Monday, June 30, 2008


This week we attended a Kaiseki dinner hosted at the Tadodai House by the Admirals from the Japanese Maritime Defense force. This was a sobetsukai (farewell party) for Mike and Kathy Krentz. Kaiseki is a multi course meal of small dishes that is the ultimate in Japanese dining. The term "kaiseki" means hot stone in a kimono fold, the term "kai" means a fold in a kimono and "seki" means stone. Probably derived from Zen monks putting hot stones in their kimono next to their stomachs to allay hunger.
A typical Kaiseki meal:
"shiizakana" (appetizers served with Japanese sake)
"mukouzuke" (sashimi - slices of raw fish)
"kuchitori" (a small side dish)
"suimono" (a soup)
"nimono" (simmered vegetables)
"aemono" (food dressed with sauce)
"kounomono" (Japanese pickles)
"sunomono" (food marinated in vinegar)
"yakimono" (grilled fish)
"mushimono" (steamed food)
"nabemono" (Japanese hot pot)
miso soup

Even more remarkable was the house; the Tadodai House was built in 1913 and was the official residence of the Japanese Imperial Navy (what is now the Yokosuka base was the largest JIN base). As I sat in the dining room across the table from the elegant Japanese Admirals it occurred to me that Pearl Harbor had most likely been discussed in this room, if I squinted my eyes I could pretend I was a fly on the wall in November 1941.
The first resident of the house was Vice Admiral Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito in 1913. Vice Admiral Hirata Noboru lived there from Oct 1941 until November 1942. From May 1945- August 1945 Vice Admiral Totsuka Michitaro lived there and then the next resident was Captain Benny Decker in 1946. I live at 6 Edwina Hill, Mrs. Decker was named Edwina and was pivotal in making this base a "little America" and forging a relationship with the Japanese community.

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