese-related New York City field trips. My main reasons for being remiss about investigating Japanese cultural and language centers around town:
- It won’t stop snowing here.
- When it’s not snowing, it’s been really, really cold.
- I can’t make myself stop practicing kana.
But today I decided to get off my lazy, cold-averse ass and get myself to something Japanese. For starters, I settled on the Japan Society. I’ve been there before, but not for quite a few years.
I got on the subway heading downtown, then took the shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central. I love Grand Central. I noticed a Rosetta Stone booth there that I don’t remember seeing before.
Grand Central: Many People, Many Languages
Rosetta Stone Kiosk, Grand Central
From Grand Central I began heading east towards the Japan Society—and promptly stumbled across the Japanese Culinary Center, 711 Third Avenue, a big, beautiful showroom for lovers of Japanese cuisine. Of which I am one.
So I’m afraid I never made it to the Japan Society (I’ll try again another day), because I was enthralled instead by this gastronomically seductive space, there courtesy of a Moonachie, N.J.-based company called New York Mutual Trading.
They have everything: serving dishes, soy sauce, sake, chopsticks, appliances, miscellaneous cooking tools, tea, cookbooks, and much more. And the people who work there are charming and helpful.
The Showroom, Which I Found by Chance!
Light, Air, and Lots of Cool Stuff
More Soy Sauce
My favorite thing was the electronics section, which included sushi “robots” to abet the sushi-making process. I am thinking these are probably not popular with highly trained sushi chefs.
This Sushi Robot Will Make Your Sushi!
They Have Kits, Too!
This Is a Cool Place to Buy a Gift (So I Did)
Vinegar, Sauces, and Other Good Things
The Beverages Are Beautiful
I Couldn’t Always Identify the Products
I spoke at some length to a Japanese woman who worked there. Was this in Japanese?
No, I’m afraid it was not. My conversational skills are still too primitive to have conversations that veer from Pimsleur topics such as the current location of my husband, or my desire to eat lunch, or the state of the weather. She was kind enough, however, to allow me to test my reading ability off a package I found with some kana on it. I sounded out the syllables under her supervision.
The verdict: I was initially off on a couple of vowels, but solid on the consonants, and she said I did well. I don’t actually know what was in the package, but just being able to read a package at all was a huge thrill! You have to start somewhere!
In case you are into sake: they are having a sake tasting on February 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (information available right on their home page).