Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meeting Harumi!

A friend let me know that she saw Harumi Kurihara this weekend at Isetan in Shinjuku (my favorite department store in Tokyo) and "almost started squeeling like she was a goddamn Beatle". (Actual text) She was doing a cooking demonstration for her 10th anniversary of...being famous, I guess. With nothing to do on a rainy Sunday, I decided to see if she was still there and lo and behold - SHE WAS!

I had walked in at the tail end of a kids demonstration. The room was filled with some of the cutest, most fashionable children I have ever seen. They were all drinking milk boxes and asking questions. It was adorable. A few of the questions asked:

Little boy: Nan no tabemono suki desu ka. (What kind of food do you like. -- She likes fish a lot because she is from Shimoda (I've been there, NBD) )

Little Girl: Watashi wa rok-sai desu. Kurihara-san wa nan-sai desu ka. (I am 6 years old. Miss Kurihara, how old are you? -- Everyone laughed of course and she avoided answering)

Along with cooking demonstrations, there were tons of food samples being passed around. I managed to get passed all the old ladies with sharp elbows and snagged a sample of rice with her banno soy sauce. It was simple and tasty, which is her style.

They were only selling the Japanese language cookbooks, but I bought one of her lifestyle magazine-books (a "mook" - no really, that is an actual category in Japanese publishing) to sign. Now, I've been to a few book signings in my time - people I really admire too. Jamie Oliver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chuck Klosterman...I was totally cool at those book signings. Duuuude...I totally freaked out on Harumi. Maybe because you know, I don't really speak Japanese and felt awkward speaking English in front of everyone, but I just couldn't really speak properly and just had a goofy grin on my face. I told her that I'm not Japanese (duh) and that I bought her book in New York (a lie) and love her (total truth). She told me she just went to New York to do many events and asked if I knew Kinokuniya near Bryant Park. Then she shook my hand. Swoooon! Then for some reason I bowed a couple of times...because you know, this is Japan and a bow can never really hurt and I was ushered away.  I wish I had told her that I was cooking all her Everyday Harumi dishes, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. 

Isn't she adorable?

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