This is part 2 of a series of posts titled I think I've been invited to join a cult. Keep in mind names, places, dates are all factual to the best of my recollection.
Sunday April 15, 2018
After about a day of not receiving any messages, one came from Ayaka inviting me to a cooking party on April 24th. Awesome, I thought, she must have been in tough with Kaz and the rest of the group that spoke at the bar a few nights ago. I asked her if it's the event that Kaz set up but to my surprise it was not.
And maybe we can get some drinks before that
So not only was it a completely different cooking party, she wanted to go for drinks before. I told her I have to work until the evening and asked what time the event starts. Doors open at 7:30pm, cooking starts at 8pm sharp. I could make it there after work just in time to start cooking.
Monday April 16, 2018 ~ Monday April 23, 2018
Not much happened during this time. The event was approaching and I was curios for more information. Ayaka told me there would be around 20 people attending, but she hadn't confirmed the numbers yet. Ayaka told me she often hangs out in Shinbashi and I said it's an Ojisan heaven (middle-aged men aplenty). I was in line at Gong cha buying tapioca milk tea, surrounded by high school and university-aged girls; maybe this was more of an Ojisan heaven.
Tuesday April 24, 2018
I check my phone shortly after waking up and see concrete information about the event has finally surfaced.
Just basic information about the location and that it's okay to invite a friend. I was also informed that we would be cooking donburi, great! I had some trouble finding the place but after climbing to the 5th floor, I was reassured by the clanging of cooking equipment in what appeared to be a cooking class. It looks like the many more than 20 people that had showed up were split into two rooms. The people at the door asked which room but I was unsure. They asked for my friend's name, I replied Ayaka and after some thinking they directed me to the left room.
Directly ahead there was a large kitchen with about 4 stove tops, preparation and cutting areas, and 2 sinks for washing up. To the right was an area with 6 tables and no chairs. I looked around and found Ayaka just before the leader of the event started his introductory speech. He thanked everyone for coming and explained that we'd split into groups and cook donburi and soba! I'd never made soba from scratch so I was really excited.
Groups were up to everyone to decide themselves. Ayaka moved to the opposite side of the room, so I approached a group that seemed to have some space and asked if there was still room. There was, and we completed a group of 6 people, split half girls and half guys, but more interesting, half who couldn't cook, and half that could. We did a simple self-introduction and I forgot everyone's name immediately. One of the girls left an impression on me; she was very encouraging towards group members who didn't have confidence to cook.
The cooking part was actually a lot of fun. We had no instructions, just a vague idea of what we should cook decided by rock-paper-scissor. I represented our group and picked 4th out of 6 groups. We cooked buta-don, pork over rice in a bowl, and our soba was delicious. Being the group leader, I was in charge of appearing for our group. I introduced our dish as the hot-as-hell-mens-cooking-buta-don that released poison gas and make half of the kitchen cough uncontrollably while frying the green onions in chili sauce. The introduction and actual dish were a huge success.
I didn't exchange contact details with anybody that day. I figured I would attend these events every once in a while, be it a cooking party or futsal, and afterwards hang out with anyone who was interested instead. I was exhausted and passed out almost immediately after arriving at home.