Held only several times a year!
This gathering is called "Osaki Soba no Kai". Osaki is a community in Hamochi, Sado Island.
Soba is translated as buckwheat, Kai means party, meet or gathering.
I went to the gathering for the first time on Feb. 7 this year. This event has been so popular and I was thrilled to go there.
This is the authentic 100 percent buckwheat noodles served with hot ago-dashi (broth made of grilled and dried flying fish).
A bowl of soba noodles is one of the Sado's soul foods.
This is "nishime", simmered vegetables with tofu, konbu kelp, bamboo shoot etc.
Nishime is another soul food of Sado, often cooked at home or special occasions like New Year holidays or some kinds of parties.
In the kitchen...
Local chefs are busy making soba noodles for about 200 guests!
They have to make several batches of soba dough per person, spread them and cut into noodles.
Look at their happy faces!
Not only a bowl of soba noodles and nishime, there were also many kinds of side dishes all cooked by community women.
Staff members are also busy serving soba noodles.
You can ask another helpings to your heart's content.
Again in the kitchen...
Still busy preparing bowls and bowls of soba noodles for the guests.
In this section...
Oh! They are preparing "oshiruko with kibi-dango" as a dessert.
Oshiruko is sweet bean soup made of red Azuki beans with sugar. Kibi-dango is millet dumplings boiled and put into oshiruko.
Attention please! Now it's show time!
What is great about Osaki Soba no Kai is many staff members including cooks turn into entertainers!
First, Bunya Ningyo (Bunya dolls) puppet play was peformed.
This is a short play about the love triangle between a centipede, a butterfly and a dragonfly.
A butterfly chooses a centipede over a dragonfly because...
Centipedes are considered auspitious because they have many legs and bring in good luck more compared to less-legged insects like a dragonfly. Do you find small oval-shaped gold coins attatched to the centipede? Money wins? No, no. Love wins because the centipede worked hard and won the heart of a butterfly. Happy for you!
Cooks turn into sumo wrestlers??
Aren't they cute? Wearing decorative aprons like real sumo wrestlers, they are mimicking a ring-entering ceremony.
Then, they dance with the tune of Sumo Jinku folk song.
After the performance...
The main staff members thanked us for comting to the event.
Now I know the reason...
All of the staff members did utmost efforts to satisfy the palate of the guests and entertain us. Hats off, guys! You're great.
I think I found true spirit of "omotenashi" ( hospitality ) in this tiny rural community.
This is the reason that this event has been held for 39 years!!
The gatherings are usually held on weekends from December to February and you can ask details at Sado Tourist Information,
Minamisado branch office.