Wednesday 18 February 2009

A delicious meal (mostly!)

Some of you might have been forgiven for thinking that I am on holiday here in Tokyo. But that is not true in the slightest. I might have had a day and a half R&R at the beginning of the week but it's been work, work, work since then. I have been exhibiting with 3 of my colleagues at a major scientific exhibition which will attract approx 50,000 people. So it's been hard work (honest!).

We are part of a UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) stand at the exhibition that contains 11 other companies and organisations. And at the end of the day yesterday the UKTI organised an Ambassadors Reception at the UK Embassy in Tokyo for all of the UK exhibitors and selected Japanese companies. Yes, you heard that right, I attended an Ambassadors Reception. Unfortunately there was no Ferrero Rocher, but he did indeed spoil us. Well, sort of.

The UK Embassy is apparently located in the most desirable location in the whole of Tokyo and is very grand. It is surrounded by very high wire fences and is a little bit of Blighty in Japan. The security was very high, we all had to show our passports at the gate and when I showed mine to the Japanese guard he gave me a salute. He obviously could recognise an important UK dignitary when he saw one!

The reception was a wine and nibbles kind of a do and guess what nibbles were on offer? Yes, that's right, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. How English is that? There was also some fish and chips too. But no Ferrero Rocher. So although he was indeed spoiling us with the food, he wasn't with the wine. I was expecting fine wine and instead we got Banrock Station a £3.99 bottle of wine. Very cheap. And not what I was expecting at all.

After an hour or so of networking with Japanese companies - I can smooze with the best of them you know - we headed off for a fantastic meal with our Japanese friends. Because of the way our project is funded we have access to an office in Japan which contains the loveliest 4 Japanese ladies you could possible imagine. They have helped us with translations on the stand and arranging meetings for us with Japanese companies. And they took us all out to this wonderful - and very traditionally Japanese - restaurant last night.

We had to take our shoes off before sitting down at the table and the table was very low down in a typical Japanese style. They then ordered a selection of Japanese food which included:

- raw squid with wasabi (squid was a bit slimey but the wasabi was lovely)
- sashimi (a bit too hardcore for me although the tuna soaked in soy sauce was almost quite nice)
- mushroom tempura (absolutely gorgeous)
- lots of different Yakitori (ditto)
- a salad made up of dried fish flakes and radish which was surprisingly tasty
- a fish omelette which was also delcious

But the highlight was the sake. I've never had sake before and it was lovely. So lovely in fact that I am writing this post with a bit of a headache! It came warm and despite the fact that I don't normally like warm drinks was delicious. They also ordered a Japanese vodka made of sweet potato that I drank neat on the rocks - and this was like rocket fuel but quite drinkable all the same.

So I had an absolutely fabulous time mainly thanks to the wonderful company of our Japanese friends.

1 comment:

  1. [ puts on dodgy pseudo european accent ]
    Ahh Simon, viz zees blogs you are ssspoiling uz