I didn't get up as early as I intended, so I had to rush to the supermarket to buy things for today's party. When I got back I baked a moist chocolate cake, using I recipe I found on the web. I also made a pasta salad using tartare sauce, which I believe to be the best pasta salad in existence. Rumour has it that scientists are attempting to create a better one. Those crazy boffins!
Keiko came over at 1 pm to help me prepare some food. She wasn't massively helpful, but at least she tried. By 3 pm, Ayana, Yoshimi, Takako and Sora had arrived. Takako cooked okonomiyaki, a famous dish from Osaka using some ingredients she had prepared in advance. Okonomiyaki is an egg and batter-based pancake, containing cabbage and sometimes other vegetables, seafood and meat. It's served with bonito flakes, mayonnaise and a sweet-and-sour sauce.
Ayana and Yoshimi decorated the cake I had baked. For some reason they decided to draw my face on the cake using green, white and blue icing. I found it rather touching.
In the evening we all met up again for the Third Thursday lecture on Japanese culture. While there I talked to my friend Hirano about the changes that I've been noticing in the UK over the past few years. I told him that I would be moving to Japan, and that I would probably be staying there for good. He was quite surprised and possibly a bit upset. On the other hand, I think he is happy for me as he knows how much I want to get out of this sick country.
I took tea afterwards with Keiko and Sora. I'm really starting to dislike Pulse, one of the few cafes open in the evening in Norwich. It's slightly over-priced, and there's just no real atmosphere there. Being in Pulse made me remember how wonderful the cafes in East Village were last summer when I was in New York for the HOPE conference.