The Scottish rugby team were given a taste of what they’re about to experience, before they flew off to the World Cup in Japan.
Award-winning Japanese restaurant Harajuku Kitchen is the official caterer for the Scottish rugby team. Ahead of the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan this year, chef patron Kaori Simpson and her team provided the Scottish Rugby players with an informative presentation on cultural etiquette.
The afternoon provided a chance for the players to experience authentic Japanese cooking and learn more about Japanese culture ahead of their visit to the country in September.
Using recipes passed down through her family for generations, Kaori and her team served an extensive range of traditional Japanese dishes including sushi and Kara-age chicken Japanese curry.
Kaori said: ‘It was a great honour to work with the Scottish Rugby team and teach them about Japanese culture. The dragon rolls and nigiri sushi were particularly popular. They had just come from a training session so as you can imagine they were keen to refuel!’
Kaori explained that Japanese cooking focuses on using fresh produce and a balance of carbohydrates and protein for cooking which is tasty and healthy.
Gregor Townsend, the Scotland coach said: ‘There are a number of challenges that await us in the tournament, starting with facing some quality teams in our pool as well as adapting to Japan’s unique environment.’
Kaori’s etiquette presentation for the players included an introduction on the correct etiquette for eating various dishes such as miso soup, sushi and noodles.
Famous for using chopsticks, Kaori and her team also taught the players how to use these correctly and gave golden rules for good and bad chopstick use. She also gave the team, including players and coaches, translations of popular dishes so that they would be comfortable ordering food in a restaurant and useful phrases for their time in Japan.
If you are also visiting Japan for the Rugby World Cup, we have included some of Kaori’s advice below to help you during your stay.
Helpful phrases included:
Itadakimasu – Before meal.
Gochisousama – After meal.
Okawari / Okawari kudasai –More food please
Oishi – delicious.
Kekkou desu- No thanks.
Onaka ippai – I am full.
Kanpai – Toast, Cheers, shlàinte
Kaori also warned the players that it is considered rude to pour a drink for yourself. Always reciprocate when someone pours a drink for you. Refill another’s glass when it’s empty. If you are full, it is best to leave your glass full if you had enough.
Kaori also recommended some traditional Japanese dishes to try, including:
Tamago yaki (sweet omelettes); Onigiri (triangle rice with seaweed and fillings); Kara age Chicken Japanese fried chicken; Gyoza, or Pot stickers
Tonkatsu (Panko Breaded meat); Japanese Curry rice; Japanese Beef: Kobe, Matsusaka and Omi; Ramen; Sushi – Which was first introduced as a way of preserving fish with vinegared rice.
Launched in Edinburgh in 2013 by Kaori, Harajuku Kitchen is firmly rooted in authentic Japanese comfort food and street food, having started out as a stall at the city’s popular Stockbridge Market.
Find out more HERE.