Archive for October 11th, 2005

Imonikai 2005

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Yesterday we had a yearly event held in the fall, typical of the Tohoku district, i.e. Japan’s North-Eastern area. For this event called “Imonikai”, people usually gather outside, preferably in natural surroundings, and make a kind of soup/stew as the main dish. “Imo” literally means potato, and “ni” comes from the Japanese verb “to boil”. The suffix “kai” is usually used for gatherings, hence “Imo-ni-kai”. Obviously, the main ingredients include sweet potatoes and other vegetables, but there are also local variations within the Tohoku area. For example, here in Miyagi prefecture the soup is miso based, and the meat is pork, which is called “tonjiru”(literally: pork soup). However, in Yamagata prefecture, the soup is shouyu based and they use beef instead of pork.

Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t very good, so we had the Imonikai party inside at a ski resort (in the winter, of course) called Spring Valley in Izumi ward. Although we decided to organize the party only last Wednesday, 17 people showed up, and we all took a shuttle bus provided by the ski resort. Thanks to Mashuku, the improvised “Imoni-Queen” (read: organizer), we had good food and good laughs. The rain even stopped in the afternoon so we went outside and played frisbee, badminton and even tried to slide down the grassy slopes on pieces of cardboard, although quite unsuccessfully. We really had a great time.

The “tonjiru”.

A bowl of “tonjiru”.

When the soup is almost finished, you can add some udon and really eat your fill.

We took tons of pictures, as usual. You can check them out here.