Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Joining hands for Japan



Tonight, the TRAVELIFE Magazine team and the teams of the Embassy of Japan and the Dusit Thani Manila sat down in Dusit's UMU restaurant to iron out the details for TRAVELIFE Japan Night at the Dusit Thani Manila on February 16.

This very unique event will feature a wonderful Japanese degustation dinner and a performance by Japanese young geisha (called maiko), who are flying over from Japan just to perform at Travelife Japan Night. This will be the first ever visit of Japanese geisha to the Philippines.

REAL GEISHA IN MANILA

I don't need to sell you on the geisha performance. Most of us have read that riveting book, Memoirs of a Geisha, or seen the movie; so we know what a geisha is. But perhaps what needs explaining is just how special a geisha performance is, and especially one outside of Japan.

First, it's not easy to see a geisha performance. You might spot a geisha getting into a taxi or walking into a teahouse in Kyoto, if you hang around the Gion district of Kyoto on a visit; but to see a special performance is a completely different story. Outside of the few spring recitals of the geisha, which are open to the public but tickets are hard to get, it's virtually impossible for a regular foreigner to see a real geisha performance.

A RARE SIGHTING

For one thing, it's expensive. An evening can easily run up to six figures. And also, most tea houses are pretty snooty. It's not enough to flash the cash; you actually have to be introduced by a respected existing client to get face time.

Second, real geisha almost never travel outside of their cities -- and mores to a Third World country like the Philippines! It's been a pretty remarkable feat that we've been able to get geisha to fly over for Travelife Japan Night.

But tonight, what really shocked me -- and to think that I'm the one planning the event -- is the labor of love this is taking in terms of the degustation meal. We've just gone through the elaborate menu of seven or eight courses, and almost every single ingredient in this very special menu for Travelife Japan Night at the Dusit Thani is being imported from Japan. Yes, we're literally bringing Japan to the Philippines for Travelife readers and friends -- and even I didn't realize the implication of this until I saw everything in nuts and bolts tonight.

TRAVELIFE EVENTS:
LABORS OF LOVE, NEVER DUPLICATED

All I can say is, wow. If you like Japanese food, don't miss this event because there won't be another like it. I can guarantee that this very special evening is impossible to duplicate.

The meeting tonight also made me appreciate Chef Fukata, who is probably the best Japanese chef in the Philippines today. He certainly is the most serious one, and he regards his craft with utter devotion. It was very inspiring.


I eat at UMU all the time so I take it for granted that he serves pretty good Japanese food. And, of course, Chef Fukata is known to me because he used to be the chef of the Embassy of Japan itself. But tonight, the detail and care he took with the menu, and his refusal to compromise the quality of this degustation experience, impressed me very much.

EVERYTHING'S COMING FROM JAPAN

I guess UMU and most other Japanese restaurants serve food using a combination of real Japanese materials and locally sourced ingredients. That's how you keep prices reasonable. But for Travelife Japan Night, almost every single thing is being flown in from Japan to give you perhaps the most authentic Japanese evening ever conceptualized in the Philippines.

So come join us for an evening you won't forget. And reserve early. I looked at our table chart tonight and I can already predict that allocations for seats will be extremely tight. We'll be releasing other details and finalizing prices soon.

JOINING HANDS FOR JAPAN
To commemorate the resilience of the Japanese people
one year after the Great Earthquake,
and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese culture.

DON'T MISS THIS AMAZING CULTURAL EVENT

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