The spread was incredible. They had six different kinds of vegetarian salad, two kinds of vegetarian sushi, and vegetable soup that they made right in front of me with plain water and kombu broth. When they realized there was fish extract in the dipping sauce, the host's daughter quickly researched a recipe for dressing on the internet and made some vegetarian dressing for me. Whoa. (Everyone else had sukiyaki.)
Much of the food for the meal came from the host's garden. ...When he found out I do my own cooking, he told me I should stop by his field when things are in season and take some home with me. ^_^; At least he realized, after a bit of discussion, that something like an entire huge head of lettuce is way too much for me to eat by myself. During the meal, one of the guests also commented that it was too bad I didn't have a husband around to do all the cooking and housework for me while I'm at school.
One of the guests commented, "Your predecessor would try anything, but you certainly have a lot of likes and dislikes. You can tell just by looking at something that you don't want to eat it, without even trying it." Sure I can. If it has meat in it, I don't want to eat it. And there are also vegetables that I have eaten before and already know I don't like. Besides, it's not as if I would have been able to eat everything anyway, there was just way too much, so narrowing it down and only taking the things that tasted good seemed reasonable to me.
The people present talked about a lot of topics and showed pictures of the visit to Michigan this past summer. When they offered me milk to drink, and I mentioned that I only drink lowfat or nonfat milk, they discussed in amazement how Americans can drink huge glasses of milk without any problem. ...But, of course, American milk doesn't taste as good. @_@ Sure, if you're used to drinking chock full o'cream stuff, regular American milk will taste thin. It was also commented upon that they grow Japanese rice in America, but that doesn't taste as good either.
After everyone had stuffed themselves on the various salads and sushi and couldn't eat another bite...the host's wife brought out the rice/pickles/green tea course.
When we had somehow managed to pack that away, the host's daughter brought the sweetcakes/oranges/coffee course. Meals in Japan just keep coming and coming and coming... By the time we finished "lunch," it was about three o'clock.
After I got home, I worked on putting together my new bookshelf. The acrobatics I had to go through to get all the pegs in the proper holes would no doubt have been quite amusing to an observer. I wish it had come with one more shelf than it did, but it's certainly an improvement.