Last Saturday, our daughter’s primary school held “Undōkai” at their school ground, which is an annual Sports event organized by the school and students. The entire school (1st to 6th graders) are divided into two teams, White and Red, and compete. It is quite serious and formal – in a way it looks like a mini Olympic, with a proper opening ceremony with speeches & singing of the national anthem, followed by numerous games including cute dance performances and the exciting relay race, and completed with an impressive award ceremony.
It was the first time for our little girl as well as for her Dutch father to participate in the Japanese Undōkai. She just took it as it was, but my husband seemed to have gotten a little taken aback, describing it as a “military inspired parade”. I think he was exaggerating a bit, but maybe it could be a bit overwhelming if you’d never seen it before as an adult.
Anyway, at Undokai, traditionally everyone eats (usually homemade) bento for lunch on a picnic mat. I didn’t make anything special for the occasion but simple onigiri and some leftover side dishes. Still, we all enjoyed it together with all our friends.
To our surprise, our daughter ended up last in her group for the 40m dash. We always thought she was very athletic, but this proved us to be super biased about our own child. Instead, she performed superbly for the dance performances, showing us all the sweetest dance moves. Perhaps she could be a future performing artist…? … I know, I know, I shouldn’t pressure her into anything…
Win or lose, it was a great, memorable Undōkai, and we are very proud of her.
Spaghetti aglio & olio with broccoli & bacon
Leftover gratin (pumpkin/potato/green beans/edamame) – used milk instead of cream
Tricolor Donburi (“soboro” chicken crumble/scrambled egg/green beans)
Miso soup (with cabbage, carrot, spring onion & potato)
Pumpkin in dashi broth
Okra/cucumber/Wakame seaweed in vinegar sauce
Click here for chicken soboro recipe
Gulp! Someone is missing out something delicious tonight.
Monday: Can’t remember
Tuesday: Hamburg steak with vegetables
Wednesday: Tomato & aubergine pasta, sautéed chicken with asparagus
Thursday: Ginger pork, Hijiki, Hiyayakko (fresh tofu)
Friday: Hijiki rice & Tempura
Now ready to rest. Have a good weekend!
Is it true that time passes in proportion to your age? I remember that a day seemed extremely long and slow when I was around my daughter’s age, longing eternally for all the fun events to happen. But now I can’t seem to catch up with the days passing in front of me, and even ordinary events fly by in light speed. And when I do stop and look back, I notice that a week has gone by just like a wind, as well as a weekend, and so begins another new week.
I don’t even remember making these bento last week. Where has the week gone?
For the first time, I packed mashed potato in lieu of rice for our daughter’s bento today. All the dishes in the bento are the leftover from the previous evening’s dinner, except for the boiled egg.
As Japanese, it required a bit of contemplation to do so – we simply don’t eat potato as much and are not accustomed to it. For me, potatoes are vegetables, and not staple food. But my half Dutch daughter didn’t seem to care at all, and the bento box came back empty without any complaints.
For the past long weekend, we took a short trip to Hong Kong to attend one of our best friend’s’ 50th birthday party. It was a ravishing, spectacular soirée, with more than a hundred people attending to celebrate her special day. All the guests were dressed in their beautiful chic attire including our daughter, with live music and endless flow of champagne and chatter. I wonder when I had a holiday this much fun last, and that made me feel heavy and hesitant for going back to reality.
As cruel as it can be, it was time to go home to my normal humble life. Our flight back to Tokyo got delayed by an hour, which means arriving home even later than what we thought was already late for a school night. And this means no stop over at a grocery store to replenish our empty fridge.
In the car back from the airport, I quickly assessed in my head what was left in our fridge/freezer for our daughter’s bento the next morning. I remembered about the pesto sauce in the freezer I had made a couple of weeks ago, as well as the frozen steamed carrot slices, blueberries and apple mousse. I also remembered the eggs & ham in the fridge hadn’t gone expired yet. And the outcome was a not so bad pasta bento for our little girl.