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Ideas for a Japanese Party
It almost goes without saying that Japanese culture is very different from those of the West, and Japanese celebrations are often based on centuries of tradition. Even serving tea can be a very ceremonial process. Rather than delving too far into the intricacies of Japanese tradition and culture, we're looking here for some simple ideas that can be adapted for use at home, to help you throw a Japanese themed rugby party.
While the obvious food choice for many might be sushi, there are many in the west who are put off by the thought of raw fish, and Japanese cuisine has much more to offer (see below).
To create an authentic Japanese party atmosphere, have some Traditional Japanese Music playing in the background (not during the game though!).
Japanese Party Decorations
Food for a Japanese PartyJapanese food has evolved over centuries of traditions, and more recently has also blended in a few influences from China, Korea and the West. Being an island culture, seafood of many types is very popular in Japan, and meat dishes have only started to become popular relatively recently.
Noodles and rice are the main staples. Japanese rice is of the short grain, sticky type. There are many types of Japanese noodles, the main ones being Soba, which are thin noodles made of buckwheat, and Udon, which are thicker wheat noodles. A traditional Japanese meal consists of a bowl of soup, a bowl of rice, some pickles and 2-3 "side dishes" - which could be fish, meat, vegetables or tofu, and may be raw, grilled, boiled, steamed or deep-fried - all served together.
We have therefore included a recipe for a classic vegetable miso soup. This contains a number of ingredients that you will have to search out in a specialist Asian grocers, but without soup, it's not really a proper tradiational Japanese meal. On the other hand, you don't have to stick to traditions - it's your party!
We haven't gone mad on hundreds of different sushi recipes, but we have included a recipe for Chirashizushi, which is known as "Scattered Sushi" and is served in bowls with colourful toppings. It's the sushi of choice at parties, so it's ideal if you're throwing a Japanese rugby party!
Drink for a Japanese PartyJapanese Green Tea is one non-alcoholic option for drinks. You could go all the way and learn the full tea-serving ceremony, but it is extremely complex and full of cultural references which may be lost on many westerners, so you may prefer to simply serve your guests the tea without the ceremony!
For more alcoholic options, you could simply find some Japanese beers such as Kirin or Asahi , or you could serve sake, which is made from fermented rice. Sake is stronger in its alcohol content than most wines, but not as strong as whisky, for example. It is often warmed before being served in small cups, but good quality sake can be served at room temperature, or chilled. Indeed, many sake experts feel that good quality sake should always be served chilled in order to enjoy the subtleties of its flavours, and only cheaper brands should be warmed. There are one or two sake cocktails, for those who don't enjoy the flavour of the drink on its own.